2nd International Taiji Science Forum, 2022
On March 16, 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, closing non-essential businesses including indoor fitness spaces. Following the restriction, Master Li Rong, who has been teaching Taijiquan and wushu in Vancouver since the 1990s, adapted quickly and started teaching on Zoom for the first time. By May 2020, she has gathered a group of women online who have never taken up Taijiquan before. A project was initiated in partnership with the Community Engagement Research Initiative at Simon Fraser University to trace the journey of these women learning Taijiquan amidst the pandemic. A mini-documentary titled “Shefu” was created as a result and was screened at the 2021 explore Asian Festival in Vancouver. The first part of the presentation introduces Sanxing Taiji, its characteristics and history as inspired by Sanxingdui, including a brief introduction of its founder, Master Li Rong. The second part presents a short excerpt of the mini-documentary on the women practitioners’ experiences and the survey outcomes of practicing Sanxing Taiji as part of the community-engaged project. In broader terms, this research investigates the impact of COVID-19 on physical fitness and cultural participation within an immigrant community in Vancouver, Canada. It was made possible by the author’s 6-year auto-ethnographic study at the Li Rong Wushu and Qigong Academy. While the pandemic has radically changed how communities take part in physical exercise, Sanxing Taiji continues to evolve with in new and creative ways as a modern Chinese cultural heritage to suit the daily lives and health requirements of Taijiquan practitioners post-pandemic.