Why I practise Tai Chi?
by Terence Tan
I started my first Taiji class at my place of work on 13 Sep 2013, it was conducted during our lunch hour on Fridays. After an introductory session with Shifu, we trained under Shijie Jaleen for a few months before continuing at the training centre at Toa Payoh with my wife. Currently, we practise at the Bukit Gombak Sports Complex.
I've always wanted to learn martial arts but didn't act on it until I finally signed up for Aikido on 8 Aug 2011. I trained hard every week for about nine months before passing my first grading session. Although I enjoyed Aikido and the principles of the martial art form, I struggled to remember the form in Japanese terms by heart. Having to constantly do body rolls and break falls during sparring sessions was also physically demanding for my age although Aikido is supposed to be suitable for all ages.
It was the fundamental principle of Tai Chi that attracted me - that of soft power and redirecting an attacking and sometimes more powerful force in self defence or against an assailant. Besides being a martial art form, I also enjoy Tai Chi for its many health benefits in promoting mental and physical well being. I understood this after attending one of many Tai Chi retreats organised by Shifu at Seremban where the foundation and structure more than the form was emphasized during the workshops and practices. I also appreciate the importance of the warm up exercises in building stamina, leg strengthening and improving our sense of balance. The meditation session at the end of the warm up session is especially soothing to the mind.
The graceful and flowing form of Tai Chi is another aspect that appeals to me. After many practice sessions, I am beginning to understand the physical and logical elements of how the steps are connected. I aspire to learn the finer points of the form and with regular practise, hope to achieve a formless understanding of Tai Chi in letting it flow naturally rather than focusing on remembering the steps.
I see myself practising Tai Chi for the years to come especially with age catching up. Thanks again Shifu for your patience and commitment in teaching us the beautiful art of Tai Chi.