Tai Chi ∙ Bei­jing, Ex­chang­ing Ex­er­cise

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Li Shasha, edited by Roger Brad­shaw, pho­tos by Xiu Yuchen

The event at­tracted more than 600 Tai Chi en­thu­si­asts from all over the world, show­ing a com­bi­na­tion of fit­ness and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

When the “Taiji ∙ Bei­jing — 2017 Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Health­build­ing Ex­change” took place from June 20 to 22, 2017, it at­tracted im­mense num­ber of Tai Chi fit­ness en­thu­si­asts from France, Bel­gium, Hun­gary, Aus­tralia, Mex­ico, Ja­pan, Sri Lanka, Sin­ga­pore, Brunei, Nepal, Ma­cau and other places around China, more than 600 in all. This op­pur­tu­nity shows a com­bi­na­tion of fit­ness and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions and to pro­mote friendly ex­changes among the peo­ple from all over the world.

Healthy Tai Chi

The spon­sors of this ex­change were the Bei­jing Peo­ple's As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries, For­eign Af­fairs Of­fice of the Peo­ple's Gov­ern­ment of Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, In­for­ma­tion Of­fice of the Peo­ple's Gov­ern­ment of Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Bei­jing Sports Fed­er­a­tion, Bei­jing Sport Univer­sity, and Chang­ping District Peo­ple's Gov­ern­ment. Its theme was “Healthy Tai Chi” and it had four parts: pro­fes­sional Taiji, peo­ple's Tai Chi, Great Wall Tai Chi, and Tai Chi among flow­ers, which cov­ered shad­ow­box­ing, Tai Chi softball (rouliqiu), fan Tai Chi, hand-push­ing Tai Chi, health-build­ing qigong (deep breath­ing ex­er­cises), in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage sports, and folk­loric ex­er­cises.

There was a brief open­ing cer­e­mony af­ter which some Chi­nese and for­eign par­tic­i­pants put on softball, shad­ow­box­ing, fan Tai Chi, qigong, and

mar­tial arts per­for­mances, with both novices and pro­fes­sion­als fo­cus­ing on nat­u­ral, gen­tle or tough move­ments, en­chant­ing the au­di­ence.

One key ex­change event was “Health­build­ing un­der the Blue Sky”, where Chi­nese and for­eign en­thu­si­asts did Taiji ex­er­cises to­gether on the Juy­ong­guan Great Wall and in the Pur­ple Val­ley Eden. Then there was the “Face to Face with Mas­ters” event with a well-known Chi­nese hand-push­ing Taiji mas­ter and a softball coach to give on-the-spot in­struc­tions. For the “Peo­ple's Taiji,” a del­e­ga­tion of over­seas health en­thu­si­asts shared their ex­pe­ri­ences with lo­cal peo­ple at gym­na­si­ums in the Xicheng District and, for the “Taiji Party for Peo­ple from All over the World” there was a tra­di­tional get-to­gether, with Chi­nese and for­eign par­tic­i­pants ex­chang­ing ideas with each other.

Chi­nese Mar­tial Arts’ Long His­tory

Tai Chi's ori­gin goes back to the clas­si­cal Book of Changes and for cen­turies, its the­ory has been passed down and mixed with tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture and phi­los­o­phy. Then in May 2006, tai­ji­quan

( shad­ow­box­ing) was added to China's first state- level in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage list. As a sym­bol of tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture, Tai Chi has spread to more than 150 coun­tries and re­gions and there are re­ported to be more than 250 mil­lion peo­ple prac­tis­ing it all over the globe, mak­ing it the mar­tial art with the most prac­ti­tion­ers.

Qigong also has a long his­tory, as ar­chae­o­log­i­cal find­ings show, for ex­am­ple pot­tery dat­ing back to about 5,000 years un­earthed in Qing­hai Province show­ing coloured fig­ures do­ing qigong. Also, the Book of Doc­u­ments in the Han Dy­nasty (206 BC–AD 220) records in­stances of qigong. His­tor­i­cal relics from the Mawang­dui Han Tombs in Hu­nan Province also men­tion qigong. It has been pop­u­lar for hun­dreds of years with the public, es­pe­cially mid­dle- aged and el­derly peo­ple, thanks to its sim­ple, easy move­ments and Tai Chi healthy ef­fects. It is said that qigong plays a pos­i­tive role in pre­vent­ing dis­eases, keep­ing fit and pro­long­ing life.

The re­cent sport of Taiji softball com­bines tra­di­tional Taiji with mod­ern ball games and has be­come a pop­u­lar form of en­ter­tain­ment suit­able for peo­ple of all ages. It made its de­but in 1991 and has been pro­moted around the world, and has been wel­comed by Chi­nese and for­eign sports play­ers, in­clud­ing the dis­abled. In 1994, China's State Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion ( Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion) recog­nised it as a sport and in 2000, the Chi­nese Vet­eran's Sports Fed­er­a­tion recog­nised it and be­gan host­ing a na­tional con­test ev­ery year. Th­ese days, there are more than two mil­lion peo­ple play­ing it around China and a com­plete sys­tem has taken shape for softball, and this unique sport is ex­pected to gain more trac­tion in the fu­ture.

Two Brands in One

When the Bei­jing Peo­ple's As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries com­bined the “Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Tai­ji­quan Ex­change” and “Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Taiji Rouliqiu Ex­change” in 2016, it changed their name to the “Taiji ∙ Bei­jing— Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Health- build­ing Ex­change.” The two had been held three times in Bei­jing dur­ing 2010– 2015. The first event of 2016 at­tracted more than 500 Taiji fans from China, France, Bel­gium, Ja­pan and Sri Lanka to its per­for­mances and dis­cus­sions. The two events gained wide­spread in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ence and at­tracted for­eign­ers. This healthy sport pro­motes friendly ex­changes among peo­ple from Bei­jing and coun­tries all over the world.

In all th­ese ar­eas, Bei­jing is cur­rently hold­ing fre­quent ex­changes with con­nec­tions over­seas, and friends from around the world are grow­ing more cu­ri­ous about tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­tures, es­pe­cially vari­a­tions of Tai Chi. The Taiji ∙ Bei­jing— 2017 Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Health- build­ing Ex­change had made Tai Chi a sortof call­ing card for Bei­jing, one that pro­motes mu­tual un­der­stand­ing all over the world and one that helps build Bei­jing into the coun­try's in­ter­na­tional ex­change cen­tre.

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