How do I choose a club?
In order to choose a club, students should take into account four factors.
What many people ignore is that not all styles are identical, and not all styles are suitable for everybody. In other words, a style may be suitable or not for a student, according to his demands and expectations. Thus, before enrolling to a school, it is good to get informed about the peculiarities of each style, and their relativeness to your personality, your mental outlook, your needs and your expectations.
The instructor is of foremost importance to the quality of the training – sometimes, the instructor is a more important factor than style. In Tai Chi Chuan, as well as in all every art, students come in very close contact with their teacher. Thus, their personalities must match. The personality of the instructor, his character, his views, his education, his competence and his willingness for ongoing training, determines if a student will love Tai Chi Chuan and dedicate himself to it. So, before enrolling, investigate this subject. Maybe it’s the most important one!
C) Accreditation and solemnity
In Tai Chi Chuan, as well as in all arts, one can meet all sorts of people. Although there are no absolute guarantees, when a club cooperates with known Chinese (and accredited Western) teachers, participates in international seminars and events and holds seminars with respected teachers from abroad, that is a sample of seriousness. However, attention is needed! Not every Chinese guy is a Tai Chi Chuan master, and not every “great” Western trainer is a genuine teacher. Thus, discernment is necessary.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to avoid instructors with a know-all look. More often than not, these people are isolated from the international Tai Chi Chuan scene, teach many systems (often irrelevant), and their claims pertaining to their own training sound quite legendary (almost always you hear stories about hermits living in a cave somewhere in China!). Most of these instructors just attended a couple of courses with a good teacher. Thus, they themselves are just students and are not accredited by anybody.
Given the modern way of life, distance is a very important factor. Certainly, not everybody is lucky enough to have next to their house a good Tai Chi Chuan club. Moreover, Tai Chi clubs are anyway few in Athens and much less in the whole Greece. Thus, you must be ready to sacrifice some time in order to learn Tai Chi Chuan. However, if you choose a club located at the other end of town, you may be easily tired and give up soon. Remember that “some” or “little” Tai Chi Chuan is better than no Tai Chi Chuan at all.
The only reason to go to a club located very far from where you live is that you are absolutely certain that you want to learn a particular style or that you believe that a particular teacher is very good. Usually, people who think in that way are interested to delve deeper. Thus, apart from the time they are willing to dedicate, they should investigate even more before they enroll to a club.