National Taiwan University (NTU) is the oldest and best university in Taiwan. Established in 1928, this liberal university has produced many talents including one Nobel Prize Laureate, three national presidents and four vice presidents in the past 63 years of Taiwan’s democratic system and thousands of leaders in medicine, science, engineering, economics, social science, law and arts. Its school of business has educated tens of thousands of business innovators and its executive MBA (EMBA) program has been ranked 41st among top 100 EMBA programs around the world by the Financial Times of London in the past three years and in the same realm as the EMBA programs at Cornell University, University of Texas of Austin and Purdue University.
Like EMBA programs in other prestigious universities, NTU’s EMBA program attracts executives and entrepreneurs from various industries. Due to the stress in their busy life, EMBA students and alumni decided to form a Tai Chi association to manage their health a year ago. The association has since grown quickly. According to the association president Wen-Ho Chang, currently they have over one hundred members, and the majority of them are EMBA graduates. The male to female ratio is 65:35 which is different than the demographics of the EMBA program. Mr. Chang said that there are more than 65% of EMBA students are men.
The head coach of the EMBA Tai Chi program is Sifu Pei-Yi Li, who is a 13th generation lineage holder of the Chen Style Tai Chi and a disciple of Master Chan Kwok Wah of Hong Kong under the tutelage of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. Sifu Li was a multi-time champion of the Hong Kong Wushu Championship, Chen Village Tai Chi Kung-Fu Elite, World Cup Tai Chi Chuan and the Universal Chinese Sport. She has won gold medals for her bare hand form as well as Tai Chi Sword. Sifu Li is also a director of Hong Kong Chen Style Tai Chi Association and Vice President of Hong Kong Tai Chi & Martial Art Academy.
Not too long ago, I visited the EMBA Tai Chi association in Taipei, Taiwan. According to Sifu Li, most of the group members are extremely busy and don’t have much time to practice outside of classes nor to memorize a form; therefore, she worked with her husband Wei-Zen Sun, MD, to develop a training program that focuses on stress relief, fitness and body endurance. In a ninety-minute class, it contains relaxation/patting, eight Silk Reeling movements, deep breathing exercise, Standing Post (Zhan Zhuang), drill of Tai Chi movements that they would repeat a single movement for a few times and Chen Style Tai Chi 18 Form.
Mr. Yi-Zhen Chen stated that his career as an investment banker is highly stressful and Tai Chi helps him to relax. Construction executive Mr. Zhong-Yuan Hsieh echoed the same sentiment. One insurance senior manager stated that Tai Chi helps him to recover from a sport’s injury that he has suffered for years. Many admitted that they had no more sore back once they started to practice Tai Chi while others claimed that they felt more energetic after the Tai Chi practice.
The association’s president Chang said in order to foster interest in learning Tai Chi and to provide networking opportunities to its members, the group sometimes hosts Tai Chi workshops at a resort on weekends with members’ families welcome as well.
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