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Chinese Culture and Art

Confucius Institute Chinese Courses

Chinese Culture and Art 

This course comprises four elements:

  1. Ba Duan Jin
  2. Yi Jin Jing
  3. ​Chinese Calligraphy
  4. Tai Chi

Course Information

 “Ba Duan Jin”

Ba Duan Jin is an Eight-section exercise featuring a movement intensity and format in line with the theories of kinetics and physiology.
Ba Duan Jin improves the respiratory system, limb strength and flexibility of joints and fortifies the nerves as well as enhances general balance. It improves the cardiovascular function and helps to cure such illnesses as coronary artery scleroses and osteoporosis. It strengthens one’s immune system to a degree, and delays the aging process, increasing the life span. It also improves one’s mental health.



Characteristics:
Gentle – relaxing, peaceful
Slow – flowing, slow movements
Smooth – without restraint like flowing water or floating clouds
Consistent – Instill calmness and no interruption in movements; to ease the internal circulation of vital energy and improve one’s health and fitness.
Aim of the course:
The course will introduce aerobic exercises in Traditional Chinese Qigong. “Ba Duan Jin” consists of Eight poses for fitness and natural wellbeing. By doing these exercises, one’s physical and psychological wellbeing is promoted amidst a work or the stresses of daily life. The exercises have eight different poses; each pose works on certain meridians and muscles of the body, in certain acupuncture points which helps the student relief muscle and joint tension, promoting fitness and enhancing longevity.
Outcome:
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to practice “Eight poses”  “Ba Duan Jin” on their own with correct posture and be able to understand the energy generating source.
Prerequisite:
Anyone who does not have serious health problems, prolonged or chronic joint or muscle injuries, may undertake these exercises.
Outfit:
Please wear comfortable clothes and exercise shoes.



“Ji Jin Jing”

Yi Jin Jing is a 12-section exercise. The movements form a continuous integrity, focusing on tendon stretching and bone flexing, and combining softness with strength. An essential part of the routines is natural breathing, assisted by calmness of the mind to make the circulation of the vital energy as unimpeded as possible.



Characteristics:
Smooth and extended – all the movements require a full range of stretching, bending, flexing and twisting in different directions and wide-ranging motions of the bones and related joints.
Soft and even – when strength is required, it should be applied gradually. The focus is on the spine turning and flexing; muscles should be relaxed to combine strength with tenderness. All the routines feature extended, continuous, graceful, coordinated and quiet movements.
Aim of the course:
The course will introduce aerobic exercises in Traditional Chinese Qigong. “Yi Jin Jing” consists of twelve poses for fitness and natural wellbeing.  By doing the exercises, one can improve health and fitness, prevent diseases, increase longevity and enhance intellect. The focus is on flexibility, balance and muscular strength. In addition, the practice of the Yi Jin Jing exercises has very important effects on the respiratory system. It can also prevent and cure diseases of the joints, digestive, cardiovascular and nervous system.
Outcome:
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to practice “Twelve poses”  “Yi Jin Jing” on their own with the correct posture and be able to understand the energy generating source.
Prerequisite:
Anyone who does not have serious health problems, prolonged or chronic joint or muscle injuries, may undertake these exercises.
Outfit:
Please wear comfortable clothes and exercise shoes.

 

"Chinese Calligraphy"

As an ancient expressive art, Chinese calligraphy expresses the abstract beauty of lines and rhythms through the organizational structure of lines and dots, while also reflecting a person's emotions, moral integrity, character, educational level, accomplishments in self-cultivation, intellectual tastes and approach to life. As an old Chinese saying goes, "the way characters are written is a portrait of the person who writes them." 

Characteristics:
1. The basic element for structure of calligraphy is line. Line as the movement track of points is expressed in a process of directional handwriting without repetition. Furthermore, for the synchronization of creation process and creation result, there is no possibility of repetition and reproduction
2. The certain handwriting rules of characters prescribe sequentially the beginning and end, the superiority and inferiority of orders of strokes. The process of handwriting has consistency in time from single character to entire chapter, besides it also emphasizes the harmonization.
3. Handwriting and style represent all the connotation of time attribute in calligraphy, in other words, the process of motion drives the special process of visual sense.

From the angle of appreciators
1.The masterpieces of calligraphy leave people an impression of time changing, because a character is read in a certain sentence or a passage, and then each character when people write characters one after another forms its own spacial structures and styles. Once is such a space combined with others undoubtedly created the rhythm of visual logics and rank of time persistence.

