Amazing Martial Arts Performance at Taipei 2017 the 29th Summer Universiade / LA Students Travel to Taiwan to Participate in the Wonderful Cultural Performance

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Taipei 2017, the 29th Summer Universiade kicked off on Aug. 19, with athletes competing from over 140 nations. This is a great opportunity to let the world see Taiwan and an occasion for sports competition and cultural exchange. The awe-inspiring overture to the event was presented by Tai Ji Men at the Taipei Municipal Stadium at 6:00 p.m. Tai Ji Men’s ancient Tai Ji Formation, titled “Passing on the Torch, Heart to Heart,” was publicly presented for the first time in thousands of years. The ever-changing formation contained sub-formations as Tai Ji Men dizi (similar to student) constantly moved and changed the formation.

The spectacular 9-minute performance allowed spectators from all angles to enjoy an unforgettable and inspirational experience. To show the host country’s profound and extensive culture, the organizer specifically invited Tai Ji Men to perform; Tai Ji Men had also performed during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Among the 268 Tai Ji Men dizi who performed at this Summer Universiade were those who participated in the cultural performance during the 2000 Olympic Games. Now middle-aged, they led even younger members to perform this time. This shows the spirit of passing on the torch of culture, and this time Tai Ji Men’s performance was even more magnificent than that in 2000.   

Tai Ji Men’s formation allowed people to gain a better understanding of the principle that the highest spirit in sports is to spread peace. Tai Ji Men, an ancient menpai (similar to school) of qigong, martial arts, and self-cultivation, has preserved ancient wisdom of yin and yang. Tai Ji Men shifu (master) passes his kungfu to his dizi and guides them to cultivate their hearts and practice qigong. With years of qigong practice as the foundation, Tai Ji Men dizi work seamlessly with one another on the field. With one heart and with their hearts united with their qi (energy), they were constantly moving and smoothly displayed various formations. Doing so was quite physically taxing and more than ordinary people could endure. Tai Ji Men dizi were waving the command flag, five-color flags, swords, shields, staffs, double sticks, and all sorts of weaponry, and young ladies were performing a sword dance in the center of the field. These different formations containing ancient wisdom are precious cultural treasures as well as artistic presentation of qigong and martial arts.       

Yin-Zhi Chang, a professor at Stanford University, mentioned that Tai Ji Men’s performance was extremely amazing. She hoped that the energy and spirit could be shared with the athletes. Kuang Hui Peng, dean of College of Design at National Taipei University of Technology, felt very emotional and said, "I feel that the performance contains very profound martial arts and aesthetics. He said that practicing martial arts helps strengthen the citizens' bodies and the nation, and he felt righteous energy during the performance. He was very moved and thankful to Tai Ji Men for sparing no efforts to promote martial arts. Wen-Yi Lin, a famous writer, said that he hopes that all 7 billion people of the world can see this, which displayed the strength of Taiwan and Tai Ji Men dizi’s unity, beauty, and loyalty. He also said that through Chinese culture Tai Ji Men’s shifu teaches his dizi the paradigms for cultivating their hearts and practicing qigong. Through the Summer Universiade, Taiwan’s beauty will be discovered, added Lin.

In preparation for the performance, Tai Ji Men dizi from all walks of life and all corners of Taiwan traveled to Taipei to practice together under the hot summer sun for three months. Two students from Los Angeles went to Taiwan during their summer vacation to participate in the training sessions for the performance and experienced the profundity of the ancient culture of Tai Ji Men. Yvonne Lai, a student of Claremont Graduate University, said, "It is an extraordinary undertaking for Taiwan to host the 2017 Summer Universiade. It is my honor to display the beautiful Chinese culture of qigong in the international arena and allow foreign friends to see the soft power of Chinese culture." Only in her twenties, she has rich experiences of cultural exchange around the world. Under the guidance of Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, she and other Tai Ji Men dizi attended the UN DPI/NGO Conferences in 2014 and 2016. Additionally, she attended the International Conference of Chief Justices of the World in India in 2014 and the International Human Rights Education Conferences in the Netherlands and Chile in 2015 and 2016 respectively.   

Yvonne performed the sword dance. In the past three months under the scorching sun, she realized, "As a sword needs to be heated by fire and cooled by water to become strong and precious, the training has helped me become ready to accept the trials in life." Tai Ji Men's sword dance contains the wisdom of balancing toughness and tenderness. The dance displayed the spirit of bravery and tenderness and a big heart. Yvonne and other young ladies made various formations while delivering the graceful and powerful sword dance and spreading the energy of love and kindness. The dance formation was ever-changing. These young ladies dressed in beautiful traditional Chinese outfits in five colors formed a huge sword of righteousness to symbolize upholding justice. Yvonne said, "In the past, I tended to give up easily. Through the course of the tough training, I learned to be more perseverant. I have become more courageous to face the unknown future."

Fletcher Wu, a sophomore at a university, also learned a lot from the training for the performance. He said, "I have learned to change myself and bravely face my problems instead of escaping them as I needed to constantly adjust myself to make the whole formation move swiftly and effectively." In the past, he was used to waiting for his supervisor to tell him what to do and dared not to take the initiative to consult others. "I found out that if I am not willing to change my bad habits, they will hinder me all the time and prevent me from being successful," added Fletcher.

Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy, representing Taipei Martial Arts Association to perform in the event, has long been dedicated to international cultural exchanges. It has been invited multiple times to perform in international events. During the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, it was the only cultural group of qigong and martial arts to be invited to perform in the Olympic Park. Jing-Guo Wu, member of the International Olympic Committee, said that having the Chinese cultural performance during the Olympic Games has a positive meaning, and Tai Ji Men’s ideal is in line with the spirit of the Olympic Games. He especially extended his gratitude and respect to Tai Ji Men. In 2001, Tai Ji Men received First Place in Martial Arts and Kung Fu Group Demonstration at the 8th World Cup International Martial Arts Championship and was awarded the first place in 4 competitions, including Internal Quan (Chinese boxing), External Quan, Weaponry, and Qigong. It also received the “World Top” Outstanding Performance Golden Award. That is a rare feat in international martial arts tournaments. The Japanese chief judge at the 8th World Cup International Martial Arts Championship, Mr. Sawamura stated that he was privileged to witness Tai Ji Men’s martial achievements. Under the leadership of Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, Zhang-men-ren (grandmaster) of Tai Ji Men, Tai Ji Men’s martial arts are truly amazing. In particular, its formation is unpredictable and ever-changing. That really demonstrated what martial arts are about, added Mr. Sawamura.        

Tai Ji Men specially delivered this profound cultural performance to wish the event to be successful, all athletes to surpass themselves and promote sportsmanship, and all people to foster global peace and coexistence. With the 2017 Summer Universiade in full swing, the people of Taiwan are showing it their support and feel enthusiastic about the pursuit of excellence in sports and the thrill of overcoming limitations.   

Picture description

P. 1 Under the theme of "Passing on the Torch, Heart to Heart," Tai Ji Men, representing the Taipei Martial Arts Association, presents a performance of martial arts (the most ancient sport) based on the cultivation of the hearts. The spectacular performance allows spectators from all angles to enjoy an unforgettable and inspirational experience.

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P. 2  110 swordswomen make the formation of a huge sword of justice and consolidate their righteous energy to wish the event a great success and encourage world citizens to bravely work together. 

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P. 3 Tai Ji Men opens its awe-inspiring performance with a powerful flag formation, where modern-day knights-errant naturally demonstrate vibrant, confident, and righteous energy while flowingly waving the flags in their hands.

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核桃市市長秦振國(Eric Ching