Chinese Tai Chi enters Fijian high school

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"What an amazing day!" That was how teachers from the Suva-based Fiji Marist Brothers High School felt after enjoying a special Chinese Tai Chi lesson on Wednesday.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has had serious impact on people's everyday lives, but teachers and students have returned to schools across the South Pacific island nation of Fiji as the situation improves day by day.

As a well-known high school in the Fijian capital of Suva, the Fiji Marist Brothers High School was established in 1946 with more than 800 teachers and students. For years, the school has enjoyed good relationship with China.

To help the teachers cultivate a healthy lifestyle with a relaxed mind and strong body, the school invited the China Cultural Center in Fiji to teach the teachers Chinese Tai Chi, or Tai Chi Quan, an art aimed at balancing the mind, body and spirit. It is also one of the most effective exercises for strengthening the mind and body.

Sun Jie, director of China Cultural Center in Fiji, told the teachers that Tai Chi's essential principles include mind integrated with the body; control of movements and breathing; generating internal energy, mindfulness and serenity. The ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate the Qi, or life energy, within ourselves to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body. Harmony of the inner and outer self comes from the integration of mind and body, empowered through healthy Qi through the practice of Tai Chi, Sun said.

After the introduction, the teachers participated in learning Tai Chi with great interest, as they believed practicing Tai Chi will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

"The exercise is on the move, I can realize it. And it can actually change our day," Arieta Sakosese, a 35-year-old English teacher told Xinhua.

Echoing her view, 51-year-old teacher Giana Cavuilati said: "Chinese Tai Chi is very interesting. It is something I heard about but I have never done before. So it is really a good experience to go to the motions with our teacher."

Aropio Pene, principal of the school, said that Chinese Tai Chi is a new thing for most of the teachers here including himself. "But the more we learn about it, the more we will be able to master the movement."

Cultural exchange is a bridge of goodwill between countries, and playing Tai Chi is very useful for people during this difficult time when their lives have been affected by COVID-19 for months, Sun told Xinhua.

"After the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic, our cultural center carried out a lot of face-to-face cultural exchanges with local Fijians, including this Tai Chi teaching. The purpose of this activity is to help Fijians better understand Chinese culture in order to enhance the mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries," he said. 

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