Born and raised in Taiwan, I grew up seeing Tai Chi and other martial arts practiced in local parks. I've always felt Tai Chi was an especially beautiful and elegant form of exercise, and longed to learn the form. Yet, I never really had the chance.
When I moved to the United States, it was harder to be in touch with my Chinese culture and heritage. I especially wanted to enrich my children by exposing them to Chinese traditions and arts. At a young age, I took my children to learn various forms of martial arts. We were later extremely fortunate to find the Tai Chi Praying Mantis Institute, and my children learned Praying Mantis Martial Arts under Sifu Wong for several years.
In 1994, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and battled it for almost a year. It was a long struggle. When it was finally under control, I decided to learn Tai Chi from Sifu Wong in order to foster and improve my health and well-being.
I have studied with Sifu Wong for over 20 years. I am grateful to have found such a sifu, with such unreserved passion for teaching and unshakeable patience. He has taught me that mastery of martial arts takes constant practice and self-discipline. Tai Chi is not only about pure memorization of physical movements, but also involves intense mental concentration. Sifu stresses that improvement in Tai Chi is a cumulative process, requiring mastery of each step before learning the next. Thus, true mastery takes a lifetime of learning.
I cannot claim that my arthritis is completely healed, as it is a chronic and incurable disease; however, Tai Chi has revitalized me, greatly increasing my energy level, endurance, and mental faculties. It has been an invaluable 20 years with Sifu Wong.
Not only have I reaped the many health benefits from learning Tai Chi, but it has also left me with a greater appreciation of its aesthetic qualities. As an artist, I take much joy in watching the fluid bodily movements of one practicing Tai Chi, in learning and performing them myself, and even greater joy in teaching Tai Chi to other students. This beautiful martial arts form is a precious and ancient art, which must be kept alive and passed to future generations. Sifu Wong and the Tai Chi Mantis Institute have strived to do just that, and I've been so fortunate to be a part of it.