Tai Chi Quan - a Learning Process
by Leong Sung Juat
Learning Tai Chi Quan has been in my mind for quite some time. Having visited some of the classes conducted at the CC (community centre) or RC (Resident centre) but did not sign up for the class as the timing and days was not suitable for me until my brother in law recommended to me Mr Chong's Sunday morning class. Although it is conducted on a Sunday early morning whereby that is the only day that I can wake up later. I took the class to challenge myself to understand the art of Tai Chi and benefit for health.
Warm up exercises are conducted first to warm up our body and to loosen up our joints and stretching our limbs. Some of the exercises are preparation for the 37 step form whereby Balance and Physical stability is required. Exercise helps us to keep fit and therefore to stay well. It also helps to maintain the heart and lungs to improve the circulation. Thus it also helps us to cope with stress and calming our emotions.
During the early days of training, however I tend to perform the movements fairly rapidly as I am very impatient and it is difficult to slow down and do anything in a relaxed way. The trainer and Master Chong are always around to correct me and guide me. But due to spending lesser time practicing, I tend to forget the steps and mixing them up.
Patience and self-discipline need to be cultivated through regular practice. With the encouragement from the trainer and Master Chong, I started to understand the basic essential of Tai Chi Quan.
Relax, relax, and relax the shoulders. Never lock the elbows or knees. Sink! Keep the stance low are always been reminded by the trainer or Master Chong to me.
"Song" is loosening, unbinding or slackening off a tie. Reducing tension in a binding but not cutting of all connection. "Song" or Relaxation is always the word given by the trainer or Master Chong. But what is and how does "Song" is a complex word whereby it is very difficult to understand or explained. Most of the movement is created by turning of the waist.
"Qi" means life force or vital energy which circulates through our body. It is within our body that the correct position or pose will not blocked the flow of it. Do not bend your palm upward too much that the "Qi" is not able to flow through the wrist to the finger tips. Circulation is vital and should never be inhibited by tightly folded joints.
To be able to perform the steps correctly and also understand the purpose of each movement requires regular and correct practice. If we continue practicing without proper guidance from the trainer or Master Chong, we will not improve or may even cause injuries to our body without knowing it in the long run.
Tai Chi Quan will be a continue learning process for a long time for me. Hope to able to learn and understand more from Master Chong.