On the last Saturday of April of every year, Tai Chi lovers from around the world spontaneously gather together at 10am, in which ever time-zone they find themselves, to celebrate world Tai Chi Day. That means that on the hour, every hour of that day, someone around the world will be practicing Tai Chi. Malta is no exception. Since 1999, Mike Micallef, founder of the Maltese Tai Chi Society, and his companions gather informally in the Chinese Garden, Santa Lucia, to join the rest of the Tai Chi-loving world. Since 2007, the Chinese Cultural Centre in Malta (set up in 2003) has organised a more formal event at Independence Gardens in Sliema.
This year’s event saw the participation of two local Tai Chi associations as well as staff of the Chinese Embassy and their families. Red lanterns hung from the large garden umbrellas, while relaxing Chinese music invited those strolling by the Sliema seafront to watch this unusual sight – a taste of Chinese culture in the middle of a Mediterranean seaside town.
Tai Chi is gaining popularity in Malta as a discipline which brings about a number of benefits to those who practice it – both health-wise as well in terms of improved mental self control. It’s excellent for those suffering ailments such as stress or arthritis. Despite looking at first glance like a dance, Tai Chi is a martial art in which every move has a particular significance within the context of combat. Nevertheless, it’s practiced by people of all physical conditions and ages – as I witnessed first hand on a trip to China, when I saw large groups of people gather every morning in public places to perform Tai Chi before getting on with their day.
The Chinese Cultural Centre is keen to see this discipline flourish in Malta and is raising awareness of it. There’s even talk of inviting over Tai Chi Masters from China. If you’re interested in finding out more about this popular and traditional Chinese martial art, contact one of the two associations in Malta:
The Maltese Tai Chi Society (training sessions in Valletta): contact founder Mike Micallef at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Malta Chen Taijiquan Association (trains at the University of Malta in Tal-Qroqq): www.maltataiji.com/.
Those who are fascinated by the Chinese culture can join the Chinese Cultural Centre and enjoy its many activities. Contact: email@example.com or call on 21225055.