A learner told me she didn’t want to continue doing taichi form any more because it reminded her of her Christian background. She said a belief system was thrust upon her as a child and at some point she rebelled and left the congregation to pursue her own path.
So when a different tai chi teacher does form, which is all she teaches in her class, my friend, who attended her class, felt like she was narrowed into a Christian-like expectation she experienced as a little girl.
Similarly, in her mind, the (Chen Manching) form reduced her down to no other options but very specific moves that she had to memorize. Almost like brainwashing. Maybe a bit extreme, but there you have it.
She said that I don’t do this as an instructor. When she told me this, I said that form is something that old-time practitioners developed as martial artists and for demonstration purposes.
I said that the understanding of qi and learning to direct it is all that matters. Whatever you do in that context creates a “form,” or a shape by virtue of the movement itself. It doesn’t have to be a martial application developed by someone, some time in the past.
I can see how she could react to the tradition and the propensity of students to accept the form without question and move into acceptance of the way things are done. …to accept the “authority” of it unquestioned.
Energy is creativity at its core and has little to do with traditional ways of movement, … in essence anyway.
I do things a little backwards. Often, form is taught without being shown the internal secrets. I teach the internal secrets as I know them first, then form.
Still, form is fun to put all you know into a shape that you memorize and within which you can be as creative as you may imagine. It becomes free even though it begins with a specific thing handed down over time. It’s good for an aging mind to exercise the memory facility.
My friend and student has reached a wall of resistance in herself. Everyone who goes upon the path of learning will run into a time in which they are challenged to work a little harder to overcome some resistance they find within themselves. Whatever they think it comes from or wherever it comes from.
My response to her is to just do tai chi in whatever form it avails itself. To stop is not wise after once making the effort to begin. The practice itself will show her the path to understanding.