Let’s Get This Tai Chi Ball Rolling

by Brian Corless 

The aim of this article is to let the Australian Tai Chi community know about the need for more people in Australia to become more physically active and to ask for your help with ideas and suggestions about getting more people involved in Tai Chi.

In 2018 the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) released its Global Action Plan for Physical Activity (2018-2030) with the slogan “Let’s Be Active: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday”. Australia is one of 168 countries that signed up for the Global Action Plan and agreed to develop ways to promote more physical activity with the message of “More Active People for a Healthier World”. Tai Chi and Yoga are both specifically named in the WHO Global Action Plan Report as activities worth promoting to get more people more active worldwide.

According to the Australian Heart Foundation, the WHO Global Action Plan has a goal of “a 15% reduction in the global prevalence of physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 2030”. It also said that in 2019 “more than half of Australian adults are not meeting WHO activity guidelines” (i.e. not exercising enough for health benefits), and that Australia is in the bottom half of all countries (we are ranked 97 out of 168) in terms of levels of physical activity (including Tai Chi). Countries that fared better on the ranking than Australia included Uganda, China, Canada, Mexico and our neighbours Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The Heart Foundation reported that “52% of Australian adults and 80% of Australian children and young people (aged 5 to 17) are not active enough for health benefits”. They estimate that the cost of being inactive in Australia is $805 million each year, with a large part of those costs relating to healthcare funding ($640 million). The estimated cost of physical inactivity to Australian households is $124 million each year because of chronic lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes related to lack of exercise which also shortens the lifespan of those Australians. These figures are damning and present a major challenge for Australian governments who say that they are committed to coming up with a National Action Plan on Physical Activity as part of the WHO Global Action Plan.

In its 2019 Blueprint for an Active Australia, the Heart Foundation identifies Tai Chi, among other activities such as aerobics and yoga, as improving and maintaining “…physical and cognitive function, social connectedness, preventing falls and maintaining our ability to independently cope with activities…” as we age. It recommends providing more community-based programs for seniors including Tai Chi and Qigong. Also, several recent health research studies support Tai Chi’s practice across the lifespan from children and adolescents through to adults and seniors.

In June, 2019 the Australian Department of Health published tips for increasing Physical Activity and reducing Sedentary Behaviour for Australians and identified Tai Chi as suitable for improving “flexibility in over 65’s”. We know, and the research evidence confirms, that Tai Chi has many more health benefits to offer younger and older Australians than our Health Department realises. How do we get that message across?

Despite the Heart Foundation’s damning figures for physical inactivity, the publishing of the Global Action Plan and Blueprint for an Active Australia presents an opportunity for the Australian Tai Chi community to get the message out to the public and to Governments that Tai Chi should be an integral part of the Australian National Action Plan for Physical Activity. The good news for Tai Chi is that medical research worldwide supports the role of Tai Chi for a healthier society. Volunteer organisations such as TCAA, Wushu Council Australia, WTQA, Chin Woo and others are doing a great job with limited resources promoting annual activities such as World Tai Chi and Qigong day, the Annual Moon Festival, annual competitions around the country, Lunar New Year festivals, training workshops, an academic Wushu conference and other activities. These organisations are volunteer-based and their hard-working committees deserve a round of applause from the rest of the Tai Chi community.

Despite this great work by these volunteer organisations, participation rates in Tai Chi in Australia remained at the same level over the past 10 to 15 years, with no significant increase in the number of people taking part. This has also been the story for participation rates in Tai Chi in the United States, despite an explosion of medical research articles worldwide demonstrating the health benefits of regular Tai Chi practice.

On the other hand, Yoga doubled its participation numbers in the USA between 2002 and 2012 and the difference was coordinated marketing campaigns by the American Yoga organisations. Similarly, physical fitness (aerobic and gym) activities in Australia increased in numbers participating between 2001 and 2010 because of a coordinated and strong public health message via the Fitness Industry and governments in the media. In 2019, Fitness Australia, the peak national body for the Fitness Industry, was invited to attend the 2nd WHO dialogue in Switzerland on implementing the Global Action Plan. What is this telling the Australian Tai Chi community? Do we stay the same or can we get better at promoting Tai Chi for a healthier Australia?

