Tàijíquán, fun for everyone
Students have to fill 3 credits of Physical Activity in order to graduate, and the possibility exists weight training or yoga might not sound enticing. However, PSU Brandywine has an alternative Kinesiology class.
Kines 076 is the introduction to Tàijíquán. Tàijíquán is a type of martial arts that focuses on following a form of movements. This art has been proven through medical research to improve balance, psychological health and other general health deficiencies. But most important, it’s fun! Students meet new people, make new friends and unwind from the many stresses of college life.
Since the fall semester of 2011, the class has been taught by Professor Niiler. In one class, Professor Niiler may focus on the movements in the form, whereas in another, he may focus on the self-defense side of Tàijíquán. One class might need a slower pace to perfect the first few movements where another class might blow through the whole form. Professor Niiler has a very hands on teaching method and takes the time to go around the room and help each student individually.
Niiler has studied Chinese martial arts for more than 30 years and has been teaching it for 26 years. He is proficient in many other martial arts forms.
“I started learning Southern Shaolin Kungfu from my first Sifu, Anh Nguyen, while I was in high school,” Niiler said. “And then began concurrently studying Taekwondo. After earning 2nd degree black belt levels in both styles, I began studying Tian Shan Pai, a Northern Shaolin derivative, in college where I also began to teach Chinese martial arts.”
Niiler has since continued to hone his talent and accomplished feats of helping form the Kungfu Arts Club at the Boston University, competing in US Wushu Kungfu Federation tournaments and placing 3rd place in the 1998 Pan American Traditional Wushu-Kungfu Championships in Toronto.
What he hold students will take away from his class is an easy answer.
“I would like them to gain an appreciation for the art of Taijiquan, understand how its practice can improve health and learn a bit about its usage in self-defense,” Niiler said.
Lion’s Eye staff writer, firstname.lastname@example.org