Master Chong's way of teaching is down-to-earth, approachable and warm
by Eelin Khaw
I have been studying taijiquan with Master Chong for 17 months. When I first started, I did not know who he was and was not sure whether he was a genuine taiji master as I had ‘discovered’ him through the internet. His senior students assured me that I was in good hands as Master Chong has been teaching for over 20 years and is well versed in various forms of martial arts (cudgel and sword) as well as a few forms of taijiquan.
Despite this reassurance, I was a bit hesitant as I was not just looking for any teacher, I was look for someone who - to put it bluntly, “who would not be wasting my time”. As with any form of training, one needs to have a good teacher in order to make progress. A good taiji teacher should: (1) have mastered what he is teaching, (2)be able to teach, (3)generously share his knowledge, (4)be passionate about what he is teaching, (4)be able to spot each student’s ability and capability and teach them accordingly, (5)be patient and (6)care about his students. Master Chong fulfils all these criteria.
Taijiquan is Master Chong’s main passion. He teaches 6 days out of 7 and conducts private and public classes (in English, Mandarin and Cantonese), from beginners to the advanced level (push hands technique). Despite knowing all the other martial art forms, Master Chong prefers Cheng Man Ching’s 37 Step as this form is not physically stressful on our joints and would be more beneficial for health and mobility in the long term. A few of Master Chong’s students who had serious health issues such as asthma, stroke and leg problems have been cured through undergoing taiji training. As for myself, my blood circulation has improved, recurring backaches have disappeared and I have not visited the doctor for coughs and colds since I started practising.
Taijiquan is not easy to learn. It is a lifetime commitment if you wish to master it. To have a good teacher is also not enough. The student must be prepared to go through the training and have the patience to learn the same step over and over again, week after week, until it’s almost perfect without complaining.
Mr Chong’s classes are conducted in the traditional way: 45 minutes of warm up to build strength, flexibility and balance, 15 minutes of qikong and standing meditation, followed by taiji training. Instructions given are always straightforward and easy to understand. His style is down-to-earth, approachable and warm.
Master Chong has always said that he is not here to teach us to ‘dance‘ - taijiquan is not about developing the form without substance. His philosophy is to teach his students to develop the inner substance after learning the form, to produce quality students not quantity students.
Thank you Master Chong. Your advice and instructions are much appreciated.