I always look forward to the Celestial Tai Chi College park lessons where I’m met by other enthusiastic learners from centres all over Melbourne. We come together to practise out in the open air, enveloped by trees and sky, in connection with the natural world within our urban parks. It was at my first park lesson in Malvern’s Central Park (having only just learnt Level 1), spellbound watching Master Chin Min perform the Tai Chi Flute Form, when I knew I’d begun a very special journey. I was truly inspired from that first experience and my interest and enjoyment have continued to grow as I deepen my understanding of guiding principles and try to refine my Tai Chi and Qigong practice. Park lessons help to motivate me, and I’m encouraged by others who are dedicated to achieving the effortless flow demonstrated by the Masters.
At park lessons, familiar faces that bring warmth and a sense of community and belonging include instructors from other centres, such as Suzette and Dave. These experienced individuals offer opportunities to consolidate the learning we achieve at our regular classes and it’s enjoyable hearing about their own unique Tai Chi stories. Through their varied approach and style I’ve had the opportunity to understand particular movements in different ways, especially with regard to martial arts applications and synchronising the breath. Both instructors have learnt with the Masters at Celestial College for many years and it is wonderful, as a novice, to receive their encouragement and guidance.
Although it often feels that I’m only just at the very beginning of my Tai Chi journey, I recognise that I’m seeing results from my applied dedication and effort. At park lessons I now enjoy completing the College Yang 108-movement form easily and feel confident wherever I am positioned within the group. It’s fulfilling when I’m able to match the tempo of those around me, feel the collective chi, and enjoy the synchronicity shared when practising Tai Chi with so many others. Recently, while learning the 32 Sword Form, I’m now starting to develop fluency and am able to apply more of the philosophy that Master Chin Min teaches us. So, when we had the recent opportunity to watch him perform the 32 Sword Form at our last park session to celebrate ‘30 plus one years’, it was pure delight and I was reminded of the first time I attended a park lesson. These gatherings also generate a large audience for Masters to perform for and to share their wisdom and knowledge of Tai Chi and Qigong. The authenticity and artistry of Celestial Tai Chi College is evident to all who attend lessons in the various centres around Melbourne, and what’s great about the park lessons is that newcomers are welcome to discover Tai Chi for the first time — and be inspired!
Melanie Atma Gertler
Student, South Yarra Tai Chi Centre
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Updated: 3 June 2021