Tai Chi in the Spring


Bridgewater College

The Funkhouser Center is home to the intramural program, sports courts, fitness center, indoor track and aerobics room. Many of the physical activity courses also take place in the facility.

Nathan Good and Ortez Marshman

Bridgewater, Va.- Professor of Biology Gavin Lawson will teach a Tai Chi course at Bridgewater College during the upcoming spring semester.

Lawson will be teaching one section of Tai Chi on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 to 11:50 a.m. in the Funkhouser Center. The section is already full, with a waitlist of one person. 

According to the Bridgewater College course catalog, Tai Chi is a centuries-old martial art that is practiced today as a form of exercise. The focuses of Tai Chi include breathing, clarity and a series of movements. 

Tai Chi has not ever been offered before, and this will be Lawson’s first time teaching this martial art. Lawson has a background in karate and European swordsmanship and plans to use this knowledge to inspire his teaching and pass on the art to his students. 

“Honestly, the chance to share the art with others is what’s exciting,” said Lawson. “Tai Chi has many benefits as it improves balance, posture, focus and can even help reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, it’s a beautiful, graceful art that I hope others will enjoy as well.”

The structure of each class will begin with stretching and a brief meditation period, with the goal of getting focused on the martial art and letting go of other distractions. The second part of class will be about learning the Tai Chi postures, which are a series of slow, deliberate movements.

“The form I will teach is 18 posture Yang style, and we will spend the ten weeks working our way through the form,” said Lawson. “My goal is for the students to learn the complete form by classes end, so they can continue to practice if they like.”

Many students are excited about the new option being offered in the course catalog. 

“Tai Chi would be a good course to implement at Bridgewater because it is a martial arts practice and provides both physical and mental health benefits, which would be great for the students,” said sophomore Garret McLain. “It is always nice to have a new option.”

According to the catalog, Tai Chi is one of the nine FILA-required physical activity classes being offered during the Spring 2023 semester. 

With advising week already over and students needing their exercise credit, many options are waitlisted. There are still available seats in ballet, aerobic dancing and aqua aerobics.

“I know yoga provides a lot of benefits towards people’s mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health,” said sophomore Jack Coburn. “Tai Chi is pretty similar to that, so I am a big fan. I think adding Tai Chi is really going to diversify the available courses, and that the students are going to come to appreciate that it is being offered now.”