1. Burn the moves into memory"
Becoming a student requires you to look at your kung fu training as an education. It will require time to learn, memorize and study. There is a saying that "anything in life worth having is worth studying." Therefore, the first step in learning is to study the moves and burn them into memory. This requires many repetitions. A student should practice not only in the class, but also on their own to determine if they are retaining the information. The best way to see if you are retaining the information is to have personal time at home for practice and review. The information and moves will only "burn into memory" through consistent repetition and practice.
2. Flow through the form and burn it into the body's memory
Once you "burn the moves into memory" your next step is to work on the flow until you can do all the moves smoothly and without pause. You need to be able to flow through the form as if all the moves were connected as one move. Although each move is independent, they should all string together and connect to each other. All moves should come out natural and habitual and not performed as a robotic memorization. There is an old saying, "flow the form 1000 times and your body will move naturally." The student needs to work on getting the flow of the form first and not worry about the energy, speed, or power during this step.
3. Bring The Form To Life:
Once you can flow through the form with ease, it is time to start to really practice the form and bring it to life. How do you bring the form to life? You bring a form to life by adding the details, proper speed, power and a sense of an opponent. Where is the opponent? Where does the power come from? Are you flowing with the proper speed, tempo, power and balance? Your form cannot be an empty shell but must contain the concept of an imaginary opponent to give you the intent (Yi) behind the moves. This way you will understand where to add speed and power to make the form lively and realistic. Are you kicking? Punching? Pulling? Pushing? All these moves must have the proper intent and power behind them in order to work. Therefore, the form must display these moves as if being done for real to save your life on an imaginary opponent. This trains the mind and body to be one. One thought - one action.
A form without life is but an empty shell. By adding the proper speed, power and giving the form an imaginary opponent you bring the form to life. Once the form has life you will feel the true power and energy it has to offer, bringing your kung fu to a higher level. Keep the form fluid and real to reap all the benefits the ancient masters designed it for.