Tai Chi with Master Rennie Chong
by Dr Song Tiong Beng, Timothy
I started Tai Chi with Sifu, Master Rennie Chong, in July 1984 in NUS, when I was then a First Year Medical student. At that time I had some experiences in Tae Kwon Do. I remember with fondness now, but not then as you will see why as I go on, the basic training we had then. I remember Sifu making us sit low during the basic exercises. How we would complain behind his back that our legs are painful and in cramps then. I remember after each training session we would all dread see staircases as we can't lft our legs up for almost one week. And when our legs recovered, we put ourselves at his mercy again only not to walk for another week. It went on week after week and the duration of leg cramps got shorter. Finally, we could take the training without any problems to the legs.
I still remember that was not the end. Sifu then wanted us to learn to absorb force and to take falls. How he threw us to the wall when our posture was not perfect. We took it without much complain, after all he was our master. But we became stronger then. And our form improved.
But what he did then was to teach us more than Tai Chi. he taught us, especially me as I now fully understand, LIFE. Life for one begins with good foundation. There is an easy way out to life without a strong foundation. And when challenged we fail.
Once the foundation is laid, we have to strengthen every other aspect of ourselves. To make us stronger, both in spirit and in body. I see Tai Chi not only as a means of building up the body, and now since I have committed myself fully to the Art for the last three years, the spirit and character.
Thank you Sifu. There is much more I could write, but time and space don't permit.
Dr Song Tiong Beng, Timothy
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 11 August 2005