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

Vol. 01-2003

Dear Tai Chi enthusiast,

We had a great start to the year with Prof. Yek’s Seminars in Hamilton and Christchurch. There were many instructors from the North Island attending the Christchurch seminar.

The seminars were on the basic definitions of the Pakua (Eight Trigrams) and the Five Element Theory and its relevence to Tai Chi Chuan. Prof. Yek said that improvement in Tai Chi Chuan depends on the improving the accuracy of the fundamentals, and the Pakua and Five Elements are the cornerstones of the fundamentals.

He also talked about ‘Yi’ or intent of the mind. He clearly described what is meant by a higher level of ‘Yi’ and how to attain it.

This follows last year series of seminars in Christchurch, Wellington & Auckland on ‘redundant energy’, ‘redundant force’, spiralling plane and silk entwining energy. We are very fortunate to have Prof. Yek explain these important things to us as information like this is only rarely mentioned in some books and even then with little help to practical usage.

In a few weeks time, most of Sing Ong Tai Chi senior instructors will be attending the 3rd SOTC Instructor Camp in which more advanced information about Tai Chi Chuan will be divulged by Prof. Yek together with much intensive practical training. This should provide an even stronger base of information for our organisation.

This year we have introduced the first level training programme sheet where each class and item studied are recorded. This will provide an excellent guide and short term goals for training.

Grading for the Six Muscles & Joints Relaxation Exercises & Five Relaxing Exercises were similarly introduced. We should see better results in the newer students with this step by step programme.

Learning Tai Chi Chuan is about having the vision to see what Tai Chi Chuan can offer and having the faith & determination to persue it.

First of all, the teacher must have the information to teach. This must be well proven and not mere theoretical speculation.

Secondly, it is up to the student to receive this information and try to understand it. Much as the teacher like to transmit this information, receiving relies solely on the student effort and ability.

The wise teacher have to ration what is taught for the student’s welfare as the student need to be ready to receive the appropriate level of information. Otherwise, it is detrimental to the students progress and in some cases ruin their chances of success completely.

It is also the teacher’s perogative to withold vital information from students that are disrespectful, lazy, selfish or untrustworthy.

Finally, after receiving the information, the student must accept it fully and practise it until the skill is acquired.

All the wonderful theoretical secrets are of no use if the student does not train daily to cultivate the skills. Insufficient and/or irregular training will result in stagnation if not regression.

However, learning and training Tai Chi Chuan should not be a chore to be suffered, but a challenge to be enjoyed. It is only when it is enjoyed that the higher levels can be attained.

Those with little faith will train with apprehension, often saying that only one or two people seem to have a chance of getting it. In fact lately, alot more students & instructors are making very good progress. Therefore, it proves that if you have faith and determination and a well informed teacher you can get to the higher levels of Tai Chi Chuan.

This year Mrs Diane Ammar taught our small group in Sydney when she was over there. I have also conducted various seminars around the country.

At the Picton seminar, I gave brief account of the history of Tai Chi Chuan and how Tai Chi Chuan was regarded as one of the most advanced if not the most powerful martial art. In fact, it is still dipicted as the highest level of martial art in the modern productions of ancient Chinese martial arts epics such as "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon". The hero and heroine were from the Wu Tang School, Tai Chi Chuan founding institution. The exploits of Yang Lu Chan, founder of the Yang Style, were also well documented. Yet sadly, most people do not even know or believe that Tai Chi Chuan is a credible martial art. This include many people who are practising Tai Chi Chuan.

This is because Tai Chi Chuan is unlike any other martial art in its application in using no force and minute movements. Unless the very high threshold of accurate form and adherence to the principles of Tai Chi Chuan is reached, it does not work. More often than not Tai Chi Chuan practised does not reach this level and therefore is only practised as a stress relieving and rehabilitation exercise.

It is very refreshing to know that Prof. Cheng Man Cheng, Prof. Huang Sheng Shyan & Prof. Yek have always taught Tai Chi Chuan as a supreme martial art.

Because of its subtlety, the effectiveness of Tai Chi Chuan is not always evident to everyone when it is not used in life and death combat. The great masters naturally have no wish to demonstrate the full extent of Tai Chi Chuan’s potency at the expense of death and injury, or be the specimen of tiresome testing by the ignorant and/or skeptical.

The great masters are only interested to talk to the individuals who can follow the theory to its logical conclusion and is sufficently educated physically, to feel the comprehensiveness of the combat strategy and extreme refinement of the Tai Chi Chuan master in ‘Pushing Hands’ exercise. Prof. Yek often asks, "Why play chess with a player who does not know the rules?" It is frustrating and a waste of time to play chess with a player who does not know what checkmate is and insist on playing on.

Though it is more than enough justification to pracise Tai Chi Chuan as a health enhancing exercise, students should try to understand the complete function and theory of Tai Chi Chuan to derive the full complement of the health benefits. Pushing Hands Exercise should be used to help in checking the level of development of the student even though the martial art applications are not the main aim the student.

I hope you are able to make class regularly to make sure that you are on the right track and is enjoying your own daily training.

May Chi be with you.

S C Chan

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