As quoted by Tung Ying Chieh:
Everytime when you practice the form, there are at least three things you must do. The first one is to relax your muscle. The second one is to adjust your postures. The third one is to concentrate more on intentions and spiritual styles. When you can master all the movements, then the spiritual style will appear when you move. When you reach this stage your improvement will be better and quicker.
It’s interesting to note the first thing is to relax. I often forget about this core principle of taiji b/c I am trying too hard. I am using too much muscle or too much force and not thinking enough about relaxing. This is especially true when I practice the chen style sets.
Also, I think I focus a bit too much on postures and adjustments before relaxing. It’s almost doing things ‘backwards’, that is focusing on the posture before relaxing. This is often why I feel sore at times or I sweat a bit too much during training.
The thing that really caught me about this quote was the third point. That is the focus on intentions and spiritual styles. No where does he mention the martial applications.
Great tidbits from a famed student of Yang Chengfu. I have often heard that when there was a battle to be fought to uphold the style, it was Tung Ying Chieh on the front line taking on the challengers. Hmm…