A typical class session
Students are met at the door by aides who are either attached to the school
or who came with the students. Parents and guests are welcome at any time.
We use biometrics (a fingertip swipe) to check students in and out.
Students may need to change clothes and shoes. Four days per week
practice shoes (or just socks) and a t-shirt will suffice. One day per week
students will be dressing in semi-formal black cotton uniforms for filming. 
If we are doing a special event students will be dressing in silks with formal
shoes. Just before entering the training area students tap a portrait of
Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. If we are being visited by a distinguished
guest his or her portrait will also be showcased.
Class formally begins with an exchange of bows and salutes between the
instructor and the students. Students begin with a few minutes of seated
meditation on chairs. Usually the instructor corrects postures. Sitting is
followed by a few minutes of WuJi standing meditation and then traditional
warm-up exercises. If the class is learning the 18 movements set the last
lesson will be reviewed. We will then do 18 movements twice. There is then
a short break for water - bottles are always available on a table. A lesson
featuring the tai chi ruler tool follows and the class then does the ruler
exercises. Next there is usually a lesson on the next movements for the
Lao Jia (Old Frame) set followed by doing the set twice. Then we take a
break for a light snack such as apple slices. In the early stages of training
a single padded half-length staff is used. This gradually changes to an  
unpadded half-length staff and to two unpadded half-length staffs. The class
will review the previous lesson on the double maces set and then do that
set twice. As proficiency increases the class will do saber, sword, staff and
spear. Then a brief break for water followed by tai chi bang (another tool)
and ball exercises and traditional cooling off exercises. Reminders of future events
are followed by formal salutes and bows to close the class. Water bottles get
returned; clothes are changed; and another fingertip swipe confirms the exit.
Parents and interested parties will be emailed the day's scores.
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