Tai-Chi and Poutine

         This morning I was lured into taking an introductory Tai-Chi class with the promise of food truck poutine afterwards. For those unfamiliar with the dish, poutine is basically french fries topped with melted cheese curds and gravy, and is the national dish of Canada. Apparently it’s not easy to get “authentic” poutine outside of the Great White North, and suffice it to say I was excited.

The class was held in a church, which which is kind of ironic given the “pagan” nature of Tai-Chi.  Tai-Chi, also known as Taijiquan, is an ancient Chinese martial art based on the flow of energy, and the balance between the ying and yang. Of course I have no idea what that means, but then again I’ve only taken one class. I’m sure there’s an interesting theory behind it, but I was more interested in the poutine than the philosophy.

Anyway, I got there and met with someone whom I would later learn to be the teacher. He looked a bit like Henry Winkler and he was very friendly, pointing me towards the room where the class was held. It was there that I met one of his disciples, a tall and large man with a smile that was both reassuring and slightly troubling.

The man asked me if I had met “Sifu”. Who the hell is Sifu?  It was then that the Fozni lookalike whom I had met downstairs came into the room and thus I was formally introduced to Sifu.

The class itself was pretty enjoyable, aside from the oppressive heat of a room without air conditioning during a heat wave. We focused on a single form which involved basic hand and foot movements, and by the end of the class I was starting to get the hang of it.

As I walked out of class, I felt pretty content. The feeling was not like the exhaustion that you get after a good work out, but rather that of a vigorous stretching session followed by a hot tub soaking. I remember that there was a man than who said that Tai-Chi helped his golf game, and that he could feel the “energy” flowing through his hands as he gripped the club. I’m don’t necessarily buy into all this ying and yang malarkey, but I could sort of get what he was saying. It felt good, maybe even enough to go again. Maybe.

 As I got into the car, I called up the food truck to see where it would be that afternoon. The owner informed me that he was on his couch sick as a dog, and that there would be no poutine that day. Like I said, I don’t put too much faith in the mystical, but I’m going to take that as a sign that Tai-Chi classes are not for me.


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