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A Short History of World T'ai Chi & QiGong Day in Melbourne, Australia

by Andy Bulka, Tai Chi Instructor

When I first heard about World Tai Chi day I figured it was like any other special interest day like "be nice to penguins day" - that is, a day that someone had "declared" and it was up to us as individuals to do something with the idea.  So we did.  At first, the school I was attending in Middle Park would meet for a class and then wander down to Albert Park Lake at 10am to do a few forms, take some photos and then have a coffee.  Later we rang up other tai chi groups in Melbourne and invited them to join in.  For a few years running we had some great groups coming.  One year I remember a small group of  women doing a Tai Chi / Qi Gong form under the trees and I was struck at how beautiful and relaxed it was.  It wasn't my style of Tai Chi but I was impressed.  I think many of us benefited from the cross-fertilization of tai chi ideas that occurred in those days.

Then I learned about a guy called Bill Douglas in America who had set up a website dedicated to organizing this one day of the year for all interested tai chi communities around the world (now 60 Nations!).  See  This guy is passionate about promoting tai chi and the health benefits of this lovely art.  He has even prepared "press kits" for us to give to media outlets in order to help publicize this day in the news media.  Whilst it has never made the 6 o'clock news here in Melbourne (to my knowledge), there have been some good articles in local papers promoting this event.

Eventually numbers at our Albert Park event slowed down so I decided we needed a website and a mailing list and a new venue.  So I went through the yellow pages and called tai chi groups, night after night, trying to get emails for the mailing list.  Some groups were keen, others didn't seem to value contact with other tai chi groups.  After adding some of my personal contacts a fairly good mailing list was built.  Then I set up an official website - World Tai Chi Day in Melbourne, with the date and location of the next event.  We ended up teaming up with Jackie from Bayside, since she not only had a great venue at Rickett's Point, by the sea, but also because she did marvelous job of publicity through the local paper and attracted quite large numbers.

A typical World Tai Chi Day in Melbourne now consists of various groups doing their own form in their own areas. Then sometimes each group demonstrates their form to everyone else - getting a round of applause after each demo.  Then finally some individuals might demonstrate an individual sword form, or some pairs might demo some push hands etc.  Of course the coffee and chat session afterwards at a local cafe has never changed!

One of the great things to do on the world tai chi day website is to look at all the photos from around the world of people doing tai chi in their countries.  You seem some marvelous styles and locations.   I've sent a few photos from our Melbourne events to the main website in America and they were featured prominently.

The next event is on Saturday 26th April 2008, Ricketts Point, Melbourne, 10 am - 12
Hope to see you next year!
Andy Bulka

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