The martial art of tai chi began as a form of self-defense, but today many people practice the forms and movements of tai chi as a healthy exercise regimen or a method of meditation.
And it’s never too early to learn about tai chi. Valerie Kimble, a Pioneer Library System librarian and a student of tai chi for many years, will lead a basic class for children at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the Purcell Public Library, 919 N. Ninth St.
The class will be introductory, as it takes many weeks to learn the variety of movements. The program for elementary students will focus on several tai chi moves that relate to animals, and emphasize the grace and balance required. The children will have an opportunity to learn and practice them. Class size is limited to 30, so the children will have room to move around safely.
“The movements flow from one to another,” Kimble said. “So tai chi seems more like a dance than a battle.”
Legend credits the origins of tai chi, or t’ai chi ch’uan, as is its full name, to Chang San-Feng, a 12th century Taoist monk who developed a set of 13 exercises that imitate the movements of animals in nature. It is said he emphasized a form of meditation – such as focusing attention or maintaining a specific posture – to promote restoration of body and mind.
The program is part of the library’s monthlong commemoration of the PLS Big Read, which is focused around Amy Tan’s novel “The Joy Luck Club.” Programs will focus on the book and on aspects of Chinese culture.
Registration is required to attend and may be completed at the library, by calling 527-5546 or going online here .
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