How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part II

If from the outside Tai Chi instructors all seem the same, what should prospective students look for to avoid buying the high-performance sports car with a cheap engine we mentioned last post?

Obviously any beginning Tai Chi instructor who has gone through Tai Chi training will know at least a form or two of 24 Moves or more. So instead, 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, Taiji, Taichi Chuan, Taiji Quan, or Tai ji Quan (all specialized names for 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 post.

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.

The same is true with Tai Chi.  Even though approaches may be different, words like Chi, Jing, Peng, Sung, Tao, Yi, Shen and Li will be known by any real teacher.  Anyone offering Tai Chi classes who does not have at least a working understanding of these terms simply does not have enough knowledge to properly teach Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (posted to the site  by Sarah Vose)