Tai Chi Workshop at the Melrose Georgetown Hotel

“Repulse Monkey.” “Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane.” “Wave Hands Like Clouds.” “Golden Cockerel Stands on One Leg.” “Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail.” Such were the quaint and colorful names of some of the Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) movements that Shunying and Alfredo Barela taught to 22 eager AAFSW members and friends on May 22 at the Melrose Georgetown Hotel.

Shunying Barela, an international gold medal winning Tai Chi practitioner, and her husband Alfredo, were excellent teachers of this ancient martial art. Dressed in traditional loose-fitting Tai Chi uniforms, Shunying and Alfredo first demonstrated the 24 Movement Simplified Form, the most widely practiced form in the world. Then they instructed us in the 8 Movement Form, spending a good deal of time with each movement. Afterwards they led us through the entire 8-movement sequence several times.

Though Tai Chi is famous for its gentle, flowing movements, the Barelas reminded us that it is also a martial art which can be used effectively for self-defense. Many of the stances are designed to ward off an assailant, with leg kicks, knee thrusts to the groin, and forceful, strategic hand movements. However, most people today use Tai Chi as a way to improve joint mobility, balance, posture and circulation.

The workshop was preceded by a delicious light lunch of lobster salad with pancetta and avocado puree, followed by coffee, red velvet cake, and macaroons for dessert. The lunch, socializing, and Tai Chi instruction were enjoyed by all.

Barbara Reioux
AAFSW Office Manager