There are many different kinds of teachers out there, many of whom are revered by their respective students, but practically all of them preach some level of b/s that’s either obvious on the surface or noticeable after a while of practising their moves – either way, it tends to prevent the sharper student from fully immersing himself into their teachings. Here’s some common examples:
They didn’t get far, they can’t think for themselves – blindly following tradition
Many teachers don’t know how to feel for themselves, and many of them don’t even realise that they should. They just teach what they know, and they haven’t been doing it for enough years to look upon their own moves without subjective bias.
See also: Bullshido
They learnt enough to show off, and they made the rest up – good actors
Most teachers will do funny poses even though the moves they’re doing haven’t been refined or even looked at with a self-critical eye to determine if it’s actually fully-rounded and balanced like a tai chi move should be.
These guys may be teaching genuine martial arts moves but they’re not teaching true tai chi, which is meant to be about doing purely the most balanced of movements for graceful, non-fancy evaporation of on-coming aggression, to most efficiently disperse the opponent’s energy and stay capable of doing whatever move needs to come next – no over-commitment into any particular move – no over-reaching or vulnerable collapsed or twisted positions.
It should all feel completely relaxed and centrally balanced at all times – capable of changing into any necessary position from whichever position you’re in at any time, no matter which direction the opposing force is coming from and no matter which part of your body is being targetted.
A rule of thumb I tell my students to live by: listen to your instincts – if it feels awkward then it’s probably off-balance in some way and therefore not true Tai Chi. Only do moves that feel relaxed and flawless, but don’t rule out something new & unfamiliar until you can find a specific reason to do so.