When the available learning model is that of annual seminars, this raises questions both for new students and experienced ones. Those starting to learn ask themselves why they should go to a seminar where a long and complex form, which they won’t be able to learn at once, will be taught, and those already well into the Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) system ask why should they again be learning a form they have known for years. The answer is the same for both: because their goal is not learning the form. The goal of Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) practice is to change one’s body so that it will move in a new, different, and efficient way.
It is only possible to change your body and change the way it moves through direct contact with a master. Forms are important, but they are not Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) itself. They are the means through which Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) is taught.
If you don’t know the form being taught in a seminar, and it seems long and complex, this shouldn’t be reason for shying away. Focus on remembering the feeling your body has after the master’s correction, and try to copy not only the choreography, but specially the way the master’s body moves – this is the main point.
If you already know the form being taught, that is an excelent reason to go to a seminar, because you will be able to completely direct your mind to to the master’s corrections and to how to move your body.
Certainly the best way to learn Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) is by long lasting, daily master-disciple contact. This is so because one’s body needs repeated guidance and corrections to be able to slowly change to a better, more efficient and natural way of moving.
But who can move to countryside China for a few years, in order to practice? Even if it is just moving to another city in the United States or Europe, where we can find today some high level masters living – how many can leave family and work behind?
The viable solution is the seminar learning model, where the masters come once a year to teach group and private lessons. Sure it doesn’t seem, and it isn’t enough. Regular lessons from a qualified teacher are needed – this is why Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang created WCTA.