Form should not be separated from the function.
Similarly, power generation should not be separated from the technique.
This is one of the current problems facing Tai Chi practitioners. Instead of training the power generation together with the technique they tend to focus solely on the power generation.
As a result, the power generation process is clunky, taking too much time to set up and consequently slow rendering it impractical against any opponent that won’t stand still and keep moving.
Slowing down a movement then suddenly speeding up also does not an effective fajing make. Such method can look nice but try it against a moving opponent and you will find that it is too slow to be of use.
When we do SKD training the first consideration is that the form, function, power, speed and change must all be present in each and every technique.
For example, in between the salutation and the three basic arm swinging exercises we have a 6 movement sequence that teaches the hand to attack and defend quickly a defined space.
The entire sequence teaches a very clear cut basic method of power generation based on the use of compress-release.
But that’s not all. Right at the beginning of the sequence there is a detail on how to connect to the ground using the stance.
In addition, there is also the matter of how to bring the hand up and in the process priming the body to be in a state of compression before releasing the power in the next movement.
As you keep practicing and becoming more and more familiar with the movement you will be able to cut off excess and unnecessary movements. From this point you should be able to move efficiently using only the amount of movement and effort necessary.
Once your body can feel the subtlety in the entire flow of movement from the feet through the body to the hands you will be able to issue power with little prior preparation. At this stage you should be able to issue the power over a shorter range.
The flow of movements in this part also teaches how to attack and defend non-stop. You can use the techniques with or without contact.
If you can’t seem to get the power generation in this part you should focus on the power generation of the three swinging arm drills. Read the second part here.