Saturday, April 7th, at 10 am local time, people from over 80 countries
around the world are expected to participate in World Tai Chi &
Qigong Day 2001. This event was sparked by a gathering in Kansas
City in April of 1998 led by Bill Douglas when 200 people gathered
in a downtown park to practice Tai Chi together. CNN news picked
it up and broadcast it all over the world. The following year, groups
in 18 countries joined in, and the 2000 event included groups in
Once the primary domain of priests and monks in the East, ancient
mind/body health techniques like Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga and meditation
are some of the most effective stress management tools around. Unmanaged
stress is the cause of 70% of all illness, according to the National
Institute of Health.
The use of these tools has expanded around the globe and they are
now taught in all the languages of the world by native teachers
who themselves have experienced the extraordinary health benefits
these tools have to offer. There is an old saying, "When the
student is ready, the master will appear." The entire planet
is literally dying to learn these tools in these stressful times
and the masters are appearing in every major city in every country
on the planet.
Here in Portland, the local branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society/USA
will hold an open house and conduct demonstrations of Taoist Tai
Chi, Taoist Tai Chi Sword, and Lok Hup Ba Fa on Saturday, April
7 from 10 a.m. until noon, as part of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.
The International Taoist Tai Chi Society is the worlds largest
non-profit Tai Chi society. It is a unique organization with more
than 425 branch clubs in over 30 countries and in 25 of the 50 United
States. All accredited instructors of Taoist Tai Chi are volunteers,
and accept no payment for their work.
The form was developed by Master Moy Lin-Shin, a Taoist monk from
China, as a means to help practitioners achieve physical and mental
health and to increase longevity. It was introduced to western society
by Master Moy, and is designed fundamentally to promote and restore
health. Many members join the Society to help them deal with health
problems such as skeletal injuries, arthritis, Parkinsons
disease, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, stroke and heart disease.
The physical aspect of the form consists of basic principles known
as the foundations and a set of 108 named movements. As reflected
in the movements, some of the basic principles include relaxation,
balance, aligning the skeletal structure, stepping at precise angles
in a controlled manner, squaring the hips, transferring weight from
leg to leg, turning constantly in spirals, opening and closing,
and stretching and relaxing the spine.
Repetition of the 108 slow, gentle, continuous stretching movements
progressively relaxes the muscles and tendons; opens and mobilizes
the joints, particularly the spinal vertebrae; massages the internal
organs through the spiral turning of the spine; and enhances circulation.
The International Society operates a 70-bed residential health
recovery facility near Toronto, Canada offering instruction in Taoist
practices under medical supervision. The Society has also applied
to the Canadian government to build and operate a long-term care
The goal of Taoist Tai Chi is to return both the body and mind
to their original pure and healthy state. The Taoist principles
taught by the Society promote a healthy lifestyle and mental attitude.
Emphasis is placed on being kind, generous and helpful to others
and releasing ones own stress and worries.
Taoist Tai Chi is a lifelong learning experience. In addition to
the meditative benefits of practicing the movements, the prime spiritual
aspect of Taoist Tai Chi is the adoption of a spirit of self-sacrifice,
generosity and the elimination of self-centeredness. Taoist Tai
Chi is meant to be taught and practiced in a spirit of compassion
and service to others.
The Taoist Tai Chi Club of Portland offers beginning classes
at four different times each week, including weeknights and Saturday
mornings. A different beginning class starts each month. Senior
centers and community centers around the Portland metro area also
benefit from classes taught by members of the club. For information
contact the Taoist Tai Chi Society, 239 NW 13th Avenue, Suite 211,
Portland, OR 97209; (503) 220-5970
For futher information on World Tai Chi Qi Gong Day, go to www.worldtaichiday.org. You may also
want to visit the website of Bill Douglas, the Founder of World
Tai Chi & Qigong Day and author of The Complete Idiot's
Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong: www.smartaichi.com.