Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tai chi in the City

flexing at Chater Park, Hong Kong

There they were, about a dozen men and women, mostly seniors, performing balletic stances in the park, holding one pose for several seconds, then moving on to the next fluidly and effortlessly. The place was Chater Park in Hong Kong Central and the time was mid-morning on a Tuesday. A relatively younger guy was leading the group, demonstrating the techniques flawlessly and two young ladies were playing helpful martials for the troop. It is safe to assume that this was a class that is repeated not just in Chinese cities like Beijing and Taipei but also in major urban centers in Asia, Europe and North America.


The exercise is called tai chi or more accurately tai chi chuan, a form of Chinese martial art that is currently regularly practiced for health reasons. The art probably dates back to the 12th century, but the movement took root in the 15th century and exploded only quite recently in the later part of the 20th century.


Tai chi classes like the one I photographed in Hong Kong are becoming increasingly popular for its low impact on the body and soothing effect on the mind.

tai chi in the city

A sport even was developed from these classical poses, wushu, which is a mainstream feature of the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games (ASEAN). And when one says wushu, the images of kungfu and Jet Li aren’t that far from the mind.

park tai chi

There is enough scientific evidence that demonstrates that the practice of tai chi can lead to better balance, flexibility and weight reduction. Improvement on pain management and mental health are also well-documented.

under the shade

Whatever the motivation, adherents are one in the belief that tai chi is all for the good. No arguments there.

at Chater Park

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: