When one student asked this question its not a big deal. But when another asked a similar question then its time to write a post.
I have passionate students who are more than happy to learn one form their whole life. However, to me the objective of focusing on one form is just to develop good basics. Once the basics are there its time to move on.
This is why I teach more than one form. Sorry dear students if you have the impression that I only teach one form. No, I teach more than one form.
The reasons for teaching more than one form are :-
i) Develop a database of movements
ii) Train skills that the one form may not have
iii) Teach the student to look at things differently
Let’s take a simple example – Yang long form versus Wu long form. What does the Wu long form brings to the table that the Yang long form does not? Let’s see :-
i) Compact movements
ii) Defined open-close movements
iii) Small base, half-step footwork
iv) Centralized, turning motions
v) Dense, harder flavor attacks
vi) Sudden fast, power movements
Can the student learn the above in Yang long form without having to learn the Wu long form? Absolutely, but not all the movements in Yang long form are designed for the above. We can of course modify the Yang long form movements but if we have to do this we might as well just do the Wu long form.
I have a student who has learned the Wu long form and the way he uses techniques have become more condensed and tight ever since learning this form. Previously, he moved a lot more, many times all over the place.
To Master Tai Chi Today there are times we should be focused in our learning and times we should expand our learning. There are appropriate times for each approach. The trick is knowing when. It is the job of the teacher to know when it is time for the student to move on from the first form.
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