Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bacolod’s Oldest Tai Chi Group will Turn 9 This July 17 Part II: The Nucleus By: James U. Sy Jr.

Tai Chi, or more completely known as Tai Chi Chuan (alternate Romanization: Tai Ji Quan) “Great/Grand Ultimate/Supreme Fist/Boxing” refers to one of the three primary forms of the Internal Family of Chung Kou Chuan “Chinese Fist/Boxing” or Chung Kou Wushu “Chinese Martial Arts” (the other two being Pa Kua Chuan and Hsing I Chuan). There are several legends about its founding, the most common of which is that the legendary Taoist monk Chan Sang-Feng developed the art after he had observed a fight between a crane and a snake. According to some accounts, Chang was formerly from Shaolin Ssu “Small Forest Temple.” Using his prior knowledge of Shaolin Chuan, Chang developed a martial art which made optimum use of the circular and yielding motions he had observed from the fighitng animals.

The circle in the name of the Tai Chi Circle of Bacolod (TCCB) symbolizes a family circle structure which is customary in all traditional Chinese Martial Arts (CMA). In CMA, the instructor is called a Sifu, which is composed of the two Chinese characters for “Teacher” and “Father.” Thus, Sifu represents the head of the family who cares for and nurtures his children to growth and the right path. He transmits what hi wisdom and experience just as a father would prepare his children for life.

The circle alo represents the interconnection and harmony of all thing in nature, having no start and no end and symbolizes constant flux to maintain balance. The circle seals the union of the metaphyical forces of Yin and Yang “Negative and Positive.”

Peter Lloren Yap Yan-Lin (B: 1944), the son of Ramon Yap Kian-See of Lam Wah, Fujian, China and Narcisa Lloren of Bohol, is the Sifu of the Tai Chi Circle of Bacolod (TCCB). When asked what is martial arts to him, Yap Sifu said, “My martial art was fighting poverty.” He had to do hard labor at an early age because he was the bread winner of the family. In fact, he started Tai Chi Chuan later in his life, when he needed to rehabilitate himself from the wear and tear of hard labor. Yap learned a modified form of the 108 postures from a local master in Bacolod City way back in 1988.

In 1992, Master Li Jun Feng, Head Coach of the Beijing Wushu Team and Counsel of the Research Committee of Chinese Qigong, was sponsored by Cecille H. Magsaysay to teach Tai Chi Chuan in Bacolod. Master Li taught the 24 posture simplified form at the property owned by the prominent businessman Benjamin “Bebe” Lopue Jr. which is now known as Benjamin Hall along Lacson St.

In 1993, Master Li went back to Bacolod and taught the 42 step competition form at the Taoist temple at Kamunsil St., which is owned by another prominent businessman Kaya Uy Se Kay. It was Enrique Dy Achiaw who arranged with Mr. Uy for the use of the place. Many Bacoleños studied under Master Li, among them was Yap.

Yap Sifu narrated, “We paid P60 for each session back then. Master Li invited me to his apartment for more concentrated training. I did daily training under him instead of the three times a week mass training.”

Master Li learned Chi Kung “Energy Skill” (alternate Romanization: Qigong) from the mystic Master Gong Zhang. Master Li was one of the trainers of 5 times All China Wushu champion and now world martial arts superstar Jet Li Lian-Jie.

After Master Li left, the enthusiasts continued practicing on their own until a need was felt for a network to overee the progrte of their training and thus, Tai Chi Circle of Bacolod (TCC) was born on July 17, 2000 as a non-profit, non-competitive network of career professionals/business people dedicated to the serious study of Tai Chi Chuan.

TCCB is unqiue in at least four respects: 1) It is the oldest existing documented group of Tai Chi Chuan practitioners in Bacolod city and perhaps, the Negros Island; 2) It is focused on the study of the Beijing 24 postures, classic Cheng Man-Ching 37 postures, and the classic Yang Chen-Fu 108 postures, the last two forms being practiced in Bacolod only by TCCB at this time; 3) System of teaching and training based on scientific and natural principles as opposed to mysticism; and 4) Free instruction to all those who are interested.

Active TCCB members include Atty. Alexander Ang of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Charles Atas, Letty Chiu, Pepe Chiu, Catherine Friend, Guillermo “Bill” L. Gomez, Rey Granada, Pepito Khey, Humberto “Toti” Lim, Felipe Lio, Celedinio Perez Jr., Alex Su, Sagay Councilor James Tupas, Jose Uy Jr., and Stephen Young.

TCCB is greatly indebted to Mr. Mariano Cua who offered hi place for the group‘s training. Interested parties may contact Mr. Jose Uy Jr. at 434-7664 or visit during practice every MWF 8:00 P.M. at Oceanlight Import and Export, Magsaysay St., Bacolod City.

TCCB came to the attention of the public on March 31, 2004 when Atty. Juanito S. Amihan, himself a martial arts enthusiast, hosted Yap Sifu for his TV show Reflections over at Negros Progress Channel. The group’s first public demonstration was during the 2nd Bacolaodiat Celebration last February 27, 2007 at the Bacolod Public Plaza where Humberto “Toti” Lim and Cathy Friend performed the 37 and 27 posture Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan form.

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