Each year the world of tai chi and qi gong practitioners come together on a single day to connect, celebrate, and spread their practice around the world. World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day (WTCQGD) is responsible for introducing the internal martial arts to more people in more places than I think any other event since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This year, like most I hear two things for months afterwards:
“This is how I found a community and why I started practicing tai chi/qi gong.”
“I just found out about it and missed it!! When is the next one?”
So I wanted to tell you about why it is so special and gather the available links and information on WTCQGD in one place so that can join us at the next global event. It’s on the same day each year and you can go to the same website to find out where people are gathering near you.
World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day is celebrated on the last Saturday in April at 10:00 local time. Begun in 1998, schools come together in now over 80 countries to practice tai chi and qi gong together. It is a public event and no experience or skill level is necessary.
So mark your calendar as a recurring event on for the last Saturday in April at 10AM. In the calendar note or description, add this website because most participating groups add their information here so that people in their area can find them: WTCQGD A Global Health & Healing Education Project
What is World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day Like?
Think of how unique this is: at 10AM on the island of Samoa, internal martial arts practitioners begin their form. For 24 hours on the hour, every time zone to the east begins until a wave of practices and intentions circle the globe. We are talking an uncountable number of practitioners, in 80+ countries, moving in unison.
In an age when isolation and differences make up most of the news, here is a volunteer event that focuses on similarities, inclusiveness, and working towards positive change. Standing in a park with 10, 20, or 100+ individuals gives you the tangible feeling that we are not alone in our health or hope for improvement.
And I am not taking about positive change in the future or the hope for something better. That is well and good but practices like tai chi and qi gong show you what is available in this present moment. Again, for an hour, you are actively creating something good with like-minded individuals which feels pretty good. Reductions in loneliness and depression are benefits of practicing tai chi which I cover in depth in separate essay.
To give you an idea of what a day could look like, in our community all of the local schools and practitioners gather at 9AM and go through forms with the individual schools. This is when attendees who are new are invited into the different groups so they have someone to follow. At 10:00 a proclamation from the Mayor of Austin is read and then a local instructor leads the entire group through qi gong or tai chi exercises. Afterwards, schools are invited to demonstrate their specific forms and weapons. We also have a local school that leads a friendly push hands competition.
Most years we have 200-400 practitioners and it is great to walk around and say hi to everyone again. I know that some communities have just a few people practicing together and other communities are in the 1000s. The World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day website has a live video feed going on Facebook so you can see practitioners from around the world when it is their turn.
The first event took place in Kansas City, Missouri – USA in 1998 and the event took shape and became official in 1999. Each year since has seen an exponential rise in the number of practitioners, cities, and countries that participate. Here is a video compiled by the main WTCQGD group of some of the events from across the world.
What Are The Goals of World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day?
Yes, this is a lot of fun and a great social event. But the organization has some stated goals which I will share here because they underline the scientific basis of the practices for positive health and social implications.
- Share current research on medical qi gong and the benefits of practicing tai chi chuan.1
- To unite people from different economic, social, racial, religious, and geo-political backgrounds.1
- Engender a world vision of cooperation.2
- Thank “Chinese culture for the gifts of tai chi and qigong to the world.”1
So Mark Your Calendar!
If you have ever been interested in tai chi or qi gong but were too nervous to start.
If you used to practice a martial art and are interested in seeing what is going on in your community.
If are a practitioner you know that it is often a solitary pursuit. Go meet others who are out in your community.
Make a note in your calendar to look into it when the next event comes around. I will see you there at 10AM!
If you are brand new to tai chi, start here: What is tai chi?
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