Nothing bothers me more than hearing people say that they studied with this or that master for twenty or more years, but then they cant explain the very basics of Tai Chi. I dont want perpetual students I want to make masters. If anyone studies with me ONE year and doesn't know enough about Tai Chi to leave me and practice on their own and continue to improve then it is my fault and I should be fired.
Few other schools are like martial arts schools. You study and study but learn very little. You could study for more than twenty years in most schools. Thats like two PhD's! Tai Chi is like carpentry. There are some basic skills that must be practiced but once you gain them you can do great things ON YOUR OWN!
If you have practiced Tai Chi for a year and you dont know the eight basic hand techniques and five basic foot techniques your teacher has failed you. Remember your teacher is responsible for how well you learn, not you. It is your duty to practice Tai Chi, it is your teachers duty to teach it.