Those of us involved in Martial Arts in some form another, tend to forget that the vast majority of the public really don't have much of an idea where to start. It's no different from any other specialist subject; how do you know who is a good plumber? Who's a good driving instructor? etc. To get the right answer you need to start with the right question.

Stephen Forde performing kick to the right


To understand why forms evolved we need to understand the historical context in which they evolved and how that history alters our perceptions. Firstly looking back at part one of this piece I pointed out that forms were less formal and not strictly standardised as they are today. I should add that this less formalised approach was common to many martial arts; Chinese and others.

Stephen Forde performing kick to the right


Are you a form collector? I certainly was, over forty years of martial arts training it would be true to say that I’ve learned more than twenty forms, I regularly trained about sixteen or so over a period of about twenty years and studied in depth about twelve of those.

When looking at form practice it’s useful to consider two questions; what forms are for and how did the forms that we now use evolve? Let’s address the second question first the evolution of the Tai Chi Long Form (TCLF). 

Stephen Forde performing kick to the right

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