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A THUNDER BAY FIRST

1000 people do Grasp Bird's Tail

Led by Master Peng Youlian, more than 1000 people joined in waving their hands and stepping through the graceful measured paces of Taiji (Tai Chi) in the Marina Park on Canada Day, July 1. Most of them wore the red T-shirts, specially printed for the occasion by Sportop Marketing Inc., corporate sponsor of the event.

Ages ranged from three to 92. It was a celebration of our country and our city with its beautiful natural setting. It was be a celebration of our diversity. It was a celebration of how we can pursue a lifestyle that contributes to our health and longevity, to the forming of friendships and to the personal need for happiness. It took place at 5:00 pm on the main playing field of the Marina Park.

Brush knee with child in foreground

The pattern of Taiji movements was led by over 200 members of the Peng You Taiji Quan Association, joined by Mayor Ken Boshcoff, MPP Michael Gravelle, MP Joe Commuzzi and Chinese Taiji masters, Zeng Nailiang and Wei Xianglian. Other participating groups were Thunder Bay's two 55 Plus Centres, the Thunder Bay Martial Arts Council, Anishnawbe Mushkiki, the Ontario Native Women's Association, Thunder Bay Chinese Canadian Association. Finnish and Canadian cross country skiers from the NTDC training camp at Kingfisher Lake joined us, and so did a group of Taiji enthusiasts from Duluth and Ely, Minnesota who drove here on a work day especially to be part of the performance. At the end of the performance Peng Youlian invited people who were watching to join us. A reliable source estimated that there were about 1200 people doing Taijiquan.

Wave Hands Like Clouds with Master Peng in the foreground

Taiji is an important part of traditional Chinese culture and it is practiced by millions of people all over the world. Thunder Bay is an exceptional place to both learn and practice this form of moving meditation because of our beautiful natural setting and because each summer, we have the chance to learn from some of the highest ranking instructors in China such as Master Zeng and Master Wei. As our bodies flow through the Taiji movements with Lake Superior at our feet, the Sleeping Giant on the horizon and the beautiful Marina Park around us, we gather the positive energy of nature and fortify the energy in our own bodies.