Benefits from Taijiquan in First Year
by Goh Mia Jing
In 2015 and at 56 years old, I commenced my taijiquan lessons with Rennie Chong Tai Chi Training Centre (RCTTC) of Master Rennie Chong. While I am blessed with good health and seldom fall sick, there are evident benefits from a year of learning taijiquan including improved BMI from to 23 to 21.
Physiologically, taijiquan improved my stamina, fitness, body balance and coordination, agility, and muscle strength. Mentally, taijiquan helped me to maintain focus, relieve stress and improve awareness of my body. Socially, taijiquan training done in group setting promotes team work, facilitates group learning and alleviates social isolation. While individual practice demands self-discipline (similar to other sports) and group training promotes team building, both have contributed to my personal progression and growth – and as I witnessed similar evidence on my peers regardless of age, gender and education. Self-actualisation is a benefit of learning taijiquan upon attaining the basic-level (able to complete the 37-form), which is intangible yet evident.
Beyond mental and physical benefits, the attainment also challenge me with the desire to continue learning taijiquan and pursue the wisdom and finesse as well as deepen the understanding of each of the 37-form.
Warm-up exercise has become more important to me. Besides conditioning the body to reduce injury risk during taijiquan movements, each repetitive step of the warm-up exercise also relates to part of the 37-form that reinforce my learning of each of the 37-form. For the benefits of physical conditioning, the warm-up exercise is now my daily exercise to keep fit and active, anywhere and anytime.
A benefit shown in some studies about taijiquan reducing risk of falls has been evident to me on learning taijiquan – the taijiquan posture to stay upright has improved my leg strength, motion flexibility and body reflexes. On hind sight, the slow-but- deliberate footwork brings more focus awareness in terms of sensitivity of sole on the floor, leg movements, ankle motions and body weight shifts - it is evident that I have improved balance of body (instinctively) and reduced my risk of slips and falls (due to my past injuries on both ankles) on slippery floors and uneven pavements, and navigating with more ease along vehicles-infested pedestrian paths.
At this Year-One milestone and looking at shixiong and shijie, I believe the benefits of learning taijiquan would continue and grow.
Goh Mia Jing (retired army officer)
Bukit Gombak, Singapore