Sifu Mark likes to use a technique called counting when teaching Tai Chi. Each movement is broken down into smaller steps, and a count is assigned to each step. People often asked that if Tai Chi is to be performed in a continuous way how can we break up a movement into steps and count each step out loud?
The truth is the counting is a very ingenious way to teach Tai Chi. Tai Chi is very rich in content. Each movement has many techniques in it. It is important that a student not miss any of these techniques. So Sifu Mark labels each important step, or techniques in a movement with a number. This will help the student to remember the details of each movement.
Another benefits of counting steps is that by saying the steps, the student will not forget to breath naturally, as many beginners tend to tense up and hold their breath.
As a student is counting the steps, the student should not stop at each step and break up the continuity of the form. It is there as a reminder device.