April 28th was International T’ai Chi Day. How inspiring to think that while we were doing demonstrations and inviting onlookers to join us, the same thing was happening all over the world in myriad cultures, languages, and races. What a unifying experience of humanity!
This was my second year to experience this event and I must admit I was just as excited, but much less apprehensive. Last year, I was such a novice, I was really only comfortable doing the warmup. This year there were parts of Arthritis I and II, and Form 24 that I not only knew what would come next, but I knew the name of the movement we were doing. Of course, my technique leaves a lot to be desired, but I love it and no one in the group seems to notice anyone’s errors.
Last year, our meeting was held in the Wellness center gym. The difference in the environment and the people lined up next to me for me to watch made a huge difference in my “competence.”
This year, we met on the campus of a closed girls’ school. After a week of rain, Saturday dawned clear and sunny, but with lower temperatures and higher winds than expected. It was decided that we would brave the elements and perform outside on the basketball court enabling us to experience “chi” – life’s energy. At times I thought I might blow over. We demonstrated Arthritis I and II, Form 24 and Form 37 (which is still a bit of a mystery to me). We did a warm up which must have a name because it is definitely choreographed, but I don’t know what it is.
We were joined by practitioners from other groups around the valley and D, an instructor from my town. She led the group in Qigong, a very relaxing form of warm up/cool down movement.
We finished outside with “Animal Frolic” which is always fun as we imitate the movements of various animals (bear, monkey, deer) utilizing T’ai Chi movements. This was cut short as we were getting really cold and the wind was getting stronger.
We then went in to the school’s gymnasium for a demonstration by experienced T’ai chi practitioners utilizing swords and fans. Their precision and symmetry was so wonderful to watch, I found myself smiling through their entire performance!
And of course, we were finally warm!