University City

World Tai Chi Day promotes healing, welfare of planet

World Tai Chi Day is April 30 and all families and individuals are invited to help celebrate.

On this day, beginning in New Zealand and spreading around the globe, at 10 a.m. in each new time zone tai chi performances will begin.

At Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius demonstrations begin at 9:30 a.m. At 10 a.m. instructor Mike Gentile will move to the water's edge to do breathing to the four corners of the globe.

Then other sets of movements, called forms, will be presented by students and practitioners of this exercise. Everyone is invited to join and try the movements. The Arthritis Foundation recommends tai chi for seniors to help them improve their balance and posture, resulting in fewer falls.

Gentile, 66, known as Tai Chi Mike, is accredited by the Arthritis Foundation.

Gentile grew up in New York. He owned an electrical parts company and at 40 he began studying tai chi. He found his true passion.

Eventually he became an instructor and followed his son to North Carolina nine years ago. Gentile lives in the Highland Creek neighborhood of University City, a mile from his son and three grandsons.

"Tai chi is a complete exercise system and it's been great teaching at the senior center and seeing people get stronger with better balance and posture as they gracefully age," said Gentile.