Before when I used to do TKD, when we practiced we would always practice the whole form a couple of time with some kick practices. However, after moving to wushu, I was taught not to practice the whole thing, but practice in sections. This was really great b/c compulsory wushu forms tend to be pretty long and trying to do all 4 sections of nanquan (southern boxing) in a sitting can be quite taxing.
So, with TKD, it was whole form practice, with wushu it was sectional practices and now with taiji, I believe there seems to be an increased focus on movement practice. I’ve been encouraged to practice a couple of movements or even just 1 movement in reptition. In fact, I’ve even been encouraged to just practice zhanzhuang in the taiji postures. This is quite a change from practicing a whole form.
I’ve taken to this practice and I really enjoy it. My practice session generally consists of:
1. 15-20 minutes of zhanzhuang (standing meditation).
2. 5-10 minutes of silk reeling
3. 1 round of form (currently Chen 38 by Chen Xiao Wang)
4. Section of form holding each posture for about 30 seconds
5. Multiple repititions of single postures
6. Maybe another round of form at end
This has been my general self-training routine and this can lead to be anywhere from 1 hr to 2 hrs depending on how much time I focus on steps 4 and 5. I feel this has done me quite well and I really enjoy the progress that I’ve been making. In addition to my training sessions, I also practice little things throughout the day. I practice stances while waiting, or trying to do body mechanic movements in every day actions. I tend to always be practicing some sort of zhanzhuang either during commercials or throughout the whole TV show. It’s interesting trying to use “peng” while opening a door or even “lu” while trying to walk past people. Sometimes I go a bit overboard and get weird looks, but hey, that’s the name of the game