Events, Featured, Library Resources

World Tai Chi & QiGong Day

By Mike Magilligan, Reference Librarian, Lincoln Center

An elderly Chinese man practice a QiGong exercise routine in a park in Beijing on October 18, 2011. ©UPI

On the last Saturday of April in parks and cities all around the globe an annual celebration of Tai Chi and QiGong takes place. Practitioners gather in groups or solo to perform and celebrate these ancient traditional exercises that blend Martial Arts with Medicinal and Spiritual lineages. The free flowing movements aimed at helping circulate internal energy can be focused with an emphasis on Martial Art/Self defense applications (Tai Chi) or on meditative and medicinal benefits (QiGong). That is not to say that Tai Chi cannot be medicinal or meditative and a more descriptive analogy would be to think of them as two sides of the same coin. These traditions date back thousands of years and are deeply imbued with the Daoist philosophy of Yin and Yang theory which allows  practitioners a deeper meaning to the movements they perform and a day once a year when they get to celebrate!

T’ai Chi circa 1940: A Chinese man performing the martial art of t’ai chi chu’an, in the Forbidden City, Beijing (Peking). (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) ©Hulton Archive

For a deeper dive on this subject and to celebrate World Tai Chi & QiGong Day here’s some highlights from our Ebooks collection that will allow a better understanding of this subject.

Traditional Chinese Exercises by Jianmei Qu is broken into two parts and gives a comprehensive overview of both Tai/Chi and Qi Gong. Part one focuses on the origins of Qi Gong and gives an informative overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), its relation to QiGong and how to maximize the correlation between the two. The second part focuses on teaching the traditional Yang 24, which is one of the most popular sets of movements (form) in all of Tai Chi and a must know foundation piece.

Don’t let this title fool you as this book for seated QiGong and Tai Chi will have challenging and beneficial moves no matter your experience level. This book also gives a good overview of TCM before it goes into the seated QiGong set and then seated Tai Chi movements that come from the Yang form. A great feature of this book is a section on useful acupressure points and how to use them in treatment of ailments from the physical to mental.

More academic in scope, Lost Tʻai-Chi Classics from the Late Chʻing Dynasty by Douglas Wile looks at the origins of Tai Chi and explores its evolution into different regional styles and the Masters who passed this tradition on to their disciples in an oral tradition. This book analyzes the classic historical texts and discusses the stylistic differences that delineate the major schools from one another while providing basic form applications.

Weapon training is a big part of the Tai Chi tradition and the sword (Jian) is considered the gold standard within this art form. This book gives an historical overview of the sword tradition with an illustrated teaching guide to the basic rudiments and the complete 32 movement Yang Sword Form. This is the most popular sword form and the benchmark form used in international competitions. With handy diagrams for foot placement and detailed instructions this book is a valuable resource for all interested in this field.

World Tai Chi & QiGong Day is this Saturday, April 27th. Consider taking a break from your Saturday studies, head to the park, and get in on the action of this exciting event.

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