Taijiquan and me
by Ron Lee
My affinity with taijiquan commenced in 2016. Since young, I have always been fascinated by the beautiful art of taijiquan - the smooth, calm and graceful movements and wanted to pick up the art. However, I am unable to commit my time due to studies and work commitments. An opportunity came at the end of 2016, when I chanced upon a class conducted by Shifu,Master Rennie Chong from Rennie Chong Tai Chi Training Centre(RCTTC) in Bedok and hence embarked on my taijiquan journey.
I was an active athletic during my schooling days and was heavily involved in numerous physical and fast paced sports like basketball, track and field etc. Therefore I thought it would be easy for me to grasp the techniques of taijiquan, but I was totally wrong. To my amazement, after every lesson, I was aching all over for a couple of days especially my lower limbs. I wondered if I have been practising taijiquan with the wrong techniques or perhaps, I have grown weaker as I aged. I observed that the seniors in the group were able to follow through the warm ups and all the movements without difficulty. Since they were able to do it, I told myself that I must be able to do it too since I am much younger and hence I persevered.
As the days, weeks and months slowly passed, I began to feel that the aches were lesser and my recovery period was shorter than before. Best of all, I can feel that my lower limbs had strengthened. To give an example, since I am still active in basketball and after learning taijiquan, I am able to go head to head with the bigger sized players on the court. The way I stand, the way I lower myself, the way I relax my body and the way I balance myself, make it difficult for the bigger sized players to take advantage of me now.
Another obvious benefit I noticed is that my immune system strengthened after practising taijiquan. I used to catch minor illness like flu, cold, cough, fever easily but since I started practising taijiquan, all these symptoms seem to diminish from my life. I am currently in much better health and fall ill less frequently.
In addition to the health benefits, learning taijiquan also helps to cultivate me to be a better person. I used to be short tempered hence it was affecting my personal life and work life. Sometimes I end up making rash decisions that I later regret. As my work requires multitasking and I used to be unable to focus. The practice of taijiquan consists of slow, smooth, calm movements and incorporated with mindfulness through meditation. Hence, throughout my taijiquanlearning journey, I realized that by taking a step back and slowing down the pace, I am able to see a broader picture instead of pursuing immediate emotions. Mediation plays a big part as it calms my mind regardless of the situation I am in, and empower me to focus and analyze for the best possible outcome.
Best part of learning taijiquan is that I get to know a group of lovely people from different walks of life coming together, learning taijiquan together and have fun. I simply love the energy and laughter of the Bedok class.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shifu, Master Rennie Chong for his selflessness and willingness to share far more than the art of taijiquan. Thank you for your guidance, patience in correcting my mistakes, detailed explanation for every posture and encouragement to me to challenge my limits. To truly master the art of taijiquan requires upmost perseverance and I know that the future trainings will be more challenging. All these are beneficial to me and I greatly appreciate your coaching. I am fortunate and excited to be a part of RCTTC's family.
I would also like to thank Shishu Chia, Shixiong Seet and BC, Shijie Shin in Bedok class whom have also shared valuable advices on how I can improve myself.