By Shifu Teresa White,
To be in New York in the spring is one of the joys of living near (or, if you’re lucky, in) what is arguably the greatest city in the world. There are other great cities, and I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to many. The main difference which I have distilled from my travels I have summed up follows: London is British, Paris – French, Madrid – Spanish, etc.. These cities have their distinct “flavors”.
New York, on the other hand, is everything and everyone – it is American to the extreme. Everyone is here – hundreds of languages, faces, cultures, religions, foods…flavors.
New York’s World Tai Chi Qigong Day event in Central Park (kudos to Richard Jesaitis) for his dedication in organizing this event) is no different than the city in which it takes place. Take the age of the attendees, for example – from the children’s tai chi demonstration where the average age appeared to be about 10 or 12, to the special guest, Sophie Onio [sic], 99 years old, having immigrated to New York from China some 71 years ago and a lifelong proponent of tai chi. She was a vision in red – vibrant, alive, sharp as a tack – and living proof of the vitality that these very special practices can give to everyone. She spoke with passion about tai chi, inspiring the crowd with her genuine love for her chosen art.
The groups that attended also presented a wide variety of styles and interpretations of internal arts: Chen stylists with their expressive chan si jin and fa jing; the large frame, flowing yang stylists; Wu stylists with their compact external movements; graceful tai chi fan and sword demonstrators; powerful and explosive bagua; and lesser known styles such as Dachengdao. And, again, there were the people who performed their arts – the Masters, the hardcore martial artists, the instructors, the athletes, the seniors, the men, the women, the children -and they did so with heart and passion on the stage that is New York’s Central Park, the People’s Park in the American City.
Shifu Teresa A. White is founder of Long Island Tai Chi and Internal Arts and Chief Instructor of Tai Chi at the Long Island Center for Yoga in Babylon, Long Island. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Photo’s © Teresa A. White.