By Fraya Saquina
As part of the Asian-focused global business curriculum, MIM students are able to choose between two Asian language classes: Chinese and Japanese. The Chinese language curriculum at Portland State University is administered by the Confucius Institute. The curriculum is designed to give students understanding about both the Chinese language and culture. One of the cultural immersion that students do regularly is Tai Chi practice.
The Tai Chi practice is led by Wang Rongrong, one of the teacher assistants for the beginning and intermediate MIM Chinese classes. According to Wang, she has been practicing Tai Chi since she was little, but last year she started to practice it more seriously when she was working at Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Master Duan.
Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that is part of the Chinese Kung Fu. The purpose of Tai Chi apart from self-defense is mostly for self-relaxation. This exercise brings balance to our modern life, where we spend most of our time at school or work that we often forget about our health and happiness. With that said, Tai Chi emphasizes on bringing harmony based on Chinese philosophy of slow and healthy life and improving fitness.
People from all ages can practice Tai Chi and this exercise is widely practiced in China. Wang said that it is especially important for busy working adults to practice it to bring peacefulness and happiness to life. Famous martial arts actors such as Jet Li and Bruce Lee all practice Tai Chi. Tai Chi was born in Henan province around 300 years ago, and it is still the home of Tai Chi schools where people from all over the world come to practice more in depth. The Tai Chi movements are described as slow moving like running water that allows the person practicing it gain more flexibility the more they do it. Tai Chi is usually done outdoors, at home, or training arena.
MIM students always look forward to Tai Chi practice every Friday morning. It releases the tension from the busy classes, homework, and exams. Beginning and intermediate Chinese MIM students are able to move their bodies while breathing fresh air every Friday morning outside of the Business School building.
To read more about The Confucius Institute at Portland State University, please visit: http://www.pdx.edu/confucius-institute/about
If you would like to try practicing Tai Chi by yourself, please check out this video below: