My Experience with Tai Chi under Master Rennie Chong
by Stephanie Teh
I took up Tai Chi about 8 years ago and have benefitted from Sifuís teaching. Learning Tai Chi is not as simple as what most people think. Though it is a form of exercise, it has more health benefits when we go in-depth into the learning of Tai Chi. Since Sifuís Tai Chi is not merely an exercise of hands and body movements, it is a martial arts Tai Chi which encompasses the overall body posture, relaxing our shoulders, breathing using our abdomen and not our chest and controlling every movement with the gentleness of our hands, sturdiness of our legs and concentration of our mind. Until now, I am still learning the ropes of Tai Chi from Sifu and I admire those who have achieved intermediate and advanced levels. It certainly takes a lot of practice and determination to improve our skills.
When I first started with Tai Chi, it was quite strenuous on the leg muscles as we do the warm up exercises. What made me decide to continue with Tai Chi was that it helps to build our internal strength, learn to relax and most importantly, picking up self-defence skills.
So far, I feel I have gained the benefits of practising Tai Chi both physically and mentally. Going up several flight of stairs or even the overhead bridges is a breeze for me now. I would also practise breathing exercises whenever I feel stressed.
Although I have learnt the 37-steps of Tai Chi, I still have much room for improvement. It is enlightening to learn the meanings representing the different postures for each step of Tai Chi. In a way, we could picture the meaning during our practice to further improve and appreciate the effectiveness of learning Tai Chi under Sifuís guidance.