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UCLA

Get Ready: Tai High

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By Bethania Palma Markus

Published Jul 1, 2009 10:00 AM


Most people recognize the slow, flowing motions of tai chi, but instructor Peter Asco says the centuries-old martial art is much more than a graceful routine.

The form follows circular motions inspired by nature, he said, and because of this, students and masters alike enjoy heightened health, energy, and overall sense of well-being.

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"Everybody seems to be looking for that magic key," he said. "That's what tai chi is.

"Once you start doing it you start seeing changes the first day."

Asco, who teaches regular tai chi classes at UCLA, in Westwood and West L.A., attributes his own physical health to tai chi and qi gong, the internal, meditative aspect of the martial art form.

"You follow the circular path, you work in circles," he said. "It is the most natural, most efficient way to move and redirect energy. Basically, tai chi was invented by observation of nature and the universe and what laws were at play."

Asco and UCLA's Fowler Museum will bring that magic key to campus in August, as a compliment to the Steeped in History: The Art of Tea exhibit.

"We always do some sort of activity on our terrace in August," said Bonnie Poon, manager of public programs for the Fowler. "It's an after-work activity that people can enjoy, and we always try to link it to our exhibitions."

Past terrace activities have included belly-dancing lessons paired with an exhibit on the Middle East, and ballet folklorico lessons to go with a Mexican silver display.

Museum patrons can enjoy the tea exhibit, Steeped in History, then go out to the terrace for a tai chi lesson as the sun sets and weather cools.

"It's a very relaxing, peaceful thing," Poon says.

Qi Gong and Tai Chi sessions. Thursdays in August, 6 p.m. Fowler Museum. Free. For more information, call (310) 825-4361, e-mail fowlerws@arts.ucla.edu, or visit the Fowler online.

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