August 21st, 2012
Our Tuesday T’ai Chi evening under the stars. Doron Lavie, arriving early is ready to begin the session.
Doron Lavie, T’ai Chi
After our warm-up, Chi Cong session, T’ai chi 88 form and Sword Cutta 32 form, we had a break! I spoke to Eliahu Levy, a longtime participant in the Eshkol T’ai Chi group held on Kibbutz Nir-Oz.
Judih: Can you introduce yourself, please.
Eliahu: I’m Eliahu Levy from Kibbutz Nir Itzhak, 78 years old. In the past, I’ve been involved with Physical Education and all kinds of sports. About 12 years ago I got involved with t’ai chi.
J: How did you get involved?
E: I was doing karate and it was very intensive and then the sessions stopped. My friends told me that they were coming to Nir Oz to do t’ai chi. So I decided to try. From the very first day, I knew that I’d never stop.
J: What grabbed you, exactly?
E: It was a time when I was going through a serious personal breakdown. I had just become a widower. And I stopped working at my job and I found myself in the middle of all these life changes. I was really in a bad state. It was then that I got into t’ai chi and discovered a new world. Afterwards, I began to study Chinese medicine and everything came together for me. I became a new man. And t’ai chi was a vital part of this restructuring.
I have continued to study and advance in this practice and not only did I become a new man, but everything changed for me: my behavior, my conception of life, and my perception of the world around me. I am now a practitioner in Chinese medicine. And t’ai chi provides the physical base for it all.
Eliahu Levy in balance
Judih: Do you practise everyday?
E: I do chi cong everyday. Sometimes t’ai chi, but chi cong everyday. In this way I prepare my body for the day, for fairly intensive work, since I work a lot using massage. And in addition this grounds me for my usual daily activities. This is the essence of t’ai chi: connecting me to the earth, to the sky and me in the middle, feeling very good!
J: Do you work with music? How do you practice?
E: No, without music
J: Do you use a mirror?
E: No I go outside, listen to the birds, look at the green around me. I feel the morning dew on my bare feet. And this gives me so much. It fills my batteries for the day.
J: So you practise early in the morning?
E: Yes, I wake up usually before 6 and then I go out to do t’ai chi. Also, when I go to the pool for a swim I feel the water, and again feel myself between the sky and the earth. When I get back on solid ground, I do t’ai chi or chi cong and re-connect with myself.
J: So you’d recommend t’ai chi to everyone?
Eliahu with sword
E: Yes to everyone. I can tell you. I have no physical pain, not in my knees, back or head. I take no medications. You see, when I first found t’ai chi I left all my medications behind and I’m living very well! If at any time, there are any physical problems, I can deal with them.
J: Have you changed your diet, how you eat? Or is this all because of the physical activity you engage in?
E: It’s all my conception of life. I eat according to the prefects of Chinese medicine – mostly healthy food– no fats or carbonated drinks, although I do drink some wine that I like. And that’s it. It’s a new way of living.
J: Thank you. Is there anything you’d like to add?
E: Yes, I recommend t’ai chi to everyone. I recommend doing it and practising regularly, because it acts to regulate body processes that serve to heal the body. Healing comes from within utilizing oxygen. T’ai chi works to facilitate the connection.
J: Thank you, Eliyahu