Q: What is the CK Chu Tai Chi Teacher Certification program?
A: In an effort to make transparent the necessary requirements for a teacher of tai chi, CK Chu Tai Chi established a teacher-training program based on the standards and best practices developed by Grandmaster C.K. Chu. This program offers teaching certificates to those students who fulfill certain criteria and demonstrate a correct knowledge of the art and science of tai chi. There are four certificates that build on each other, in the same way a master’s degree follows a bachelor’s degree. The program is under the direction of Master Hyland Harris.
Q: What are the five teacher certificates?
A: Aside from the Eternal Spring Chi Kung™ Practitioner certificate, there are five teaching certificates:
- Eternal Spring Chi Kung™ Teacher Certificate focuses on chi kung but the student must also begin studying the tai chi form, Taoist meditation, and nei kung.
- Eternal Spring Chi Kung™ Teacher Certificate continues the progress made in the first level to master Eternal Spring Chi Kung but now training focuses more on the tai chi short form.
- Nei Kung Teacher Certificate emphasizes the study of nei kung but requires the student to becomes more proficient in chi kung, nei kung, meditation, and the tai chi form. In addition, the student will begin to learn push-hands and the Flute form.
- Tai Chi for Health Teacher Certificate the student continues to build proficiency in the above areas with emphasis on the tai chi fast form. Also, the student will begin to study fighting applications, philosophy, meditation, and weapons.
- Master of Tai Chi training encompasses the entire CK Chu Tai Chi curriculum but emphasizes tournament fighting applications, sparring, and San Shou.
Q: What is the purpose of the certification program?
A: There are several purposes to the certification program. These include:
- Encouraging students to learn and practice the full curriculum of CK Chu Tai Chi (Eternal Spring, Tai Chi, Nei Kung, and Meditation).
- Instilling in the student a thorough understanding of tai chi by using the CK Chu Tai Chi system. Students will learn to teach using Master Chu’s unique system, which uses move counts, correct weight distribution, specialized terminology (tuck-in, see-saw, etc.), to help the student in very specific ways.
- Helping the student learn how to articulate these principles to their own students in a confident manner.
Q: What kind of tests determine certification?
A: Each certification has its own testing procedure to ensure a student’s competency. The basic tests are the same that have been used for several decades at CK Chu Tai Chi. The Tai Chi and the Nei Kung tests each have ten levels that reflect the sudent's performance during the test (based on point totals awarded for performance). Each certification requires passage of a particular level. To be a teacher of Eternal Spring, for example, requires passage of the written Eternal Spring test and acheivements of level 4 on the Nei Kung Test and level 3 on the Tai Chi Test. The details of these tests are posted in the CK Chu Tai Chi office. In addition, there will be a review of each student's teaching ability.
Q: How do the certificates relate to each other?
A: The purpose of the program is to provide a more rigorous training program for the student pursuing tai chi in a modern format modeled on the university system. Accordingly, students begin with chi kung training and advance through nei kung and the tai chi form to fighting. Each teaching certificate is designed to reflect that progression. Thus, the first certificate is like a bachelor’s degree, the second a masters and so on to post-graduate study. For example, even if you want to just get the certificate of Tai Chi for Health Teacher Certificate, for example, you will need to complete all the requirements of the first two certificates.
Q: What can be done with a teaching certificate from CK Chu Tai Chi?
A: Certification from CK Chu Tai Chi works like any other degree or license. It says to the general public that the person bearing the certificate has studied long and hard to receive a school’s recognition of their ability to teach a skill. Today, where there are many schools offering certificates after a weekend seminar or, even, after a certain number of hours spent online, the CK Chu Tai Chi certificate says a student has actually done the work necessary to master tai chi. With certification, students can offer classes in their area of mastery as follows:
With certification, you can teach the CK Chu Tai Chi system in any martial arts association, health club, or you may even open your own school. You can use these opportuntieis to make money or as an additional income. If you are a physcial therapist, doctor, acupuncturist, or any health care professional, you could teach tai chi, chi kung, nei kung, or meditation as an important supplement to your normal services. Teaching tai chi is also a great way of giving back to the community by volunteering in senior centers and nursing homes.
Q: What is the relationship between learning tai chi and teaching tai chi?
A: Teaching is essential to the learning process. As with teaching any subject, teaching tai chi demands correct demonstration and verbalization of central concepts. Through many repetitions of these demonstrations and verbalizations, tai chi principles are internalized as the frequent practice improves your skill. With greater understanding and skill come more enjoyment and more benefit from tai chi.
Q: How long will it take to get certified?
A: The length of time it takes for a student to receive certification depends largely on how long the student has been a student at CK Chu Tai Chi, their level of skill, and, as with any course of study, their ability to attend class and practice at home. For example, an average beginner will take approximately three years to fulfill the requirements for the Eternal Spring program (assuming minimum class attendance rate of twice per week). To earn certification for nei kung may take an additional year or two. Gaining a certificate to teach tai chi could take another couple of years on top of that and so on. On the other hand, a current CK Chu Tai Chi student who has been studying for a while and has taken more classes will fulfill the requirements more quickly.