Brenda’s Recommendation

brendaBrenda Hunter

My childhood was spent on the North Shore of Auckland, near a beach and a pony club. I spent most of my spare time riding and looking after horses, also swimming and playing on beaches and in the small boats that my father built. My work for almost 40 years has been in the computer industry – starting with Air New Zealand’s computer systems, then working for IBM in NZ, UK and Australia, and since 1985 I’ve mostly run small Australia/NZ subsidiaries for overseas computer software and services companies, one of whom was bought by IBM 2 years ago – so I’m now working for the IBM Software group. I still sail boats, haven’t ridden horses for a long time, race historic racing cars a bit (it’s a family thing), visit art galleries, music, and theatre whenever I can, and cook for family and friends. In the first week of May 2007 I’m moving to Singapore to spend 2 years in IBM’s ASEAN region; I’ll greatly miss Master Ric Lum’s classes and my fellow students, and look forward to re-joining whenever I can.

Update: 2013

First I want to say I am very glad to have the opportunity to return to Master Ric’s classes, after leaving Sydney in May 2007 and an absence of more than 5 years from tai chi practice. The first class I rejoined was shortly before the Christmas break; I enjoyed being able to follow others in the class, finding I then started to remember the basic movements of section 1, and I felt tingling in my fingers when I moved through this first section with the class. It was harder when I got home, and found that some of the section 1 sequences which had felt clear when moving with the class, vanished in the short distance from Jubilee Park to my home!

I realised I would need to re-learn the basic movements and that this will take time, but I’ve also learned that the classes provide the path for this, both in ongoing teaching of each component (including from class members Magda, Danya, Neelica and Rodney in past few weeks) and also through participating in the overall Dance surrounded by all of the class members. Now that classes have started again in January my enjoyment of building the form has increased and I’m frequently surprised – such as by feeling my arms ‘floating’ upwards with the class movements. At the end of the last two Saturday classes Master Ric has illustrated some energy flow movements with class members, almost all of whom smile at the effect of this (as I did too, last Saturday.) I am enjoying the journey and am looking forward to continuing this path with Master Ric and his class.


Janaki Joshi

*Sent*: Friday, April 13, 2007 12:26 AM
Subject: *Surrender*

The act of trying to let go has struggle inbuilt because a part of you wants to hang on to it! It is like trying to test the waters with your toes while hanging on to the land. Whereas with surrender there is no struggle as you are jumping in with both feet.
As a student if you judge the teacher then there is struggle as it comes in the way of the training. Whereas if you surrender to the teaching then it will accelerate.
The limitation of learning is always that of a student if the teacher is able and willing to provide the teaching!

*Sent*: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 12:21 PM
Subject: *Tai Chi Chuan – The Dynamic Balance*

Dear Ric,
I would like to share with you the experience I had at our Tai Chi lesson this morning.

In our lesson this morning, I was practising and then you got us to focus on our legs, then I experienced this amazing transfer of energy from left to right and then left then right again, as we shifted our weight. It was very dynamic. I learnt the next level of Tai Chi Chuan today and I understand there are 108 levels? Wow!
The novice cut at Tai Chi is that you see these slow  movements that seem easy and then as you understand better you realise that these apparently slow movements are in fact body moving in a dynamic balance.

Then you mentioned those profound words “The dance of Lord Shiva; if it stops what happens?” …Indeed the whole creation is kept in dynamic balance by the dance of Shiva and Tai Chi Chuan is an opportunity to experience that at a microcosmic level. What a privilege!
Then as I was driving back, I was moved by the thought of the cosmic nature of Tai Chi Chuan and also realising how easy it is to lose perspective and get caught up in the mundane things of the world.

Thank you Ric, my teacher for taking me on this journey.
Warm Regards,

*Sent*: Friday, December 22, 2006 5:02 PM
Subject: *Hello*

I am really enjoying Tai Chi. Although I have only attended 3 classes so far, it has been an enriching experience.
In particular, when I was doing the moves in my second class, I felt the movement of energy through my body and in one of the postures when the left and right hands came together, it resulted in exchange of energy which was incredible.
You have mentioned that Tai Chi contains the potential for ?Chi? to awaken spontaneously in the student and thereafter to flow spontaneously. I didn?t realise it could happen so quickly.

