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Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:57 - Updated Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:57

Teacher hopes to popularize Chinese Tai Chi in Botswana

GABORONE - "I got the peace and love inside from Tai Chi," Kabo Kolobe, 41, said during a Tai Chi course at a training base in the capital of Botswana Thursday evening.

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The painting teacher at a secondary school teaches Tai Chi on evenings after work at the Tai Chi training base from Monday to Saturday. There are currently 40 students in his class.

Kolobe said he himself had been trained here for two years before his first Tai Chi master left Botswana in 2007. The training base was set up around 2000 by his master, a Chinese man who taught the Chinese martial and boxing art for over a decade.

"I wanted to continue doing Tai Chi even though it was very new in Africa. So, in December 2012, I went to (Mountain) Wudang, Hubei Province in China, to learn Tai Chi. Since then, I have been traveling to China to learn Tai Chi every year for one month and back to Botswana to teach my group for 11 months," Kolobe said.

Kolobe told Xinhua that he had read a lot of things about Tai Chi, and that he is interested in how Tai Chi affects the human body and health.

"The way Tai Chi treats the human body is so different. I learned about the human energy and that helps my martial skills improve a lot," Kolobe said.

The experience of learning Tai Chi has made him more self-confident, he added.

In fact, Tai Chi, as a kind of Chinese Kung Fu well known to people around the world, carries ideas of traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine, and can help improve people's mental wellbeing and physical fitness, on top of fighting skills.

In 2015, Kolobe got a training opportunity at the professional Tai Chi school based in Chenjiagou in China's Henan Province. It is the place where the famous and popular Chen-style Tai Chi originated. Kolobe was there trained by Chen Zhaosen, an 11th-generation practitioner of Chen-style Tai Chi boxing.

"I am going to be taught by Master Chen in November this year," Kolobe said, adding that two students of his class in Botswana will go together with him.

A student in Kolobe's training class who gave his name only as Anderson told Xinhua that Tai Chi gives him a sense of good physical fitness, saying it is very ideal and meanwhile practical for improving one's life quality.

"Tai Chi has really transformed my life. It has shown me different possibilities in life and I wish to see and learn more from this mysterious art," Anderson said.

In addition to teaching at the training base, Kolobe founded a Botswana Tai Chi association in 2016, the first and only one in Botswana.

Kolobe said he has plans to set up Tai Chi clubs in public schools, so as to introduce Tai Chi to more people in the inland country in southern Africa. He also hopes he will be able to lead a Tai Chi team one day to represent Botswana to compete in global competitions.

"My main dream is to have a school that all Africans can come to and learn Tai Chi. Because I love Tai Chi very much," Kolobe said.

Tai Chi, in his eyes, is "the treasure of Chinese culture." Xinhua

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