People who learn Taijiquan often question the role of the traditional form (taolu) - particularly of the relationship between the taijiquan routine and self-defence/ fighting. Many long time practitioners feel that the form provides limited effective martial techniques and that an opponent will be unlikely to advance in the manner prescribed in the routine. To think this way is to not have understood the important purposes and functions of Taijiquan's basic exercises, stand...ing pole training, form practice, single movements drills, push hands routines, free style play, as well as its principles and theories - the complete system.
The role of the form in the Taijiquan system is mainly to lay down foundation and to enhance base skills. The routine simulates self defence methods, therefore combat skills are derived from it. The form however is not just for learning combat techniques. It also enhances the body's constitution, improves physical fitness, and cultivates calmness of the mind...The role of the Taijiquan form should not be viewed only from the perspective of combat effectiveness. Embrace the complete system in order to know and understand the purpose of the various stages of the training method and exercises. Attach equal importance to every one of them.