<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Form is function, function is form! To my mind even basic tuishou/roushou is form and function at once meaning taolu (taiji form) is not important. After all it comes down to choreography. I am not saying "do not do taijiquan form". Only observing from the tournament/competition side in modern times that the form winner is rarely the tuishou (oush hands) winner.</font>
I think I understand and agree with some of these points; however, I still think that Push Hands and Solo Form have different emphases that complement each other. While Push Hands teaches you how others move, solo form teaches you how you yourself move, or at least should move.
Doing Push Hands can help you judge how well you understand the form, and doing form can help you judge how well you understand Push Hands. Let me give a couple of examples.
From what I understand of the system taught in the Association, the basic one hand horizontal circle requires you to cycle through a very specific Ward Off shape (I think of one of the arms in Cross Hands) and through a specific Push Shape (I think of Brush Knee or Repulse Monkey). There is also a very specific shape for the transition from one to the other (I think of something similar to the left arm in the transition into Ward Off Right or Cloud Hands. Since there are other hand and arm shapes that can be used to do the circle, relating them to the form is a great help. On the other hand, these shapes have a function that can be misunderstood and so practicing them in Push Hands is a good way of understanding precisely why they should be as they are. One mode reinforces the other.
Another example might be "stepping like a cat." I suppose one can learn how to do this by directly learning and practicing movement step Push Hands; however, for me, having worked on this principle in the solo form made moving step much more transparent. In our form, we also stress centering the foot for central equilibrium before making most steps. In moving step, it became very clear to me that stepping without this "circular" centering motion made me very unstable and liable to become double weighted. Again, having worked on this principle in the solo form made this requirement feel quite natural.
As for the links between Push Hands and the form I mentioned in my first post, I have thought of a few more. One of the counters I have learned to a circular Push involves doing Ward Off will going through a position that feels like Cross Hands. There is also a counter to a Press coming out of a closed circle that also seems to come out of Cross Hands. Both counters feel more natural to me if I think of them coming out of the double protection of Cross Hands; otherwise, it seems like they involve too much thinking.
[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 11-10-2008).]