"Cultivating the three treasures" (Chi, Ching and Shen) and The Health Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi
Health Benefits of Regularly Practicing Tai Chi
An interview with Grandmaster Ma Yueh Liang: "The old can recapture the vitality of youth..."
Master Ma Yueliang (Yueh Liang) was not only a famous and influential Chinese Wu-style Taiji teacher who lived to be 96, but also a medical doctor who specialised in Hematology and ran blood clinics in Shanghai.
At the time this video was filmed Master Ma Yueliang was 91 years old and radiated good, robust health, you can still see the sparkle in his eye and how enthusiastic, energetic and agile he was. In addition a unique aspect about Grandmaster Ma Yueh Linag was that, not only had he taught & practiced Taijiquan for more than 70 years, but he was also trained in, and practiced Western Medicine. So he understood both Eastern and Western schools of thought on health and could see the benefits of Taiji more objectively from both opposing perspectives without sacrificing the traditional methods of Taiji practice.
I like the simplicity of this video, explaining that the concept of “Chi” is seen as something that accepted as part of the everyday lives of the Chinese and not something mysterious, abstract or intellectualised and “pondered” on like we do in the West. Ma Yueh Liang explains simply that “There is no mystique to T’ai Chi Ch’uan.” That the only real difficult part of Taiji is “persevering”. And he goes on to talk about the timeframe of his progress in Taiji, he says: “It took me ten years to discover my chi…but 30 years to learn how to use it…” To our contemporary (or perhaps we’ve always been impatient?) mindset this length of time seems outrageous, but the Grandmaster looked at it from his high level of achievement in his art. It is well-known that you can easily get many health benefits, satisfaction without reaching such high levels of competency, with regular, correct practice - even after a few weeks. And he was most likely referring to using Chi to heal others and for the higher martial arts applications.
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For anyone who is put off taking up Taiji by such long time frames, he summarises: “Once you see the benefit you won’t want to stop.” The Master also talked about how he had many students in their eighties and a few in their nineties - his oldest student at that time being 97. This doesn’t mean that you should only start learning Taiji when you are as old as these people. The earlier you start and persevere the better your chances. As he says of the benefits: “The old can recapture the vitality of youth.” Which makes this fountain of youth available to us all if we start earlier, learn correctly, practice and persevere.
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Also tellingly what makes Master Ma Yueh Liang stand out from many other “Masters” is his ability to apply the higher application aspects of his Taijiquan - personifying the Taiji Classics in action. In this video we see him effortlessly applying his fah jing in a free push hands situation. What we have HERE is a 93 year old man easily controlling and neutralising the pushes of several much younger Wu style practitioners, surely that’s magical in a way?
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Author - Lee Chang Tye