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Taiji - what I know

by Tan Siew Kwang

Before I embarked on this form of martial art, my impression with Taiji exercise is: it does not emphasize speed of the movement, unlike aerobics, it appears slow and it appears to be a low-impact exercise and more often than not, it is more popular and commonly seen and practiced by the masses than the other forms of martial arts.

For about 1 year plus since taking up Taijiquan, I have come to realize that Taiji exercise is not what we usually perceive it to be. Taiji gives us all round training.

Taiji emphasizes more on inner strength development and Qi flow than the form we usually see. Learning it calms down a personís mind in this hectic world. It trains oneís endurance and perseverance. The meditation trains on mind focus.

That is not to say that mastering the form is not at all important, in fact the form, for a novice like me who never get involved with any form of martial art before, is the basic foundation that we should focus on.

To perfect the forms i.e. 37-step form of Zhengzi (originated from Master Cheng Man Ch'ing) Yang style Taiji, we begin with warming up exercise. This exercises help in stretching and strengthening our muscles and relaxing our body so that our mind and body would be ready to perform Taijiquan later.

By going through the strenuous routine, it helps to make our body more flexible and it improves our reflexes that would come in helpful during emergencies like sudden trips and falls. The warming up exercises also help in balancing while we do the forms.

Learning the 37 steps trains our memory recollection. Through the learning of forms, we fine-tune our breathing, body movement and co-ordination i.e. hands and legs would have to be moved in harmony and the speed of the movement and breath would have to be smooth and natural for our body and mind to merge into one. It enhances the overall body-mind co-ordination.

Every lesson and class I attend, there is always more to learn, to know. Learning Taiji does not end after knowing the 37 steps. It is an endless learning and searching for that real feeling of Taiji.

With this note, I would like to thank Master Chong and all seniors who help in bringing me a step closer (and hopefully many more steps closer) to Taiji. Thanks!



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