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Art of life


Michael Koh

I have always wanted to learn Taichi when I was young. However, wushu, then in the 70's, was linked with gangsters activities and classes were only available at Geylang area which did not portray any healthy elements especially to a Christian family. In church (and I suspect in most churches), qigong was deemed anti-christian and Taichi was thought to be founded by an ancient Taoist Zhang San Feng, so you can expect objections from church leaders as well.

Thirty years later, my older son wanted to learn Taichi. You can expect certain amount of skepticism from me. However, after a little search on the internet, I began to realize that studies with healthy and positive results have been made on practice of Taichi. I thought maybe if I were to sit by the side and observe the teachings and make sure I am there to correct the religious aspect, I guess a little Taichi should be ok for my son. My son's first lesson by Master Chong, one early Saturday morning, included me in a introduction to Taichi. What Master Chong taught was about body mechanics, leg muscles training, knee and back positions, all reminded me of physiotherapy I once had for my bad knees. That was a whole new understanding of Taichi. I did a internet search and read up as much information I can get. There was no Zhang San Feng in Taichi, in fact, the art was created in Chen Jia Gou in WenXian, Henan. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen-style_tai_chi_chuan) I also read how Yang style was formed and how Zheng Man Ching shortened and compiled the 37 styles which Master Chong is teaching now. Taichi had nothing to do with Taoism. What I feared when I was a kid were all misconception and wrong information. I went back to Master Chong's class the next Saturday, paid for my first lesson and ever since fell in love with the art.

Today, my two sons and myself practice Taichi at least four times a week and almost daily during their school holidays. I spend quality time with my sons sharing the same passion and interest. I see Taichi as one of the many wisdoms God has given to mankind to understand our body and keeping our temple healthy, like acupuncture and medicine. It is not about religion at all. No need to say, health has improved for me and my sons who were inflicted with asthmatic cough when they were little. My bad knees have improved, annual bronchitis cough did not happened since the first year of learning Taichi. I am glad that I found Master Chong. He makes sure the stances are correct, explains the moves and picks up details. I have seen many teachers at gardens doing Taichi as "dance" and poor students follow only the form. With Master Chong, he leads us over pot-holes in the learning and make sure we get maximum benefits from the art. Taichi is definitely an art for life.



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