Question 1. What determines whether a form is LEFT or RIGHT? Is it the initial positioning or movement of the front leg as in Horse Splits Its Mane form (or back leg as in Repulse Monkey form)?
Answer: A form is left or right simply by design. Since many people are right-handed, it's more natural to move toward the right. However, for health purposes, the modern forms are designed to be more symmetrical, creating some left and some right. The whole purpose of Tai Chi is to create a natural flow. Often time. in Tai Chi Forms, left hand goes with left leg and right hand moves with the right leg.
Question 2. I guess that in the 24-Form, it would not be practical to have both LEFT & RIGHT versions (LEFT only for White Crane Show Its Wings). Besides linking the forms together, is there another reason(s) why either LEFT or RIGHT is chosen? For example, in the 24-Form, Single Whip appears twice, but only in the LEFT version. In the more complete 42-Form, it appears in both the LEFT & RIGHT versions.
Answer: Tai Chi originally was designed for martial arts. Again, most people were right-handed and practiced more right-sided forms in old days. However, for practice, they also turned around and performed the moves toward the left. Since Tai Chi is used now for health purposes, the 24 forms and 42 forms were developed over the last fifty years to incorporate symmetrical moves. The 48 hand forms is a more advanced 24 form with the emphasis on symmetry.
Question 3. There is an 8-Form (or 10-Form) below: 1. Beginning; 2. Horse Splits Its Mane (L,R,L); 3. White Crane Shows Its Wings (L,R,L); 4. Single Whip (L,R); 5. Repulse Monkey (L,R,L,R,L); 6. Sparrow (L,R); 7. Clouds Hands (L,R); 8. Fair Lady Works At Shuttles (L,R); 9. Golden Rooster (L,R); 10. Kick With Heels (L,R); 11. Brush Knee With Twister Step (L,R); 12. Conclusion. Do you have an opinion of this form vs. the 24-Form?
Answer: This set of forms is more symmetric than the 24 form. However this form is very short. I believe that practicing the same 8 moves over and over again is rather boring. Practicing Tai Chi trains the body as well as the mind, especially concentration. It's similar to meditation. Practicing longer forms is very much like meditating over the movements, flow, and energy. The longer the meditation lasts, the more beneficial it is to the integrated system of the body, mind, and spirit. However, some people maybe not be able to focus for a long period of time. Simply put, I believe that it is easier to start out with shorter forms, but slowly move toward longer forms for best results. This is how I practice with my students; usually I lead my tai chi group to practice tai chi 24 forms three times (about 18 - 20 minutes) without stopping. Then we learn and practice other forms like advanced hand forms, sword forms, and pushing hands for another 30 minutes.
Question 4. Tai Chi involves balance, and I would think that LEFT & RIGHT should be balanced too. Is this an incorrect way of thinking?
Answer: You are correct. Balance is an important concept of Tai Chi, which is why modern forms of Tai Chi stress symmetry and balance.
Question 5. How is your Tai Chi For Health book and DVD different from others?
Answer: My Tai Chi For Health book and DVDs are designed to increase the understanding of Tai Chi through the foundation of Chinese philosophy. To understand Tai Chi, the purpose and the style must also be understood. My Tai Chi 24 form DVD contains the 24 Tai Chi hand forms for the Tai Chi for Health book. It also consists of a sequence of traditional Yang style demonstration forms: Tai Chi traditional swords, traditional broadswords, traditional hand forms, and standard 42 hand forms. As for the difference between my DVD and those DVDs you mentioned, the address below will show you my style of Tai Chi. I believe you may make the comments easily after you see it. This sample of my work will show you the focus of Tai Chi; the flow of energy like water, with each movement smooth and connected.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-GydPcL-Yc
The teaching and learning quality DVDs of Tai Chi Hand and Sword forms are available upon request from me: Cheng Zhao
My 24 simplified tai chi form book is listed in Amazon.com under the author name: Cheng Zhaohttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0976118319/ref=pd_rvi_gw_1/002-5689733-0606456?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;n=283155