T’ai Chi Chuan can be translated as “supreme ultimate boxing”. Yet because T’ai Chi is an internal art, the progress that we make in our martial skills may seem slow in comparison to the progress we might make if we studied a hard style like Karate. For many of us, the martial aspect of T’ai Chi is not what originally draws us to study. However, if we just practice the solo form, our practice can become too Yin. The martial applications of the postures and the two person practices which are learned following the solo form are very important for giving your practice a grounded solidity.
Personally, I use the martial aspect of T’ai Chi to ground my form and give my practice more power. I also enjoy playing with others in this way. However, this is not my prime motivation in practicing and this manifests in the way I teach. So, if you are most interested in learning martial skills, I may not be the teacher for you.
Because of T’ai Chi Chuan’s long history, there are many different forms and each teacher has his/her own wisdom and experience to offer. Serious students may choose to study with one person or to experience the teaching styles of several different people. After years of practice, it is clear to me that I am just scratching the surface of the T’ai Chi gold mine. I wish you as much and more of the health, satisfaction and joy that my practice has brought me.