Many people come to practice Tai Chi Chuan for good reasons: the most common reasons are better balance, “relaxation”, and maintaining or improving health.
These are all valid reasons!
However, there can be a tendency to forget that Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art; it is actually an excellent fighting art.
I want to share WHY it is important to remember that Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art, even if you never intend to use it for that purpose.
When practicing the Short Form, it is not enough to go through the movements, and memorize them, without understanding the principles that are the basis of these movements.
Because of my experience, in my teaching of Tai Chi Chuan I focus on the dynamic energy and feeling that is the basis of high-quality Tai Chi Chuan. This means integrating the energy and feeling of brain, toes, and fingers while we are moving.
When brain, toes, and fingers can communicate, energy can expand freely, resulting in power without tension, and softness without weakness.
In summary, the results of practicing with the right understanding are:
- increased speed and power
- improved balance
- better health, and
- a sense of peace and well-being
It is worth noting that if you do want to try using Tai Chi Chuan for sparring or competition, it is also necessary to actually practice Sanshou (boxing) as well as Push Hands. In that way, the foundation of connection and energy flow can be channeled successfully into the mindset of confidence under pressure, and into the responsive movements that are required for the more rapid-fire engagement of martial art practice.