Over one hundred and twenty people participated in a Tai Chi demonstration at Normandale Community College at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on April 28, 2012. Seventy countries participated in the special day and performed group demonstrations at the same time, 10:00 a.m. Russell Smiley, PhD, is a health professor at Normandale Community College and he required his Tai Chi students to participate. It was the largest demonstration of the day.
The celebration was free and open to the public and went from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m in the gymnasium. The 10:00 a.m. group demonstration included students, Tai Chi players, and instructors performing the Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) Simplified Sun Style.
“The Sun Style is very easy for people to do and the TCA is particularly simplified,” said Smiley. “You can sit. You can stand. People of all ages participate in this one.”
Other demonstrations were a combined Yang Style 40 Forms and the 97 Sun Style Forms, the Tai Chi Fan and the Yang 32 Sword Form performed by Russell Smiley.
After the demonstrations participants chose one of six areas of interest offered during the breakout session.
His interest in Tai Chi began after a colleague introduced him to Tai Chi. The next day Smiley’s muscles were sore. He was athletic, active and had a PhD in health. He believed he was in the best shape possible. The sore muscles puzzled him. “I was doing a lot of western exercise and I couldn’t explain the stiffness so I had to find out what this was all about,” said Smiley.
Russell Smiley has been practicing Tai Chi for 34 years. “I feel like I’m still learning. There’s so much to learn.”
Normandale Community College offers ongoing classes in Tai Chi in the summer, fall and spring.
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day was started by Bill Douglas. More information is at www.worldtaichiday.org.