Rosalba Lamont (front) takes part in Tai Chi movements at a Wednesday morning Taoist Tai Chi session at Surrey’s Kennedy Hall.

Engaging body and mind

Local practitioners extol the health benefits of Tai Chi

In almost complete silence, a dozen folks standing in three neat rows on the polished wooden floor of Kennedy Hall flow together through a series of movements.

Slowly, they raise and lower their arms, bend their knees, twist their feet and change direction in unison. The set of movements takes about 10 minutes to complete.

There are 108 steps in the series… Carry Tiger to Mountain… Ward Off Monkey… Fair Lady Works Shuttles, Step Up to Grab Bird’s Tail…

The final step is called Closing of Tai Chi.

It’s a Wednesday morning session for practitioners of Surrey/Langley/White Rock branch of Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi.

It’s a “soft” martial art, with Chinese roots, that has evolved over the last few decades to focus on health benefits.

Bob Carpenter, president of the local chapter, says Taoist (pronounced “dow-ist”) Tai Chi promotes stress release and improves balance and flexibility for practitioners – including people with joint problems.

“For most people who practise tai chi, it’s a series of movements that are very good for their physical as well as their mental body.”

He describes its four basic tenants: To help others, to make the martial art available to all (there are sitting exercises for people with mobility issues, for example), to promote health, and to promote cultural exchange.

It’s also harder than it looks, despite it’s “soft” image.

“I think (newcomers) expect to  find it a bit challenging as far as learning the moves,” says Carpenter. “But they’ll start to feel the health benefits in a very short time.”

Amanda Dier says she joined more than seven years ago to help alleviate severe back pain.

“It’s helped immensely,” she says. “It made my life so much easier.”

Brush Knees, one of the 108 moves, is her favourite – for helping her back.

The motions are “very internal,” explains the veterinary assistant. “The slow motion makes for a soft glide through the moves.”

Shirley Hutchinson transitioned to tai chi from yoga about three years ago when she developed arthritis in her wrists.

“It’s very gentle and is something I can do into old age.”

Hutchinson says that although some of the moves might give her trouble sometimes, it works best if she just relaxes her mind and goes with the flow.

“It’s all good if I don’t think about it. It works out.”

Kathy Hack, a four-year veteran who has benefitted physically and socially from the weekly sessions, says tai chi also helps with memory.

Learning the set, she says, “is another form of exercise… learning something new.”

The local chapter of Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi holds regular classes at Kennedy Hall, Ocean Park Hall, Elgin Hall, Murrayville Community Hall and Douglas Recreation Centre, and makes periodic visits to other locations. For days and times, visit or, email or call 604-507-0700.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

No, Delta police are not pulling over cars to check for social distancing

DPD dispelling rumour cops pulling over vehicles with two or more people, checking IDs, issuing fines

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read