Alumnus offers class in T’ai Chi art

By Sandra Masibay

Snake Creeps Down, Part the Wild Horse’s Mane, White Stork Spreads Wings, these are just a few of the names of positions included in the martial art of T’ai Chi Chuang.

George Tarbay is an alumnus and employee of NIU who is offering an eight-class series to all persons interested in learning this art.

Introduced to the art in 1978, Tarbay has learned much from T’ai Chi but admits there is still much to learn.

“I still study with masters and try to learn more. It is something you can study all your life and still not know everything,” Tarbay said.

T’ai Chi was invented in the 14th century by a taoist monk. He developed this art by closely examining the movements of a snake and a crane, Tarbay said.

It is this noticeable style that sets T’ai Chi apart from other martial arts.

T’ai Chi is most often noted for its soft, flowing style and movements.

There are generally two types of martial arts, hard versus soft.

“T’ai Chi is a soft martial art, the movements are more circular. Hard martial arts focus more on the use of strength. Force against force,” Tarbay said.

An example of a hard martial art would be the art of Tae Kwon Do. A soft martial art would be Aikido or Judo.

T’ai Chi uses the inner chi, the inner energy of an individual.

“Everyone has this chi. It is something that you’re born with,” Tarbay said.

“We really have no concept of chi in the West. We can’t scientifically prove the existence of chi,” Tarbay said.

T’ai Chi has many health benefits. It is both mentally and physically relaxing. It also helps with flexibility and balance, Tarbay said.

In China, the chi is very beneficial. It is the internal energy which circulates through one’s body. Diseases are believed to be caused by imbalances of this chi energy, Tarbay said.

Tarbay appreciates T’ai Chi for the relaxation the art brings to him.

“It is truly one of the gifts we’ve gotten from China,” Tarbay said.

“Everyone needs to slow down in the West with their hectic schedules. Most people don’t know how to move slowly,” Tarbay said.

T’ai Chi is a lot of hard work and requires much patience but it is something that everybody can do, whether young or old, Tarbay said.

Tarbay has been teaching classes for the last two and a half years. He also is teaching a class in Rockford.

Tarbay’s next class is on Oct. 4 in the basement of the Wesley Foundation.

For individuals that missed his first class Monday, there will be a beginners’ class on Oct. 4, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Regular class will remain as scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at the Wesley Foundation.

“If anyone’s interested, just come and watch. That’s fine with me,” Tarbay said.

“Everyone needs to slow down in the West with their hectic schedules. Most people don’t know how to move slowly.”