My question then to the Australian Tai Chi community is: How do you think we can best promote Tai Chi to the Australian public?

To answer this question, we need your help and opinions. If you have some experience in advertising and/or promotions or applying for funding please consider helping us by letting me know so that we can coordinate the talents of the Australian Tai Chi community. Alternatively, if you have any suggestions or ideas about promoting Tai Chi in Australia please email me at bcorless@shoalhaven.net.au and I’ll put your ideas together and forward them to the Tai Chi committees and let you know the results.

If you don’t have any suggestions or ideas, maybe you can email me with your Tai Chi story. We want to hear your story, for example, why did you start practising Tai Chi and what does Tai Chi mean to you?

With your ideas and stories, together let’s get this Tai Chi ball rolling for a healthier Australia.

 

*With thanks to Cyril Loa, TCAA for his comments.

About the author:

Brian Corless is a Clinical Psychologist on the NSW south coast and practises Tai Yi Tai Chi Chuan under
the tutelage of Sifu Wang Yun Kuo, Kungfu Republic Academy, Sydney.

Training Sessions with Faye Yip

The traditional Wu Qin Xi Exercises were created by the famous Chinese physician Hua Tuo in the 2nd century, during the Eastern Han Dynasty. In 2002, team of experts from Shanghai Sports University studied and updated them carefully with sports science which become known as Health Qigong Wu Qin Xi.  
Each exercise of the Wu Qin Xi is inspired by an animal and it is not only a purely physical exercises, but it aims at making the Qi move inside the body’s meridians and organs. Each animal stimulates a different organ.
In the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Wu Qin XI is regarded as an important exercise because, through daily practice, it increases the overall well-being, preventing disease and promoting health.

 

 

 

Sun Style Taijiquan is an internal martial art combining characteristics from Xingyiquan, Bagua Zhang and Taijiquan. As a style of Taijiquan, Sun Style stresses the importance of the internal aspect: using mind to lead qi and qi to lead the body movements.
It was created by Great Grand Master Sun Lu Tang, one of China’s most prominent Martial Arts Masters in recent Chinese History. As the most senior student of Sun Lu Tang, Master Faye’s great grandfather Grand Master Li Yu Lin was one of the main disciples assisting and representing Sun in his teaching.
Participants will learn all the details, philosophy and inner essence of the style. The teaching remains true to the traditional value of Sun Style Taijiquan.

 

 

 

The Eastwood Tai Chi Group is pleased to announce that Master Faye Yip is coming to Sydney to conduct two courses:

Wu Qin Xi (Five Animals Qigong) Friday 02 Aug 2019 10:00am-4:00pm
Sun Style – 38 Step Taijiquan Saturday 03 Aug 2019 1pm-5pm

Classes are conducted in English with Cantonese/Mandarin translation.

For more details contact:

Paul Cheah  (pfcheah@hotmail.com)  mobile: 0421600895
Desmond Chung (des668@gmail.com) mobile: 0434168359

Download  Leaflet

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Health Qigong Duan Wei: Most Australians are not Welcome to the Melbourne Health Qigong Event

Health Qigong Duan Wei: Most Australians are not Welcome to the Melbourne Health Qigong Event

to be held on 7 – 13 August 2019 in Melbourne, Australia

Wushu & Tai Chi NSW supports the global movement of Health Qigong as a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial arts training.

Wushu & Tai Chi NSW recognises International Health Qigong Federation (IHQF) as an international body coordinating the development of Health Qigong world-wide according to the directions from the leading experts in the area.

For a long time, Wushu & Tai Chi NSW has maintained friendly relationships with Tai Chi Australia Pty Ltd (TCA) which is based in Melbourne and, as a member organisation of IHQF, has the exclusive right for dissemination of all essential resources provided by the IHQF to all Health Qigong practitioners in Australia.

