Tai Chi is a very deep internal martial art that covers a broad range of teachings from external
physical movements and positions, through to internal breathing and meditation.
So, is it possible to learn Tai Chi online?
Well, while it might be possible to learn some of the postures, and the very basics with exclusive
online learning, you would be unable to reach a high level, and your progress would be slow. To
get the most from learning Tai Chi, you really need to be taught by a qualified instructor, and you
need immediate feedback about what you’re doing.
However, there are some situations where learning using online resources can be a benefit. So the thing to do is to ask yourself why exactly you want to learn without going to lessons. The main reasons I can think of that people would not go to a regular class are:
- Lack of confidence
- Not committed enough
These days, it’s not difficult to find a Tai Chi instructor – there are classes in nearly every
town and city in most parts of the world. Some instructors even do lessons for free (I was
offered free lessons by an instructor many years ago – he survived an accident because of his skill
in tai chi, and felt that he should pass his skill on without charging so that he could help as many
people as possible).
However I realize for some people it will be impossible to find regular classes near by, or that
time commitments prevent them from being able to attend any of the nearby classes. If this is the
case I’d strongly suggest looking into the possibility of weekend courses – often, big tai chi schools in cities will run occasional weekend courses.
If the issue is a lack of confidence, I understand this can put people off in the beginning, and I’d
suggest talking to a teacher, and maybe scheduling some private lessons to begin with, and
maybe moving on to class lessons at a later date. If expense is the issue, then talk to an instructor,
they may be understanding, and as I’ve said, it is possible to find free classes. Attend occasional
classes when you can, and by all means supplement your instruction in classes with
research and study from online materials. I added ‘not committed enough’ because this is a
reason for a lot of people, and I want you to be honest with yourself, and ask if that’s a reason
you don’t want to attend classes. If none of the other reasons are appropriate, it’s probably
because of commitment, so if you really want to learn Tai Chi, strengthen your resolve.
With all that being said, I still use online resources to supplement my training. One of my favorite
resources is the great YouTube – there are so many Tai Chi videos on YouTube theses days,
that the form you’re learning is no doubt on there too, probably performed by numerous different
When I’m learning a form, I try my best to remember how to do it at home, and if I get
stuck, I find a video on YouTube of the form to give me some pointers – I’ll follow the masters.
This really accelerates my learning in class. Another thing that can help is to find a good
forum – there are forums for everything on the net, find a Tai Chi forum that fits your sentiments
(some will focus more on the martial and external aspects, and some more on the internal and
health aspects). Get involved, and ask questions – people are often very helpful. It is important
however to learn who you should listen to, and who you should not.
So in conclusion, I strongly suggest you do all you can to find an instructor, but that you supplement this using the free resources available to you on the internet.