Tai chi class or school?

classes     taijiquan     self defence     qigong     tai chi for health     about us     reviews     a-z

Tai chi class or tai chi school?

Most people never think to ask whether or not they want to attend a tai chi class or a tai chi school. The two are not the same.
It is worth considering the differences...

A tai chi class

Most tai chi classes in the UK are essentially drop-in sessions. Students attend as and when they feel like it. The teacher is often not qualified and there is no syllabus in place.
The attenders usually have a good time. T
hey follow along with the group and do more or less the same things every week. Very little progress takes place but people enjoy being there.

A t
ai chi school

Professional instruction from a qualified instructor
Fully-differentiated syllabus 
13 areas of study
Cultivate healthy social relationships within a safe, friendly environment
Address individual health concerns & training requirements,
tips & pointers, refinement & corrections, one-to-one assessment/feedback/guidance
New material/insights every week
Access to on-line resources and school DVDs, workshops, boot camp and class social events
Complete biomechanical understanding of form, along with exploration and application of The Tai Chi Classics
Opportunity to study multiple taijiquan forms,
chin na (seizing), shuai jiao (take downs), self defence, form applications, weapons training, neigong (whole-body strength), jing (whole-body power), Taoism & Zen, martial theory & practical application, taijiquan principles, meditation, brain work (meditation, awareness, metacognition)

This level of study is not going to happen via a drop-in class...

The purpose of a tai chi school

If you attend a night school class to learn Spanish, French Cuisine or how to paint, the lesson is simply teaching you the required skills.
The next step is to go home, speak Spanish, cook or paint. You learn through practice.
Tai chi is just the same. We are showing you how to do tai chi. Now, go home and practice the art for yourself.

Night school

Tai chi is not supposed to be a spa treatment or a chill out session. It requires the individual to mentally engage with the material - to deepen their knowledge and skill - to understand
This makes the training far more stimulating and encourages long term interest in the art.

How long does it take to learn tai chi?

There is no conclusion to tai chi study; no end certificate or finishing point. Tai chi was designed to be part of your life; something that you do regularly.
Your body must last you a lifetime and tai chi will help to accomplish this. How quickly you progress is down to you personally. Everyone is different. There are so many variables.

  1. Do your ambitions match your degree of commitment and ability?

  2. How often do you attend lessons?

  3. Do you practice at home?

  4. How good is your memory?

  5. Are your coordinated?

  6. What are your expectations?

  7. Did you think it would be easy?

  8. Are you open and receptive?

  9. Have you any existing health problems that might impede training?

  10. Are you patient?


If you want to become skilled with tai chi you need to practice regularly. The more often you perform the movements, the easier they are to remember. Repetition forms habits.
Little and often is best for concentration.

Not all tai chi is the same

Choose wisely... Not all tai chi classes are the same. There are different qualities and grades of tai chi; some approaches/classes are far more potent than others.

How long does it take to learn to play the guitar? How many lessons are needed to speak Japanese? Obviously it depends upon your purpose. Do you want to be the next Segovia or Clapton, or just to play a few simple tunes? Do you intend to translate haiku, or are you simply preparing for a two-week vacation? Although the skill of your teacher and your talent level will certainly influence your progress, the duration and intensity of your study will be determined ultimately by the level of expertise that you seek.

(Michael Gelb)

induction course     school     joining     membership     benefits     INVESTMENT     pricES     Faqs     pay-as-you-go

Page created 2 August 1995
Last updated 18 September 2019