Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I learn tai chi?

Tai chi is learned by doing. It takes about three to four months to learn the 108-move set, and the beginner class format is quite simple. The instructor will demonstrate a move several times, then perform it with the class, and finally watch the students as they repeat it. People of all ages and conditions can learn. The moves can be performed in any comfortable clothing. It is recommended that you wear shoes that offer good support and balance, like comfortable walking shoes or sneakers, but there are no special uniforms. We have a wide variety of T-shirts and sweatshirts available that have been designed by different branches.  

How do I find a class near me?

We are a global volunteer organization with locations in more than 25 countries. Find a class in your country.  

What are the health benefits?

Regular practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts can bring a wide range of health benefits to the muscular, skeletal and circulatory systems. The flowing movements serve as a moving meditation that reduces stress and provides a way to cultivate body and mind.  

What if I have health problems or disabilities?

Most people can practice Taoist Tai Chi® arts in spite of handicap or ailment, even those with advanced chronic conditions or those who are confined to a wheel chair. Numerous illnesses have been shown to improve with the regular practice of the set and associated exercises. Many branches offer 'special needs' or 'health recovery' classes to help those with particular health problems or who are recovering from injury or illness. Pregnant women or those with an acute health problem should check both with the instructor and their personal physician before beginning any exercise program. The International Centre near Toronto Canada offers a supervised Health Recovery Program, which provides an opportunity for those with significant health problems to improve their health through the intensive practice of Tai Chi in the supportive, calm and healthy environment of a Taoist training centre.  

How long does it take to learn the set?

It takes about three to four months in a Beginner Class to learn the basic movements and be able to do them with a group. Then you can practice in a Continuing Class, where you learn to practice on your own, extend your understanding of the moves and add additional exercises to aid in developing the health benefits.  

What if I’m not coordinated?

Learning tai chi is not like learning dance. Developing balance and coordination are part of the learning process, the benefits of the practice. You needn’t worry if you believe you have two left feet or no eye-hand coordination. You learn by doing.  

My memory is not what it used to be, does that matter?

No, the repetition of the moves develops memory you didn’t even know you had. One of the benefits of the way we teach tai chi is that you will always be doing it with people who know the set whom you can follow.

Who are the instructors?

All our instructors are accredited volunteers who have been approved to instruct by the National Instruction Coordination Committee (NICC) of the association for their particular country. No instructor is paid for teaching, and they must attend regular training workshops and meet annual re-accreditation requirements.  

What does it cost?

Contributions are set by the association in the relevant country or region and may be paid by the month, by the quarter or by the year. There are special rates for students, seniors and those unable to pay the full amount due to financial hardship. Your contribution entitles you to attend as many available classes as you’d like, in your area or abroad. You are not limited to just a specific class or instructor. If you happen to be travelling, participants are welcome to visit classes at any of our approximately 500 locations in some 27 countries. Since all our instructors are volunteers, contributions are used to pay operating costs such as advertising and rent.

Is there more after the beginner course?

Learning tai chi is a developmental process. The better your tai chi, the more you benefit. The basic Beginner Class is literally just the beginning. While some people only take the initial class out of curiosity, many students practice and attend more advanced classes and workshops for the rest of their lives. We offer Continuing Classes with instructors who have been certified to teach more advanced skills. In these classes you get a chance to practice the set, get corrections on your form, and improve your understanding of the set, in order to experience deeper benefits for health and well-being. Most participants also practice the set outside of class. Master Moy noted that five minutes of tai chi once a day is better than two hours once a week.  

Is there instruction outside of regular classes?

Local, regional, national and international instruction committees periodically schedule Intensives and Workshops for participants that offer extended instruction, from a few hours and up to 5 days. You can check with your local branch for upcoming events.

How do workshops help improve health?

Workshops offer a number of benefits. For example, you have access to advanced instructors and the practice sessions in a workshop are longer than a regular class, giving the body a chance to warm up and to better absorb the instruction. It is also an opportunity to meet and practice with students and instructors from around the world. This improves both your tai chi and the understanding of our organization and its aims and objectives.

What are the purposes of other practices like Lok Hup, Sword Set and meditation?

In addition to tai chi, other internal arts improve health and offer a deeper insight into the practice of Taoist internal alchemy. These practices accelerate the positive changes that Tai Chi brings to the student. Some clubs have regular classes in tai chi sword, tai chi sabre, lok hup (which is another set of movements about 300 years older than tai chi) and meditation. Instructors who teach these classes have passed special certification procedures.

Can I learn Tai Chi using videos or books?

Videos and books can serve as aids to learn the set, but can't replace the role of a trained instructor, who can offer customized feedback and support as you progress in your practice. The instructor can make sure that your form is correct, effective and won't cause injury.