In learning Tai Chi it helps if we have a teacher who knows the stuff and teaches it to us. But if not, then all is not lost. After all, who taught the first person who created the art?
A teacher can take us so far. A good teacher should liberate us.
However, I see that many famous teachers tend to enslave their students with the tools of discipleship, secret teachings, instructorship and so on.
A good art has a lot of depth and take years to mine the information for skills. Even then this is only the journey of the external. There is a point in the journey where you go on your own.
At this juncture you should have mastered the core principles. You should have internalized the principles and be able to conceal them from even someone who is touching you and actively trying to feel what you are doing.
From this point you are on your own. Your teacher can still act to verify that you are walking on the same path though who is to say that you cannot forge a new path.
Is what I am advocating heresy?
If you are in a traditional lineage or a money-making lineage then yes, this is heresy. This is why in such arts the people who tend to get it are normally the sons, adopted sons, relatives or rich students. The rest have little chance of getting there.
What can we do then?