A good teacher is invaluable in pursuit of your discipline. If you find the right teacher, you will develop a relationship that can last years, providing you a solid foundation and guide you in the right direction even after you have gone on your own. But determining whether someone you've met is a good teacher is not always easy.
In the realm of Tai Chi, I often tell people to find the teacher that is right for you. It is an important relationship, and you should feel comfortable with your teacher. You should not be afraid to ask questions about the teacher's own experience and lineage, and they should have no qualms answering you candidly. However, there are certain principles that will help you identify a proper Tai Chi teacher.
1. The teacher should appear healthy and calm. Tai Chi, when done properly, increases one's life force.
2. They should have a good posture, not a hunch-back or strange gait.
3. They should be able to trace their Tai Chi lineage back to one of the historic families.
4. They should have knowledge of push hands and the fundamentals of the martial aspect of the art.
5. They should have many years of experience.
Beware of cults, and pretenders. There is a very deep transmission involved in learning the art. Though there are many more teachers now than in the past, there are also many more who lack the qualifications to truly teach the art.
Good luck and good health in your search!
Kung Fu! Being child of the 70's, these words evoke images of shirtless chinese men in white paints, shouting poorly-sync'ed insults at each other, before launching into gravity-defying leaps and astounding feats that beggar belief. But did you know that Kung Fu is something that everyone can attain, and not just through the martial arts?
When you apply your sincere effort, every day, over a period of years, you are growing your Kung Fu. You might be a writer, a chef, a painter, a dancer, a scholar or a warrior, Kung Fu is the pinnacle of your art or craft. It is like laying down a sheet of paper every day: after years you have a ream that can not be torn asunder.
The heights of Kung Fu, no matter what discipline, are of seemingly super-human ability. Kung Fu of words can accomplish what an army of 10,000 cannot. Chefs with Kung Fu can heal the body and heart. Martial Artists with Kung Fu can live to be more than 100 years old. The abilities manifested with GongFu in each art are not always predictable, and can be surprising. Those abilities can amaze the masses, but can also be so subtle that not 1 in a million will notice.
In order to develop your own Kung Fu, you must commit yourself daily to your art. Don't be lazy! Sacrifice time that you'd spend in front of the TV or computer honing your craft. Most of all, when things are hardest, do not give up! That is when your Kung Fu is being tested, and will be stronger yet.
Chuang Tzu said, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life!" Though achieving Kung Fu means hard effort, throughout your life, it is a labor of love. After each day in my own practice I feel renewed, content; as if I have met my responsiblities to my maker. Find your Kung Fu, work at it daily. Its rewards are boundless, and if you achieve the highest Kung Fu, you will change the world!