Every Wednesday, the Confucius Institute’s Chinese culture course takes place in the basement of Bibb Graves.
The culture course is offered in two parts. In the first part, an hourlong tai chi class is offered. The second part is Chinese Corner, where different topics relating to Chinese culture are discussed.
“Our ultimate goal is to make people see that Chinese culture is not something strange and exotic,” said Lin Cao, a visiting scholar at the Confucius Institute at Troy University and an associate professor at Dalian Nationalities University (DNU) in Dalian, China. “Our cultures are more similar than different.
“We all long for peace and happiness, and we hold the same values dear in life.”
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, tai chi is a Chinese form of martial art that employs flowing, rhythmic, deliberate movements, with carefully prescribed stances and positions.
According to Cao, practicing tai chi helps weight control, enhances self-defense, helps relieve stress and strengthens immunity.
According to Cao, the course is intended to make people familiar with Chinese traditions.
“I think this is an interesting way of learning about a different culture,” said Peter Garrett, a freshman nursing major from Eclectic. “I do not know a lot about Chinese culture, so I look forward to more of these events where I can learn these things firsthand.”
Cao said that the Chinese culture course is also beneficial for those who are going on the study abroad trip to China in March.
In the 10-week course, students will become familiarized with many features of Chinese culture, including Chinese tea talk, Mahjong board game, Chinese knot crafts, Tibetan culture, Chinese folk dance and the Chinese mid-autumn and spring festivals.
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, students learned to make dragonflies with a single piece of cord using Chinese knot techniques.
According to Wenjuan Cheng, a visiting scholar from Qingdao Huajiao Technology & Education Institute, a Chinese knot is a decorative knot woven from a single length of cord or rope into a variety of shapes and of varying complexity.
Cheng said that, although the knots are now primarily used for decorative purposes, they had greater significance in the past because they were used to record history before paper was invented in China.