Continuing The Legacy: Tan Mui Buay
Former national wushu athlete May Tan Mui Buay is the first Singaporean to win a taijiquan medal at the Asian Games. Her achievement is even recorded in the Singapore Book of Records!
Commonly categorised as a form of Chinese martial art, taijiquan is practised for a variety of reasons, ranging from defensive training to fitness and health benefits. Both traditional and modern forms of taijiquan currently exist, each to serve a different end-goal.
In 1989, May Tan Mui Buay came in first in the National Wushu Championship for taiji sword. Two years later, in 1991, she clinched the top spot for both taiji sword and taijiquan.
In 1993, she won the gold medal in the taijiquan category at the 17th SEA Games. She followed up with a bronze medal at the Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1994. Mui Buay founded Xin Ying Wushu Training Centre in 1993.
TUEETOR CHATS with Tan Mui Buay
Tueetor(T): How is Xin Ying Wushu Training Centre different from the rest?
Mui Buay (MB): Other than teaching children taijiquan and wushu, we impart traditional values of Chinese culture to them. The children here learn Chinese language and culture. They learn to speak Mandarin. They also learn what it means to be a good pupil. Children need to learn this from a young age. We teach them about filial piety, respect for elders, and how to treat others in their everyday lives. This is what we hope our children will learn.
T: Who is Tan Mui Buay as a coach?
MB: Being a coach requires one to take on many roles. It’s not just about teaching a new move, we have to take on the role of a parent, a student, and even an outsider.
When we coach a child, besides having love, we also need patience. Patience is very important. We have to take the perspective of the child to understand where the difficulty lies. Why is the child not able to perform well? We have to look at the situation from the child’s perspective. Is the child lacking focus? Or does he need a push? This way, we know how to encourage them. We never stop learning. We learn from the parents, and we learn from the student.
T: Share your message for all aspiring athletes.
MB: As an athlete, the most important thing you need to be able to stand on the international stage is perseverance, focus, diligence. You have to see your target clearly and move towards it.
You also need to have confidence. There’s a saying. A highly skilled person is highly confident. When you have mastered the technique, you will have the boldness to execute it.
Continuing the legacy
As Chief Coach at Xin Ying Wushu Training Centre, she has taught and trained hundreds of students, including wushu instructors and elite athletes.
With over 30 years of wushu and taijiquan experience and a string of medals under her belt, Mui Buay is no doubt a force to be reckoned with. She is an 11th generation lineage holder of Chen Style taijiquan, a 2nd generation lineage holder of Chen Style HunYuan taijiquan, and the proud disciple of Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang and Master Zhou Shusheng.
Despite the numerous accolades, Mui Buay is a learner at heart. The taijiquan exponent holds a Degree in Social Science and a Diploma in Applied Psychology. During our interview with her, she tells us that part of being a coach is to never stop learning. That’s one life lesson that this taijiquan master will certainly impart to her proteges.
This post is part of the ‘Continuing The Legacy’ series, where Tueetor chats with former national athletes about their achievements on the world stage and their current coaching careers.