The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi is not only practiced for self-defense but for the health benefits it offers.
“I believe Tai Chi gives our students a stronger sense of self-esteem by demonstrating that they have control over their bodies,” said Caryn gates, Rancho Mirage’s Volunteer Services Manager.
Tony is a volunteer and has been teaching Tai Chi to visually impaired students since 2015. He is also a student at Braille Institute Rancho Mirage. Tony has Retinitis pigmentosa, which is a gradual degeneration of the retina. It causes poor night vision, tunnel vision, and can lead to total blindness.
Through breathing and movement awareness exercises, students can use Tai Chi as a form of stress relief and a way to strengthen the muscles used for balance.
“Tony has really embraced the teaching he receives and decided to use it to change his perspective on life,” Caryn said. Since taking Tai Chi, he has given up smoking and drinking. He’s become a very positive person.
He currently works with a Tai Chi Master so he can pass along the techniques to other students. There are more than 100 moves to learn and many different forms such as Taolu, which focuses on solo hand and weapon routines, or Neigong and Qigong, which focus on movement and meditation.
Tony truly enjoys sharing the spirituality and health benefits of Tai Chi with his students.