Tai Chi Chuan: a real challenge to learn
by Wong Koon Kee
I have learned Tai-chi Quan from Master Rennie Chong for more than two and half years now.
During the first few months, I had encountered many difficulties in trying to memorize all 37steps of Yang-style Tai-chi Quan during the weekly lessons. The main obstacle was due to my low proficiency in mandarin language. It was a great challenge for me to remember all the Chinese names of each form. Furthermore, most of the Tai-chi books were written in Chinese which was disadvantageous to me. Hence, it was extremely difficult for me to learn the art using the correct body posture to do the 37 steps in one complete movement. This was also very frustrating as I took much longer time than my fellow classmates to learn the steps well. In spite of all the shortcomings, I persevered and chose to strive on learning Tai-chi Quan wholeheartedly.
Now, I am happy that I can complete the whole sequence of these 37 steps. Although it may take a very long time before I can actually appreciate and understand each key principle of Tai-chi, I have never thought of giving up learning Tai-chi Quan from Master Chong. Besides the health benefits, the following were some factors that have motivated and inspired me to continue coming to his weekly class:
a) His detailed explanation on the principles of true Tai-chi, as well as his continued correction and refinement of our body postures.
b) Master Chong focuses a lot on ensuring that we are doing each form correctly and he is very insistent of us getting the basics right. Because of this, we had to do the same poses repetitively, allowing us to remember the steps well.
c) His repeated emphasis that Tai-chi Quan movements had to be continuous and smooth in nature and it must always be practiced with meaning and intention.
With regular and correct practice, together with a good understanding on the application of each Tai-chi movements, this had somehow made me began to enjoy doing Tai-chi. I am convinced that Master Chong is teaching us true Tai-chi.
The next challenge for me is to do Tai-chi Quan well with the correct poses and to further understand the purpose of each movement.
15 December 2012