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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Tai Chi Incident in China

A common site in China is watching people, especially older Chinese, perform their Tai Chi excercises in the public areas. This is usually done in the morning but also can be done in the evening as well. I've encountered many times.

Although it is predominantly women, occasionally I will see men involved as well. It is rather unusual to see the very young engage in this, at least per my observations.

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese form of, well everything! It's used to practice self defense, as a low impact, gentle form of excercise, and it's also a form of meditation. So many benefits to this one ancient practice!

I can remember hearing Dick Van Dyke speak about it as he was approaching ninety. He said he practiced it daily in an effort to keep his excellent balance. Well that's one great endorsement.

But, I don't know, to the average American like me, it seems like a whole lot of nonsense. But then I'm usually wrong about these things.

But I have a semi-funny story about this in China. Before my arthritic back prevented me from higher impact excercise like jogging, a few years back I was doing a morning jog in one of the parks in China. I happened upon a large group of older women doing Tai Chi so I stopped to take a picture.

They looked at me as though I was an oddity as a westerner jogging in their park and photographing them. I could tell they were curious about me, but I also knew as elderly, rural Chinese they likely spoke no English.

Yet, eager to interact with them in some form, I decided to do so in a language I knew they understood. With all eyes on me I stood in front of the group of women and started doing my morning stretch routine.

At first they looked at each other in a giggly manner, then they looked at me and started mimicking my actions. I felt like a Chinese version of Richard Simmons, no wait, let me choose another....yeah, Jack Lalane, in this rural Chinese park. Yeah, I'm sure it was a sight for foreign eyes to see!

I only did this for a couple minutes, then I just jogged away. I could hear them talking excitedly behind me as I left. I've learned, always leave on a high note!

Interacting with foreigners takes all forms and does not always require speech. Sometimes it's just throwing candy to children, helping out the poverty stricken in some small way, or just acting the goof in front of a bunch of strangers.

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