How To Find A Tai Chi Instructor (Part 2)

By Richard Clear

Continued from ‘How to find a Tai Chi Instructor (Part 1)

Many people who teach Tai Chi in America today do not know any or much more than the form set of moves that make up the external physical look and choreography of Tai Chi. Although this is an important part of Tai Chi (just as a car’s body frame is an important part of a car) this alone will not impart most of the real benefits that Tai Chi is so famous for and will often leave new and even longer term students somewhat bewildered when they read or hear about the internal aspects and benefits of Tai Chi.

Many people mistakenly think that if they just keep practicing the Tai Chi form then eventually they will grow into the knowledge and somehow magically gain the majority of benefits that Tai Chi offers. There are a lot of people in America who have been teaching Tai Chi for over 20 years who fall into this category. Unfortunately, magically getting the benefits of Tai Chi about as likely as a car frame magically growing a new engine and if this were true then people would not need Tai Chi. Instead, they could simply walk around in slow motion and gently wave their arms in the air and eventually gain most or all of the real high level Tai Chi benefits. As nice as that would be it simply is not the case. This article is designed to help students know what to look for and what kind of questions to ask a prospective Tai Chi instructor.


Obviously any beginning teacher will know at least a form or two of 24 Moves or more. Look for endorsements and talk to students who have gained real benefits from practicing Tai Chi from the instructor whose class you are considering. Do your homework. Visit several schools or facilities and try out some free classes.

Ask the instructors specific questions about their training and level of knowledge about Tai Chi. If an instructor is unwilling to openly and fully answer your questions or does not know what you are talking about then I recommend that you find a different school or instructor. If the instructor is both open with you and gives educated answers to your questions then realize that individual answers will vary and often will be situation dependent but there is an obvious difference between an educated opinion and someone who does not have a clue about the subject matter and specific terms that are related to the subject matter. Just listen carefully and you should be able to get an idea of an instructor’s knowledge or lack thereof particularly if you are armed with some of the terms I am referring to in this article.

Many Western medicine doctors, specialists and therapist have different opinions about causes and treatments of various medical conditions but anatomy and physiology basics and the medical terms for them are going to be pretty much the same from one human being to another.

To Be continued in ‘How to find a Tai Chi Instructor (Part 3)

About the Author: Sigung Richard Clear has over 30 years of continuous study in Tai Chi and Chi Kung both in the U.S. and China.


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