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On April 28, people from all over the world will gather together physically and spiritually as they breathe in unison to provide a healing vision for the world.

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day is a celebration of the worldwide practice of Tai Chi and Qigong (Chi Kung) as medical practices and martial arts that takes place on the last Saturday of April every year. The global event began in 1999 after news coverage of a Tai Chi exhibition in Kansas City sparked national interest. Now, thousands of people all over the world take part in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, and the event is live streamed as it unfolds across the planet as part of a project titled “24 Hours of World Peace.”

The key objectives of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day include:

  1. To educate the world of the profound health and healing benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong for individuals, communities and nations.
  2. To thank Chinese culture for creating and sharing these profoundly valuable gifts with the world.
  3. To bring together people across racial, economic, religious and geo-political boundaries for the purpose of health and healing, providing an example to the world.
  4. To give a powerful example of how the power of the internet can be used to foster global health and healing.

Milwaukee’s World Tai Chi and Qigong Day will take place at the East North Ave. Library located at 2320 N. Cramer St. Professional instructors will lead sessions on interactive Tai Chi, simple Qigong sequences, an acupuncture demo and a Chinese language lesson.

Eric Ash, a planner for Milwaukee’s World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, fell in love with the arts after seeking a way to relieve tension from practicing music.

“Qigong has helped me with relaxation and relieving physical tension,” Ash says. “Along with this, Qigong helps teach awareness of the breath and can promote a more centered feeling.”

Ash adds that Tai Chi is beneficial for those interested in self-defense.

“Not only does it feel good knowing a few moves to neutralize an opponent, but practicing blocks and strikes can promote a feeling of strength and rootedness in everyday situations as well,” Ash says.

Originating in China over a thousand years ago, Tai Chi and Qigong are practiced worldwide for their health benefits and martial purposes. Tai Chi was designed to help people undergoing change by improving the way that stress is handled, relaxing the mind and the body. Qigong is a form of gentle exercises that involves mediation and controlled breathing. Together, the practices promote not only self-healing but save society hundreds of billions of dollars in health cost saving, court, police, and penal rehab costs.

“I think the best way to get involved in martial arts is to just try it out,” Ash says. “Attending a class or the upcoming World Tai Chi and Qigong Day would be a greaty way for people to experience some of the movements and see how they feel.”

Milwaukee’s World Tai Chi and Qigong Day event is suitable for all ages and no prior experience is required. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and will run until 12:30 p.m. Visit worldtaichiday.org for more information, including resources for those willing to get some practice in before hand.

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