Looking beyond

Quality of instruction

Standards vary from school to school. Large schools and organisations will issue their own certificates and qualifications to instructors. However this by no means ensures quality instruction.


No genuine teacher/master would mind giving information about themselves when you ask them politely from whom they have learnt Tai Chi Chuan, and from what lineage their styles of Tai Chi Chuan comes. The lineage of the teacher/master often gives authenticity to the style of Tai Chi Chuan taught. To be part of the official lineage, the teacher has to be an accepted disciple of a master from the existing branch of the family tree lineage. Your teacher should be as near to the trunk or centre line of the family tree as possible, ideally a disciple, so that the instruction you get is from an authentic source. However, you should be aware that many teachers put themselves on official lineages without having first been accepted as disciples. Students

may have to change teacher/master, sometimes a number of times, until they finally meet the right master. This is fate or “Yuen Fan” in Chinese. Be prepared to travel if you want top-level instruction in Tai Chi Chuan. Quality tuition saves time, effort and energy.
Also, beware of those who have learnt Tai Chi Chuan for only a short time or those who teach several different styles of martial arts. The art is complex, and not a skill that can be mastered within a few months or years. There is a saying that only after practising it for ten years do you really begin to learn Tai Chi Chuan. It is a discipline that needs years of dedication and perseverance.
The School
Observe a Tai Chi class in session. Most teachers would not mind you observing them conducting a class. Some of them even have open sessions to introduce potential newcomers to Tai Chi Chuan. Ask yourself the following when you are there (remember that ‘gut feeling’ is important):


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