Finding a teacher can be a frustrating process. My suggestion is to look to your community recreation centers. They must hire people who have established credibility in Taiji & Qigong, and any other movement-based activity. The YMCA offers classes as well. These are the best places to begin.

Going to a studio is also good choice…HOWEVER…buyer beware! Here are some important questions to ask the teacher:
  • Where did you begin learning and with whom? If they say they are "self-taught" - RUN (very fast).
  • How long have you been practicing? If they've been practicing less than 5 years, they may be OK, but look somewhere else, and ask around.
  • Are you certified to teach any of this? While certification doesn't indicate a good, competent teacher, it's a plus. If they have students who've been with them for many years, awards, high recommendations, seemingly active in their "martial arts" community, etc., then they are probably just as good as those who are.
  • Where are some of the other places you have taught? If they haven't taught Taiji and/or Qigong anywhere else, giving them a try depends on the other answers.
Here's why you ask. There are a few who pick up their knowledge on the internet (some for only a few months)…This is NOT acceptable. There's nothing more that I can say about this except, as a new student, or perhaps even one that has had a little exposure, you deserve better. They may have credentials in something like Yoga, and be very good at it, but they are laboring over a false sense of ego-based knowledge that because they are good at the one thing, they've got it together for Taiji & Qigong as well…"because it's all the same."

While all of the movements make a difference in our health & well-being, Taiji movements are not the same as the other movements, and require tedious practice for the elusive perfection that isn't part of Yoga. It's NOT the same. There are intricacies (especially with medical Qigong) that can only be communicated face-to-face by a teacher that has received their Taiji & Qigong training thru intense & dedicated education with an equally experienced teacher.

The internet is good for review, and perhaps picking up some extra tips, but if that is all someone has in their educational arsenal, and they are charging you for classes, they are taking advantage of you and stealing your money.
He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
~Ben Johnson
When I first began my Taiji journey, I thought that I was "cheating" on my original teacher by wanting to try another class. I sensed that I was missing something in my learning, Quite frankly, I didn't like the new direction the teacher was taking. I was sneaking around trying different classes (you can sometimes get the first class free-to-try). Then I found out that everyone did it! (I compare it to trying to find the right hairdresser…which is more difficult. **sigh**)

It's OK to go to workshops, try another style, and find your comfort & interest fit. I did that after two (2) years with my original one. Also, when you've attended classes for a while, you decide what's good and what isn't as far as teaching methods…you can get pretty good at that. So then you find that you are good at evaluating whether a teacher is worth your time. Sadly, no matter the credentials, personalities don't always mesh. It's a matter of luck & timing. Don't worry, you will get it IF you want it!