2.Compared with other artistic masterpieces, calligraphy is more easily reminding people of the process of creation. The appreciators strive for tasting the calligraphers’ feelings when they are writing the characters from their finished works

3. As for how to judge the works, it depends on different styles of calligraphy, because different styles have different judge standards, if it is a regular one, we need to take notice of its overall layout, and the first character and the last character. Roughly speaking, in China’s aesthetic standard, we pay more attention to the symmetry. And free script and cursive hand, we need to pay much attention to each character which shows the calligraphers’ emotions and reactions to reality and society and totally shows their values and attitudes towards the world. As for the seal characters and Li character, we need to taste their long history and the experiences they noted which certainly add the interest and charm to themselves. 

Aim of the course:
It is believed that calligraphists enjoy a long life. The practice is a good form of physical training because what I started to describe above. The requirements in concentration of your mind, a calm temperament and easy relax breathing are definitely needed. The practice of calligraphy is somehow similar to Chinese Taijiquan (Shadow Boxing) in that the requirements to exercise are very close.

Outcome: 
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to write the Chinese calligraphy on their own with correct posture and be able to understand the culture connotation  .

Prerequisite:
Before you start writing, you should not distract your mind by looking at or listening to any other thing. You must keep calm, and while you write, your calmness and writing should operate harmoniously in co-operation.
Outfit:
Please wear comfortable clothes.

 

"Taichi"

Tai Chi (also written as T'ai Chi, Taiji, Tai Chi Chuan, among others) is a slow-motion, moving meditative exercise for relaxation, health and self-defense.​

                                                      

 

    

Characteristics:
chest --A relaxed chest is slightly sunken. Avoid pushing your chest out for this position will cause your upper body to be heavy and your lower body to be light. 
Coordination-- Co-ordinate and unify the movements of the arms with those of the legs
Concentration--Tai Chi should never be practised Awareness and concentration mindlessly. 
Control-- Always consciously guide all of your body movements when performing Tai Chi
Flow-- Always be in a flowing motion from start to finish, continually shifting your body weight and position. 
Footwork-- When moving forward touch the heel down first, when moving backward touch the toe down first. 
Gravity --Allow natural gravity to always work for you. This applies, in particular, to the flexibility of movable joints and to the "heaviness" of the limbs.
Hands --The hands must follow a natural curve and should neither be fully limp (relaxed) nor fully stretched (tensed). 
Harmony-- Posture movements must be similar to the way the body naturally operates, i.e. steady, relaxed and harmonious. 
Head --The neck muscles must remain relaxed without letting the head bob about, lean to either side, or fall forward or backward. 
Height -- The level of the body remains generally the same, no rise and fall from shifts of body weight. 
Knees-- The knees should always remain slightly flexed -never locked straight. 
Legs-- The stability of every Tai Chi movement comes from the legs. 
mind --The first requirement is to clear the mind, relax the body, and circle the chi. 
Moderate-- Be moderate and avoid all extremes. Do not overreach or restrict. Never be stretched or tight in movements. 
mouth --The lips must lightly touch and the mouth should curve upwards at the corners as if to make a smile. 
Movement-- Each movement must be light, nimble and continuous. In all movements the inner strength is rooted in the feet, developed in the thighs, controlled by the waist, and expressed through the fingers.
Aim of the course:
Tai Chi hasn't been studied scientifically until recently. Preliminary research shows that for older adults, in particular, practicing Tai Chi regularly may:
 Improve balance and coordination, reducing the number of falls ;Improve sleep quality, such as staying asleep longer at night and feeling more alert during the day ;Slow bone loss in women following menopause ;Reduce high blood pressure ;Improve cardiovascular fitness ;Relieve chronic pain ;Improve everyday physical functioning.
Outcome: 
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to practice “24 poses”  “Thaichi” on their own with correct posture and be able to understand the energy generating source.
Prerequisite:
Anyone who does not have serious health problems, prolonged or chronic joint or muscle injuries, may undertake these exercises.

Outfit:
Please wear comfortable clothes and exercise shoes.

 

Details of the course:

Venue: N/A

Tuition fee:

The course is free, offered by the Confucius Institute at UCT.

R100 fee for teaching materials will be requested at the beginning of each course.

 

Registration:

Please fill in the following form then email it to

Ms Shikan Qin :shikan.qin@uct.ac.za

Tel: 021- 650 5417

 

3.02, Masingene Building

Middle Campus

Rondebosch

Cape Town  7701

 

You can also submit the hard copies of form to Confucius Institute at UCT,

 

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