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Issue: 607   Date: 04/11/2002

2002 World Tai Chi and Qigong Day Celebration

Ms. Nai Ray is reading the Proclamation to the organizing committee for World Tai Chi Day.  (from left) Herb Parran, Michael Shoemaker, Kim Bozark and Jim Kalkbrenner

On Saturday April 6th 14 Tai Chi schools of the St. Louis area gathered to celebrate at Missouri Botanical Garden. Teachers and students were celebrating the significance the art of Tai Chi has in their lives. In addition to teachers and students their was approximately 150 to 200 spectators who came to experience this celebration. In all approximately 300 people attended the 3 hour event. This was also an International event being celebrated on this day all over the World. This worldwide event has attracted much publicity for the healing and health benefits of Tai Chi. The participants continue to grow every new year that it is enacted on the first Saturday in April.

Group picture of Tai Chi Instructors in St. Louis area
(From left to right back row) J. Justin Meehan, Herb Parran, Sam Shuhan Lin, Sam's student, Mike David, > Richard von Freidrich, Kim Bozark, Larry Adams, Tim Bruewer (Front row from left to right) Kathy Vieth Albers, Cis Hager, Anna Lum, Michael Schomaker, Kathleen Christ, Leroy Alsup

From 10:00 am to 10:45 am the schools put on Tai Chi and Qigong workshops for all who wanted to experience these arts. Focus was particularly on health and relaxation by using slow gentle movement combined with deep breathing. Also it was pointed out how grounding and healthy the earth energy is when exercising in the natural surroundings of grassy valleys and a variety of trees. Allowing participants to find simple ways to let go of their daily stress.

At 10:45 am spectators, students and teachers were asked to gather on the gentle grassy hillside in front of the asphalt stage of the Cohen Amphitheater. Jim Kalkbrenner the Public Events Manager for the Missouri Botanical Garden welcomed everyone and invited them to attend the Chinese Culture Days on May 18 and 19 of 2002. A representative of Governor Bob Holden's office, Ms. Nia Ray, read the Governor's official proclamation of World Tai Chi and Qigong day followed by a proclamation from Mayor Francis Slay. The event was then dedicated to the Memory of Carl Shaver. Carl was a senior Tai Chi teacher in the St. Louis area who passed last summer. The dedication plaque
was given to Carl's son Ethan Shavers by two of Carl's students; Patty Burkhalter and Sandy Cortopassi. This was followed by the 14 Tai Chi and Qigong teachers present being called on-stage for a group photograph: J. Justin Meehan, Herb Parran, Cis Hager, Anna Lum, Sam Shuhan Lin, Kathleen Christ, Mike David, Kathy Vieth Albers, Richard Von Friedrich, Kim Bozark, Michael Schomaker, Larry Adams, Tim Bruewer, and Leroy Alsup.

From 11:15 am to 12:30 pm one school after another came on-stage and performed 5 minutes of their particular Tai Chi form. Some schools also did some "push hands", San Shou, and sword form demonstrations. Everyone got a
treat at the end of the event when a woman, who has only been in St. Louis for 6 months, from Shanghai, China did a demonstration of the "Chen" form. She was obviously highly trained being not only graceful and well balanced
but also well grounded and powerful in her stance and movement.

All in all it was a beautiful day and wonderful event where the Tai Chi Community of St. Louis could celebrate with those who attended health, friendship and community. 


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