Jane Serves

Jane Morro

I have come to Tai Chi due to a myriad of sporting injuries which have had a myriad of treatments but still remain firmly entrenched in my body. As a mum of two small children Tai Chi also provides me with some quiet time and a time for reflection. I have found that Tai Chi helps me greatly – not just physically. It also helps me as a parent, especially in the way it reminds me how one learns effectively. This is extremely helpful for our family, due to my daughter’s learning difficulties… and she will hopefully continue to join our class. I feel Tai Chi is of great benefit for both of us on so many levels.

Lionel Speaks!

Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is continually growing.

Lionel Chan

Greetings to my fellow Taiji practitioners and prospective practitioners,

I have tried a few martial arts before but nothing I took very seriously – I was always too lazy and/or weak willed to push through the necessary boundaries in those paths and I didn’t stay with any of them for very long (my new Taiji-influenced perspective now makes me very thankful for this character “flaw” actually…).

My story is, I heard about Ric through my Chinese herbalist who heard through one of his patients that learnt from him (typical Chinese grapevine thing going), and the idea of spending a lifetime in the patient refinement of an art that had no limits has always held appeal, so here I am. That’s about it really, but then again the best things in life often end up being gifts that you never asked for, but were blessed with anyway, aren’t they?

CHAN Tze-tzu

Dinh’s Diary


I’ve been doing Tai Chi with Ric and the class since the end of 2005, after my husband and I first noticed Ric in the park from our balcony when we used to live in Glebe. I enjoy being in the park and being part of all the life that goes around – it’s probably the one hour in my week when I take time out to slow down and generally, my mind is clear of most thoughts during Tai Chi.  We have also found a special group of people in the regular members of the class. I am now almost 6 months pregnant with our first child and we are looking forward to bringing our baby along to class in the near future.

Dinh’s Tai Chi Diary Entries

*Sent*: Sunday, December 17, 2006 2:34 AM
Subject: *latest viewpoint
*Saturday, 16 December 2006

I was looking forward to Tai Chi today and when we walked to the park there was a nice calm and still feeling in the air. In a small group I went through the movements from where I last left off in section 3 until the end of section 3. I enjoyed it.

When we did the form as a group, during either section 2 or 3, there was a point when a work-related issue came sharply into my mind.  I made a very conscious effort to shake it out of my mind including closing my eyes briefly. After that, as I was doing the form for the next minute or two, my arms felt numb. In a way it was as if I felt them more because they felt quite solid but in another way, I felt them less. They felt like a piece of wood floating along a river. Shortly afterwards I sneezed and then for the rest of the form my nose was clogged up so my concentration went towards my stuffy nose and the numbness in my arms was gone.

*Sent*: Sunday, December 17, 2006 2:44 AM
Subject: *Another viewpoint (sorry!)*

My legs have been hurting/aching since we came back from our German trip at the end of September. Initially I noticed it when I was at work ? my legs would tense up and I thought that the stress had gone from my jaw to my legs. At least the tension in my jaw was somewhat less. Then my knees would ache at times when I walked and sometimes I thought they would buckle under me. More recently the pain has moved down my calves although sometimes I can still feel it behind my lower thighs. It now feels more like the muscles are aching rather than the knees. It aches whether I’m walking or not and used to disturb me when I was sleeping at night or resting on the couch.

*Saturday, 28 October*

I haven’t written anything for the last couple of Saturdays. I was using a steroid-based nasal spray since April to control my chronic sinus and it worked like a miracle. I’ve stopped using it since September because it shouldn’t be used for long periods of time. I’ve tried using an antihistamine which isn’t as strong but it doesn’t work. So my sinus is back and it’s hard to do Tai Chi with the sinus.

But this Saturday morning my sinus didn’t irritate me and I enjoyed the class.  It was windy at times but when the wind ceased and allowed a warm breeze to settle, it felt calm.  I was behind point with Ric being point.  The main thing I noticed whilst doing the form was the different pace at which Ric went. Not just the visual difference but during the form and particularly during “Cloud Hands”, it seemed like he was riding with some energy.  He seemed quite excited and like he was in his own world.

*Sunday, 8 October*

I had been sleeping a lot this weekend and having early nights.  It was easy to wake up today and go to Tai Chi without much effort.   Class was good. We did the part of section 3 that I’m up to, in a small group of 3 and then 2. It was easier to pick up the moves than previously, when we practised in a larger group and things seemed faster.

