Just A Typical Morning in China: Qigong, Tai Chi, and Dancing [Video]

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When I lived in New York, I enjoyed getting up early to go practice Qigong in the city parks.  At dawn in parks all over New York, something magical (and often amusing) happens.

And it’s not just New York.  Wherever there is a large Chinese community, whether it is San Francisco or Beijing, you see the same thing: dozens of Chinese people gathering at dawn — rain or shine — to exercise.

If you visit one of these parks, you’ll see…

  • …people practicing many different forms of Qigong and Tai Chi. 
  • …esoteric forms of Kung Fu. 
  • …people doing push ups and sit ups. 
  • …people practicing the Tai Chi Sword and other weapons.
  • …lots and lots of dancing.

Yes.  Dancing.  Like it’s the most normal thing in the world for a group of adults to be dancing to music at dawn.  (And maybe it is!)

The video below is beautiful done, and gives you a wonderful glimpse into what happens every morning in Chinese parks all around the world.  This particular video looks like it was shot in the Temple of Earth Park in Beijing, China.  (If anyone knows where this video originally comes from, then please let me know so that I can give credit.)

If you are interested in Qigong and Tai Chi, then it’s worth the watch.  The video is about 8 minutes long.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • At 1:15, a man is doing an unusual version of Single Whip.
  • At 1:56 a man is enjoying Cloud Hands similar to the way that we do it.
  • At 2:23 a group of elderly people are practicing Playing the Lute.
  • At 3:05, there’s a guy who looks like he’s practicing Carrying The Moon!
  • At 3:25 an elderly man is doing some beautiful Tai Chi Sword (Jian) work.
  • At 4:11 the dancing begins!  (I think this music is edited, but they typically have music.)
  • At 5:48 a woman is…well…it looks like she’s slapping her butt!
  • At 6:15 there’s a man leading a class, with some Westerners participating too.
  • At 7:37 they begin to wave goodbye to us.

Have any of you been to a park like this, either in Asia or somewhere else?  If so, then please share your experiences below!

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.
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4 Responses to Just A Typical Morning in China: Qigong, Tai Chi, and Dancing [Video]

  1. Fred Chu April 17, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    I had a very similar experience when I taught English in Baoding, China. Every morning at about five sharp, there’d be an explosive shouting and yelling that I later learnt to be the elderly folks practicing Beijing Opera singing. Scared the heck out of me the first few times I heard it! A little bit after that, the Taijiquan folks would come out to practice. Around the mid-morning was when the old folks broke out the chess and mahjong boards to play after their morning exercise. Dong Feng Gong Yuan (“East Wind Park”) was always full of adventure.

    The afternoons and evenings usually had more people milling around. Some of my old co-workers practiced Taijiquan of some sort (I believe it was the Long Yang set), others would be practicing with the jian, and yet others would be building their strength by standing in a circle about fifty feet across and flinging a sand bag towards one another, the goal being to keep the bag moving in the air. There were always dozens of “jianzi” (shuttlecock kicking) games playing. One of the old folks was ridiculously agile and flexible; he could basically do what soccer players call a “scorpion kick,” kicking his foot backwards and being almost able to touch the back of his head! I never beat him in jianzi, hahaha.

    Interestingly, during the later evenings, I noticed a small group of Baguazhang practitioners in a secluded corner of the park. They were really secretive, though, and the sifu there had the impression that he didn’t like people watching. It’s one of my regrets that I wasn’t able to get an introduction to those guys, they moved really well and were the only group that I noticed practicing zhan zhuang and combat applications.

    Man, I miss the parks in China.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 17, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Opera singing? Wow. That’s something I haven’t seen (nor heard). But I have seen people screaming at trees. I don’t know if it was some form of Qigong, but it was certainly interesting!

  2. Mike April 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    I used to live next to the ‘Health Park’ which was a sports district in Tainan, Taiwan. It was so inspiring that every morning I could go out and by 6 am there would be hundreds of people jogging, practicing kung fu and tai chi, playing badminton, dancing, doing chi kung, forming reading groups, throwing frisbees (I was suprised to see a little old lady throw a perfect toss across a long distance to her waiting husbands arms). Seeing all that really gave me incentive to wake up early and join in the fun 🙂 Plus there were people selling fruit and veg from vans so after the workout I could then go back home with some papayas and gorge myself as a reward ^^

  3. Debbie January 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Chinese line dancing!

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