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Celebrate World Tai Chi & Qigong Day with Tai Chi—The Art of Fitness

by Dr. Aihan Kuhn, CMD, April 24, 2017

The World Tai Chi & Qigong Day will be held on April 29, 2017.  The whole world celebrates this day by participating in tai chi and qigong practice in a natural setting at 10 a.m. in all different cities, from time zone to time zone.  I will be celebrating at Bay Front Park, Sarasota, Florida (near Marina Jack.)   This is a free event that I highly recommend to people of all ages and all different physical abilities. Come to try and to experience the World Qi Wave; to feel it, embrace it, and to use it to benefit our body, mind, and our spirit.

The Art of Fitness

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese exercise that has been practiced all over the world for its healthful and healing benefits. It is well known as a special exercise for improving physical health, spiritual health, emotional health, and mental health.  It is also useful in disease prevention, fall prevention, pain reduction, and anti-aging. Certain ways of practicing tai chi can even be used for self-defense. It is a well-rounded and well balanced exercise.

The slow body movements encourage mental calmness and focus, breath control, movement control, coordination, and moving with "intention." With all of this it produces a strong life force; we call it "qi". Tai chi and qigong touch all aspects of the whole person at the same time.  It is sometimes called "Moving Meditation." While moving your "qi" during practice, you are activating every cell and organ in your body. This is how the healing begins.

Practicing these exercises helps to open the body's energy pathways and helps the person to integrate his mind, body, and spirit. It is not enough to just simply copy the physical movements. You must incorporate mind, breath, body, and spirit with total relaxation, focus, meditation, and dedication to your practice.

Learning tai chi is not as easy as you think, but not as difficult as some people say, "You cannot do tai chi well without 10-year practice."  It does take dedication, persistence, patience, and a correct approach to learning.

My Tai Chi Journey

I started learning tai chi when I was in medical school from around 1978.  Even though I was always interested in martial arts and had studied sword form, I learned tai chi but just an external form.  As I started to teach in 1992, I realized something was missing but did not know what it was.  In those early years I went back to China several times. I was fortunate to have the chance to learn from some of the world's greatest masters.  I am so grateful that each of those masters taught me different things and gave me tips about tai chi, qigong, and life.

The first and the most important thing in tai chi practice I learned from Grand Master Feng Zhi Qiang, was "Relaxation, from internal." He was 17th in the lineage of Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan. He was such a nice man; anyone would love him. He treated me like a daughter. He was kind, gentle, and persuasive.  Even though he was one of the most well known and one of the strongest masters in the world, his humbleness and humility really inspired me.

When I was treating him for a neck problem on a visit to Beijing, I felt like I was treating my father (he knew I was a doctor of holistic medicine.) The way he talked was like my father, too.  The first time I visited him in Beijing, he examined my Chen Style Tai Chi form.  I thought I did well, (everyone though I did well), but his comment was "Too tight, too tight."  I took it very seriously and became more aware of the importance of internal relaxation. The second time I visited him in Beijing which was two years later, he called me "Monkey."  Not only because I was born in the year of the Monkey, but also because he thought that I was a fast learner, a "Monkey student." I knew I had to work hard in order to show him my respect since the world respected him so much. I also knew that I still had so much to learn. I loved him so much and I really miss him. I cried when I heard he departed in 2012.  The biggest lesson I learned from him was about real "Relaxation." I learned that no matter how well you perform the form, you won't get the maximum benefit if you don't relax or don't know how to relax. Being with him I felt very comfortable and relaxed.  No one would dare to joke in the front of him like I did, but he would laugh and understood my sense of humor.

Learn to Relax

By being able to practice with total relaxation, I became more aware of focusing on my internal practice; by focusing on my internal work, I was able to feel the total control of each movement, balance, and being strong like a tree.

I then had several chances to work with Grand Master Li De Ying. He was Vice Chairman of the Chinese Martial Art Committee and a professor at the Martial Art Department of the Beijing People's University.  He taught me the theory, history, and philosophy of tai chi. This is how I came to understand the "how and why" of the workings of tai chi, how and why we need to practice correctly. Now I am able to share with my students and pass the knowledge on to the next generation of instructors. Master Li was so amazed that I was not trained in martial art to begin with, but rather trained in the medical field.  The best part of learning with him was his "theory of everything."

I learned from several other masters too, including Grand Master Zhu Tian Cai, masters who taught me Ba Gua, Xing Yi, Chen Style Tai Chi, and other forms. Every one of them has something unique and special to offer. Some things they all have in common: they all are very kind, relaxed, easy going, open minded, and teach in a persuasive way not a critical way. They all have an amazing moral character, are sincere, are strong emotionally, have mental clarity, and have a lot of life's wisdom.

During my learning, teaching, and training, I have seen my students grow fast in their ability of learning, healing, sharing, and personal growth. This is such convincing evidence that tai chi practice provides profound value to our health.

Tai Chi and Qigong Benefit Our Health in these ways:

  • Better Circulation
  • Better Metabolism
  • Better Flexibility
  • Better Posture
  • Better stability
  • Better Concentration
  • Better Immune function
  • Better energy level
  • Better Digestion and absorption
  • Restored Emotional balance
  • Improved Self awareness
  • Improved Relationships
  • A wonderful anti-aging practice and that helps prevent brain aging

 Tai chi allows us to be positive, and not to be absorbed and overtaken by negative spirit, or negative energy. It is as if tai chi and qigong help us to create a shield against negative energy. We tend to gravitate more towards people with positive energy and we embrace it.  The world needs to be more positive, our emotions need to be more positive, and our people will become more positive with daily qigong and tai chi practice.

Practicing tai chi and qigong is a journey; it serves as a self discipline, as a life style, as well as an anti-aging practice. In our fast paced society, we need tai chi and qigong to balance our life, keep us uplifted, help us to focus, keep us healthy, bring us a fulfilled spirit, and maintain our happiness.

Teachers and Classes

If you are looking for a teacher in your area for either tai chi or qigong, please visit www.taichihealing.org   You can also become a member of the Tai Chi & Qigong Healing Institute, enjoy/practice qigong or tai chi exercise from our website.

If you would like to be trained to be a tai chi or qigong teacher,  please register for a training course at www.draihankuhn.com

Aihan Kuhn, C.M.D., is a Chinese medical doctor trained in both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a graduate of the Hunan Medical University, Changsha China. In China, Dr. Kuhn practiced OB/GYN in Chinese hospitals (1983-1988), studied Tai Chi and Chi Kung (since 1978) and returns each year to advance her training in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and martial arts.



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