I practice now tai chi most instructors teach it like a dance, need to find a purist if you will to enable the combat part of it … you will get your kicks from it. As all fighters know it is a difference of inches so technique is everything most people learn yang style it has a few draw back that are taught to non members remember a few things in all hand to hand 1) weapon always leads 2) economical motions, never allow a block to not turn into a strike 3) you can only be hard (strength)in one place at a time like your enemy never meet strength with strength 4) when doing the full routine mark your foot position your last step should be in same spot exactly. the family in taiwan only teaches the 5th level to insiders. Like anything the best teachers are the ones who find you once you find the path and put the effort in.
The best trained people are like trying to strike water very little resistance but as soon as you move back they occupy your space.
. Any instructor who does not do a chi expenditure cool down should be avoided, the way to release is much like fluttering hand motions… if you do not spend the energy it can cause problems when you finally generate it.