Study and Practice are the two pillars of learning Tai Chi Chuan. We can use a tree’s example to help us understand how we should proceed in a manner that will lead to growth. What is seen above ground is the result of what is hidden, but working ceaselessly below ground. It is said, that there is as much burrowing deeper and deeper underground, radiating out in all directions from the center (root structure), as there is above the surface of the ground (trunk, limbs, branches, twigs, stems, and leaves) reaching outward and upward toward the sun.
“The deeper the roots go, the higher the tree can grow strong and stable”.
It is important not only to think of study as learning more material, that broadens our knowledge, but at the same time, digging deeper into our own existing knowledge to acquire more clarity and finer detail. Make less into more substantially. There is no advantage in possessing an abundance of low quality bulk.
Form is a result of our body’s Function. We practice to improve Kung; Skill using choreography as a venue for Practice. The more we know conceptionally through study, the more we can apply practically during practice. A instructor can teach us, but only the student can do their own practice.
Our teachers are a vast storehouse of knowledge. At first we are like little babies being spoon feed, but there comes a time, we grasp the spoon our self and participate in our own feeding. Later as in the higher education of university, the teacher serves as a mentor to our own study and research. Through the whole educational process, we are learning to rely more and more upon ourselves.
The main point is, each week I may introduce a new class theme, but sometimes it may be better for us to dig deeper into that week’s theme for a few more weeks. Tai Chi is a relationship between absolute (wholeness) and relativity (parts of a Gestalt). Solidarity and autonomy. Like binary mathematics, we can expand outward like the tree’s above ground parts by doubling (multiplying), or we can concentrate inward (dividing into smaller and smaller parts) like the tree’s root structure, that forms the quintessential foundation of the whole tree.
Now that we are clear about each stance’s requirements, and the method of each stance’s stepping procedure, bringing this knowledge into our Form practice is the objective. The Form is the master practice, like experiencing the whole tree. A detailed study includes lower body, upper body, and the Center (Waist) that forges, “Upper body and lower body work together” and “ Harmonize Internal and External”, as it is found in Yang Chengfu’s 10 Essentials.