World Tai Chi and Qigong Day is an annual event that has been taking place on the last Saturday of April since 1999. It has been celebrated in sixty countries in its eleven years of existence. Tai Chi is a series of 19 movements devoted to balancing your internal energy (Chi), and touted for its physical and mental benefits including increased physical energy, balance, flexibility, and awareness. Qigong is another ancient practice that focuses on the alignment of breath, physical activity, and awareness.
Before today I didn’t really know too much about Tai Chi other than the fact that my grandparents do it and, according one of the guys at work, if sped up is deadly. I vaguely remember flipping through the channels as a youngster and coming across a channel from time to time with a woman standing on a rocky beach doing this weird stretch/slow motion karate. Little did I know this was Tai Chi.
This past week I was able to have a few conversations about Tai Chi with a few of my coworkers. Angelico, the one who informed me of it’s deadliness when sped up, also informed me that in one of the Mortal Combat games you are able to pick your style of martial arts, one of which was Tai Chi.
For today’s celebration we were fortunate enough to be able to attend a rather large World Tai Chi and Qigong Day celebration. Hosted by Peaceable Dragon, the celebration brought together people from all over the east coast. The event, located at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia, started with demonstrations of each of the different styles and practices and lasted about an hour or so. We were both very impressed to see that C.D. Hylton High School even has a Tai Chi club and was very eager to perform. They even voluntarily participated in a few additional demonstrations put on by some of the other local Tai Chi/Qigong schools. It was interesting to see all the variations of Tai Chi/Qigong, I had no clue there were types that used swords, fans, and bows. After the demonstrations, classes were offered for both newcomers and veterans alike. Brittany seemed to be drawn towards the Qigong style so we decided to participate in that class. I sort of went into today’s holiday with a negative mindset (I thought it was silly and we would be the youngest people by atleast 35 years) but was shocked how much fun I was able to have.