I have mentioned how important it was to develop some concept of what each posture means on a martial level, even if it is only a mental understanding. However, to learn any on a meaningful martial level, you will have to isolate and practise individual techniques many times with a variety of training partners, and at a variety of intensities as your understanding and skills develop.
Such interaction, even when done slowly and carefully, complicates and changes your feel for the mechanics of each posture. Now you really begin to learn where your hands and feet should be at any one time, how to get them there using bagua principles, and how to relax under pressure.
In the long run, any martial skill you develop will result from internalising the principles and a few techniques, as opposed to learning many applications on a superficial level. This small arsenal can eventually become internal (or instinctive, or subconscious, or conditioned reflex—call it what you like).
One way to do this is to select a few postures from the solo form(s) that you do particularly well or like the most, and practise them on your own and with a partner. Try to pick methods that cover attacks from the most common angles and from both the right and left sides. If you can eventually make them work while being attacked with some speed and power then you're on the right track.
Remember that there is really no one interpretation of each method (although some experts would, no doubt, argue with this). I believe that each posture has one or more interpretations as a defence against either being struck or grabbed; however, each will also have countless variations depending on the skills and strengths of the practitioner, as well as the angle and complexity of attack.
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