In addition to Tai Chi, I practice the related art of Xing Yi Chuan. Xing Yi is a good compliment to Tai Chi and the two arts were once taught side by side in the Yi Zong school.
Wu Xing Sheng Ke – The Five Elements Transforming Ta Lu Set. This set teaches the ban bu – half step method to use distance to your advantage.
Stillness in Xing Yi training.
Xing Yi training requires a lot of stillness, holding a few postures for long periods is a big part of the training. A typical two-hour training session with Shifu Chao only required the space of a yoga mat to practice on. Forms were taught only after a lot of sweating and standing then only one at a time if we were lucky.
Stillness in Breath
Another example of stillness within Xing Yi is pausing the breath. While I was training at a seminar with the great Xing Yi Master Luo De Xiu we learned to pause breaths between one of the movements. At first, interrupting the breathing cycle seemed at odds with everything I had learned before in internal martial arts. All of my teachers emphasized linking movement with the breath. It took me a long time to realize that this is still true with pausing the breath, that is that it is the total stopping of all external and internal movement, to get next-level still the breath has to stop temporarily as well. From this stillness you can observe yourself and your opponent.