These guidelines are intended to help serious students who wish to prepare to attend a T’ai Chi Chih® Teacher Training course. Although the T’ai Chi Chih movements are easy to learn, the Teacher Training course is very rigorous and every candidate must receive a recommendation from two accredited T’ai Chi Chih teachers to register and attend a course. This preparation process may last for months, or even years, depending on the maturity and ability of the student. If the teachers decide a student is capable and ready to proceed with teacher training a referral will be made.
An accreditation to teach the T’ai Chi Chih movements must be earned, and attendance at a Teacher Training course does not necessarily guarantee accreditation. This is why there is so much emphasis placed on proper preparation.
Only those who have received a referral from two accredited teachers are eligible to register and attend a T’ai Chi Chih Teacher Training course. The referral will be valid for six months from the date of the second teacher’s signature.
Knowing the Movements
A candidate must demonstrate the T’ai Chi Chih movements properly, and might wish to check his/her form against Justin Stone’s T’ai Chi Chih instructional DVDs to make any necessary corrections. Watch a few videos here. Another suggestion is to attend a T’ai Chi Chih intensive, workshop, or retreat to sink deeper into the practice with a T’ai Chi Chih Teacher Trainer or the Guide. These events are shown in the Calendar section of The Vital Force and online in the Calendar of Events. In particular, the candidate must:
- Know how to do each T’ai Chi Chih movement correctly.
- Know the correct way to begin and conclude each T’ai Chi Chih movement.
- Know the names of all T’ai Chi Chih movements and their correct order.
- Use the words “T’ai Chi Chih” rather than “T’ai Chi” when referring to the practice.
A candidate must also know how to move properly. In particular, the candidate must:
- Flow from the center of the body.
- Shift the weight fully onto each leg throughout the movements.
- Use soft knees to avoid rising and sinking while shifting the weight.
- Prevent the body from leaning in any direction.
- Allow the waist and wrists to remain relaxed.
- Move with softness and continuity as if “flowing through very heavy air”.
It is strongly suggested that candidates review their T’ai Chi Chih movements with their referring instructor(s).
Maturity of Practice
After a student first learns the T’ai Chi Chih movements, it is necessary to allow time for his/her practice to grow deeper before attending a Teacher Training course. A serious candidate will not be dissuaded from becoming accredited even if asked to wait and continue to practice for an extended period of time. In fact, any candidate who does not see the merit in this maturation period probably lacks the proper respect to be a good teacher.
It is recommended that a candidate practice the T’ai Chi Chih movements consistently for a significant amount of time before attending a Teacher Training course. This maturation period will vary from student to student, but it generally takes about two years of consistent practice. Some students will require even more years of practice, and others may never be ready to become a teacher. If there is any doubt about how well a candidate moves it is best to wait and continue to practice for a few more months. The value of the maturation process cannot be overstated.
Familiarity of Underlying Principles
Candidates will find it helpful to be familiar with the underlying yin-yang philosophy of the T’ai Chi Chih movements prior to attending a Teacher Training course. Many T’ai Chi Chih teachers use this information to help describe the practice during free presentations to attract new students. Numerous sources of information are available on the subject, including:
The most important thing that cannot be taught is the proper attitude of a T’ai Chi Chih teacher. T’ai Chi Chih, Joy Thru Movement is a transformational spiritual discipline, and the teaching process deserves great respect. With the appropriate attitude, the accreditation process and beginning to teach the T’ai Chi Chih movements to others will be a very rewarding experience. Candidates will benefit from:
- A sincere interest in learning, practicing, and conveying the T’ai Chi Chih movements properly.
- Appropriate respect for the T’ai Chi Chih movements, and a commitment to keep it pure.
- Appropriate respect for Justin Stone (the Originator of T’ai Chi Chih), and the Teacher Training course instructor.
- A patient, caring, and willing attitude to help others learn to do the movements properly.