When we did the form today, during section 2 when we did “Sea Bottom Seek Noodle”, we were bending over and I felt a drop of water fall onto the bare skin of my lower spine/tail bone. I thought it was a drop from the tree, then my negative mind thought it must be a bird dropping. It felt incredibly real and I was sure it was bird poo.  As we continued the form, I felt it slide a bit down my left side.  I was sure everyone could see I had bird poo on the top of my trousers.  We went on to do section 3. I wanted to wipe it but knew that if I saw it on my hand, it would stop me from finishing section 3 so I left it alone. The bird poo felt cool and wet especially when it slid down my side.  When we finished, the first thing I did was ask Gregor “do I have bird poo on my bum?”  He said “no” and I was shocked.  I swear I felt it drop. But when I touched my skin it was completely dry. When we told Ric later on he mentioned ‘Kundalini’.  I am still stunned that there was nothing on my bum when the physical sensation felt very real and lasted throughout sections 2 and 3.

*Saturday, 7 October*

I was looking forward to class because it felt like a long time since I’d been as I didn’t go last Saturday.  I made the mistake of taking my daily antihistamine (nasal spray) before class.  On usual days, the drug makes its way into my throat/mouth from the nose and it tastes horrid.  This usually passes after a short time.  Today it really stayed and seemed worse when we did the form at the end of the class, especially during section 3.  It lasted for over an hour, into our coffee break after class.  It felt like poison going through my body.  All up, section 3 felt very muddled up today and long and tiring, especially with the drug in me.

*Thursday, 28 September*

My 2nd time to Tai Chi class on a weekday morning.  Today it was really tough getting up and going to class. I felt very grumpy.  We didn’t do section 1 or 2 so section 3 felt very quick and less tiring.

*Monday, 1.15am, 25 September*

Today will be my first day back at work.  I woke up during the night and couldn?t go back to sleep. I also remembered something I had wanted to write in my diary on Sunday but forgot. It’s this: on Sunday Ric came to our place.  He mentioned that certain foods are good for Tai Chi, one of these being the red bean broth.  My mum used to make red and green bean broths and ironically, I’ve had desires in the past year or two to ask mum for the recipe so that I can make this for Gregor as I wanted him to try it?!

*Saturday, 23 September*

It was good seeing the group again after being away on holidays for 2 weeks.  When we did the form, it was good to do section 1 and section 2.  But I felt tired and impatient during section 3 and felt like I’d had enough of Tai Chi for that morning.  My sinus was fine before (during that morning) but during section 3 I felt a bit irritated in the nose.

Nicest thing: when Ric was positioning us for the form, I was directly behind point.  Then I heard Ric say “stand behind point” or something like that behind me. When I turned around I saw he was talking to Lionel.  I felt something was wrong, with me in between Lionel and point.  I gestured to Ric to query whether he wanted me to move. His response was a clear no. I turned facing point and it still felt odd.
Shortly afterwards, Ric asked me and Miranda to move a little to the left so that our mid point was behind point.  We did, and there was no longer an obstacle behind Lionel and point, only space.  It suddenly felt better, felt right.

Cam’s Mem!

Cameron Verrills

*Sent*: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 12:31 PM
Subject: *Repulse Monkey Feelings
*As I get closer to performing the ?Repulse Monkey? sequence a little
more correctly (little while to go yet); it is really reinforcing the
correct alignment of my waist and entire spinal column, especially up to
‘holding the cross’ and through to the end. If I am not straight my
lower back feels overextended. As well, I feel a constriction through my
neck & shoulder.
Also when Ric talks of….”neither assist, nor resist, but
persist?…..the straightness seems to allow some reflection (complete
calmness in me) and has started to give me a lot more sleep. Further,
the ?turn-in? allows me to sink into the weighted leg. A by-product has
been increased suppleness in my shoulders thus making the posture more
enjoyable & insightful. [I have had injuries in that region before.]
Also the upper neck and sacral areas seem to be connected to one another.

* Update on Push Hands /two person training
*As my feeling of the qi has become a little more layered [with small
amounts of depth], I have come to the realization that two person
training for most individuals is a waste of time, as it is generally
merely application of brute force (?I push-you push?).
Physical force is just too shallow, too stop/start, and too easy to read.
To truly be movement of a subtle texture our internal calmness must
overcome or control the pervasive influence of the external surroundings.

