by Jason Woon
Initially I thought Taijiquan was easy to learn as I saw many old people who wanted to stay healthy and fit practicing it regularly in various gardens, parks and basketball courts. I was wrong. I could still remember when I attended my first Taijiquan lesson with Master Rennie Chong, the warming up exercise was already quite intense and taxing to the body, my body was sore for the next few days especially my back, thigh and calf muscles. In fact, the warming up exercise helps us to condition our bodies for flexibility and build our lower body muscles for a firm and strong foundation. I still feel tough going through it at time, but believe me, after every lesson you will feel more relax, calm and refreshing. That is why I always look forward to attend Sifu's Taijiquan class whenever possible.
To practise Taijiquan well, we need to condition our bodies and exercise regularly to keep fit. One has to develop a strong lower body foundation to be firmed and rooted to the ground. Upper body section has to stay relax with middle body section flexible to let the qi settles in the daitian.
Sifu always reminds us in class to practise the correct stance and posture so that the qi will flow through your body, it cannot be too stiff or too relax, look at your opponent and always get ready to defend when opponent attack. Taijiquan is not only for health and fitness but also a form of martial arts that uses the internal strength which is not easy to understand and learn. It requires many years of learning and practising from the right master. It is very important to learn from the right master if we want to learn proper Taijiquan. To be able to perform the steps and stances of the Cheng Man Ching 37 forms correctly requires regular and proper practise from the guidance of Sifu otherwise we may not get it right even if we have learned many years.
I used to have backache frequently due to old injury which sometimes causes pain near my right knee area when I squat or pick things from the gound. After learning Taijiquan, I realised that my backache happens less frequent and is less painful as it used to be. Sometime I still feel pain on my right knee area when I did not do a proper stance when practising Taijiquan, I guessed I have to build a stronger thigh muscle and do the correct and proper stance to reduce the pain.
Taijiquan to me is a long journey of continue learning process. I really appreciate Sifu's teaching and hope to be able to learn and understand Taijiquan more from him. Thank you, Sifu.