Reflections from Senior Master Chin Min
In 2015, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Celestial Tai Chi College. It was a milestone to celebrate! It was also a time to look back and to see what we have achieved and to take note of what we have done that brought us to where we are today. It is also a time to set clear directions to chart the course of the College for the years ahead.
The Two Masters
The College is unique in that we have two masters with very different skill sets and character, but with a common thread between them and that is their passion and love for tai chi.
As for myself, I commenced my martial arts training in 1970 as a young 14-year old kid, learning judo to fend off bigger boys in school, but subsequently developed a love for other martial arts. Taekwondo and later Budokan Karate became my obsession, which culminated in my completing a Karate Black Belt grade in 1979.
From then on, the attraction of Chinese martial arts pulled me away from karate to dwell on various Chinese martial arts before focussing on tai chi and qigong. In the early 1980s, I began seeking tutelage from various tai chi masters in my native Malaysia, including masters from the renowned Chin Woo Martial Arts School. Later, in the early 1990s, I trained at the Shanghai Institute of Sports in China under the watchful eyes of Professor Chew Ping Xiang.
In the midst of all these martial arts pursuits, I completed my teaching qualification and went on to become a high school teacher, a position I held for 12 years until my move to Australia in 1987. These teaching skills, honed over many years, as well as the exposure to various masters have all translated into imparting the knowledge and skills of tai chi. Teachers of tai chi are many but good teachers are few!
Birth of Good Tai Chi Teachers
One of the contributing factors to the success of the College is the strategy of nurturing and inspiring people in your care. To succeed, one must help others succeed. Over the years, the Masters have spent time to train and nurture our people and they in turn train and nurture others. This is particularly so not only in passing on knowledge and skills but passion and character.
Personally, I do not believe in putting someone who learns tai chi through a weekend instruction course or for that matter a few months of tai chi instruction course with the view of transforming a tai chi practitioner into a good tai chi teacher.
I believe in the old traditional way of grooming a good tai chi teacher. The person follows the teacher, learns and imitates the teacher’s every move, observes how the teacher teaches and catches on the passion and dedication of the teacher.
Only then will you see the birth of a good tai chi teacher. In our College, I have ensured that all instructors are groomed in such a way. Those who have been mentored in my classes bear witness to this.
From Humble Beginnings....
The Celestial Tai Chi College had a humble beginning. Grand Master Eng Chor and I together with our two families made Melbourne our home in December 1989. We studied the demographics of the city, walked the streets of our suburbs, distributing our tai chi flyers, and by early 1990, four tai chi centres were set up.
We were instructors and assistants to each other and by the year’s end, new helpers joined the team. In early 1991, two other centres were opened and from then on, Celestial Tai Chi College began to make its presence felt in Victoria. Today we are one of the major reputable tai chi schools in Victoria and Australia.
Here I wish to pay special tribute to my wife, Beng Yan, who for the last 25 years has not only enabled me to do what I have done, but has been working hard behind the scene, providing administrative support to the College and the pleasant voice behind every call that comes to the College office. She is also a skilled and experienced tai chi teacher.
.... to the Road Ahead
For the years ahead, Celestial Tai Chi College is even more committed to bringing the richness of tai chi to all people. To this end we continue to strive for excellence in our teaching, enhance the skill sets of our teachers, improve our communication via social media and the internet, increase interactions with our communities and health organisations as well as active participation in the Wushu, Tai Chi & Qigong communities both locally and internationally.