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Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is a traditional art with many styles, variations, and lineages. Each school of Taijiquan has a different pedagogy and ranking system. For this reason, there has never been a standard means of testing students or teachers. This can make it difficult for students and potential students to determine or compare the teaching qualifications of various teachers.

Within the broad Taijiquan community, however, instructors are able to make that determination for themselves by consensus. Experience and understanding of common principles, combined with an awareness of certain accepted standards within the Taijiquan community, enables expert teachers to recognize quality, even in styles other than their own.
The same may be said of other arts, which annually recognize members of their various guilds in forums that transcend stylistic boundaries, e.g. skilled and experienced musicians do not need to be opera specialists in order to judge the general abilities of an opera singer. The less educated, however might not know the difference between Paul Potts, Luciano Pavarotti, and Komar/Melamid.

The purpose of certification by the CTF is:

  1. To recognize the teaching expertise of those members who already are qualified and experienced instructors.

  2. To encourage and recognize the development of curricula and educational structures, and to promote teaching excellence.

  3. To provide members of the CTF with an opportunity for self-advancement and leadership training.​​

Interested?  Taiji teachers who have been CTF members in good standing for at least one year are welcome to apply.  Guidelines are below.  Please read them thoroughly and use them as your checklist.  If you're working towards a deadline, please allow yourself plenty of time, for gathering your own documentation and information including references, and allowing the same for this volunteer-driven committee, as we steal time away from our own training and classes.  We're glad you're considering this process as part of your ongoing professional development as a teacher.  We salute you.

Level 1: "Associate Instructor"
Someone who:

  1. actively engaged in teaching, on either an occasional or regular basis,

  2. (a)...if teaching on a supervised basis, is recommended by their instructor,

  3. (b)...if otherwise, is recommended by two CTF-certified instructors from other clubs or organizations.

  4. ...has attended a certain number of educational seminars.

Level 2: "Senior Associate Instructor"
Someone who:

  1. ...has 10 years of practical teaching experience on a supervised or non-supervised basis,

  2. actively engaged in teaching,

  3. recognized by peers as enjoying a high level of competence,

  4. ...may be supervising other instructors,

  5. ...may have his or her own club with a reasonable number of students.

Level 3: "Senior Instructor"
Someone who:

  1. ...has 15 years of unsupervised teaching experience,

  2. known for pedagogical competence and for sharing knowledge,

  3. acknowledged and recognized by others as having long served the Taiji community,

  4. ...has a reasonable number of students

Do I need to be certified to teach?
No.  However, many community centers and public buildings require some form of instructor validation, along with insurance in order to allow you to use their spaces.  Often you can't get insurance without some form of validation.

Do I need to be a member to be certified by CTF as a Tai Chi Instructor?
Yes, this helps us stay in touch with you and offer you continuing education.  You must be a member in good standing to be recognized.

Will you tell me what to teach?
Of course not!  We welcome all styles.  Once the committee is convinced you have the necessary credentials from your teachers, we officially recognize them.  You are bound by a code of practice, but the CTF does not interfere with your curriculum.

Is it one size fits all?
No, while Tai Chi traditions do not recognize levels, as Karate does, for instance, we do recognize a scale of teaching expertise and contribution to the Tai Chi community as indicated in the 3 levels of instructors.


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