Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reflections on WTCQD


Saturday April 25th: World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. I made my cup of tea and stepped out into a beautiful North Carolina Spring day. There was only one soundtrack worthy of my ride across Forsyth County, from east to west, to where this year’s celebration was being held: Terrapin Station. The cracking one note wah-wahs of Estimated Prophet set the perfect mood as I dropped my windows and put my Solara into the wind. There is indeed something magical about Carolina this time of year. The grass is greener and the sky bluer than any other place on earth. The grazing milk cows that lined my route obviously take it for granted. But I don’t. I know better. I’ve spent springtime in other parts of the country. And while it is gratefully accepted and enjoyed everywhere, it just isn’t as visually striking as it is here. After 3-4 months of dull gray colors the effluence of life is all the more striking.

Reflecting on the beauty of the day and my intention, I thought about how already, all around the world, people were practicing Tai Chi/Qigong just as Dancing in the Streets started up. What a positive twist on a Motown classic.

Sunrise was in full swing as I began approaching Winston Salem, and I again reflected on what it is all about:


“He hums, there are drums, four winds, rising suns,
We are singing and playing, I her him saying.

I remember breezes from winds inside your body
Keep me high, like I told you, Ill sing to them this story and know why1.”


Tai Chi is such a multifaceted art. It is an extremely effective martial art, while at the same time is the ultimate art of peace. Taiji actualizes many of the stated goals of the meditative arts. Master Jou says, Taiji can “become a revelation showing the relationship between time and space, creating a gate through which the four-dimensional world can be entered2” Consequently Qigong alone or as a component of Taiji practice is a spiritual and a healing art. Both of these systems are rooted in Taoist spiritual practices and TCM. And like many things of mystical nature they have to be experienced to be full appreciated. Words just don’t do them justice.


The title track of my cruising CD was wrapping up as I pulled into the park and the players started coming in from all corners,


“Sullen wings of fortune beat like rain.
You’re back in terrapin for good or ill again, for good or ill again3


As we began to gather the energy started flowing over. Younger players began going through the motions of their forms, while the elders maintained the peace that marks their presence. Old friends and acquaintances struck up conversations while new friends spoke in generalities and the quieter among us found seats and observed. But rest was not the order of the day, not this day. Not that Taiji and Qigong are tiring or exhausting. Quite the contrary, they are rejuvenating.


We began by centering ourselves and acquiring good Taiji postures. We all participated in some simple Qigong practices while we synchronized with ourselves and the rest of the world. This in and of itself was worth the trip and the energy was phenomenal. As the day proceeded we took turns experiencing different forms, techniques, and practices as presented by the different schools and teachers participating. It was all very enlightening and refreshing. There was a noticeable level of energy and goodwill permeating our area. If it were quantifiable I am sure it could power the city, or perhaps end the war; would that it worked that way.


All-in-all I call this year’s WTCQD a success. Personally I saw old friends and teachers, fellow practitioners, and met new friends. As I write this, some 24 hours later, I am still charged with an abundance of Qi. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If not, I invite you to try it. Again, words just don’t do it justice.


  1. Terrapin Station The Grateful Dead. 1977. Arista Records
  2. Jou, Tsung Hwa. The Dao of Taijiquan; Way to Rejuvenation. 2001, The Tai Chi Foundation. Pp. 135.
  3. Terrapin Station The Grateful Dead. 1977. Arista Records

1 comment:

Smith said...

So many folks avoid the violent aspects of self-defense. But in there is the key to the Peace Door.