My Taichi Experience
by Veronica Lim
I was looking for a more purposeful form of exercise that would complement the monotony of my routine of jogging/brisk walking to maintain cardio-respiratory health, especially as age was catching up. I had contemplated joining a fitness centre where I could engage in many types of exercise programmes and take up what I really liked. I also heard about the benefits of taichi to health and found Master Rennie Chong through the internet. It was a pleasant surprise when I found out that the Master actually ran a class in California Fitness. I joined the Club and had been attending his taichi sessions there for almost one year already.
The first few sessions in taichi was a blur to me as I did not quite understand what I was doing and was merely following the exercises. I soon realized how unfit I was when I could not sustain certain postures in the exercises. Over time, I realized that the warm-up exercises, followed by meditation and breathing were meant to condition the mind and body in preparation for the lessons which came after. We were taught the 37-posture yang style short-form taichi for the cultivation of energy (qi) and health. In the course of learning, I was intriqued by how the soft movements and postures actually contained martial applications useful for self defence for those who were able to master the techniques through constant practice. During lessons, we were grouped according to levels of competence where we learned the taichi movements and postures with the instructors. We learned how to use the qua (area of the pelvis) which was basic and peculiar to taichi as that’s where all the support and strength originates. We were taught how to achieve balance/steadiness and good circulation of energy (qi) by getting our movements and postures correct.
Since taking up taichi, I feel more energized and stronger in my limbs. I look forward to the lessons and seldom missed a session. My take is that it takes both interest and perseverance if one wants to learn the movements and postures correctly even if it meant repeating the same sequence week after week. Our instructors do ensure that we get our movements and postures correct before we progress to the next set.