Here is what my thoughts are on the question. There are two parts to the answer:
- In terms of legality and formality, you need to become a member of a legitimate (whatever that means does not matter here) school and work towards getting a certificate from the school or master showing that you are part of a taijiquan system. You must learn what was taught correctly.
- Physically you must quickly achieve one thing that will lead to future learning.
In the comment area you will find my students and others contribute to the answer. This exercise is not about who is right and who is wrong. For those who are my students, theis that if they start having the ability to “guess” what I have to say, at least they can learn from me. Note that again this is only about learning method. This is in no way a statement of right or wrong, good or bad. Learning just means to learn. The contributions from the comment area all in one way or another belong to #1 above.
Then let me explain what #2 means. My disciple Allan Belsheim and I had extensive discussions on this point during the full time courses that he attended as a student. The discussion was in the form of a story, or puzzle that I showed his class. It was about Inside or Outside. Or we can say are you an insider or outsider? In my teaching studio, I have an office. The secret of my taiji is locked inside that office. All you have to do is to get in and you will get it. How can you get in? You need a key! How can you get this key? If can ask the teacher for it? Which means you might have to do certain things to earn this key. He won’t give it to you without some effort on your part. Or you can make one yourself! You can not break down the door. The secret in the office will self destruct if the down is broken. Your choice. So far this is all. Now you need to:
- Find a way to get the key.
- See if the key works. The only way to do this is to use it to open the door. If it work, it is the right key. If it does not work, it is not the key.
- The rest you probably know much better than me.
In taijiquan learning, what is that key? The key to to do one thing right is a stepping stone. This can be anything. In the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system, the starting point is: Don’t move!
Find a physical method to test it. Don’t use your believe system. For example, yesterday I showed Michael Winkler this action but he could not get it. When I apply it to him, I did not move. But when he applied it, he moved. He could not believe me because he felt that he did not move. So I asked him to hold on tightly to the door nob, which is locked and does not move. When he pulled very hard on it, it did not move at all. But when I asked him to do the same action but put the hand next to the door nob, his hand kept moving away from the position of the door nob. He moved. So he trained all afternoon until he could do it. But when I started to push on him, providing a somewhat real situation, he moved again. You do this kind of real test and training until you actuallywhen you apply a technique that involves not moving, you will succeed. You have split yin and yang. Otherwise, everything is in your and your actions are totally different from your action. You have not entered the door of taiji.
Here is a short video clip I made to add to this topic: