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

We continue to cover the best questions for selecting a Tai Chi instructor. Your instructor should know at least a bit about the following topics:

  • Sung – A Chinese term that refers to Relaxation Techniques and Methods.
  • Breathing methods including how to breathe to beneficially lower the heart rate and blood pressure in order to get the stress reduction and circulatory benefits that Tai Chi is famous for.
  • Body Mechanics and body positioning that is truly based in knowledge of skeletal alignment and structure.  This includes how to properly align the spine and how the midsection should be positioned and how the knees should be aligned to the feet and the foot placement for good knee health that utilizes the musculature of the leg and protects the tendons and ligaments.
  • Natural body responses, actions, and movement.
  • Push Hands – This is a practice method of Tai Chi that is usually played as a physical game(s) but can also be utilized by students to simply learn better internal sensitivity to their own body and structure and internal skill of rooting and Sung relaxing.
  • Internal Principles that begin with understanding how to drop excess tension in order to develop deep relaxation while moving and very powerful physical alignments that involve moving in ways that easily engage whole body power to whatever task you would desire to apply it to and eventually go as far as one can imagine in the direction of being able to feel inside yourself and others to manipulate the internal organs, body structure, and energy.
  • Mind Intent including a real understanding of the difference between Yi and Shen.

This can all be quite a lot to take in. You may feel shy or apprehensive when you approach a teacher to ask about these topics; stay strong, it’s worth it to get the best out of your Tai Chi studies, classes, lessons, or instruction. You are worth it!


Richard Clear (posted to site by Sarah Vose)

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

This third post in our series on finding the best Tai Chi instructor you can covers some great questions to ask your prospective teacher to see if he or she is qualified to teach you the best quality Tai Chi classes.

Real Tai Chi has so many great health benefits including helping with blood pressure, stress relief, balance, arthritis, range of motion, and much more. So be patient as you do a little homework in picking the best teacher. Keep in mind that certified Tai Chi instructors can mean different things to different people.

At Clear Silat’s Tai Chi local school here in Maryville, TN our instructors have over 8 years experience each in the art at least.

Here are some questions for you, the Tai Chi student, to ask your potential or current instructor:

  • Basics of Chinese Medicine including Yin and Yang theory
  • Chi Kung including an understanding of what Chi is and what it is not
  • Knowledge of sources of  Chi. Chi is very explainable in Western medical and physics terms and the actual meaning and application of Chi Energy would make complete sense to any Western medical doctor, physicist, biologist, chemist, engineer etc etc… If it sounds like a bunch of metaphysical hokum, that would be a potential red flag.
  • An understanding of Chi Blockages and how to remove them using Tai Chi.  This includes understanding the difference between Excess and Stagnant Chi and knowing how to restore proper balance and flow in the body using Tai Chi.
  • The Meridians and pressure points as used in Acupuncture and how Tai Chi stimulates proper flow of Chi through them
  • The 3 Treasures Li, Chi and Jing
  • The 3 Powers Heaven, Earth and Man

We’ll continue this post with more questions you should ask your Tai Chi instructor to assess their experience and learn more about Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (Posted to site by Sarah Vose)


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)