About our Tai Chi
Tai Chi, also spelled Taiji, Taijiquan, or T'ai Chi Ch'uan, is an exercise of weight transfer, slow and gentle, taught in a sequence of movements and postures. There are many variations of styles taught in China and around the world.
Although tai chi has its roots in martial arts, our tai chi exercise is focused on the health benefits. Practiced diligently, tai chi can improve circulation and flexibility, leading to improved health and a sense of greater vitality.
Our tai chi exercise follows the tai chi set of Master Moy Lin-Shin. It emphasizes turning and stretching to open the joints and also to massage the internal organs. It is a complete method to keep the body and mind young. The practice helps to prevent premature aging.
TAI CHI: an exercise for physical and mental health!
Five requirements on tai chi posture passed down by Master Moy
1. 45º Angle Stance
The feet position in a forward stance should at a 45º angle to each other. This provides a strong structural base.
2. Straight connection from Head to Heels
The heels should be in contact with the ground. With the straight connection from head to heels, any incoming force will be directed into the ground.
3. Squaring of the Hip
Dropping the bottom and squaring the hip to the solid forward leg anchors the body weight down into the forward foot. This prevents the body from being pulled forward.
Note : When the hips are squared, the forward knee will not pass the toes.
4. Keeping Tiger Mouth Open
The arc described by the thumb and forefinger in this position is referred to as the “Tiger’s Mouth”. Keep the tiger’s mouth open so the hand is not slack nor tense. The other fingers should be beside each other. Opening of the Tiger’s mouth will maintain the tautness of the round arms.
5. Complementary Opposite Forces
The spine and the outward pushing arms should be part of the spherical (ball) structure expanding in every direction in a complementary way. Expansion this way will make the sphere round all the time.
Moy Lin-Shin, Master 1931-1998
Ben Chung, Head Instructor
Mrs. S.L. Kwan, Associate Instructor
As a Taoist monk, Master Moy Lin-Shin had great compassion for human beings. After recovering from childhood sickness by learning and practicing tai chi, he realized that suffering from illness would be minimized if one practiced tai chi regularly.
Soon after he arrived in Toronto, Canada in 1970, he started teaching tai chi. His approach, quite radical at the time, was to teach anyone who wanted to learn, regardless of ethnicity. He trained his students to become instructors. He wanted the instructors to have compassion. He insisted that all instructors be volunteers. They should teach with their heart and with compassion.
The instructors responded with teaching many classes, not only in Toronto, but also in many towns in Ontario, Quebec, and the US. They taught to repay their teacher by helping others. This charitable, volunteer structure became the hallmark of his organization. It nurtured exponential growth. His idea has since spread all over the world. When he passed away in June 1998, there were over 400 centers worldwide with tens of thousands of members.
To make it simple for volunteer instructors to teach tai chi en masse, Master Moy had made the set focus on external movement. However, he also taught the internal arts of tai chi to a few who were diligent in practice and had been around him daily or very frequently. One of them was Mrs. Kwan who learned the refinement and intricacy of the internal arts.
From the autumn of 1983, Ben Chung learned and practiced tai chi in the North York club of the Toronto Tai Chi Association. After a year of practice, he stopped the practice due to family and work commitments. As soon as he stopped, he felt tired easily and needed a nap in the afternoon. One day it dawned on him that he had more energy during his time of practicing tai chi. He decided to go to the main location in Bathurst Street to practice tai chi again. He joined Master Moy’s class and practised the tai chi every Monday and Wednesday. In that class Ben was the only Chinese speaking member. Moy was happy that he had someone he could talk to and could do translation for him. Ben became a disciple of Master Moy from then on until he passed away in 1998.
During that time, Moy decided to open all the body joints by making Ben do extra stretching with the arms and sitting low in every move of the set. Sweat poured out of his forehead in every move. Ben had to wear a sweat band to stop the sweat from dripping down to his eyes. Ben practiced tai chi that way for about 3 months before he did the set in the normal form. Moy then showed Ben the form of each move.
After a couple of years or so, one day Moy told him that so far he had done the upper body work in tai chi. He had to start learning the lower body work which would change the look of the set totally. It required a different set of principles which can be opposing to those Ben had learned. For example: Letting the knee go rather than holding it back when sitting onto the front leg in Toryu. Arms were not to be pushed too straight etc. The old habits were difficult to break. Unfortunately Ben couldn't devote more time to integrate the lower body work in tai chi but for 20 years was able to keep doing the tai chi using the upper body work as everyone else who practices Taoist Tai Chi ®.
During that period, he taught tai chi and lokhupbafa at the 11 tai chi clubs in the Greater Toronto Area and led many workshops at the Orangeville Tai Chi Centre. He also served as treasurer of Master Moy's organizations and was appointed as president of the Gei Pang Lok Hup Academy, 2 years after it was formed. Eight years after Moy's death, Ben left the organization and started the Canadian Tai Chi Academy with a few other Moy students.
In 2010, Ben sought advice from Mrs. S.L. Kwan and had private lessons every week with her for over 3 years. She showed Ben how to practice the tai chi expressing from the inside and not just practicing the external form. She reviewed with Ben the lokhupbafa, Xing-Yi and Tai Chi Sword sets of what Master Moy had taught her.
With the advice and guidance from Mrs. Kwan, Ben understood much of what 20 years ago Master Moy told him about the lower body work and the internal arts of tai chi. Ben realized how the internal arts of tai chi can be used to help people's health. With this focus, he founded the Zhong Wen Taiji Academy in 2012.
Ben has since been teaching the internal arts of tai chi to volunteer instructors in Canada, USA and in Europe.