MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The City of Morgantown Arts and Cultural Development Department, in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at West Virginia University, is proud to announce free Tai Chi classes for the public beginning May 1 at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park.

Tai Chi, also known as Shadowboxing, is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for defense training, health benefits, and meditation. Since the earliest widespread promotion of the health benefits of Tai Chi in the early 20th century, it has developed a worldwide following of people for its benefit to personal health and its effectiveness as an alternative exercise and a form of martial arts therapy. It is purported that focusing the mind solely on the movements of Tai Chi helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity.

The classes at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park will introduce a version of Yang Style Tai Chi as modified and taught by Cheng Man-ch`ing. In this course, students will learn the basic principles of Tai Chi and how to do the first third of the Cheng Man-ch’ing Style.

Classes will be taught by William Koehler and Cecil Pollard. William Koehler, DMA, has studied and practiced Tai Chi for over 25 years, including the Cheng Man-ch`ing, 37 posture Yang style, “Small Space Tai Chi,” and the Yang 24 posture form. He studied for five years with Robert Larsen, a student of Cheng Man-ch`ing.

Cecil Pollard is semi-retired from the WVU School of Public Health and has studied Tai Chi for about 6 years under 4 different teachers. He currently teaches Tai Chi for the WVU Health Science Center Wellness program and OLLI. He studies and teaches Tai Chi to promote wellness and improve balance and movement. He is currently studying with the Tai Chi Foundation of New York via Zoom classes.

Classes are free and open to the public, but participants must register online at: Beginners to intermediate are welcome. Beginning May 1, classes will be held at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park every Saturday at 10 a.m. for beginners and at 11 a.m. for those with some experience.