Currently, the IHQF is organising the 8th World Health Qigong Tournament and Exchange and 4th World Health Qigong Scientific Symposium in Melbourne “to provide a platform for international Health Qigong exchanges and friendly communications in order to promote and strengthen the rapid development of Health Qigong world-wide in a positive and healthy way”.However, for many Australian Health Qigong practitioners, excitement of being able to update their skills and confirm their qualifications on the international level by Duan Wei exams is turning into disappointment as the arrangements by the TCA – the host of the event – are being disclosed.

  1. All participants in Tournament and Symposium not residing in Melbourne are required, along with paying the reasonable fees, to take up the mystery “compulsory accommodation” organised by the TCA around the undisclosed event’s venue at the exorbitant price well beyond what could reasonable be expected by regular visitors to Melbourne. This requirement is claimed to be originated from the decision of the Second Executive Board of the IHQF and allegedly aimed “to ensure the safety and security of the participants of the 8th World Health Qigong Tournament & Exchange and the 4th World Health Qigong Scientific Symposium and improve the efficiency of work relating to the event”. While the original regulations published by the IHQF postulate that “this accommodation is compulsory for all participants”, the Melbourne Organising Committee relaxed it and made compulsory for non-Melbourne residents only. These unfair and discriminatory conditions are against the Australian Consumer Law and are clearly aimed to disadvantage interstate participants.
  2. Significant interest in this event among the Australian Health Qigong practitioners was caused by, together with obvious benefits of direct communication with the Health Qigong experts and sharing their own experience and knowledge between themselves, the opportunity to undertake Health Qigong Duan Examination and obtain the internationally recognised qualification. These examinations are not generally available in Australia and those who wishes to obtain or upgrade their qualifications have to travel to China. It is therefore understandable that to do that locally would be of great benefit to all Australian Health Qigong practitioners. It was to the rather great disappointment of multiple individuals, groups and organisations when, on their enquiries they received essentially the same stern rejection from the Organising Committee: “Regarding Duan Wei exam, unfortunately I will not be able to help you as you are not a member of TCA”. Despite numerous requests for clarification and explanation of their requirements, TCA did not provide any response. It should be noted that TCA is a proprietary company limited by shares and, unlike non-profit organisations, its members are shareholders (business owners). In other words, according to the TCA resolution, Duan Wei exam conducted by IHQF is available to his company’s shareholders only. This is hardly the strategy to “promote and strengthen the rapid development of Health Qigong world-wide in a positive and healthy way” as envisaged by IHQF but, interestingly, the IHQF constitution indeed allows private businesses to be its members. While there is nothing wrong with a proprietary company being a member of IHQF, it should be kept in mind that the primary purpose of any private business is generation of profit for its owners while providing services to its customers in a lawful way it deems appropriate. These services are not expected to extend to a wider public beyond its customer base and there is very little control of how the business operates. As such, private companies should not represent a country. Acceptance of private companies as members of IHQF in addition to the unwritten policy of restricting the number of members per country creates the ideal conditions for monopolising Health Qigong by private companies. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the IHQF refused to accept the application from an Australian non-profit organisation and advised, instead, “to make friends” with existing members. Apart from TCA, there is another IHQF member in Australia – Tai Chi Fitness Australia which is also a private business. So, in practical terms, regular Health Qigong practitioners in Australia have no access to resources and benefits provided by the International Health Qigong Federation whose objectives are, according to its Statute: (a) to pool and leverage the strengths of the Member Organizations; (b) to lead the Member Organizations in enhancing mutual respect and win-win cooperation; (c) to promote and enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of people around the world.

With just two months remaining before the 8th World Health Qigong Tournament & Exchange and the 4th World Health Qigong Scientific Symposium and the Organising Committee ignoring public enquiries, it is most likely that the long-anticipated event will be nothing more than a private gathering for Tai Chi Australia Pty Ltd and its customers who will be falsely presented to the visiting IHQF officials as “members”. No doubt, the event will be proclaimed a great success, regardless of the number of participants. No doubt, the IHQF officials, while being kept in the dark about the real situation with Health Qigong in Australia, will be happy to greatly appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the TCA in promotion and propagation of Health Qigong in Australia.