The modern Tai Chi practitioner is a time starved practitioner. Nowadays it is the rare student who can find the time to put in sufficient practice to make a difference.
The traditional 108 long form is an encyclopaedia, lots of knowledge in it. To get the most out of it the student must invest the time to read, digest, investigate, ponder, test and research further the information. A thick textbook is not one you can read in a hurry.
In the days of yore, distractions from the internet were non-existent. People do work but not the crazy long hours we do nowadays. Since there was not much to do in the evenings the serious student would immerse himself into practice.
Today students can barely remember a long form. When they do they think they know the form. This is an erroneous conclusion because remembering is not knowing and knowing is not mastery.
I personally prefer practicing a long form to a short form. There are various reasons for doing so. But as a teacher I also recognize the challenges faced by students today in their endeavor to master the art.
To this end I am working towards offering short versions of the Yang and Wu solo forms to new students. Existing students who are already learning the long forms can continue on their present path. If they are predisposed to pick up the short versions they can opt in. Vice versa students who learn the short forms can also learn the long forms if they have the interest.
Short forms are good for learning principles. Because they are short in length the student can practice the short form many times. For example, playing a long form can take at least 40 minutes for one repetition. With a short form you can easily practice it at least eight times.
The key here to Master Tai Chi Today is to focus on mastering the principles rather than the movements. With a long form you need to remember the sequence of movements, something which many students find difficult to do. A short form would be less strenuous on the grey cells.
Learning long forms is the traditional way; short forms is the modern way. As long as we keep in view what and how we are learning this alternative method for the modern student may work out.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Tai Chi Yang Style (TaijiKinesis) lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today