My Journey into Taiji Quan
by Angelina Chan
I have heard so much about the health benefits which a person could derive from practising Taiji Quan. As I do not have any background in Taiji Quan, I know that it is very important to find myself a good teacher to coach me from scratch. By chance, and indeed I was very fortunate that I got to know Master Rennie Chong, a Taiji Master, who is also a Chinese physician and an acupuncturist.
Master Chong has formulated a set of warming-up and Qigong exercises. For a start, if practised on a regular basis, these exercises would provide a very good foundation for beginners when they move on to learning the 37-Step Yang Style Taiji Quan (modified by Grand Master Professor Cheng Man Ching).
It has been approximately 20 months since I first started to learn Taiji Quan. Master Chong is an excellent teacher. However, a student could only benefit through his/her own hard work. My first couple of lessons were very tough as my body starts to respond and adjust to these strenuous exercises. Despite the muscle aches, I persevered and continued to practise regularly on my own, that is, in between my weekly Taiji classes. Soon, I began to feel my muscles toning up; my body becoming more relaxed, supple and less tensed; my joints are no longer so stiff and becoming more flexible. I also learned how to use my Tan Tien during my Taiji Meditation and Qigong exercises; the art of balancing myself with a better understanding of the force of gravity; improving on my posture and having a stronger back as my back muscles got strengthened. During each practice session, I find myself soaking wet with perspiration from head to toe. I really feel fresh and energetic after each practice session.
Master Chong has also imparted us with the theoretical aspects too. There is always a reason for each Taiji Quan movement which must be done correctly (to avoid any injury) and he would explain to us the reasons, with a demonstration to make us understand even better. He constantly reminds us that learning Taiji Quan is on-going and is not about just the practical aspects and the related health benefits but also helps to nurture and cultivate a studentís inner character and patience. However, if a person who is unable to behave himself/herself or creates animosity among friends and fellow students, that person cannot be called a true Taiji student. Hence, Taiji would become a part of our daily lives and that is the spirit of Taiji.
Having just completed learning the full set of the 37-Step Yang Style Taiji Quan, which still needs to be continuously fine tuned by Master Chong, is just the beginning of yet another journey for me towards a further understanding in depth about Taiji Quan. He would be there to guide me through this tireless, endless and fruitful journey into becoming a better Taiji Quan student.
18 November 2009