My Affinity With The Wonderful Art-Taiji Quan
by Jaleen Ho
When I first started learning Taiji Quan, I thought it is no different from other types of quan. However, as I advanced, this thinking was proved wrong, I came to a conclusion that Taiji Quan is in fact, a wonderful art and the recipe to better health.
I began learning Taiji softball from Master Chong in 2005. However, after learning that he is an excellent Taiji Quan master as well as a qualified TCM physician , we pleaded with him to teach us Taiji Quan and he readily agreed. Since then, the qi of Taiji Quan began to circulate in me and is getting stronger and stronger as days go by.
Learning Taiji Quan from Master Chong is no easy task. The warm up exercises at the beginning of the class which are meant to loosen up the ligaments and tendons to prepare for Taiji Quan, are quite tedious. After the first few lessons, I felt some parts of my body ache as the exercises are quite demanding on the muscles which are not used much in normal daily activities. Master Chong ensured me that the pain will subside when I’m ‘seasoned’ to it. All my pain and efforts are repaid with a stronger body. Master Chong also takes great care in ensuring our correct posture to reduce the chances of getting injured which I think is very important in the process of learning Taiji Quan.
The 37 strokes of Taji Quan need to be mastered before Master Chong highlighted the subtle points of Taiji Quan, which I find are difficult to master. He requires us to execute Taiji Quan in a gentle fashion and should be slow in motion in a continuous manner and at the same time try to feel the qi in our body by focusing on the ‘dan tian’and qi forming in the marrow of the bones will result in a strong skeletal structure. Qi is the vital energy of the body. We have to learn to cultivate our body’s vital energy and use it to heal and strengthen every system throughout the body.
We are also told to hold our head and spine upright; relax the chest and shoulder muscles; use our waist and hip power; be totally relaxed, yet alert and many more that are hidden to the eye.
Although I make mistakes when I practise Taiji Quan, I believe through diligent and correct practice, my blood circulation; muscle strength; range of movements of joints and my health will improve greatly. The problems with my spine and heart palpitation lessen since I started to learn Taiji Quan and I rarely consult the doctor thus saving on medical expenses.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Master Chong for all the patience and care he has given me and look forward to ‘explore’ the wonderful art with him.
11 November 2009