Tai chi, at its core, is a martial art and "self-cultivation" discipline, meant to strengthen the body through nourishing the qi, developing mental and physical focus, and understanding body mechanics. Throughout the centuries, tai chi masters have emphasized different aspects of theory and practice to suit their own needs and interests and those of surrounding society. (It may surprise some tai chi people to know that tai chi has even been promoted for patriotism!) Your tai chi practice will be enhanced by learning something about all of its different arenas: health, self-defense, ch'i (qi) cultivation, body mechanics, meditation, and so on. Each aspect will help you develop in new ways. For example, understanding the martial arts application of a move—regardless of whether or not you have an interest in that area—will dramatically help improve your alignment, body mechanics, reaction time, and rooting. Through exploring tai chi's multi-dimensionality, you can always keep your practice fresh.