This is a personal account on my search for the Taiji Quan.
I like Wushu as a child. In my childhood days Wushu was frowned on in my uncle's family, with whom I lived, and nonsense coming from a girl wanting to learn the art.
My first encounter with Wushu was in my young adult working life. Enrolled for lessons but had to stop after the second month due to work constraints. At that time I had no idea what I was learning. I now know that it was Yang Style Taiji Quan.
I had a wonderful working life. My son was born in 1988. I left my career.
My family was expatriated to Hong Kong in 1993. The next year I joined a Taiji Quan group. I practiced Taiji Quan, wielded the Taiji Sword, Broadsword, Spear and Fan with much enjoyment. I hardly know the name of the routines. I copied and parrot-learn the movements. Being English educated, it was tough understanding and communicating with my teacher and fellow seniors. They speak only Cantonese and write in Chinese. I was not bilingual then. My teacher encouraged me to perform on stage at Wushu Festivals and birthdays. How brave was I then.
In the six years practicing Taiji in Hong Kong, I visited China with my seniors and unknowingly met two great Taiji masters. One in Shenzen while attending his workshop on the Simplified 24 Forms. He is a renown Taiji master on the competition routines of Taiji Quan. The other Taiji master I met separately in Beijing. He is a renown Wu Style Taiji Quan Master. I was more smitten by his antiquated hutong house and the old Beijing alleys. He gave me a book, autographed by him, on the present generation of renown Taiji Masters. I was very ignorant on matters concerning Taiji then and also the book is in Chinese. It took me seven years later to discover that my present Taiji teacher is featured in the book.
My Hong Kong taiji teacher took us to Henan, China and I was in awe with the Shaolin Wushu and Taiji.
Back to Singapore in late 1999, my Hong Kong taiji teacher's senior introduced me to Jing Wu at Neil Road. My Jing Wu teacher died a year later.
I continued Taiji with the Singapore Hui Hwa Pugilistic Art Association. The teacher encouraged me to compete in the 2001 National Wushu Championship Competition. I was sixth position in the Senior Group Taiji Simplified 24 Forms. Senior meaning age fifty years and above. My teacher left the association.
I enrolled in the morning Taiji Quan, Taiji Sword and Taiji Spear classes conducted by our National Wushu Association. The teacher was the then national Taiji coach. I learned the International Taiji Quan 42 Forms, International Taiji Sword 42 Forms and Taiji Spear. Under the encouragement of my second sister and the coach, I took and passed the Taiji Instructor Examination in July 2004. Elated with my result, I entered for the 2004 National Wushu Championship Competition in August 2004. I emerged 8th in the Ladies Open Category Taiji Sword. I competed against our National Taiji Girls Team.
I slowly began to understand some aspects of Taiji Quan.
The Singapore Sports Council was conducting Taiji Quan and Taiji Sword classes throughout Singapore. The teachers were renowned China coaches. I attended the Chen Style Competition Routine class.
I was able to locate my very first Taiji teacher and learned the Traditional Yang Style of Taiji Quan. But the teacher retired after my second year with him.
Met another China coach and learned the Competition Routine of Yang Style Taiji Quan and Taiji Sword. Had to interrupt my Taiji lessons because of time constraints.
Started teaching Taiji Quan in 2005 at an RC and a private club.
In 2005 our National Wushu Federation with The Chinese Wushu Association of China, conducted in Singapore the first Wushu Ranking Examination. I passed the Wushu Fourth Rank.
In between the years 2006 and 2008, met more China coaches visiting Singapore. Learned the Taiji competition routines of Soon Style and Chen Style, Fast Quan, Qigong, Wudang Taiji Sword, Taiji fan, Push Hand, Wushu Spear and Long Tassle Sword.
Taught Taiji Quan and Sword in the primary and secondary schools and corporations.
Attended workshops on Taiji for healing by an Australian medical doctor.
In late 2006 I met my present Taiji teacher when he was visiting Singapore. At last I have found a teacher who not only is authoritative on the Traditional Yang Style Taiji, but one I can continuously go for my taiji upgrading. Since then I have been visiting him in Beijing every year to learn more of this wonderful style of Taiji Quan. He is Master Zhang Yong Tao and also the inspiration for this website.
My sincere gratitude and thanks to all my Taiji teachers and coaches who have helped me on this journey in search of the Taiji Quan of my choice.
My Motto: Begin with an interest. Passionate on the journey.
Quek Keng Hwang