Fit and active at 90

01:43, Jan 31 2009
IN THE ZONE: Marjorie Rowe says she will keep doing t'ai chi as long as she can.

Great-great-grandmother Marjorie Rowe had a lot to celebrate at her t'ai chi class last Thursday.

Even though her official birthday is tomorrow, it suited the occasion because the club's grand master Zhu Tiancai had arrived from China.

Marjorie joins at least 20 other enthusiasts for classes at the Howick and Pakuranga Netball Centre in Lloyd Elsmore Park twice a week.

The Bucklands Beach resident has been doing t'ai chi for four years to help her keep her balance and stay active. She says she gets a lot out of the two-hour class and still drives herself there.

"I feel like I have done something I've enjoyed," Marjorie says.

"I've made some good friends."

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Mr Zhu, who has practised t?ai chi for 50 years, is visiting New Zealand for three weeks.

He created the adapted chen-style t'ai chi form that the club teaches to at least 250 senior citizen students across Counties Manukau.

The club runs a variety of classes, including one for senior citizens aged 60 to 90, as part of Accident Compensation Corporation Thinksafe fall prevention programme.

Club founder Malisa Ng is a long-time disciple of Mr Zhu.

There are three other trained teachers and together with Malisa they teach about 30 t'ai chi classes in the community every week.

Mr Zhu says t'ai chi is an whole body exercise and it energises the person.

He says the more you do it, the more relaxed you become.

"It conserves and nurtures energy," Mr Zhu says.

The idea of t'ai chi is to connect the outside and inside movement together to help feel good and energised.

Eastern Courier