Hi César and lob,
César, thanks for the link. I had great trouble accessing it, but it was well worth the effort. My respect for Chen Xiaowang never ceases to grow.
lob, many people seem to describe Taijiquan as if it were a martial extension of Qi Gong and/or of TCM (“traditional Chinese medicine”). From what I understand, the traditional Taiji families see the art as based on the same general theories as these practices, but as something independent of them.
I can recall receiving form corrections at various times before I began to study the Yangs’ form. Some of these corrections were described as necessary to stimulate various meridians. I specifically recall that this reasoning applied to turning the left foot inward in the Low Posture/Snake Creeps Down (“Xia4 Shi4”) and to how the hook hand was formed in Single Whip. When I began to study the Yangs’ form, I was surprised because these particular form details were taught differently from the corrections I had been given and because meridians were not discussed at all in this context.
My own view is that Yang Style Taijiquan and its parent style in the Chen family were originally designed purely for martial purposes. However, since Taiji theories are based on “naturalness” and “Yin/Yang” theory, they have an inherent affinity for health and health-related systems, including TCM and Qi Gong. A natural and efficient body and mind will be good for both health and self-defense.