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)
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)
This article covers the bare minimum amount of knowledge that any beginning Tai Chi teacher, style, school or method of Tai Chi should know and be able to convey in order to teach Tai Chi. Without this basic knowledge students will not be able to gain any of the real health, healing or energetic benefits of Tai Chi. Most of what is detailed here is normally taught within the first year or two of Tai Chi training and can easily be learned within the first 3 years of training.
Imagine going to the auto dealer and buying a high performance sports car that costs more than your house. Then, after you buy the car, you find out that you did not get what you thought you paid for. Instead, you got the car frame/shell of a high performance sports car and all of the internal mechanical parts are missing or have been replaced with a cheap engine.
Now, imagine that you do not have any idea about engines or transmissions. Due to your lack of knowledge you do not understand why your car will not run and do all of the impressive things that you have seen and read about. Without getting some education you would be stuck with a car that looks like a sports car, but, which in fact internally is not one.
Unfortunately, this is an all too common scenario found by many students and practitioners of Tai Chi in America. There are plenty of skilled Tai Chi teachers to be found in the USA. They figure that if the Tai Chi moves frame/body/form looks good then the inside and knowledge base is most likely okay as well. Without any other information to go on, students simply sign up and take Tai Chi classes from someone who looks the part.
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. Unfortunately, magically getting the benefits of Tai Chi this way is about as likely as a car frame magically growing a new engine. As nice as that would be, it simply is not the case.
This series of blog posts are designed to help our local Maryville Tai Chi students know what to look for and what kind of questions to ask a prospective Tai Chi instructor. We at Clear Silat’s Tai Chi have an international reputation as Tai Chi instructors who regularly release advanced Tai Chi courses, classes, and video; these posts are best suited to Maryville Tai Chi students.