Brazil celebrates World Tai Chi Day   2010-04-25 09:27:26 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Natalia Costa

BRASILIA, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's capital celebrated Saturday the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day for the 80th time, counting on the presence of the date's founders, Bill Douglas and his wife Angela Wong Douglas.

"We have known the Brazilians for several years, because they send photos, videos and news coverage of their events. But this is the first time we have met all face to face and it is being a very beautiful experience," said Bill in an interview to Xinhua during the event.

The 80th year of Tai Chi Day celebration in Brasilia presented very different scenery to the first event, when only about 30 people attended the activities at the Square of Universal Harmony. This time, organizers estimate that about a thousand people have participated in the party.

China-born Moo Shong Woo, known to his pupils and admirers as Master Woo, has introduced Tai Chi practice in Brasilia 36 years ago. He arrive in Brazil in 1961 and lives in the country's capital since 1968.

About 150 people of all ages attend daily Tai Chi classes given by him and his pupils, who became teachers themselves. Throughout these years classes are free and are held outdoors at the Square of Universal Harmony, which was declared an intangible cultural heritage of Brasilia in 2007.

"Brazilians have a very beautiful way of practicing Tai Chi and Qigong. That is one of the things about Tai Chi and Qigong, everybody does the same forms, which came all from China, but everybody has their own cultural flavor that they add to Tai Chi and Qigong and it is really a beautiful thing," noted Bill Douglas.

The Tai Chi enthusiast supports that this Chinese practice should be taught to children at schools, since there are studies proving that Tai Chi is highly beneficial to those who suffer from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

"An increasing number of children suffer from ADHD in the United States and they are given drugs that completely suppress their creativity," he warned.

Douglas himself started practicing Tai Chi 30 years ago because he faced serious problems due to an increasingly common ill of contemporary world: stress. So, he accepted a friend's suggestion and enrolled in Tai Chi classes.

"In the whole world, the population is growing, people are changing jobs faster, changing careers faster, everything is quickening. I want to share these tools because Tai Chi and Qigong, these incredible gifts from China, are right now most needed by the whole world," he explains.

"If the world embraced Tai Chi and Qigong, it would save trillions of dollars spent every year with health care costs," adds Douglas.

The World Tai Chi and Qigong Day is celebrated on the last Saturday of April and is part of World Health Organization's calendar as one of the "healthy events" linked to the World Health Day.

About 70 countries and regions celebrated the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on Saturday. According to Bill Douglas, the date was celebrated for the first time in Havana, Cuba, and in Alexandria, Egypt.

In Brasilia, besides the presentations of Tai Chi and Qigong movements shown by teachers and students, a Lion Dance in northern style performed by the Chinese Culture Center's group was a much applauded attraction.

This group, directed by Chinese Wang Hsiao Po, is composed of ten members. Curiously, most of them are Brazilians that have no Chinese origin.

As one of China's traditional martial arts, Tai Chi includes fist, sword, broadsword, spear and push-hand skills. Especially the push-hand is known for its demanding tactics and technique, allowing a powerful and aggressive opponent to be defeated by a flick of the wrist or abrupt explosive power.

Editor: Yang Lina
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