When I first started learning Tai Chi I attended an adult education course in Tai Chi with a friend. It was his first and last class and I have been practicing for over 24 years. When I first began learning Tai Chi I didn’t know anything other than that I was interested in learning Tai Chi.
The class I attended taught the Yang Tai Chi form and at the time I didn’t know the differences, to me Tai Chi was Tai Chi.
If you are a beginner to Tai Chi you should familiarize yourself with the different Tai Chi styles. This way you can choose for yourself which style you are interested in. Most modern styles of Tai Chi trace their roots to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu (Hao), and Sun. You can look them up on YouTube and get an idea what they look like. My favorites Tai Chi styles are the Yang and Chen forms. Yang is the most widely practiced Tai Chi form.
FINDING A GOOD TAI CHI TEACHER
After you have familiarized yourself with the different Tai Chi styles you should try and locate a Tai Chi class in your local area. Most Tai Chi classes I have attended offered a free introductory class. I suggest trying out a few different schools. I would look for a Tai Chi school with a lineage. This way if you ever leave the school for any reason you will be able to find another teacher that teaches the same style. You don’t want to relearn a new sequence if you are learning the same style from someone else.
Stay away from the teacher who doesn’t teach. The one who lets you follow along with the group without saying much. Tai chi is much more than a choreographed slow dance. Even if your intent is to learn a meditative form I feel the true health benefits do not reveal themselves unless you have a good understanding of rooting, posture and body mechanics.
Take a little time and do some research it will be well worth it. To familiarize yourself with commonly used Tai Chi and Qi Gong terms, click this link: The Taijiquan & Qi Gong Dictionary