To learn taiji is important because we often loose contact with our inner body. Taiji teaches us to know and feel our body. Taiji is a form of Qi-gong. Qi is an energy that is present in everything, taiji makes it possible to cultivate this energy from within our body, this through breathing exercises and postures for our body. Taiji uses this energy to absorb but also to explode. The control over fast and slow, hard and soft leads to a balance, as Yin and Yang, which leads to peace and silence within our body and mind. Not only very important for our health, but also in self-defense. Through history it has been proven that practicing taiji boosts the immune system of the human health. But taiji does not only benefit our health. Taiji was developed by an ex-military warlord named Chen Wangting, who loved strategy and martial arts. He discovered that the use of Qi in martial arts could lead to a very effective mechanism of self-defense.
‘Health is Happiness’ was founded in 2001 as a little side branch of my teachers workshops. I studied with master Si Gingcong, in Antwerp and Sint-Niklaas, from 1999. Master Si Gingcong was a student from grandmaster Fu Zhongwen and Yang Xiliang in Shanghai, where he was teached Wu style & Yang style taijiquan. When he stopped teaching taiji at the ‘Vrije Ateliers’ in Sint-Niklaas, a little while later they asked me to fill in his place. And this is how I started to teach taiji with a little group of 7 people in 2001 under the name of ‘Health is Happiness’. Meanwhile ‘Health is Happiness’ has grown a great deal and has had hundreds of students through the years. It has grown not only through my teachings but also through many coaches who came from China to improve our students and members quality in and knowledge of taiji.
Since 2004 I started travelling to China with and without my teacher Si Gingcong, he introduced me during my first visit to the Shanghai Chen style Taijiquan Association led by grandmaster Wan Wende. I was trained daily at the Renmin Park or People’s Park in Shanghai in Chen style taijiquan by coaches Zhang Zhouji and Sang Xilin. They also were the first coaches to come and teach here with us in Belgium, since 2007, at the ‘Vrije Ateliers’ in Sint-Niklaas.
Grandmaster Wan Wende (1918-2010) was a great source of knowledge in Chen style taijiquan to us all since he was trained by some of the best taiji grandmasters in recent history. Such as grandmasters Chen Zhaokui, Chen Xiaowang and Feng Zhiqiang. As he started his own Chen style Association in Shanghai, where he trained many coaches in Chen style, he also translated one of the best books today to be found in the world, in English, about Chen style taijiquan. Written by Feng Zhi Qiang and Chen Xiaowang, named ‘Chen Style Taijiquan’ in 1984. Unfortunately we all had to say goodbye to this wonderful teacher in 2010. Since then I was trained by teacher Wan Wende’s right hand man Yang Naifan, however I kept a very good connection with my former coaches as well.
Today ‘Health is Happiness’ offers you two styles, Yang style and Chen style taijiquan. Yang style 8 forms, 24 forms, 48 forms, 32 straight sword form and 42 straight sword form; 1st and 2nd fan form; and Chen style taijiquan 20 forms, 24 forms, 56 forms, 83 forms(Yi lu), 71 formas (Er lu / Pao Chui) and 37 straight sword forms.
Every summer we try to invite coaches or organize training vacations abroad to Shanghai, and will continue this formula hopefully for many, many years to come.