Monday, March 30, 2015

Don't Be Afraid To Draw Your Opponent In

A fellow student was asking my teacher on an application of a movement in taiji.

The application required one to draw his opponent towards himself.

The student had doubts about drawing an opponent in. After all, isn't that putting oneself into danger instead?

Well, you can't hit someone if he is out of your reach. And if he is within your reach, you are within his too. It is this psychological barrier that one must learn to overcome in order to be able to apply taiji.

Being within his reach does not mean you are in danger. You need to put him within your own reach, yet in a way either to expose him, or to make sure he is unable to hit you (that is to say, neutralise him). So while he may be close, he is the one in danger, not you.

So don't be afraid to draw your opponent in. Instead, know what is the danger, and how you are going to deal with it.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Teacher, Mr Kwek Lee Hwa

Not many people know this, but my teacher, Mr Kwek Lee Hwa, has been teaching taiji at community centres since 1965, when he was 21 years old.

He started teaching taiji at Boon Teck Community Centre in 1965, and was probably the first person to teach taiji in community centres in Singapore. He was 21 years old then, having learnt taiji from Grandmaster Lim Bo Yen for 10 years. For 10 years, he went to Grandmaster Lim's place twice each day, practising 2 hours each time (that's 4 hours in a day). After 10 years, Grandmaster Lim gave him the go-ahead to start teaching, and Mr Kwek has been teaching taiji ever since.

Two years later, in 1967, he started teaching taiji at another community centre, Kreta Ayer Community Centre. He has been teaching there up until 7 Mar 2015, when we had our last taiji lesson at Kreta Ayer CC because it was closing for major renovations. That's 48 years of teaching at a single location. It's a pity that he has to stop his classes there because of renovations, but it can't be helped. The classes at Kreta Ayer CC has shifted to Toa Payoh East Community Centre.

Why Toa Payoh East CC? Because Toa Payoh East CC used to be called Boon Teck CC. The same community centre that Mr Kwek started his taiji teaching journey back in 1965. He has since been teaching there for the past 50 years.

This is passion. This is commitment. This is my inspiration. I only hope I have the passion and commitment to live up to being his student.

See here for a list of classes by Mr Kwek.

Mr Kwek's Facebook page (maintained by a group of students)

Monday, March 09, 2015

Taiji Classes by Mr Kwek Lee Hwa (Updated 9 Mar 15)

** Updated as of 9 Mar 15 **

My teacher is Mr Kwek Lee Hwa, who started teaching taijiquan back in 1965, at Toa Payoh East CC (back then, it was known as Boon Teck CC). He currently teaches taiji at a few places in Singapore. Below are some of those places.

Taijiquan Classes
Tampines Changkat CC on Mondays, 8pm to 10pm
Toa Payoh East CC on Tuesdays, 8pm to 10pm
Hong Lim Green CC on Thursdays, 6pm to 7:30pm
Toa Payoh Lorong 1 shed (Block 98A) between Block 96 and Block 98 on Fridays, 8.30pm to 10pm (This class is for his students interested in further improving their foundation.)
Toa Payoh East CC on Saturdays, 7pm to 8:30pm
Kampong Ubi CC on Sundays, 10:30am to 12noon
Tampines Changkat CC on Sundays, 7:30pm to 9pm

Poh Khiu Temple on Wednesdays, 8pm to 10pm (Mr Kwek has not been teaching at Poh Khiu Temple for some time now because the new management there has discontinued his class.)
Kreta Ayer CC on Saturdays, 11am to noon and 7pm to 10pm (see link) (This class is no longer available as Kreta Ayer CC is going to start major renovations, and all classes will stop from Mar 15 onwards. Instead, classes have shifted to Toa Payoh East CC, see above.)
Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 Blk 323 multi-storey carpark (top floor) on Sundays, 7:30am to 9am (Due to circumstances, Mr Kwek no longer teaches at the carpark in Ang Mo Kio.)

Pushing Hands Classes
Toa Payoh East CC on Wednesdays, 8:15pm to 9:45pm (If Saturday night is more convenient, Mr Kwek also allows students to register for the Wednesday pushing hands class, but come for practice on Saturday nights during taiji classes instead.)
Tampines Changkat CC on Sundays, 6pm to 7.30pm

Kreta Ayer CC on Thursdays, 8.30pm to 10pm
Kreta Ayer CC on Saturdays, 5.30pm to 7pm
(Classes at Kreta Ayer CC have stopped from Mar 15 onwards due to major renovations. Shifted to Toa Payoh East CC instead, see above.)