If you think about a sport in China, you probably think about Kung Fu or Ping Pong is that correct? Well as years have passed, China has really gone through an evolution when it comes to sports. China is always a gold getter during the Olympics. This is because of the investment they make in the youth by providing them with a hard working mentality while they are just children.We decided take a closer look at this mentality on sports in China.
First of all, there is a large variety of high-level sports that China excels in. Here are just a few examples: badminton, basketball, tennis, football, gymnastics, tennis, etc. All these sports are being funded by the Chinese Government to stimulate the youth in being active during their studies. It is even mandatory for every school to have small sessions of activities in the morning and sometimes even after lunch. While crossing the streets here in China it is not a surprise to see many companies or restaurants doing some type of activities with their staff. This provides the staff with a healthy dose of daily exercise. The government has also placed a lot of public exercise locations, which are most of the time occupied by the elder. When you walk down the streets of China in the evening, the chance of stumbling upon a group of elder people practicing Tai Chi is very high. As foreigners this is something completely new to see. While we are studying we can choose if we want to go for sports or not. Maybe this is something to be jealous about?
We love to see China pushing the youth and the elders towards a more healthy and productive way of living. The Chinese people have a much wider selection of sports than 10 years ago. Instead of just seeing Tai Chi, you see everyone playing soccer, badminton, volleyball, basketball, etc.. Who knows what sports we’ll see in 2020? What kind of investments will the government make to keep stimulating the youth? Some of them might even have a chance for an Olympic title in the future. Time will tell !
Since my stay in Zhuhai, I’ve already seen more than one person practising Tai Chi on the streets and in the parks. Even back home in my fitness studio they offer to teach Tai Chi. The word describes two different sites (kind of black and white). “Tai Chi,” the first known written reference appeared in the Book of Changes over 3.000 years ago during the Zhou Dynasty (1100-1221 BC). There it says that “in all changes exists Tai Chi, which causes the two opposites in everything.” Concepts such as attracting, softness/rigidity, formlessness/shape – feminine concepts are associated with yin, while concepts such as substance, repulse, rigidity and the male sex are associated with yang.
In the last month InternChina Zhuhai was invited to a TaiChi lecture with Dr. Paul Lam, who is a world leader in the field of Tai Chi for health improvement. He held a lecture himself in Chinese and English. It was fun, as he tried afterwards to answer all his questions in both languages. Even if though he seemed to be more familiar with English, as he used to be a family physician in Sydney; he was understood by the locals.
Tai Chi itself has two different meanings. It philosophical definition means “the origin of being from which everything emerges”. For Sports it means slow exercise and the smooth flow of movement.
All in all it’s a kind of aerobics from ancient China. Its primary purpose is to strengthen the body forces and health. The flowing movements are intended to raise awareness, imagination and breathing, which should be integrated harmoniously in order to exert a positive effect on body functions. Thus, Tai Chi can play an important role in stress management and in the regulation of your hormones. Dr. Lam told his audience that his program is easy to learn, enjoyable and noticeably improves health.
Dr.Lam and the TaiChi group he brought over, showed us after the lecture how to focus on the interchanging use of falling, rebounding and streaming weight as a source for movement energy.
Many people wonder what distinguishes TaiChi from QiGong. I never thought there is was a huge range of differences between the two forms. TaiChi is generally more complex, while in the meantime Qi Gong is focused only on breathing. Without mentioning their differences, Tai Chi has gained more notoriety than QiGong in the Western world.
We had an amazing InternChina activity last weekend! InternChina organized a private Tai Chi teacher. We met him on a Sunday afternoon in a nice park here In Zhuhai for two hours. Unfortunately the teacher didn’t speak any English, but Morgan was able to translate everything for us. As none of us really had any idea what Tai Chi was all about, he started the class with an introduction for us.
Tai Chi (Chinese: 太极, Taiji) is an art of self-defense and is very popular in China. Every morning, you can see Chinese people practicing Tai Chi on the streets and in the parks here. Kids get taught Tai Chi at school at a young age, and even in Western countries you can find a lot of schools for Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is not purely applicable to self-defense, it is also good for maintaining your health. The Yin (negative, feminine, dark, formless, attracting) and Yang (positive, masculine, bright, substantial, repulsing) is the basis of Tai Chi. These two elements are opposites of each other and Tai Chi teaches to unify these two elements to ensure inner balance.
After the introduction we started practising. The characteristics of Tai Chi are slow movements and the teacher showed us how to do it first and then we had to copy him. At first we thought “Oh that’s easy, we just have to copy the teacher!” No, it was not easy at all. Luckily, we were a small group of 8 people so the teacher had a good eye on each of us to correct our positions and movements.
There are a lot of mistakes you can make when practicing Tai Chi. For example: Stance – Try to ensure your feet are shoulder-distance apart, narrow stances mean you have to compensate in other areas to maintain good balance; Over-reaching – Try to resist the temptation to push out with your arms and upper body, consider moving in from the lower body rather than stretching out from the upper body; Posture – Think about keeping a straight line along the spine and these are just a few.
After those 2 hours of practising Tai Chi we were all done for the day, and went to bed early. It seems to be an easy sport but when you do it in the right way, it is quite exhausting. It is impressive to see so many people practising Tai Chi every day in the early morning. Now we know, why the old Chinese people, who do Tai Chi on a daily basis are still active and can move like young people.
Today my hostmother took me to the TV-tower in Qingdao.She told me, that you can have a great overwiev of the city from there… (if its not cloudy or foggy 😉
But I´m afraid it was ^^
Anyway it was very beautiful up there.
After that we went through a park were usually chinese people practise their Tai Chi or Qi Gong daily in the morning.
Accidentally we met a 60 years old chinese man, who was practising Kung-Fu.
He was very kind ans allowed us to take a video of this art.
Afterwards we talked to each other and he told us, that he is practising every day Kung-Fu since 30 years. Wow, respect for that.
After all he offered me to teach me Kung-Fu for free the time I am going to stay in China…
I was just lost for words.
Of course I will take this oportunity to collect some more authentical impressions of this great culture.
Here is a screenshots of my videotape: