Philippe Gagnon has been practicing Tai Chi for so long, that, when he first started, someone called the cops thinking some teenagers were fighting in the park.
Gagnon, based in Quebec, has come a long way since starting as a Tai Chi instructor in the 1980s and learning from renowned masters, including the late Moy Lin Shin.
Now he’ll be back in Parksville to teach during the Parksville group’s third annual Tai Chi workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Bradley Centre in Coombs.
There he will be giving workshops on Tai Chi as well as Lok Hup, sword, saber, and, new this year, Xingyi.
This latest discipline is part of a wider effort to bring back a fairly unique style of Xingyi created by one of Moy’s instructors, said Gagnon.
“Xingyi is very different from Tai Chi,” he said. While Tai Chi has many movements (Moy taught a 108-move set of Tai Chi), Xingyi has five basic movements, Gagnon said.
The Xingyi style Gagnon and some of his colleagues hope to revive combines Xingyi with another discipline that doesn’t have a set sequence of movements.
Though Moy was not able to pass on too much of this style to his students before he passed away, Gagnon said he and some of his colleagues are looking to revive it.
Gagnon said he’s excited to bring this style to the area, adding that he’s always impressed by the growth and thirst for knowledge of the Parksville and Nanaimo groups.
“They are sponges,” he said with a laugh. “It’s fun to teach to a group that’s so enthusiastic and wants more.”
Gagnon added he wants to encourage more young people to take of Tai Chi, though it has a reputation as being a low-impact exercise for seniors.
Registration for the Parksville workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 13 is at 9:30 a.m. The workshops runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-and-a-half hour lunch break.
For more information and for prices, go to www.nanaimotaichi.org/wkshp_gagnon_2017.html.