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Grasping the Bird's Tail

Watch the full 12 minute film:

Director & Editor, Patricia Somers.
Cinematography by
Claudia Ballard. Music composed by Don Monjure and John Mackay.


Tai Chi Chuan in movies often looks perfect and unattainable. Herb's Tai Chi class is different. Class members, some of whom have Parkinson's and other challenges, move within their own capabilities, yet their motion melds into a lyrical flow that feels, as one student says, like a gift. Watching this film brings the calm of doing Tai Chi.


From the Director:

One day I was in Tai Chi class, surrounded by people who were turning the wrong way, missing a particular movement or crowding too close to me. Usually this would have tripped my annoyance switch, but on this day, I suddenly felt surrounded by warmth, as though swimming in a sea of fish of different colors and sizes, yet all moving together.

Our teacher had often talked about his approach -- that we each should adapt the form to our own physical limitations -- but this was the first time I really felt its importance. We are not all the same and so our Tai Chi practice will not be the same, but incorporating the principles of Tai Chi Chuan into our lives will nourish us.

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