If you can appreciate the martial art (or dynamic meditation, whatever suits you best) of Tai Chi, did you know there’s an app for that? Actually, there are many apps, but I’d like to focus on this specific one: 3D Taichi 24 Forms Pro. At first it seems a bit dodgy, but I’ve been using it for a while and in my experience it’s a pretty good help when refreshing your Tai Chi practice.
When I use the word ‘dodgy’, it’s probably just me being confronted with my own prejudice that was triggered by its App Store logo, the splash screen and some of the graphics in the app. They are typically what I would consider to be ‘low end’ and remind me of some good old 16-bit games. However, the pretty good animation of the Tai Chi form makes up for this. It’s an interactive 3D animation of a male or female figure (your choice) which can be viewed from every angle by moving your finger on the screen. This app shows you the complete 24 Yang Style form, but the same developer also offers a 8 and 15-forms version (which I’m unfamiliar with).
All movements have spoken and written commentary in English and Chinese, there’s atmospheric background music (which can’t be turned off, unfortunately) and it’s possible to set the speed of the animation. Also, you can set a start and end point in the animation to have a specific (set of) movement(s) repeated over and over again. A great way to tackle a more challenging move.
So, if you’ve never followed instructions by a teacher, will the app teach you Tai Chi? Probably not. Tai Chi is much more than just repeating the right movements. In my opinion, as a novice, you should really learn the basics from a teacher who can introduce you to the philosophy and correct your postures whenever necessary. As for the movements, not all details are visible in the animations.
That said, this app will be a great additional tool to help you. It beats most of the videos that are available online, because here you can view the animation from various angles, and it’s definitely a better solution than the static images that can be found in most Tai Chi books.