Centered students come together in World Tai Chi Day

Last Saturday, students gathered on the College Green to take part in World Tai Chi Day - a global event aimed at bringing people together to participate in a healthy exercise and promote unity and peace.

According to professor Randy Kaplan, tai chi is an accessible physical activity with many benefits. "Tai chi can be used as a basis for martial arts, and I use it for actor training because it helps develop focus, centering, balance and for anyone it can be an efficient means of relaxation and finding your center," Kaplan said. "I would love to see more tai chi on campus for that reason."

Kaplan, who organized the event, has been giving free workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays since spring break in preparation for Saturday.

"I also use tai chi in my Asian dance classes because it helps dancers learn how not to judge themselves critically," Kaplan continued. "In tai chi we accept our limitations and work within them."

Junior Maeve Semo pointed out that tai chi has been proven to improve balance and endurance. "It's gentle to moderate exercise and it's a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily life," she said. "Anyone and everyone can do it for their entire lives. It's accessible to children, the elderly and everyone in between. If anyone can do it, why not try it?"

At 10 a.m. on World Tai Chi Day, people from all over the world do the same sequence of tai chi motions: the most widely used sequence, called "Form 24."

"Participating in this was an idea that Randy brought to our attention this year and we thought it would be great to support it," said Suzanne Sharp, assistant director of Student Organizations in the College Union.

Though this was Geneseo's first time participating, World Tai Chi Day has gone on worldwide for some time. Its slogan, "One world, one breath," emphasizes the idea that when people all over the world are doing the same tai chi sequence at the same time, they come together in a way that transcends any differences.

"You would be amazed at all of the different places in the world that this happens," said Kaplan. "You see people representing countries that don't get along, but find a place of breathing that resolves differences."

More information about World Tai Chi Day can be accessed on the event's Web site: