How to Pick a Qi Gong or Tai Chi Teacher
As the popularity of Qi Gong and Tai Chi increases in the US, larger numbers of teachers are surfacing on the scene. The quality and experience of each of these Qi Gong and Tai Chi teachers varies, so picking the best teacher for you can be a challenge.
A qualified Qi Gong or Tai Chi instructor should possess the following:
- Certification from their teacher
- Significant amount of experience: 10+ years
- Ability to demonstrate their skill
- Ability to teach
Qi Gong and Tai Chi are internal cultivation arts that are hard to judge without experience. However, the practice of these arts can alter the presence of those who master them. When you look upon your Qi Gong or Tai Chi teacher, you should feel inside that they are somehow different.
Traditionally, Qi Gong or Tai Chi instruction was passed down through close teacher-student relationships. Long-term investments of time, energy, and respect lead to the advancement of a student through their teacher’s guidance. As the teacher moved toward retirement, a few top students would be certified to carry on their Qi Gong or Tai Chi lineage.
Over the past few decades, the transmission of Qi Gong and Tai Chi knowledge has become more open and accessible. This change has lead to an increasing number of students, but it also has lead to more Qi Gong or Tai Chi teachers with various levels of experience, skill, and understanding of these elusive arts.
A qualified teacher will have certification from their teacher to maintain the lineage and teach their art. There are many Qi Gong or Tai Chi teachers who have spent short amounts of time with various teachers; however, these people may not have developed a deep enough connection to receive the transmission of their art. If you are not familiar with the credentials of the teacher, you should kindly ask them about their certification and their relationship to their teacher.
Experience and Skill
A teacher must have something to teach. Without proper time to develop the needed depth of skill and experience, a teacher cannot guide you properly. Many students fall prey to improperly trained Qi Gong or Tai Chi teachers only to discover they have been taught incorrectly and must spend years unlearning their mistakes. Or the student may find that after years of practice, they have not developed further themselves.
Remember, a teacher should also be able to demonstrate their skills. Claims of ability and lineage should be substantiated. Does the instructor appear to hold the vitality of a Qi Gong or Tai Chi master? There are many cases of individuals arriving from the Far East believing they can create the image of a master for monetary gain. Both Qi Gong and Tai Chi are rooted in Taoist principles that emphasize a simple life; the greater the level of the teacher, the more modestly they will present themselves.
Ability to Teach
The instructor should also be a good teacher. This requires an ability to demonstrate and guide you in learning. For some, it is best to find a teacher that can speak your language to properly elucidate the finer points of practice. It is common to request a Qi Gong or Tai Chi teacher to allow you to watch a class before you sign up. Most teachers will agree to this if you show genuine interest and a humble demeanor. Take this opportunity to talk to other students and learn more about their experiences with the teacher and the practice.
Find a qualified teacher and a Qi Gong for Beginners course to get you started.