Just finished my afternoon Tai Chi workout out in the garden. I practiced the hand form and have added a new segment to reinforce the self defence applications in the form.
Some people suggest you practice the form and imagine using the self defence applications as you do each posture. I’ve never found that helpful because the movements in the form use larger circles and extended postures which are not useful for practical self defence.
I prefer to separate form work from realistic self defence applications and here’s how I do it;
- After the hand form I practice the self defence techniques of each of the 37 postures as if I’m facing an opponent i.e. small circles and natural postures
- The applications are performed at medium pace
- Practice in a sequential manner i.e. Opening Posture, Seven Stars, Grasping the Bird’s Tail, Single Whip etc. I have a sheet of paper on the ground in front of me as a guideline to make sure I cover all the postures
- I only do one repetition of each technique, both sides of the body, as I have a more intensive workout during the week practicing these same self defence techniques. The one repetition is more of a reminder than a workout
As there are more than one self defence application from each of the 37 postures; my session almost feels like another form but only with a realistic edge to it. Well, as much as a realistic edge as you can get without training with a partner.
The extra segment to my training is a good way of reinforcing the idea that every movement in the Tai Chi form has a self defence application.
And having this perspective helps the form ‘come alive’.