Chan Seng Chee's newsletter for Sing Ong Tai Chi branches affiliated through him.

Vol. 01-2001

Dear Tai Chi enthusiast,

This year has been wonderful for our Tai Chi Chuan training. There were many excellent seminars by Prof. Yek in March and in October throughout New Zealand and a large number of our students have made good progress.

Certificates for the 42 Universal Form were awarded to Marcus Simons, Alex Yong, Diane Ammar, Sean O'Neil and Manle Chan whereas I was awarded one for Prof. Cheng's 37 Form.

This July Prof. Yek held our first International Instructor's Camp in Auckland. Master James Lim 9th Dan (8th Dan ITF) and his wife Julia from Canada, most of the Sing Ong Tai Chi North Island instructors, Mr Mike Kinney, Mr Marcus Simons, Kin and me were the participants.

The Camp was a very special event with Prof. Yek revealing the very important structural aspects of Tai Chi Chuan through the Six Tendon & Bones Relaxation Exercises. We also spent considerable time on Push Hands and Shao Li (an important drill in the Yang Tai Chi Chuan syllabus). It was particularly good to interact with everyone and compare notes as well as learning of the rarely under-stood vital information.

The camp location was very condusive to our needs as it was peaceful and the surroundings quite natural and yet it was handy enough for getting meals and other supplies. The facilities were satisfactory and cost very reasonable. The scraping of cooking arrangements for lunch and dinner was a good idea as we needed all the time between classes to eat, discuss Tai Chi or rest.

The special instructor camps will be essential to the development of instructors skills because the general seminars are often restricted in topics (though not in content) to the lowest common denominator of those attending. Although it cost a considerable amount of time and money especially for those from far away places, it is the only way for instructors to be taught as efficiently as possible.

I would like to repeat Prof. Yek's advice on 1) seminars, 2) appreciation and 3) learning.

Seminars: "It is important that you attend all seminars. There are alot of things you need. Those who have attended seminars and listen to the facts, compared to those not having this information, display a big difference. Some people listen attentively and some are less attentive.If you come with an indifferent attitude then what you hear will not be useful. If you have been training hard since the last seminar, what you will pick up in the next seminar will be different. If the material given to you in the last seminar have not been digested, every seminar will seem the same. Even if more explanation is provided or a demonstration given, you will still not understand. If you have digested well, you will have alot of notes to write about your new insights."

Appreciation: "If you cannot appreciate it, you cannot absorb it. If you look at Tai Chi Chuan and think it is simple, then what you can learn is the simple stuff. Look at 'Up and Down' for instance. If it looks very simple and you think you can do it, then you have a very limited vision. You will find that it will not work when you try to apply it. But if it is done correctly, a very soft movement can be totally effective. When you get caught out by something soft you will know that there is something in it."

Learning: "One thing you must know is how to listen and after listening, you must know how to train. You have to gain a certain standard before you can understand the next level. There are many types of students today. Some are casual about their training and are quite happy to do it simply whereas some others are very serious. There are some students who are very serious but cannot develop. There are alot of people who work really hard but do not like to look nor listen. They can perform the whole set but will stop at that level of performance. You have to look, listen, think and practice. When you practice, you must practice carefully. Do not think that just because you train every day you have to improve.

In Tai Chi Chuan there are many circles, one after another. There are at least eight fundamental circles. Only when you have completed the first does the second become visible.To see the circles you have to be guided. Even if your guide wants to take you to the next circle, you cannot get there if you are not ready. Some people think they have it when they only have one circle. Even if they want to be led, they cannot be led. You have to be very humble to be taken to the next level. Once you can see the next circle you have to practise really hard so you can get it. Some of you may have the feeling that in the past you cannot understand, but now you can. That is important. You have already learnt how to listen. When you can understand, training is more interesting and there is a way to go. If you are stuck, you have run out of pathways and you will be bored or frustrated."

Therefore, when you really understand the nature of learning Tai Chi Chuan, you would appreciate the necessity to attend seminars to look, listen, think and afterward to train seriously to succeed.

Success or more accurately substantial and continued progress is not an impossible dream as it does not need super talent or superhuman effort. All you need is alot of patience, commitment and faith to follow the right instructions.

You have to put your effort in the fundamentals rather than more moves, forms or applications. The quality of the fundamentals derived from the 6 and 5 Exercises will enhance the quality of the form and the applications subsequently.

The good progress of many members in the last twelve months is testimony to this edit. The advanced class in Christchurch is ready to practise "Pushing Hands" regularly.

Enjoy your training and good health.

May Chi be with you.

S C Chan

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