LIFE / CULTURE
Practitioners perform tai chi in New York to celebrate heritage status
Published: Dec 20, 2021 06:06 PM
A group of practitioners on Friday demonstrated tai chi, a kind of traditional Chinese martial arts, at Times Square in New York on the occasion of the first anniversary of its listing as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.

Led by Chen Sitan, a world martial arts champion, the group of practitioners caught the attention of tourists and passersby. Several pedestrians even joined the performance.

Tai chi is both a treasure and symbol of Chinese culture as well as a very good fitness practice for mankind, said Chen.

"Practicing tai chi can make you feel relaxed and at peace while enjoying the benefits of a slow-paced life," Chen told the Xinhua News Agency.

Tai chi could become as fashionable as yoga and more efforts should be made to promote it around the world, said Chen, who now teaches tai chi classes on Long Island after retiring from his athletic career.

"I was introduced to tai chi many years ago... I cannot live without having tai chi in my life anymore. It's a wonderful form," said Olivia Rosenkrantz, a New Yorker who used to be a dancer and has practiced tai chi for quite a few years.

"It allows me to move my body fully. It does not hurt the way dance used to hurt. I love to practice it outside in a park and I love the people I meet through tai chi," Rosenkrantz said.

Tai chi allows bringing the mind and the body together and everything in tai chi helps human beings to be better and healthier people, said Rosenkrantz.

An introductory video on tai chi was played at Times Square throughout Friday.

The event was organized by the Sino-American Friendship Association from New York City and the Culture and Tourism Department of Henan Province of China.

Tai chi not only conveys China's unique humanistic feelings and fitness philosophy, but also allows Americans to better understand Chinese culture and makes positive contributions to cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States, said Li Li, executive vice president of the Sino-American Friendship Association on Friday.

Tai chi was born in the mid-17th century in a small village named Chenjiagou, located in Central China's Henan Province, before it spread to more than 150 countries and regions, attracting more than 100 million practitioners.

In December 2020, the centuries-old martial art was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.