Roberta’s masterful and mindful moves

by KinCare — 5 August 2020

A lifelong passion for China – combined with a love of Tai Chi – recently saw KinCare Customer Roberta travel to China for an experience she will never forget*.

Roberta’s interest in China started when, as a little girl, she received a tiny porcelain Chinese horse for Christmas. While the gift wasn’t the pony she was hoping for, the present sparked an interest in China that has stayed with Roberta ever since.

Aged 73, Roberta started learning the art of Tai Chi around 40 years ago. With so much to master however, she still considers herself a beginner.

“I enjoy it for many reasons – it’s very relaxing but it still challenges your mind. I also like the tradition and the names of the exercises. They’re described with wonderful phrases like ‘parting the horse’s mane’ or ‘white crane spreads its wings.’ Plus, I get to wave a sword around occasionally, which is fun,” she says.

When Roberta was invited to travel to Bei Dai He (北戴河) in China for Tai Chi training and a competition last September, she jumped at the chance. The trip, which involved early morning Tai Chi training sessions, was a wonderful cultural and learning experience for Roberta.

“There were about 20 Australians, 30 Germans and hundreds of Chinese people all there to practise and learn. The Chinese people were very excited to be involved in the competition and wanted to have their photos taken with the foreigners and chat,” she explains.

“At the end of the trip we had a competition where we had to do the ‘Beijing 24’ move in front of the judges – all at the same time. Everyone had to perform at the same speed – kind of like synchronised swimming. Not only did we come second, when we received our medals, the Grand Master commended us for working in such a traditional style which was very special.”

Roberta, who lives in Tasmania, says it was interesting to visit Bei Dai He, which is where Mao Tse Tung had his first communist party meeting.

“It is like a seaside resort. Some days the sea breeze blew away the pollution and on other days we could barely see the horizon.”

Unfortunately, after returning from the trip, Roberta suffered a minor accident while walking her dog and injured the ligaments in her knee. Thankfully the setback has only slowed Roberta down slightly.
“I can still practise but I can’t quite go as low as normal! I guess, though, that does prove Tai Chi is a great exercise for anyone.”

 

* This story was written and photographed before COVID-19.