You forgot actual application practice. Tuishou is only sparring that trains a specific area of the art. Not the actual fighting part
Real Taijiquan emphasizes on breathing exercises followed by form and Tuishou 推手。 Without any of the 3 Taiji Quan cannot be an effective martial art.
Correct. The 5 main branches are Chen, Yang, Wu (Ng in cantonese), Wu (Mo in cantonese), and Sun. All are great for combat. Although personal experience leaves me tending more towards Wu (Mo)
There are also various schools of Taijiquan from Chen, Yang, Zhang, Wu and other lesser known schools. Even within the supposedly same style there are some differences. Some are regarded as more effective than others in combat.
I would say around 20-30 years. It is true though. Taiji itself is a very long-term investment.
It also takes quite some time to train up to a level where Taiji Quan is effective. If you are looking to protect yourself in a street-fight in a short time better look for another style. If however you are looking for something that will be a life-time lifestyle and philosophy I would highly recommend Taijiquan.
If you look into the history of the late Qing dynasty when Taiji really came up, as well as the application of the techniques, one will find that Yang style Taiji was actually designed for fighting wrestling moves (possibly mongol or manchu in origin). Wrestling was a compulsory subject for the imperial military and therefore THE most popular system back then. Yang Laochan (aka invincible Yang) managed to beat the head military instructor in Beijing. Although the dates are not clear, but evidence seem to point that Yang style Taiji was influenced (if not based off) by the targeted style of wrestling.
Yes and No. This is actually style-dependent. styles like Tanglangquan was developed by the bandits of the Shandong area. These blokes were pretty much illiterate and had no moral and character education at all. Because of their occupation, their style was designed to be agressive and beat-him-until-he-cries. They are very much made for the sake of fighting. While other styles like those developed by the monks and/or upper class had more grace and courtesy. Humility is actually built into the style itself. If one does not pocess these qualities, they won't really be able to use the style to its full potential.
BTW, to a lot of proponents the purpose of learning martial arts is to avoid fighting. If you are learning martial arts for the sake of fighting then perhaps Chinese martial arts isnt for you.