Much of the power of Tai Chi lies in its ability to enhance and expand our performance incrementally, over a period of months and years. Unlike so many of our daily efforts the slow, smooth, continuous, and correct movements of a given Tai Chi form build upon each other and enable you to do more and more, approaching but never quite reaching perfection. But despite of today’s shortfalls, you continue building strength and simplicity into a form that begins crudely and with many hesitations.
First you learn the individual moves into and out of a pattern, such as Chen-style The Golden Guard Stamps the Ground. At the initial stage it’s all about positioning of hands and feet with weight distribution and balance demanding secondary but constant consideration. Over time this and all the following moves each crystalize into proper patterns and patterns flow one into another.”
Eventually you come to the point where you tell yourself: “I now know at a deep muscle and relaxed mind level how to do this form.” Now you are ready for the life-long learning aspect of Tai Chi. You are invited to compare your run-through of the form with other sources: fellow students, instructors, videos, texts — most of whom and which you have relied on previously.
You inevitably discover some misdirection (left not right, or up not down) or missing partial movements you somehow forgot and need to reinsert into the flow. But these slight adjustments all build on a solid foundation you have gradually established as natural to you body and style. These continuous micro-adjustments lead to a sense of constant growth that supports your overall enjoyment of the practice, extending your life and health.