Big Circle to Small Circle to No Circle
We should not start with weapons, but we should start with the bare hand forms. To master the circle in all the movements is not very easy. We need to work on the circle and move from the Dāntián from the inside out and this is very hard. There is a Tàijíquán saying, “Shí Nián Tàijí Bù Chūmén 十年太極不出門 Ten years of Tàijíquán practise is not good enough to show to the outside.” This is an exaggeration. I would say that it takes at least three years of daily practise for us to be able to do the form well. The key however is having a good teacher, the Sīfú 師父- Teacher, must be good and then you can learn the correct skill.
When we practise our Tàijíquán we need to be relaxed and at the beginning use less Fā Jìn 發勁 – Releasing Power, some people find this tricky as who doesn’t want to be powerful and have good Fā Jìn in their form as it looks good. But without starting slowly we cannot get it right. Once we can do the big circle well, then we can practise a smaller circle and we should do this individually because if we try and make a small circle in the form, the energy will not flow and so the movements will not be right. We must understand that even if we make a small circle the inside is still moving. Then at the end, during Tuī Shǒu 推手 – Pushing Hands or fighting we can be very powerful and with just one touch defeat our opponent. Other people cannot see the circle, but inside us there is a very powerful internal circle.