Teacher or Instructor?

  • It comes down to indulgence vs. teaching correctly, I think. Much better the latter, because I too enjoy the different style of teaching/learning compared to most western (esp. university) style education.
    Danya 8/12/08

  • A teacher responds to a student's learning needs.
    An instructor instructs whether a student learns or not.

  • A teacher is to an instructor what education is to training:
    One helps bring out that which is within, whilst the other imposes from the outside.

Whom should you learn Tai Chi Chuan from?

A Paradigm Shift
Article from "Talkabout" magazine



A Paradigm Shift

What Is Martial Art?
The essence of art.
Art in itself is not inherently spiritual. It has the potential to express spiritual desire. At best, it can be a reflection of spirituality. Which is not the same as spirituality; in the same way that your reflection is not the same as you. It may look like you (the better the reflective surface, the more faithful the reflection) but no matter how authentic the reflection, it has none of the substance of the real thing. In other words, martial art is part of the matter of the earth, albeit on a subtler level than some things.
The first master of martial art is perhaps Shri Parashurama, who lived in India about 8,000 years ago.
The original purpose of martial art was to purify and balance the grosser bodies in the hope that the subtle system may become clear enough for Mother Kundalini to connect us to the All Pervading Energy; the Grace of the Divine.
With the advent of Sahaja Yoga, that purpose has become redundant. A secondary purpose was for man to not only connect with Nature, but to be in harmony with Nature, to awaken Nature within us, to become Nature. The purpose of art is to create beauty; in this case beauty in & of movement. On the gross level, we have emotions, physical activity and mental activity. If done properly, kung fu can help balance us on this mundane level. It can promote well being. And ability to defend oneself, naturally, as a by-product.

What then is the essence of martial art?

Balance -to be in perfect balance
Movement -the ability to move in harmony with the flow of chi
Energy -to be able to follow, tap into, lead and direct chi

Addressing this essence is what distinguishes internal kung fu from ordinary martial arts.

Soft internal kung fu is developed from Taoist cosmic principles. The Mother gave birth to the universe. The Feminine Aspect rules the universe. In practice; the theory, attitude, approach and techniques of soft kung fu puts it on an equal footing to the hard variety. Water is softer than earth but harnessed properly it can overwhelm even the hardest steel. In fact, women have an innate physical & psychological advantage in the study and practice of soft kung fu.

Art of the essence.
The truly artistic part of martial art occurs when we move in obedience to the essence of the movement, which is beyond the shallowness of mere form, i.e. substance shaping form not form before substance.

But what are the benefits?
An avenue for graceful expression. Expect to enjoy increased energy levels, be less susceptible to illness and to improve your posture. Enhance your sense of well-being; feel balanced, supple, more confident and empowered. Just by the way, you’ll learn to defend yourself. You may feel more attractive as a result of improved health, self-confidence and poise.
Your physical abilities will be enhanced- balance, coordination, speed, ambidexterity, control, strength and reflexes that can spill into the emotional & mental sides. This may become apparent in your sporting activities or just in the way you walk.

Together with patience and harmony, you should gain a better sense of timing, more acute perception and become more effective at “going with the flow”.

The original paradigm for teaching and learning was the guru-student association that started at least 8,000 years ago. It involved intensive interaction and close supervision to ensure correct learning. It allowed for individual attention and methods that best suited individual personalities. The justification for this ancient method today remains that it is the best format for a person to realize her physical potential.

Download "A Paradigm Shift" as PDF.

 "I learned that there is a universe of difference between ‘letting go’ and ‘surrender’." Sharon

 "..there is something in being fully present /thoughtlessness (awareness) that allows one to continue in the awareness of all of that -" Sharon


 “I can definitely say that the form of Tai Chi that Ric Lum teaches is beneficial for someone who is not able to do any other exercise." Kathy

Talkabout Tai Chi
A Spontaneous Way to Inner Balance

Tai Chi is many, many wonderful things, but ultimately (and most importantly) it is the physical manifestation of the Way - the Tao. Tai Chi awakens within us spontaneously the flow of the All-Pervading Energy, the Chi. This hidden yet simple technique is based on a natural approach to the forms of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Chuan (as founded and practised by immortal Chang San-Feng) had consciousness and spiritual evolution as its primary purpose. A secondary purpose was for man to not only connect with Nature, but to be in harmony with Nature, to awaken Nature within himself, to become Nature.

