An Egyptian student (R) performs Tai chi that he has learned in Jiaozuo, Henan Province on July 9, 2023. (Photo/China News Service)
(ECNS) - Over 60 international students from Asia, Africa, and Europe gathered in central China's Henan Province from July 6 to 9 to participate in the 2023 Chinese Kung Fu (Tai Chi Chuan) International Promotion -- the“Invite In” Activity Training Camp.
Jointly organized by universities in Henan Province and Henan International Communication Center, this event aimed to introduce Chinese Tai Chi culture to Gen Zs.
Set in Chenjiagou, Jiaozuo City, the birthplace of Tai Chi Chuan, participants were afforded a unique opportunity to witness Tai Chi performances, explore the Chinese Tai Chi Museum, and experience the art firsthand.
Having mastered the essential 11 movements of Chen-style Tai Chi, they proudly showcased their newfound skills at the culminating event of the training camp.
In Pakistan, Chinese martial arts captured the imagination of many young people, who perceive them as a realm of mystique. A student from Pakistan, whose Chinese name goes by Chen You, admitted that his initial exposure to Tai Chi and Chinese martial arts came through movies and TV shows.
“I have watched many Chinese martial arts movies. Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan are among my favorite martial arts stars," he said.
An Indonesian student whose Chinese name goes by Chen Guanglong shared his enthusiasm for Tai Chi, emphasizing its popularity back home for its physical fitness benefits and rich philosophy, representing the essence of Chinese culture.
As the Moroccan student Sam immersed himself in the practice, he experienced the tranquility, peace, and relaxation that Tai Chi brought, igniting a newfound passion for this ancient art form.
Russian student Tanya found herself deeply moved by the yin-yang (yin is considered feminine or negative, while yang is masculine or positive) balance and the health philosophy embedded in Tai Chi after days of learning.
“I have become an avid fan of Tai Chi,” she said. To commemorate this special experience, she even bought a set of attire, eager to show the art form to her family upon returning to her hometown in Russia.
In addition to Tai Chi classes, the organizers also arranged a calligraphy experience course, providing camp participants with a deeper understanding of Tai Chi Chuan culture.
Tai Chi, a form of Chinese martial arts, was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2020. Drawing inspiration from the dialectical perspectives of Confucianism and Taoism, as well as the “yin” and “yang” theories of I Ching, or the Book of Changes, Tai Chi embodies a harmonious integration of mind and body.
Renowned as the "Cradle of China" for its central geographical location and cultural richness, Henan Province boasts a wealth of martial art heritage. Tai Chi presents diversity and vibrancy throughout numerous traditional schools. Among them, Chen-style Tai Chi found its roots in Chenjiagou.
In 2008, over 2,000 Tai Chi practitioners performed at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, bringing instant fame to Chenjiagou, which was subsequently recognized as the “Birthplace of Chinese Tai Chi Chuan” by the Chinese Wushu Association.