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MY PAPER FRIDAY MARCH 6, 2009

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PART 12

HUAYU ALIVE!

Take a journey into the Chinese way of wellness, in this 13-part series published in conjunction with the Speak Mandarin Campaign. You can also view these articles online at www.stomp.com.sg

mind, body and soul with Mandarin

Join the Fluid Movement

Taijiquan is gaining fans among young S’poreans with its health benefits

CHEN JINGTING

T AIJIQUAN is often mis-

taken as a form of exercise

only for the old.

However, more and more y oung Singaporeans are realis- ing the health benefits – and dif- ficulties – of learning the seem- ingly languid martial art. Just ask freelance multime- dia designer Kenrick Goh, 29, w ho has been practising taiji- quan for 10 years. He told my paper: “Taiji- quan seems slow and easy to learn. But there’s a lot more to it. It requires a lot of muscle con- trol and coordination.” He is a student at Xin Ying W ushu Training Centre at Wa- terloo Street, which conducts tai- j iquan and qigong courses.

It also offers wushu classes for adults and children, and holds corporate courses for com- panies. The centre has seen a 30 per cent spike in the number of w orking adults aged between 20 and 40 signing up for taijiquan. It has more than 80 partici- pants now, an increase from 60 last year. They come from various in- dustries, such as the IT and b anking sectors, said Master May Tan Mui Buay, who found- ed the centre in 1993. A taijiquan teacher for about 20 years, she won a South-east A sia Games wushu gold in taiji- quan when the event was held in Singapore in 1993. According to Xin Ying’s project manager, Mr Li Yunxiu, 27, the centre has almost 500 members. Master Tan said: “Taijiquan strengthens one’s immune sys- tem. Hence, practitioners are less likely to fall sick.” She added that a practitioner can see an improvement in his overall well-being as early as one month after taking it up, if he practises properly. Practising taijiquan also helps in relaxation and de-stress- ing. According to Mr Goh, he could concentrate on his work b etter while feeling less stressed b y it, after taking up taijiquan.

feeling less stressed b y it, after taking up taijiquan. ATTUNED TO HEALTH: Master May Tan

ATTUNED TO HEALTH: Master May Tan (centre) and taijiquan practitioners (from left) Kenrick Goh, Luey Bing Lun, Norvin Chandra and Li Yunxiu say the martial art improves well-being. (PHOTOS: JAMIE KOH)

Student Luey Bing Lun, 18, also found it easier to cope with stress after he picked up the martial art two years ago. “When practising taijiquan, I’m disciplined (in) emptying my mind in order to relax. Now, when I get stressed about school- work, I would also empty my mind to relax,” he said.

He added that he used to be an impatient person, but can now better manage his emo- tions. However, Master Tan was quick to point out that practis- ing taijiquan alone is not enough to ensure an illness-free life. “Some people have the mis-

conception that learning taiji- quan will prevent them from fall- ing sick. That’s not true,” she said. “Your lifestyle and dietary habits play a part as well.” She added that working peo- ple tend to suffer from tight shoulder muscles and necks be- cause they work too hard with- out proper rest.

MARTIAL ART TALKS

TAIJIQUANMARTIAL ART TALKS MARTIAL ART A workshop on Hunyuan Tai Chi, a form of taijiquan that

MARTIAL ART

A workshop on Hunyuan

Tai Chi, a form of taijiquan that helps to relax one’s body and mind and streng- then the immune system, by Master May Tan. Con- ducted in English, with key Chinese terms highlighted. When: Saturday,

2.30-3.30pm

Where: The Plaza, National

Library

WING CHUNSaturday, 2.30-3.30pm Where: The Plaza, National Library MARTIAL ART A demonstration and work- shop on Wing

MARTIAL ART

A demonstration and work-

shop on Wing Chun, a form

of close-range martial art which develops a person’s intrinsic energy, by Master Chua Kah Joo. Conducted

in English, with key Chinese

terms highlighted. When: Saturday, 4-5pm

Where: The Plaza, National

Library

She urged them to have bal- ance – the fundamental princi- ple of taijiquan – in their lives. Her advice: “Don’t just wor k and work. You need time to re- lax as well.”

jtchen@sph.com.sg

work. You need time to re- lax as well.” jtchen@sph.com.sg WHAT IS HUNYUAN TAI CHI? HUNYUAN

WHAT IS HUNYUAN TAI CHI?

HUNYUAN Tai Chi is a style of taijiquan developed by Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang from China. It is suitable for a wider age group of practi- tioners as its moves are slower and more fluid. “It helps its practitioners to remain calm and relaxed,” said Mr Li Yunxiu (right), project manager of Xin Ying Wushu Training Centre. On top of that, learning this form of taijiquan also strengthens core body muscles, improves flexibility, enhances coordination and fortifies the immune system. This year, Xin Ying will introduce its Hunyuan Tai Chi Baton course, which teaches students the fundamentals of this style before they move on to practise more difficult movements.

Master May Tan Mui Buay, founder of the centre, said that those who learn the routine without getting their basics right are missing the essence of taijiquan. She said: “To them, learning taijiquan is just memorising a sequence of steps. They get stressed when they cannot remember or keep up with the steps. They may also end up with joint pains because they are not learning the steps right.” Courses are conducted in English, with Mandarin used for medical terms such as names of acupoints. For more information, call 6338-5626 or visit www.singapore-wushu.com

information, call 6338-5626 or visit www.singapore-wushu.com HELPDESK Languid: Coordination: Disciplined:
HELPDESK Languid: Coordination: Disciplined: Illness-free: wú bìng tòng Dietary habits: #" y ǐ n shí
HELPDESK
Languid:
Coordination:
Disciplined:
Illness-free:
wú bìng tòng
Dietary habits: #"
y ǐ n shí xí guàn
Fundamental:
wú lì de
! xié tiáo
j ī b ě n de
Martial art:
Immune system:
xùn liàn zì j ǐ
(zuò m ǒ u shì)
Misconception:
Balance:
Principle:
w ǔ shù
miǎ n yì xì t ǒ ng
wù ji ě
píng héng
yuán l ǐ