There have been many answers to
the question of why Tai Chi Chuan is practiced slowly. One answer says that
because all Tai Chi Chuan movements are circular, it takes a longer path and
therefore more time to travel from point A to point B. Another answer says that
when it is slow, the practitioner can pay more attention to the movement. These
answers are like the four blind men who wanted to find out what is an elephant.
Tai Chi Chuan is the physical interpretation of the philosophy of Tai Chi. It
has Yin and Yang components. Tai Chi Chuan is composed of "Gong" or training and
"Chee" technique. Gong refers to internal power and chee refers to martial art.
When one is training in an internal power, one is practice intent and chi.
Therefore, there is concentration directed on individual movements. When one
practices the technique, one focuses on the eight techniques of warding off,
roll back, press, push, pull down, split, elbows strike, shoulders strike and
the five elements of left, right, forward, retreat and center and the
importance of their power, directions and techniques.
Although each of the individual eight techniques is different slightly, they
are referring to the strike. Each one utilizes the hands, elbows, knees, feet, hips and
head. Generally, because the power of these strikes is issued outward by the
movement of the body, the eight techniques actually refer to the eight body
movements. Advance and retreat refer to the movement of the feet or the body and
feet techniques. Left and right refer to the eyes movement. Center refers to the
Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art and very efficient as such because it applies
internal power to each technique. Therefore, when one is practicing Tai Chi
Chuan, one is practicing the development of internal power or what is commonly
called Qigong. It is a special kind of qigong that utilizes all movements for
martial art. The skill and power of this qigong is different from most qigong
that people practice today. This is why the practice of Tai Chi Chuan yields so
many benefits. It has benefits from both martial art and qigong. Like other hard
qigong, it can develop the facility for taking a powerful punch to the body. But
Tai Chi Chuan practitioners can take punches not only from a stationary posture
but while they are in motion, also.
Tai Chi Chuan can also develop the facility of issuing power outside the body
to affect other people or bounce people off with a strike. This power is the
result of a combination of yielding jing and fa jing (discharging) power.
Therefore, it can be said that if one does not have this yielding jing and fa
jing skill, one does not really practice Tai Chi Chuan correctly.
Intent is what's necessary. It is the commander of all movement. It is said
in the six harmony theory that when the intent is there, the chi is there and
the power is there. A movement without intent is nothing. An intent without
movement is nothing too. An intent combined with movement that is not applied to
an opponent is nothing. When intent combined with movement is applied on an
opponent, then something is achieved.
A beginner who moves from movement to movement without paying attention to
each movement's function is not considered to be practicing Tai Chi Chuan.
The fact is that, when one practices Tai Chi Chuan solo form with intent and
power, the speed will be slow. Tai Chi Chuan does not mean slow, however, since
other martial arts also have slow forms. Tai Chi Chuan can be practice fast.
When one is practicing Tai Chi Chuan slow, one focuses on the "Yin" or "Gong"
component. When one practices Tai Chi Chuan fast, one focuses on the "Yang" or
"Chee" component. The Tai Chi Chuan classics said that a practitioner can master
the art of Tai Chi Chuan only when one has mastered both Yin and Yang.