Why I developed the modified 64 form
I'm now in my 70th year, I don't teach many classes or workshops nowadays so it could be said that I am semi retired. For a long time now I have been developing a modified version of the Wu style tai chi to practice into my old age. This originally was to be just for me you understand. It is now pretty much fully developed and I like it very much.
I have shown this form to a few friends who urged me to teach it. Last year I began teaching this form at my regular old boys & girls class and they loved it. They were exceptionally helpful, giving me feedback and questioning every change as the form developed. I thank them very much.
So how is this form modified?
The first criteria was that the form had to fit in a much smaller space. I could only really practice the 108 long form outside, as all my rooms were too small and I had to step back here or sideways there which broke the flow of movement.
I also wanted to practice a shorter form. I wanted the form to be about 10 minutes long. That way I would be able to practice it even if time was short. It contains almost all the moves that the 108 long form contains but with very few repeats, hence 64.
Just these two changes created a form with the two main criteria achieved.
But I went further. After 30 years of teaching tai chi I was familiar with all the places that most students internal processes (neigong) broke down. I also knew the places where people with common injuries or disabilities found difficulty. So I gave these areas a special study, I was looking for modifications that would allow the majority of students at normal levels of competence to pass through without the neigong breaking down.
Other modifications were done to allow the form to be performed both as slowly as possible and as quickly as possible without changing the way the moves were performed. I love minimalism so I also kept everything trimmed down to the bare essentials.
Some moves were modified to better accommodate my favourite martial applications. Some moves were modified to create better twisting in the legs and to enable deeper relaxation.
I can't say this modified form is better than anybody else's, all I can say is that it's better for me... And I hope you'll enjoy practicing it too!
I will be teaching this form in a series of workshops. Check it out.