What is the purpose of the tai chi form?
The forms, or solo routines found in most martial arts were created as a way to preserve these arts for future generations. They are a kind of “encyclopedia” that contain all of the theory, principles, and techniques of that particular art.
The form movements preserve every self defense application and possible way of movement in that art, and preserve them for further study and research.
Forms were not originally created to win points and a trophy at a tournament! The applications came first, tried and proven to work for self defense – then the form sequences grew out of that.
The ancient masters who created these forms didn’t dream up flashy techniques that looked cool and then think, OK, how could we use this for fighting? No no no! It was the other way around! They sweat and through trial and error worked out all the weak points and then when a technique was perfect, it was preserved by inserting it in to a form… of course with the potential to evolve further – but of course, we are talking about an ART!
Today, when you stand ready to practice your form, please, before you begin, take an extra moment to consider the reason for what you are about to do… focus your full intention on the meaning of form! And see if your practice just doesn’t take on a new meaning…