Steph taking tai chi to court
Stephen Curry has promised to bring some oriental flare to the basketball court after picking up some tai chi moves during the Hangzhou leg of his recent China tour.
“It works on my balance and focus,” the Golden State Warriors ace enthused about the traditional Chinese martial art. “The trainer makes it look so easy but it’s pretty hard even though we were moving very slow.
“Definitely I have to bring that back to my pregame routine, so I got some more ammo to work with,” added the reigning NBA champion, who was tutored by Chinese practitioner Qiao Di on Tuesday.
During the 30-minute session, Curry, together with his wife, Ayesha Alexander, and brother Seth Curry picked up five iconic tai chi maneuvers, revealed Qiao, vice-chairman of Hangzhou Binjiang Martial Arts Association.
“He showed a lot of genuine interest in the culture. He paid attention to my explanation and is a quick learner with great body coordination,” Qiao said.
The tai chi clinic was among a series of activities Curry’s sponsor Under Armour organized to immerse the 29-year-old in Chinese culture and allow him to engage with his fans during his third annual visit here.
During his earlier Beijing stop, the basketball superstar played ping pong with Chinese table tennis Olympic champion Ding Ning and was taught taekwondo kicks by former national team athlete Zhang Lanxin at the landmark Imperial Ancestral Temple, next to the Forbidden City.
Curry spiced up his trip in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, when he savored the delights of a hotpot restaurant. However, the renowned facechanging stunts of Sichuan opera during the meal proved a bigger shock to the system for the American.
Performers change masks in the blink of an eye at the opera, a trick that seemed to freak out Curry, judging by a video posted on one of his social-media accounts.
“I was scared because I don’t know how it’s done. But it was pretty cool,” said Curry, who also hosted a youth basketball clinic and participated in a pick-up game at Sichuan University.
“It’s really been an eye-opening experience for me and my family. We try to get more immersed in the culture here and try different things like going to have a hotpot meal.
“Doing things like that where you can understand the characteristics of the cities. They are quick trips but we hope to do a better job of really understanding Chinese culture.”