people who start Tai Chi because they are captivated by the movement. The fact that it is a martial art is irrelevant and not a reason for their study. They have a simple desire to be doing what they see being done.
As a rough guide learning a short form can take anywhere from 2-4 months, depending on the depth of detail covered (i.e. how much testing of postures, discussion of concepts and principles and/or demonstration of martial arts applications). How often you practice and your previous experience at learning movement will also be a factor. The traditional long form takes from 6 months to 1.5 years, although most people who first learn a short form find that it takes less time. However learning the sequence of movement is only the beginning. Once you gain confidence in the ‘rough shape of things’ it is time to turn your attention to the internal workings of the movements. So do not be surprised if the first thing that happens when you finish the form is to be asked to start again with corrections. At this stage you should be less concerned with what the movement is and more concerned with how the energy flows through it and projects out when you are tested. Here you must employ all your understanding of the principles and concepts of Yi (intention), sinking, use of your ‘kuas’ (ask an instructor),
The depth of material may seem bottomless and to an extent it is. This work is now on-going and you could easily study the form to deeper and deeper and more satisfying levels for life. Some schools will go on to teach the weapons straight after you have learnt the movement from the long form. The problem here is that all you are doing is learning more movement. If this is what you have done, please ask yourself the following question: when are your going to stop learning movement and start learning Tai Chi? Without serious study of the concepts and principles within each movement you are not making an honest study of energy in the body and all the much-touted benefits will be limited.
As an example in our school it is very hard to reach a level where working with the broadsword can be more than just movement in less than 3 years. The level that makes straight sword form a worthwhile study is even harder to reach. One must not forget that the amount of material learnt is not as important as the depth of understanding you have. If you insist on learning something like the broadsword before you are ready it could easily encourage you to hold onto physical force and stop you from