What To Look For In A Tai Chi/Qi Gong Teacher

Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi) and Qi Gon

Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi) and Qi Gong have been steadily growing in popularity for many years. While this is a good thing, it also has a down side. With its increase in popularity it is becoming much more accessible to the average person. However, many people seek to profit from it by becoming “teachers” after attending only a few workshops. So how does one know what knowledge or skill sets a Tai Chi/Qi Gong teacher should have?

Since I am regularly asked this question, allow me to share with you the skills and knowledge I feel a competent Tai Chi/Qi Gong teacher should possess.

When looking for a teacher, ask specific questions about their training and observe them teaching a class. Also look for endorsements and speak with students of the prospective teacher as well as the teacher himself or herself.

The following is what I consider to be the bare minimum amount of knowledge that any Tai Chi/Qi Gong teacher should know and be able to teach. They should know at least a form or two consisting of 24 movements or longer. They must also have an understanding of the following terms: li, chi, jing, yi, shen, peng, sung, and tao. If not, then in my experience the knowledge to properly teach the material just is not present.

In addition to the above, a teacher should have at least a basic working knowledge of and ability with most of the following:

  • a basic understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including yin and yang theory.
  • what Qi Gong is and what it is not.
  • a basic knowledge of sources of chi.
  • an understanding of chi blockages and how to remove them using Tai Chi. This understanding should also include the differences between excess and stagnant chi.
  • Meridians and pressure points.
  • 3 Treasures
  • 3 Powers
  • various techniques and methods for achieving Sung.
  • various breathing methods.
  • an understanding of body mechanics. This should also include the body’s natural responses.
  • Push Hands. This is one of the best ways of developing sensitivity (Ting) and real internal skill. This also includes the concept of “40z. moves 1,000 lbs.”. There are many different types of push hands.
  • Internal principles.
  • Mind Intent (Yi and Shen)
  • Jings. Jings are expressions of energy, and in Tai Chi there are 36 primary jings.
    Wu Chi
  • small, medium, and large frame forms as well as a rehabilitation version.
  • Applications, at least 7 per movement. There are upwards of 70 per movement. This is important because when you understand what the movements are designed to do, then you are better able to break them down and teach them.

There are good competent teachers out there if you look, but much like buying a car, do your research first so you can find a style and teacher that is right for you.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact.


What To Look For In A Tai Chi/Qi Gong Teacher
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2 thoughts on “What To Look For In A Tai Chi/Qi Gong Teacher

  • November 2, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Where can I find a good Tai Chi Chuan class in Knoxville?

  • November 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    If you are looking for Tai Chi Chuan, I am unaware of any one teaching it in Knoxville, you would have to go to Blount County for that.

    If you mean Tai Chi, there are several listings in the CHEO directory. Do your research, attend a class, ask questions, and find the class and instructor that best meets your needs.
    If you have any further questions that I might be able to answer for you, please contact me directly at spkerr@clearstaichi.com.

    Stepen Kerr


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