To promote health, the national Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offers Tai Chi (Taiji) classes to employees. Master Jesse Tsao of San Diego, CA has been invited by healthcare firms to teach Tai Chi. In St. Louis, University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) has had a Tai Chi group for almost ten years under the leadership of Linda Gatson. Still there are few on-site Tai Chi classes at work. Now, with the volunteerism of Wendy Lu, Monsanto’s Tai Chi group has been established for a couple of years. Thursday Feb. 7, the group participated in the company’s Lunar New Year celebration and demonstrated Tai Chi.
Wendy Lu, an IT professional in data management, was born in China. She loves sports and was an athlete since childhood. In college, she won two medals at national collegiate competitions. She did not pick up Tai Chi until ten years ago. She self-taught Tai Chi by studying DVDs and online material. From the beginning, her passion for Tai Chi ignited. She invited friends to learn and practice with her at home. She has learned the performance forms sanctioned by the Chinese government. Last year, she studied the traditional Yang Style 85 Form with a teacher for five months.
A couple of years ago, she started to organize Tai Chi Lunch Group at work. She has been enthusiastically inviting friends to join the group. Along with two teaching assistants Qin Zeng and Xiao Zheng, the group has offered four training sessions so far. Each new session draws a few new participants. Due to various reasons, some dropped out. As of now, they have 20 regular members, five of which men and one third of them own Ph.D. degrees. Wendy humbly said that they are all students; some people have learned the art earlier than the others. There are vast amounts of Tai Chi material online. Members share links with each other and they discuss what they have seen and read. Outside the office, they also meet and party together. There is strong camaraderie among the group.
Some of the members have stated that practicing Tai Chi helps release stress and others observed physical health improvement. With work related stress increases in recent years, it will be good for more companies like UMSL and Monsanto to have on-site Tai Chi classes.
Monsanto is a global company and places a great value on cultural diversity. Each year, the employee-organized Monsanto Asian Connection (MAC) sponsors the Lunar New Year celebration. This year the celebration was held on Feb. 8. Besides the Tai Chi 42 Form and Tai Chi 32 Sword Form performance, there were choirs singing Chinese songs as well as Korean songs, Asian puzzle games and a Chinese calligraphy demonstration.
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