The slow form (慢拳 man quan) comprises defined sequences of certain movements which are executed in a slow and smooth manner. By learning and exercising the form one trains the power of concentration, the internalization of principles of movement, and calming of the mind. Altogether the slow form includes 100 movements and postures which are subdivided in 6 parts. Running through the whole form takes about 30-40 minutes.
To shorten and simplify the form for beginners, Ma Yue Liang and Wu Ying Hua developed a short form which is easier to learn and only takes about 10 minutes to run through while still comprising the most important movements and postures.
Beside these two slow forms there is also a fast form (快拳 kuai quan) whose movements are faster and more powerful than the ones of the slow or short form.
The solo weapon forms of the sabre, spear, and sword are carried out with similar speed and power.
As the forms consist of well defined sequences of movements which are not easy to learn by heart as a beginner, many questions arise about why it has to be like this. Why is it important to follow and copy the exact movements from a teacher? The answers to these questions can only be found piece by piece in continuous practice of the forms, because the inner logic of the movements has to be encompassed by the feeling for one’s own body and mind.
Naturalness plays a central role, but this does not to equate with an individual discretionary attitude. Quite the contrary, the term naturalness comprises the following of certain principles of movement according to the body’s physiology. One of these principles is to keep focus and balance central to the process. The first aspect of this principle highlights the physical middle of a body’s centre of balance which changes while moving. A second aspect includes the mind as pictures and thoughts that should be hold together and not easily drift away while practising.