Pub­lic, po­ten­tial new mem­bers have chance to check out ‘mov­ing med­i­ta­tion’ mar­tial art

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News - Randy Palmer Moose Jaw Ex­press

When­ever one thinks of tai chi, the first thing that gen­er­ally comes to mind is a ven­er­a­ble monk per­form­ing the slow, de­lib­er­ate move­ments of the mar­tial art in an idyl­lic park or on a moun­tain top. What folks might not re­al­ize is tai chi – par­tic­u­larly the Fung Loy Kok Taoist ver­sion – can be found in their own com­mu­nity. Moose Jaw is no ex­cep­tion, with 15 ded­i­cated mem­bers of the FLK Taiost Tai Chi group meet­ing in the so­cial hall of St. An­drew’s United Church twice a week to de­velop and prac­tice what has been called ‘mov­ing medi­ti­a­tion’. The club held an open house for any­one in­ter­ested in see­ing things first­hand, with a half-dozen in­ter­ested on­look­ers learn­ing what FLK Taoist Tai Chi is all about. “What we want to do is have peo­ple un­der­stand that tai chi is for ev­ery­one,” said Moose Jaw be­gin­ners in­struc­tor Elaine Crysler. “It’s a gen­tle form of a mar­tial art and it helps stretch your ten­dons, it helps with your con­nec­tive tis­sues; it helps your spine, your hips. It’s just all about your all-around well-be­ing. “And you do it at your own speed. It’s not like you’re com­pet­ing against any­one else. And peo­ple just find that it’s very healthy and a won­der­ful stress re­liever.” The base of tai chi is what is known as the 108 move­ments, which are de­signed to stress dif­fer­ent parts of the body in pos­i­tive and gen­tle ways, ex­plained Crysler. It’s the art’s famous style that makes it nearly ideal for some­one look­ing to re­cover from in­juries or joint and mus­cle da­m­age. “More and more peo­ple are say­ing tai chi is the one to heal,” Crysler said. “And it is heal­ing, peo­ple who have had knee op­er­a­tions and hip op­er­a­tions, this is one of the ex­er­cises they can do that will help bring them back to where they were.” While the club gen­er­ally works out of the so­cial hall, sum­mer months will of­ten see them stake out an area in front of the Moose Jaw Pub­lic Li­brary and take ad­van­tage of the beauty of Cres­cent Park to en­hance their ex­er­cise. “It’s beau­ti­ful over there and to do it with the group, you get the har­mony of the whole group and it’s hard to ex­plain how amaz­ing it is, es­pe­cially in that set­ting,” Crysler said. “To do it by your­self, there’s noth­ing wrong with that, but you don’t get the har­mony of mov­ing with a group.... it just makes you feel re­ally good.” The club holds four sets of classes per week, two for each class of prac­ti­tioner. The Beginning class will kick off a new sea­son on Apr. 11 and will go from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wed­nes­days and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Satur­days. The more ad­vanced Con­tin­u­ing class meets on Wed­nes­days from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Satur­days. “There’s var­i­ous stages of peo­ple join­ing,” Crysler ex­plained. “There’s no test, there’s no grades, noth­ing like that. We have a begin­ner class and they’re there for about four months and that’s where they learn the 108 moves. From there, they move on to what we call con­tin­u­ing where it’s just that, con­tin­u­ing in tai chi.” And then there’s the mas­sive world-wide com­mu­nity of tai chi, with about 40,000 mem­bers world­wide. Given the universal na­ture of the sport, one could prac­tice it al­most any­where and fit right in. “So if you’re trav­el­ling and you see a tai chi club, you’re more than wel­come to pop in,” Crysler said. I’ve at­tended lots of work­shops with hun­dreds of peo­ple and it is re­ally cool that it’s all the same.” For more in­for­ma­tion check out www.taoist.org or email moose­jaw@taoist.org.

Be­gin­ners in­struc­tor Elaine Crysler talks about Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi dur­ing an open house for the Moose Jaw branch.

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