Overcoming Asthma Fear
Vincent Cheng 2019-03-28
My name is Vincent, and I’m going to tell you why I came to Tai Ji Men. My story began when I had my first asthma attack. It happened when I was 7 years old, and it caused quite a scare for me and my parents. Although I had always had allergies, I had never had an asthma attack. Since then, every allergy season, I would start wheezing a lot. To alleviate the symptoms, my parents bought a machine that helped regulate my breathing. My parents didn’t really know what to expect, and they didn’t have a solution for it either, so I just trudged through first grade all the way to 5th grade, relying on the respirator to help me breathe as much as possible.
One day when I was in 5th grade, my mother brought me to Tai Ji Men. At first, I didn’t really understand why I had to go. I thought it was just a waste of my time. I felt I wasn’t really doing anything but just wasting two hours of my life that could be better spent on homework or going out with friends. However, as time went by, my health improved through the practices that I learned. My asthma and wheezing cleared up within the first month or two. For the first time in years, I didn’t need that respirator, and my quality of life vastly improved from that point.
Throughout the 9 years that I spent at Tai Ji Men, I attended many activities and participated in many different kinds of performances. My first performance at Tai Ji Men was with drums when I was in 7th grade. I always thought of it as one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. It was physically taxing for me because we practiced long hours carrying a drum. Although I learned to get through it and was unaware of all its benefits, the rehearsals did help me build physical strength as well as test my endurance. The icing on the cake was that during the process, I formed strong bonds and friendships with peers that lasted to this day. As I became stronger, I also gained confidence in my physical ability. During my high school years, I started playing water polo for my school and for my club team. I had never dreamt of playing water pool because my asthma made swimming difficult. It was hard for me to breathe normally when I was tired or during strenuous activities. From a lot of the practices that I learned at Tai Ji Men, I was able to control my breathing, which made it easier for me to calm myself down during games or during times when I had to sprint for possession of the ball. I surprised myself when I was appointed captain of the water polo team during my sophomore year.
I went through a phase in my life when I didn’t see going to Tai Ji Men as a necessity anymore. Weekly practices at Tai Ji Men felt more like a routine as I felt immune to the medical problems that used to afflict me. As a result, I almost quit Tai Ji Men during my last year of high school. Fortunately, my parents insisted and urged me to continue as they believed every practice counts and someday it might come in handy. Although I felt indifferent, I continued with practice because I wanted to please my parents. A couple of months ago, as a freshman in college, I was finishing up rushing with my fraternity and going through initiation week. In addition to all the social commitments, I had to study for a lot of tests and work on a couple of projects. I was severely sleep-deprived, functioning on only 10 hours of sleep for the whole week. As a result, I was fatigued and quickly came down with a cold. Although I went to the doctor multiple times, every time I was sent home with an over-the-counter medication and told that it should go away in a few days. Instead of getting better, my symptoms kept getting worse, and it got to the point where my wheezing actually returned. It was then when I realized that I really needed to change my behavior because I certainly did not want to be back relying on the respirator to help me breathe. I was too tired, so I would practice some qigong that didn’t require me to stand and also practice some meditation. I continued doing that, and a week and a half later, I made a full recovery without taking any medication. I really appreciate the techniques I learned at Tai Ji Men. I realized that I had taken them for granted and never really thought of them as extremely important. This realization is the reason why I want to make a difference for myself and for the people around me. I want to show my appreciation and the gratitude that I think Tai Ji Men really deserves. Thank you!