We had an amazing InternChina activity last weekend! InternChina organized a private Tai Chi teacher. We met him on a Sunday afternoon in a nice park here In Zhuhai for two hours. Unfortunately the teacher didn’t speak any English, but Morgan was able to translate everything for us. As none of us really had any idea what Tai Chi was all about, he started the class with an introduction for us.
Tai Chi (Chinese: 太极, Taiji) is an art of self-defense and is very popular in China. Every morning, you can see Chinese people practicing Tai Chi on the streets and in the parks here. Kids get taught Tai Chi at school at a young age, and even in Western countries you can find a lot of schools for Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is not purely applicable to self-defense, it is also good for maintaining your health. The Yin (negative, feminine, dark, formless, attracting) and Yang (positive, masculine, bright, substantial, repulsing) is the basis of Tai Chi. These two elements are opposites of each other and Tai Chi teaches to unify these two elements to ensure inner balance.
After the introduction we started practising. The characteristics of Tai Chi are slow movements and the teacher showed us how to do it first and then we had to copy him. At first we thought « Oh that’s easy, we just have to copy the teacher! » No, it was not easy at all. Luckily, we were a small group of 8 people so the teacher had a good eye on each of us to correct our positions and movements.
There are a lot of mistakes you can make when practicing Tai Chi. For example: Stance – Try to ensure your feet are shoulder-distance apart, narrow stances mean you have to compensate in other areas to maintain good balance; Over-reaching – Try to resist the temptation to push out with your arms and upper body, consider moving in from the lower body rather than stretching out from the upper body; Posture – Think about keeping a straight line along the spine and these are just a few.
After those 2 hours of practising Tai Chi we were all done for the day, and went to bed early. It seems to be an easy sport but when you do it in the right way, it is quite exhausting. It is impressive to see so many people practising Tai Chi every day in the early morning. Now we know, why the old Chinese people, who do Tai Chi on a daily basis are still active and can move like young people.