*Sent:* Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:18 PM
Subject: *A brief memoir

*I began Tai Chi Chuan because I had a spinal problem and needed
something to help me in a holistic way. I started in 1998. The classes
were at Narrabeen, Dee Why and Glebe. I studied up until June 2005 in
the same class.
The experiences were most enjoyable especially when the energy of my
classmates and instructor where positive and we were all keen to work
together to grow with our Tai Chi Chuan.
Some of the results from the previous training included increased
physical & mental stamina, stronger will, ability to know others and
hopefully for others to know me, internal stillness (sung), invest in
loss, two person training was excellent
I also found out about how hard it is to become an instructor (patience
with a student?s learning ability , poor instruction methods , ego,
timing , respect for student?s ability , humbleness , creativity ,
direction , good energy.) These are some words that did not always seem
to be thought about in the last class I attended.

I pondered because my instructor was changing things that he thought
worked better; he is not a master. It seemed to stop/start and had way
too much Qigong; we didn’t flow like other students in the same school
but trained under different instructors. No instruction in the Thirteen
Postures or their meanings, no ‘strategy discussions’ from the Thirteen
Postures. Also the instructor spoke of Tai Chi Chuan as a great way of
looking after oneself, unfortunately he could not disseminate his
technique to the class, which caused great angst to the students on
occasions. Which caused the instructor to question what is wrong with
his students (personally I felt you would look at your instruction
method maybe a little????)

With Ric
I’ve trained with Ric since June 2005
The benefits that I?ve gained so far are that I am starting to practise
Tai Chi Chuan form, I feel as though open/close are within my grasp ,
don’t overextend , laughter helps and have mind like a child?s. The only
drawback for me (my uncouth side ) is that we haven’t commenced  two
person training as I guess those forms allow me not to have to go to a
Gym and when done properly the internal feeling is very humbling, but
Patience is a virtue they say.

Comparison of Old to Ric;
With Ric I have a much better Flow and feel of my energy, internally my
organs feel softer and I feel as though I am moving forward. No stop /
start. Leave your ego at the door when training with Ric. Ric is able to
simplify or I find Ric is able to intricate. That is very helpful as you
move along the winding river.

Before I was with Ric you could feel the egos in the room, not letting
go. Getting too far ahead of themselves until the students had an
understanding of a pattern or technique that they were learning caused
consternation among most students and instructor. Any discussion of Qi
or energy was frowned upon, Too much qigong caused everyone to have a
lot of hollow points throughout their form, no continuation of Flow. Too
much talk not enough action.

What is Tai Chi Chuan????
Tai Chi Chuan is like a sassy woman. Once you have discovered her and
she has touched you with her spirit, you have a lot of trouble breaking
it off.

Advice for Newcomers
Turn up for class, respect your instructor and fellow students, listen
and look, expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed. The key is to
‘laugh at oneself’: it’s not that important!

Sieghilde’s Version

Frau Sieghilde Kirchmayer

Friday, May 20, 2005 9:36 PM

10 years ago I met an Austrian Tai Chi teacher, took a few lessons but decided to stop because I just could not learn the movements from him. After 2 more years I met a Chinese teacher in Salzburg who had newly arrived to teach Tai Chi Chuan. Although I was more successful with him I stopped soon after because I was extremely busy at the time and there was also a feeling of something missing when I practised; I could not feel the energy flow. And 4 years later I met an old Chinese man who gave private lessons in Peking Form, which was quite easy to learn but left me completely unsatisfied. The feeling of emptiness was intense….

When I came back to Sydney last year I started to search for a “real” Tai Chi Teacher until one of my friends saw Ric teaching in the park and told me about a special teacher she had met.
After 7 lessons practising with Ric Lum I felt my energy level rising and my migraine, which had become chronic in recent months, disappearing. Before I had to work with physiotherapists regularly to open my chest and to improve my posture. I had a tendency to pull up my shoulders and all these bad habits….

I am a passionate walker, but during the previous months I had serious problems with blisters on my feet; after just 2 hours of walking, one toe was cramping and pulled inwards and got very painful even after short walks. I had to support it with cotton pads to walk nearly normally. I could not wear my normal shoes anymore; I felt pressure everywhere…Right after the first week of practice the problem was gone. Today I have no problems at all while walking and I now run up staircases quite effortlessly. It felt like slowly but constantly my whole back and hips got relaxed and easier to adjust, and I became aware of my bad posture. Also my regular back pain after sitting or lying down disappeared. More and more I became aware of my body and I experienced a new feeling of satisfaction, fullness and inner peace.

