Move Softly and Carry a Big Sword
By Mika Ono
What better way to work off tension than wielding a large
metal sword on The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) lawn?
That's what about a dozen TSRI employees do every Monday at
lunchtime under the guidance of tai chi master Jesse Tsao.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese art of gentle, stylized movements
based on martial arts forms. Designed to promote health and
well-being in people of all ages, tai chi can be practiced
in routines of various lengths and with a number of different
propsa metal fan, a silk ribbon, or, as in the TSRI
class, a sword.
"I am enjoying the tai chi tremendously," says Janet Hightower
of Biomedical Graphics, who is the contact person for the
group. "My balance has improved. I've also noticed more relaxation,
and increased energybut calm energy. It's been a lot
The campus group began meeting last summer, as the outgrowth
of a Lunch and Learn seminar in which Tsao made a presentation
on the principals of tai chi. When Tsao mentioned he could
lead a class on campus, many of the seminar participants responded
"I did martial arts for years," said Samuel Guello of Environmental
Health and Safety, "but I quit because it was too rough. Tai
chi is a martial art, but teaches relaxation, meditation,
and balance. You don't have to be a Jackie Chan athlete. These
tai chi classes are a great benefit of working at TSRI. And
Jesse is greathe is truly a master."
Tsao of Tai Chi/Qigong Healthways has been studying tai
chi for over 36 years and teaching for over 26. The author
of Compact Tai Chi, Tsao won a gold medal in the Beijing
Collegiate Martial Arts Competition in 1980 and has judged
numerous U.S. national tai chi/martial arts competitions.
Earlier this month, four of Tsao's students participated in
the San Diego Grand National Championship competition, winning
one bronze, five silver, and eight gold medals.
Tsao notes that tai chi has health benefits. The blood pressure
of one member of the TSRI group went down dramatically after
starting the class. Another participant experienced relief
from computer-related back pain.
To date, the TSRI group is about half way through learning
a long tai chi form without propsconsisting of 108 moveswhich
takes about 20 minutes to complete in its entirety. The form
with swords is practiced in the second part of the class.
For more information on the TSRI classes, contact Hightower
at x4-8233 or email@example.com.
In addition, Tsao is giving a free Tai Chi workshop sponsored
by the City of Solana Beach, on Saturday, April 12, from 10
to 11:30 AM in La Colonia Park, 715 Valley Avenue, Solana
Beach, CA 92075.
A group of TSRI employees
meets every Monday at lunchtime to practice tai chi. (Photos
courtesy of Jesse Tsao.)
Tai chi master Jesse Tsao, who leads
the TSRI class, has been studying tai chi for over 36 years.
(Photo courtesy of Tsao.)