Michael wong, on Wu Shu
My earliest memory of martial arts...
My name is Michael Wong,
My earliest memory of martial arts began with my father, (Professor Wong OAM) in our dojo. When I was 5 years old he started training me. By the time I was 10, I was engrossed with Judo, Tang Shou, and my father's forms of Wu Gong.
My focus was on Judo and Kendo when I went to Taiwan, aged 18, to train intensively. I was training 6 to 8 hours a day in multiple Judo, Wrestling and Kendo clubs. By the time I was 20, I became the head instructor of Wu Gong.
One of greatest difficulties I've faced has been balancing life with training and classes. There was a period of time I chose to go out with friends on weekends instead of training. I missed the training with it's physical and mental benefits. That time helped me conclude that it was more important to fit lifestyle around the things that were more important to me. A great lesson on discipline and respect.
A turning point, which I believe happens to many martial artists who start off training 'hard', is the introduction and fascination with training 'soft'. Learning more and more about internal martial arts takes training to a whole new level and has led me to where I am today.
Martial arts, training and Chinese medicine have been a huge part of my life and have majorly shaped the person I am today. I guess you could say it's somewhat in my blood. You know you see those types of movies with mystical old Chinese masters that practice medicine and teach martial arts - I can fortunately say that was my father.
My #1 Training Tip?
Apart from practice, practice, practice, one tip is to visualise yourself. See yourself doing the training. Feel it in your body and use micro movements. When I was a little kid, before I went to sleep I would lay in bed and visualise myself executing movements I was working on, using micro muscle movements in bed to join muscle memory with mind, and you can create the feeling in your body.
Su Rule, president of WTQA, Talking about Tai Chi
My advice is to not think of it as "practice"
My name is Su Rule, I am an instructor and President of WTQA.
I started Tai Chi in my 20's before my life got busy with all sorts of other things. Years later, when I was living away from everybody, in a new house, new area with a young child, I found Tai Chi again.
I couldn't remember anything from my first classes but whatever it was in the class the night before, that's what I did for the week. After a couple of years in Emerald I moved down to the bigger school in Berwick. I did gradings and started the instructor training program about a year later. I started teaching a year after that. Then I started on the competition road.
In 2001, I was part of a group entry and also did two bare hand forms and one sword routine, coming home as the overall champion on the day! So that was pretty encouraging. I had never competed before.
Competitions took me to Macau, Vietnam and to China several times over, and around Australia to different national and state championships.
All that competition stuff is behind me now and I have come back to earth.
I think you can follow the competition track or you can follow the health and healing track. They do combine and cross over all the way along. However, in the competition stuff, there's a lot more emphasis on external form. You're looking at where your hands are going, how precise your movements are. You can see the power in somebody when they're doing a good Tai Chi routine, you can see the power, see their coordination.
When you're doing it for yourself, just doing it at home in your own backyard, it's much more internal. You don't have any of the pressure of people watching what you're doing.
My "#1 Secret Training Tip" is not to think of it as "practice" but as "using it"...
Think of classes as if you're learning a technique to de-stress. A technique to meditate by, to bring your focus in, away from the thoughts that constantly going through your brain. Gathering yourself each morning before you start the day.
Konrad Dorn, Veteran of WTQA, on Tai chi
After 20 years, I realised I was doing something wrong...
My name is Konrad Dorn. I practiced yoga and meditation for 10 years before I discovered Tai Chi. That was 35 years ago and from that day till now it has been a real passion and something I do for a job. I just really love it. Then after I had been practicing for about 20 years, I realised I was doing some things wrong!
[chuckle] It wasn't a bad thing. It showed me that the tai chi practice is very very deep, and really vast. It proved to me that it's like an art form, not something you can master quickly. And so that gave me a chance to re-learn some things, go back to the basics. In doing so I re-inspired, re-motivated, and reignited the passion all over again, the passion of the beginner.
The advice that I give to beginners, "my #1 Secret Training Tip", is not really a secret. It's just to do your homework and practice at home in between class.
There is a lot to learn, there's a lot to practice, and it is just something you can put a lot of time and effort into. After all this time, I'm still excited about learning new things, discovering new things, it’s just fabulous.