Fit to teach?

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Why do you want to teach tai chi?

The pay is not good.
Running your own business presents many challenges e.g. marketing, promotion, accounts, insurance, resources, premises, finding a niche, handling clients, personal and professional development, implementing a syllabus...
It is not the same as just attending lessons as a student. Question your own motives.

A weekend training course?

Some endeavours offer a weekend training course and then give attendees some sort of 'certificate' stating that they're good enough to teach other people. This sounds like some sort of joke, doesn't it?
Imagine if driving instructors received their qualifications this way? Dentists? Doctors? Electricians?
Who'd want to learn anything from a total amateur?

Real skills

Tai chi and qigong are more akin to learning to play the guitar, piano or performing ballet on stage. The level of skill required to do it properly will take quite a lot of time to develop.
Tai chi is a whole different situation. Traditional martial arts have a much more complex curriculum and nobody below 3rd dan black belt would dream of training to be an instructor.

Do you have what it takes?

A student may decide that they can be an instructor. This sounds reasonable. However, can a student assess this for themselves?


It is like a person deciding that they want to climb a mountain. Have they researched the criteria? Do they meet with the necessary fitness standards? Is their skill level adequate?
Can they be trusted to do what they are required to do?

Opinions are not facts

You may think that you are good enough... So what? You are not an instructor. You have not climbed the mountain.
From your perspective you cannot even see how high the mountain is or understand what is involved. Only the most arrogant person decides for themselves that they are instructor calibre.


Your teacher will assess whether or not you are fit to be an instructor. It is not for you to decide. What qualities does your teacher seek? You need to be:

  1. Friendly and personable

  2. Interested in other people

  3. Caring

  4. Reliable

  5. Earnest

  6. Committed

  7. Trustworthy

  8. Genuine

  9. Punctual

  10. Motivated

Beyond this, you need to have actual talent, knowledge and skill. You need to know the curriculum and be capable of performing every facet to a professional standard.
You cannot be lazy, indifferent or emotionally unbalanced.


Becoming an instructor takes a lot of time: literally years... You need to be closely guided by a skilled and knowledgeable instructor. It is easy to make mistakes.
Your instructor will set you many tasks to determine your attitude. Laziness is your worst enemy. An instructor works far harder than a student.
If you lack the motivation to do what is necessary, you would make a very shabby instructor.


Your instructor needs to see how you respond to a variety of challenges e.g. Can you handle difficult students? Do you work well under pressure? Are you organised? Can you articulate well?
Are you capable of conveying complex information in a differentiated fashion?
The instructor needs a good measure of your character before committing to training you.
If you are not suitable, then instructing is not for you.

What makes you think that you are fit to instruct?

To quote Plato: "The knowledgeable one knows the ignorant, having once being ignorant; but the ignorant one does not know the knowledgeable, never having been knowledgeable."
Only the most naive individual decides for themselves that they are an instructor. It is for your instructor to decide if and when you are fit to instruct.


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Page created 7 April 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023