 "Doing Tai chi or thinking of Tai Chi is calming." Jo

The purpose of art is to create beauty, and in the case of Tai Chi beauty in and of movement.

 "Right after the first week of practice the problem was gone." Sieghilde

The health benefits of Tai Chi are many. Tai Chi:-

  • promotes well being by integrating our emotions, physique and intellect;
  • elevates our sense of being;
  • is an avenue for graceful expression… you learn to dance!;
  • improves your circulation and you breathe more deeply. You can expect to enjoy increased energy levels, be less susceptible to illness and to improve your posture. You become supple, confident and empowered;
  • improves your physical abilities - balance, coordination, speed, ambidexterity, control, strength and reflexes. These benefits can spill over into your emotions and your mental wellbeing. This may become apparent in your sporting activities or simply in the way that you walk;
  • and together with patience and harmony, you attain a better sense of timing, gain a more acute perception and become more effective at “going with the flow”.

Through Tai Chi, your abilities will rise beyond that possible for ordinary mortals! You will enjoy a long and happy life.

 "Shortly after the point where I utilised Chi, however, I started feeling more energetic, stronger - physically and mentally." Danya

Tai Chi Master, Ric Lum, has studied several forms of martial arts for more than 30 years - boxing, karate, tae kwon do, Judo, lama kung-fu, Hung fist, Hung family fist, Yuet family, wing Chun, and most recently, Yang family Tai-Chi.

In his youth, he twice passed up opportunities to study under well known Tai-Chi masters, being under the illusion that speed and power were what martial arts were all about! His third chance to study and fully understand Tai Chi came through a family friend. Ng Kon-Kuan sifu graciously came out of retirement to give of his vast wisdom and knowledge.

Today, Ric’s Tai Chi is the culmination of 3 major influences: Tai-Chi Chuan, pure meditation and previous martial art experience.

 ".there was an energy movement that did indeed come out of the softening and surrender to Mother Earth. It was quite strong and was most surprising." Sally

 "..a sense of detachment from outside influences takes place." Sieghilde

Ric is always on the lookout for students who are serious about enjoying themselves and their Art (though not necessarily serious about themselves!). To find out more about how Tai Chi can benefit you, contact Ric on 0407 108 447.

Download this article as PDF.


 "I've noticed that my experience of training has involved a lot more strenuous use of the muscles in my hips and thighs compared to before." Lionel

 "After 7 lessons practising with Ric Lum I felt my energy level rising and my migraine, which had become chronic in recent months, disappearing." Sieghilde

 "..after a session of Tai Chi with Ric, my leg joint had loosened up and my lower back pain was gone." Master Michael

 "One day in class, about two months after I started training, I noticed a lack of pain for the first time while doing the form." Ss


The kung fu salute which is now common in martial arts is a Shaolin salute: it symbolises dragon & tiger coming out. The left palm is the dragon, the right fist the tiger. In this context the dragon is the yin and the tiger the yang.

But there is an older tradition which I believe comes from the sage Lao-tze. What we do in Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan is to cup a closed left hand with the right hand. Our Tai-Chi salute is not merely symbolic; it presents the subtle system as a whole.
Inside the spinal chord are the 3 channels of the subtle system contained by the soul; the sun/yang/right channel encloses the moon/yin/left, and nestled inside the moon side is the evolutionary/shen/central channel. This is the central path, the way of the Tao.
This mystical way is represented by the empty space inside the closed left hand.

The subtle system is integrated. Whereas in Shaolin, we have yin & yang meeting but not integrated. And the mysterious path of Tao is not present.


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