In the Taiji set every posture flows continuously into the next posture. When we're performing those little, subtle transitional movements our attention and emphasis is usually on the “big/obvious movements & postures”, the ward off, the roll-back, push, snake creeps down…etc. The less obvious postures or transitions leading up to these obvious postures we often don’t understand or overlook. Are they important and can pay less attention to them in our practice? No, they are all there for a reason and the set has been ingeniously created to integrate such subtle movements and applications in our regular practice without us usually knowing; by the Masters who understood Taiji much better than you or I.
We can practice the Taiji form for years if not decades without paying attention to, nor understanding what each individual movement, or even part of a movement is, or why it is there. “Why do we turn the waist a slight 15 degrees? Why does the elbow and shoulder drop here whilst the other hand move to the mid-line position thus (in the transition from left ward-off to ward-off grasp the bird the tail)? etc, etc. Without any commitment to accuracy or understanding of the movement in our regular practice our whole Taiji form - let alone what we think are the less important movements become vague and neglected and soon enough become unrecognisable. The Art and the wisdom of the Masters becomes lost.
Commitment to accuracy is what your teacher should instill into their student and for the student to make the effort to repeatedly practice. For beginners meaning the first few years the details and accuracy of destination, direction of feet and hips, arc of movement, synchronisation of body, base, arms, hips and hands is bewildering and most of their energy and attention is spent learning this - week in, week out. This process is where the teacher dedicatedly drills the student in the direction, timing, speed, synchronisation, beginning and ending points of the feet, legs, waist, body, arms, hands, head & eyes. The student has to have enough faith in the teacher to follow & remember all these details.
One such movement/posture that I have not paid so much attention to, puzzled over and frankly pretty much written off as “fluff” was “Daoist Immortal Flaps His Sleeves” (transitioning to “fist under elbow”) even the name suggests the most menial, even decorative, & certainly unusable of martial techniques. So I am glad to see my teacher Wee Kee Jin demonstrate one use of “Daoist Immortal Flaps His Sleeves” in this short video. I’ve learnt something and will now practice this posture from a better perspective, I hope you don't make the same mistake I did and enjoy the video too. I thank Esaias Hobbs another student of Wee Kee Jin for posting up this video. His youtube page at "The Acupuncture Works" is -
Lee Chang Tye