David Skaggs wrote:
Is competition in Tai Chi of the 'win or lose' or 'seeking together'.
What was the purpose of the origin of Tai Chi? My limited understanding of Tai Chi was that it was a style of Chinese Martial Arts that was adapted for the purpose of creating a form (kata) for health and spiritual development.
Well, it's best to think of the preliminary learning of a Taiji form as "learning to move in a different way that involves using jin/kokyu and ki/qi." That's why a form is so slow... it's supposed to be an intensive re-learning of how to move (although most westerners think it's something similar to a moving magical incantation that looks cool).
Once you have learned to develop some of your own jin/kokyu/ki power, you can progress onward to doing restricted pattern motions with a partner where each of you is trying to move/respond using only the lightest qi/jin/kokyu, whatever, using only one arm. Once you can do that, you progress to a pattern using 2 arms and a series of movements (stylized attacks and responses). As your personal acquisition of the jin/kokyu skills increases, you can add moving-step push-hands and more freestyle push-hands. Here in the West, most people have not even the foggiest idea of what jin is, few can do even an elementary pattern and they prefer to do "freestyle", which is just wrestling/scrabbling in a fairly safe environment. Naturally, all this wrestling is usually accompanied by conversation about the "Tao", "harmony", etc.
So the answer to your question is basically that most of the stuff you're bound to encounter being done by westerners is going to be a bit of a parody of the traditional study of Taiji... so keep an open mind.