If you are in a X style martial arts school or group and have a feeling that things are not right you might want to read the following :-
a) Article that inspired the letter below – read here.
b) Open letter on the dangers of hero worship – read here.
With knowledge comes power. With power comes money. When a person has power and money he is easily tempted to go over to the dark side.
Do not be mistaken that a famous master, praised widely, and highly skilled is necessarily a nice person. There may be a dark side that you do not know about. Though the information in this case is from the BJJ world it does not mean it is not applicable to Tai Chi or any other martial art.
For example :-
i) An American who is married to the daughter of a famous Tai Chi master from China once mentioned how his father-in-law would hit on the students that he taught. The thing that disgusted me was that this master is a direct descendant of the Yang family. This master has passed on in 2017.
ii) Or this other renowned Wing Chun master from Hong Kong who resided in Australia and was married. Rumors were he slept with one student who was the face of the academy. Years later after I left the school one senior mentioned that the master was caught coming out of a whorehouse. In the school itself they will appoint students who have learned for a few months to be instructors to teach the newbies. If you declined or later opt out you will be sidelined and marginalized.
iii) Locally there is a Tai Chi master who is supposed to be a very nice person. But there are whispers that he is a smiling tiger. My only interaction with him was when his student tried to stir things up and a call was made to him to ask about his intention. He denied what his student said.
iv) There is a person who is the head instructor of an Aikido school. I read high praises of him. Once he was threatened with a legal suit so I reached out to give him some advice on how to deal with the company suing him as this company also sued many other entities. From talking to him I could sense that he was scared because the company was probably demanding at least $100K. He went for a meeting, begged and was let off. I asked him what happened but he refused to even give a hint. For all his mastery of Aikido he has no sense of justice. I lost all respect for him.
So caveat emptor when it comes to learning martial arts. If it smells like a cult, look like a cult, it probably is a cult.