Feature: French martial arts enthusiasts highlight charm of Chinese tai chi, qigong

Updated: April 23, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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GUIYANG, April 23 (Xinhua) -- As the sun poured down on the trees and waters of a running brook under the world heritage site of Mount Fanjingshan, Yves Perrin, 62, dressed in his tai chi clothes and sat beside water, practicing traditional Chinese qigong breathing exercises.

Despite his Western features, Perrin blended closely with the surrounding environment of this famous Taoist mountain, and exercised like he always had in his home country France.

From April 7 to 19, a team of nearly 50 French martial arts enthusiasts visited southwest China's Guizhou Province, and practiced tai chi as well as qigong with their master Ke Wen, initiator of the Les Temps du Corps association, which teaches energy technique and spreads Chinese culture in Paris.

Driven to improve his health conditions, Perrin has learned qigong for 15 years and tai chi for 10 years, and partakes in the traditional Chinese practices from 10 minutes to one hour every day.

"They have become a part of my life," he said.

To master more skills and become more professional, Perrin learned from Chinese masters and visited China's Beidaihe coastal resort in 2015, which boasts a rehabilitation center for qigong teaching, research and therapy.

"Qigong and tai chi can help me take good care of my emotions and help me become more peaceful. It's an excellent technique," Perrin said.

Now, Perrin also gives lessons and imparts knowledge of qigong and tai chi to his compatriots. "I love Chinese culture, and I hope it can help more people," he said.

In 2020, tai chi was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Tai chi, a traditional martial art, began life 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 people to practise.

Anne-line Loygue Quellien, 39, learnt tai chi from his father, a martial arts enthusiast who once visited China to learn the technique and now runs a health center in northern France for massage rehabilitation therapy as well as tai chi and qigong teaching.

Quellien told Xinhua that she has a strong affection for China and its traditional culture. When she was sick, her father would treat her with guasha - a traditional Chinese scraping technique aimed at relieving pain.

With nearly 30 years' study of China's five-animal boxing and 20 years' study of tai chi and qigong, Quellien has taken promoting Chinese culture as her career since 2010. At present, she mainly takes charge of giving tai chi lessons at the health center.

During this trip to China, when a team member sprained her foot, Quellien stood out and used traditional Chinese massage to help them recover.

Quellien recalled that when her father prepared the first massage armchair at the health center 30 years ago, outsiders thought it strange, but in recent years, the center has seen an increasing number of visitors who saw their health improve thanks to practicing tai chi.

"Chinese tai chi and qigong help me to connect with other people and find the true meaning of life by feeling at one with myself, which serves as a bridge for communication between east and west," said Quellien.

Ke, who is also the leader of the French team, has taught Chinese tai chi and qigong in France for the past 30 years and invited more than 12,000 French martial arts enthusiasts to China.

"This trip strengthened the cultural exchange between China and France and deepened the friendship between the French people and the people of Guizhou. We'll share the beautiful experience in China to France, Europe and the world," Ke said. 

Editor: Yang Linlin