There are many Eastern arts that have made their way to the West, like tai chi, yoga, and qigong. Many people claim that these arts have lost much of their original meaning. They claim that there is an over-emphasis on the external movements without much understanding of the internal character that made these arts so effective.
It is important for all of us that teach to remember that these arts are more than just the simple movements. If that were all there is to it, we could just recommend that our students take a slow walk in the park and wave their arms around at random.
Don't misunderstand me. Forms are important, but they are not the most important part of tai chi. It's not the movements that makes tai chi what it is. We need to remember to teach the movements and then continue to develop the student's ability to develop focus and a calm mind. It's the deeper principles that matter (read more here).
© 2012 Eric Borreson