I started learning Taijiquan when I was 44 years old. I discovered it by chance when a good friend of mine encouraged me to join David Bao’s class in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. At that time, I was learning the Yang style Tai Chi Chuan from David. Two years later, David taught us the Chen style.
Now, into my 6th year in Tai Chi Chuan, I must say its benefits are very tangible. I have seen substantial improvement in myself in terms of agility, nimbleness, flexibility, strength and resilience. I also have stronger rooting, better sense of balance, improved posture and a leaner body. My health has definitely improved and I have never felt stronger.
More significantly, Tai Chi Chuan, unlike other exercises which emphasize on outer movements and the physical body, it emphasizes on the development of inner awareness and mindfulness. The building blocks of “fang song”, “rou”, slowness and alertness help me to develop control over my movements and progressively feel more deeply on each posture, movement and oneself. As a result, there is a development of mind body awareness and a calming effect of the mind.
What I discover from my years of learning is the importance of having a good teacher. Tai Chi Chuan is a subtle art. A little tweak in the posture or movement has an enormous effect on the body coordination, balance and force. If you don’t have a good teacher, you may end up doing the wrong technique or form for a long time without realizing it. You need a good teacher to point out all these little tweaks to you. I consider myself fortunate to have met and able to learn the Tai Chi Chuan art from David.
Being a student of David Bao, I find he has a deep and profound knowledge of the art. The remarkable thing about him is that he is able to impart the knowledge to his students in a very simple and easy to understand manner. His teachings entail breaking down difficult postures or movements into simple, step by step, easy to learn form. Being young and supple, he is able to physically demonstrate all difficult postures and movements full with grace, poise and softness, and show the highest level of Tai Chi Chuan practice to his students so that they will have an impression of the level of which Tai Chi Chuan can be done. He is also very generous and is willing to disclose the subtleties and the deeper teachings of Tai Chi Chuan to his students.
Tai Chi Chuan is very deep and profound in its philosophy, culture and practices. It is also very ancient and had been refined and refined to perfection over many generations of great grandmasters. It is considered as one of the finest and highest arts in the Chinese culture. I have been watching kung fu movies for more than 40 years since I was young. I cannot remember any of the kung fu movies where Tai Chi Chuan master was or is ever defeated.
As I had been encouraged to learn Taijiquan, I would similarly encourage and strongly urge everyone to learn the art. It is precious and invaluable.
Chong Koon San
29th March 2017
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