What seemed like total chaos on Friday, April 13 turned out to be a well-organized, smooth running Grand Opening shared with 950 people. Saturday morning Tony Kwong helped us get into the right mood with a few hundred Hurrah! Don-Yu’s. So everybody was energized to make the last preparations and to welcome the guests. First, of course, the lion was offered lettuce by the mayor of the city of Helmond. He was proud that his city was the centre of the Taoist Tai Chi™ world for one day, and more famous than Amsterdam. The mayor, who lives only 300 meters from our Centre, retires at the end of the year. He always said he never had time to start tai chi, even though his neck and back could use it. “So maybe it will happen this time,” he told the people who had gathered.
A member of the provincial government explained she was triggered by a sentence in the invitation. “By practicing Taoist Tai Chi™ people feel healthy and happy which has a positive effect on the people around them. So over time whole communities will profit from these benefits as well.” She mentioned this is something politicians also try to achieve.
Karen Laughlin reminded us “That Taoist Tai Chi™ gives us a sense of the rich quality of life in a community and what an opportunity it is to share this richness.”
Marsha Eberhardt mentioned how it all started in 1970 by one man with a vision, dedication and his heart. “It is a gift, a jewel and it takes a long time to discover it.”
Carmen Capilla wished us all the best in this Year of the Dragon, “A year that will help us to become stronger and to do what we need to do.”
Thijs Kolhoff, the president of the Society in the Netherlands is happy he didn’t listen to the advice of his seven-year-old son. When they visited the building for the first time after it had been purchased, it was dirty, leaking, dusty and had broken windows. His son whispered in his dad’s ear, “Dad, I wouldn’t buy this.”
The festivities ended of course with a traditional Dutch klompendans (wooden shoes dance) and a perfect lunch.