Single Whip is a well known Tai Chi posture. For the beginning student without the necessary play of looseness and tension in the body its difficult to teach them how to generate the whipping force that can be learned from Single Whip.
On page 105 in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 there is a conceptual model of how whipping force is generated. When the body can be controlled at the intermediate stage through the use of the 5-Count then learning how to generate whipping force is really easy.
However, just having the ability to generate whipping force is not particularly useful. Its when the whipping force is combined with the use of body postures that is learned through the 5-Count that this particular force is of value.
When the intermediate level is reached one of the first things to learn is how to transform big frame motions into small frame motions. To be able to use Tai Chi as a combat art one must be swift, direct and fierce in response. At the advanced level when one has more subtle skills then one goes to the other end of the spectrum when counterattacking.
To be able to move swiftly the student must not waste movements. He has to be able to mobilize quickly when required to. To be direct means to deal with attacks in the shortest manner possible. However, being swift and direct will fail if not backed by fierce and powerful counters. Hence, understanding how to harness the principles of Single Whip will boost our skills up another notch.
Using the principles of Single Whip can result in techniques that are not an exact replica of the movements that make up the posture of Single Whip. The technique of Single Whip requires contact to use and not as useful when going against an opponent that is fast and gives you little opportunity to make contact.
However, when you use the principles of Single Whip you don’t have to rely on making contact with the opponent’s bridge. Instead, you can respond differently with responses derived from understanding Single Whip broadly instead of narrowly. At this stage you can see that Tai Chi can be a very simple and direct method of combat.