If you are down on the waterfront early on a weekday, you may see several women gracefully following the movements of a t’ai chi ch’uan trainer. Leading them will be a retired teacher, Chan Siu Mui.
Siu Mui, who lives at Tui Min Hoi, is a certificated tai chi teacher. You can get the qualification after nine months of training with the Hong Kong Tai Chi Association, which is recognised by the Government, Siu Mui said.
She refuses to be photographed, prefering to be low profile. “Is my face so important? No, no.”
Siu Mui has just six students and she’s happy with that. In the past she has had many more. “If you get too high profile, it becomes difficult to handle.”
Siu Mui doesn’t charge for the lessons which last an hour from 8am. “But students give me gifts… it depends on them.” They train twice a week on weekdays, with the dates varying.
Tai chi has five schools: Chan, Yang, Wu, Ng and Sun, named after the families that originated the disciplines. Siu Mui teaches Yang. “This is the gentlest of them all. It’s suitable for beginners, people of any age.”
Training involves slow solo movements at first with just the body, then with swords. Concentration on graceful movement relieves stress. Meditation is encouraged, ensuring calmness. Weapons training emphasizes counter attack. Responding by yielding, exhausting opposition and redirecting forces.