A novice student’s perspective – 2 years on

I was always fascinated by the idea of practising Tai Chi. Calm, graceful and meditative qualities come to mind, and the dynamic of a Tai Chi group in unison always impressed me. Back at Christmas 2018, feeling overwhelmed with a busy family, home and work life to manage, I was looking for some calm…just for me. I chose to join a Tai Chi Class as my 2019 New Year’s resolution.

From day 1 at the South Yarra class, I was hooked! The pilot light in my belly was ignited. I distinctly remember feeling the warmth in the palms of my hands at the end of my first class and marvelling at the possible discovery of the presence of chi! But back then, in my mind, it was all about memorising the physical routine, and it couldn’t happen quick enough, in my naive impatience, to “complete” the College 108-movement Yang Form that year.

Into my second year in 2020 and during lockdown times, my work slowed down considerably, so I had time to improve my form. It gave me a much-needed escape, plenty of time now to meditate in motion. It involved a lot of watching/rewatching of YouTube clips from Celestial Tai Chi in the quest to improve my form (I considerably upped the view count of some of these videos!) I branched out, reading up (and watching yet more YouTube clips) on related aspects of martial arts, Taoism, Chinese language and culture, medicine. One might call it obsessed. I don’t think my husband would have disagreed! Best of all, under VIC rules, I was able to share my “passion” with my Tai Chi buddy as we practised, socially distant, and with masks on, in our local park throughout our imposed lockdown. At the end of that year, we were both proud of our achievements in Tai Chi. More on that later...

We are now well into 2021, and back to class. It feels great to be back, and these days, my mind buzzes with the thoughts on internal body mechanics, the concept of “song/relax”, the strengthening of my lower abdomen area, grounding of my feet, martial art application, and more. (Yes, I think too much!). To me, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, I am filling in the detail to complete a picture, but the picture is never complete. It just gets bigger. The more I learn, I realise how much more there is to learn. This is going to be long haul.. but that's ok!

Now back to my Tai Chi buddy. I declared my New Year’s resolution at the beginning of 2019 to a group of friends, with accountability in mind. It began a wonderful Tai Chi partnership with my good friend Mel. We share a car to class, practise regularly, discuss learnings, critique each other and generally revel in sharing our passion. Lucky me. They say, you are a Tai Chi beginner for at least 10 years! Mel and I talk often about enjoying the Art when we are well into our 80s and beyond. So, we have time. I relish the thought, and wonder where Tai Chi will take me in the future.

Actually, my very first exposure to Tai Chi was technically back in 2001. I learned parts of Level 1 form with the Ashburton group, but left “temporarily” with the imminent arrival of my first-born child. I always intended to return. It took me 17 years. I’m so glad I did.
My thanks and appreciation to Senior Master Chin Min and the South Yarra team for igniting the spark, and for your continued guidance. And to the wider Celestial Tai Chi Community, from many of whom I have drawn knowledge and inspiration.

Mee Chee Chan, Student
Student, South Yarra Tai Chi Centre

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Updated: 3 June 2021