Chen Sitan (L) and his wife Lin Xu perform Tai Chi at Sitan Tai Chi and Martial Arts, a martial art school in Syosset of New York, the United States, Nov. 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
The ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi has increasingly become a form of life for many New Yorkers, thanks to the efforts made by former world martial art champion Chen Sitan and his wife Lin Xu.
From five-year-old kids to the elderly in their 70s, people from various races and cultural backgrounds in New York have been attracted to the martial art through the classes the couple teach, the Tai Chi & Health Qigong festivals they hold, and community events they initiate in libraries and retirement clubs, among others.
FROM COMPETITION TO LIFESTYLE
Chen started learning martial arts at the age of six. By the age of 30 when he retired from his athletic career, he had already won 32 gold medals in Chinese and international competitions.
After having coached athletes in sports team for several years, Chen decided to come to the United States in 2003 in the hope to bring Chinese cultural to more people around the world through Tai Chi.
"Tai Chi is not only about competition; it means much more. It is a way of life," said Chen.
The couple started teaching children Tai Chi and other forms of martial arts in school and later founded Sitan Tai Chi and Martial Arts with the mission of promoting Tai Chi and providing a forum for those interested in the martial art.
The school's class schedule now includes different forms of Tai Chi such as 24 form and 42 form, Tai Chi Sword, Tai Chi Kungfu Fan, health Qigong, and different levels of martial arts.
Originated from China, Tai Chi's slow, graceful movements are accompanied by deep circular breathing. The movements work with what is called "qi" or life force, a type of "flow" that everyone has, said Lin.
There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems.
This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life, said a research by Harvard Medical School.