While practising Ric’s very special form of Tai Chi Chuan, a sense of detachment from outside influences takes place. When I go swimming I can adjust better to cold water, a very significant experience of being less sensitive to changing temperature.

Now, after almost 13 weeks of teaching from Ric Lum I feel a lightness in my movements which I could never imagine to gain after such a short time. The teachings happen also on a very subtle level, increasing sensitivity and awareness for my inner progress.

I’m sorry that I have to interrupt the teachings now for 3 months when I go to Europe, but I am looking forward to completing the 108 movements after my return. I ‘m enjoying my daily practice more and more; it feels like a gift, which gets unpacked by and by.

Thank you Ric!

Master John’s Exposition

Master John Lee
Choy Li Fut
Southern Praying Mantis

*Sent:* Thursday, February 24, 2005 9:32 AM
*Subject:* John’s Tai Chi feeling

Hi Ric,
Just written a few sentences of the Chi effects that I felt in
practising Tai Chi today.
Today I was working on “parting the wild horse’s mane”. I began feeling
the chi moving my body to the right place, the circle steps landed in
the right place and my body and arms “flow and sink” on their own. Also
the figure eight chi flow is apparent in my body as I part the mane.
Pretty “Wild” Stuff!



I met Ric Lum Sifu many years ago in one of Chin Woo’s annual X’mas
party and found him to be very interesting and a knowledgeable person.
I’ve trained in Martial Arts since 1973 and also met many elite masters
over the years; Ric Sifu was the only one that got my attention even
though he did not perform a single form at the party. Around Sep, 2001
in Kensington, Sydney, I was teaching some classes in a Catholic school
and during my lunch break, Ric started sharing some of his Tai Chi with
my brother and me under a tall tree on a side walk. The experience of
this gathering has changed my way of viewing Tai Chi Chuan forever.

Ric started to instruct us to relax and sit in a Tai Chi stance, then he
told us to relax our shoulders and drop our arms forward; then in a
couple of seconds later, our arms raised up on their own as they were
carried upward by a pocket of air. My brother and I looked at each other
and thought what the hell was going on??!! We could repeat this action
for many reps, and the sensation was just wonderful. After the lesson,
my brother told me he could see objects far away and with very clear
vision. For myself I was pretty excited just to feel the Chi for the
first time.

A few years later I decided to begin some lessons with Ric Sifu, mainly
due to an accident that I had a few months ago, and I was looking for
some form of recovery of my health. Anyway, after a week of learning Tai
Chi from Ric Sifu, I could get the Chi flowing and lifting my arms
again; in fact, one day my right arm lifted up over my head for almost
45 minutes without any effort on my part. ?Pretty amazing stuff?, I told
my brother and my martial art students during a practice session in
Condell Park High School.

During a Gung Fu training session a month ago, I was teaching my
students about some Mantis forms, and after the training session, I was
playing with some moves in Ric’s Tai Chi form. One of my students
Godfrey came over to see what I was practising, and at that moment he
could feel my chi transmitting to him. Godfrey told me he could feel the
cool chi in his palms as I was doing the moves, It was pretty amazing!!!
Another student Tyson also felt this cool chi in his palms as he was
doing the Southern Mantis Sarm Bo Gin form; they both smiled and looked
at me as if I was an amazing person!

After that session, I began to experiment in lifting my students? arms
using this cool chi, and to my surprise I was able to do it. It got
better as I was practising more and more tai chi everyday, and now to a
point that I could feel their arms in the actual lift!! The chi in my
Tai Chi movements is now more and more connecting than ever; by that I
mean I could feel different chi flowing in my movements and also
discovering many of the hidden chi compartments within the form.

As for my Southern Mantis Tong Long and Choy Li Fut Gung Fu, well, I
have to say that I have taken a giant leap forward, by that I mean my
students could see that I have roundness and internal power even within
my linear Mantis forms. As for Choy Li fut, well those low stances feel
effortless to do now. This is one amazing journey of true Tai Chi, and I
must thank Ric for sharing his knowledge with me and my brother Michael.