Exploring the Motions of Tai Chi & Qigong

Tai chi and qigong are two practices with roots in China that have spread to parks and other spaces around the world. Participants appear to be in a martial arts film with the “slow-mo” button held down. This isn’t too far from the truth as these martial arts-based practices provide both self-defense and health benefits.

Kieran Tong, chief instructor of Chin Lung Martial Arts School, sat hillside with the being808 team this week to take us through the motions of tai chi and qigong. He explained tai chi has fighting applications and is considered a martial art with weapon-integrated patterns. Whereas qigong is primarily used to balance one’s meridians, much as in acupuncture, at its higher levels, it can also be taught as a martial art.

Students of either practice often go through their motions in their downtime – waiting in line, sitting at their desk, etc. “That is a common force of habit,” explained Tong. This comes from muscle memory as students remember and practice the movements learned from their teacher or “sifu.” Tong demonstrated a san jiao pattern in qigong that can easily be performed at home and requires very little space.

An opportunity to learn more is coming up on World Tai Chi Day, which is held the last Saturday in April of every year. Newcomers and the curious are welcome to the event, usually held at a local park by a martial arts school. Since no experience is needed, the public is introduced to qi massage exercises as well as other specialty exercises practiced by the school. Tong added, “If they are interested, that’s great and if not, that’s okay, too. As long as they try and do a few exercises for themselves, that’s fine.”

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