It is difficult, for even those practicing the art of Taijiquan, to see how the movements in the form could possibly have any sort of combat application.
Martial application is divided into the following disciplines:
The martial purpose behind each movement in the form is discussed and demonstrated as the student learns that move. These applications of the movements are later explored in Pushing Hands.
It is said that a "well-rounded" martial art should teach each of the following martial disciplines:
Taijiquan teaches us all of these disciplines in the form, and adds a 5th discipline: Fa-Chin (Fa-jing).
Push Hands (Tui Shou) is the most important (and fun) training technique for Taijiquan martial application. This discipline is a partnered exercise, where the students connect to each other at the wrists and apply the techniques of Taijiquan to attack and defend. This is a very easy and surprisingly gentle practice, and can be performed by students of any skill level. The Pushing Hands techiques taught are: