World Tai Chi Day at Parramatta Square invites youth to get involved


EXERCISE buffs are queuing at Tai Chi and Qigong group classes around the suburbs for health benefits they bring to body and mind, Tai Chi Association of Australia (TCAA) president Cyril Loa said.

These ancient Chinese exercises known as natural health therapies are popular with seniors, mostly Chinese Australians and their friends from various cultures enjoying group activities, Mr Loa said.

The TCAA was established in 1998 following on the recommendations of physician Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi Health Program that started the year before in the United States.

Dr Lam’s program has since been accredited by the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, and now boasting over 10 million avid Tai Chi practitioners from across the globe for their own health improvement and personal enjoyment.

In recent times, surprisingly millennials are taking it up, too, albeit slowly, as revealed in a Western Sydney University research, Mr Loa, a well-known Dragon Dancer who has performed before Royal families and celebrities’ events, said. 

Around Western Sydney’s suburbs, the TCAA have tallied thousands of people are attending classes, and in Mr Loa’s classes alone, at least 100 people turn up each week learning the gentle moves.

“Tai Chi is indeed growing in popularity due to the health benefits associated with regular practice. As an instructor, I teach people each week across many suburbs such as   Parramatta, Castle Hill, Kellyville, Chinatown in Sydney and Pyrmont,” Mr Loa said.

The WSU research has investigated the physical and mental health benefits of Tai Chi for young people while the TCAA has explored the potentials of an after-school activity in collaboration with the Department of Education.

Though there are young people attending some classes, Tai Chi has yet to appeal to young people’s liking, Mr Loa said.

“Generally speaking, they found the practice too slow or boring in the context of a busy lifestyle. There’s also the perception, or lack of education, that Tai Chi is only for seniors.”

However, a recent TV documentary on Tai Chi aired at the ABC, Mr Loa said those young people doing Tai Chi with seniors at a retirement home has discovered some encouraging benefits.

“Tai Chi would equally be beneficial to all age groups because the practice has strong elements of calmness and moving in meditation. These are due to the continuous slow movements of up to 30 minutes” Mr Loa said.

Seniors of all fitness levels are fond of it as they learn body balancing, coordination movements, lower limb strengths, stretching and gait control, and it has been among recommended forms of exercises to prevent falls among seniors.

The exercise forms also blend in some aerobics, shiatsu and yoga and for a dancer, Mr Loa said Tai Chi has given him strength to perform strenuous dance routines carrying a traditional huge dragon as a costume.  

On Saturday, April 27, the TCAA is taking part in the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day (WTCQD) celebrated in at least 80 nations around the globe which kicked off in the US in 1998.

Mr Loa and his fellow instructors will lead the free public demonstration at Parramatta Square’s amphitheatre starting from 9am till 1pm.

“Everyone in the community is welcome to join in on the WTQD program. Just turn up. It will be a matter of joining in, making enquiries, trying out and finding a class that suits them,” Mr Loa said.

“We expect over 100 people coming from all over Sydney bringing foot traffic and generating activities for the local cafes and restaurants.

“This is the first time we are holding this event at Parramatta Square to showcase the city’s transformation into a world class corporate, recreational and cultural place.”

After the special day at Parramatta, the leading practitioners are competing in the TCAA Australian Tai Chi Championship on Saturday, May 25 on the Central Coast at the Niagara Park Stadium at 18 Washington Avenue, Niagara Park.

Enquiries can be made to TCAA convenor Steve Heard by emailing tcaa.competition@gmail.comTo join Tai-Chi classes in your area, visit

Image: Tai Chi Association of Australia president Cyril Loa in one of his weekly classes held at Parramatta. 

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