Learning about power is something students expect when they come to take lessons.
However, we should never divorce the topic of power from that of application. You may be able to dish out the power. But if you fail to protect yourself as you do so then you also become a target as well.
This is a reason why we should study how to move the arms rigorously in Beginning Posture. If you move the arms right the power is there and the bonus is the right arm shape will also be application-ready when you are placed properly within the defined mental lines.
In addition, correctness of motion leads automatically to effortless and speedy movements that will be of value when it comes to learning how to use the techniques of Tai Chi.
As I evolved in my teaching methodology I try to break the learning into lesser steps, preferably to no more than 3 steps for each movement and sub-movement, so as to make the procedures easier to remember. I had observed that students have a problem remembering procedures that have too many steps. For me I don’t have a problem because that is how I was taught and I guess I adapted to it.
For example, the instruction for Beginning Posture movement BP (viii) which appeared on page 135 of TaijiKinesis Vol 2 states :-
INTENTION – Mentally allow the rolling iron ball to lower your arms to waist level. As your lowering hands pass the level of your waist allow your knees to bend gently and lower yourself in tandem with the rate at which the iron balls are causing your arms to go down. Once you stop moving you should feel that your whole body is unified to root into the ground.
I think students will not be able to remember the entire chunk of instruction much less digest it easily. Since the publication of TaijiKinesis Vol 2 – Learning the Taijiquan Form in 2013 I have simplified this part to just 3 steps as follows :-
1) Palms press downwards
2) Then waist assists the task
3) Finally, legs come in
Reading the steps in the absence of context will not make much sense to the reader. To the student the 3 steps will not only be easier to remember but after a while they should catch the central logic behind the movement which is simply hands move, body assist.
However, as simple as the steps read don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity. This is but the first layer in building the foundation. If a student can learn to remember a few generic and specific steps then he should have no problem handling the complexity that is the Yang style of Grandmaster Wei Shuren in time to come.
To Master Tai Chi Today is not impossible. One just has to be prepared to work the grey cells.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.