Derived from the Taiji symbol which, in the Western areas know as the yin and yang, Tai Chi was said to be the practice that preserved the oldest schools of learning which study the receptive and active principles.
Core training has two features primarily: the solo form, which emphasizes slow sequence of movements maintaining a straight and firm spine, range of motion and fine abdominal breathing; and the Push Hands which involve training of the principles of movement in a more practical and convenient way.
As the word implies, the solo form of Tai Chi, requires only the one person to conquer the movements. It would take the students through a natural and complete range of motion over gravity’s center. If repeated accurately, the practice of the solo form can retain posture, maintain honest flexibility going through the joints and muscles, encourage proper circulation from any point of the student’s body, and let students be more familiarized with some of the important martial art application sequences that are usually implied by the different forms.
Major styles of traditional Tai Chi have forms that somewhat differ from the others, cosmetically. Some differ in the wave of the hands, in the position of the legs, the reaction of the body and the pace of the movement. But these are all irrelevant because what is important to Tai Chi training is that it benefits not only the body but the mind as well. Although, there are many similarities coming from the point of their common origin that are obvious enough to recognize.
Solo forms, weapons and empty-hands are movements that are commonly practiced individually in martial arts application and pushing hands. Scenarios like these are intended to prepare the students for training of self-defense.
The philosophy goes: if one becomes stiff and equally uses hardness in attending to violence, otherwise resisting it, then it is expected that both sides can be injured at a certain degree. An injury like that is a Tai Chi theory that coincides with the consequence of fighting brute with brute, which, in Tai Chi is far beyond the right attitude and style.
Unlike in other martial arts wherein force is applied to some measure, in Tai Chi, students are taught that instead of battling it out or directly resisting an incoming force, they should meet it with the must subtle movements and softness, following every attacking motion and in the end, exhausting the attacking force. This is all done while remaining at a close contact manner. This is the principle wherein the yin and yang is applied. If this method is done correctly, the yin-yang balance in combating is the primary goal of training Tai Chi.
Aside from that, Tai Chi schools also focus their attention on how the energy of a striking person affects his opponent. For example, the palm can strike physically looking the same and performing the same but has a different and dramatic effect on the target.
A palm can strike and push the person either forward or backward. It is done in such a way that the opponents are lifted vertically from the ground thus breaking and deforming their center of gravity.
After which, this technique can literary terminate the striking force within the body of the person with the dearest intention of causing traumatic internal damage.