by Tafara Mugwara

CHITUNGWIZA, Zimbabwe, June 9 (Xinhua) -- With great focus and concentration, a group of children eagerly followed the slow and gentle motions of their Chinese Tai Chi master.

From small elementary school-age boys to late-adolescent girls, the diverse group equally enjoyed the charm of Chinese traditional culture.

The Tai Chi instructor - 45-year-old Zhu Wei - is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor and the Chief of the Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center in Harare. He is also the Captain of the Chinese medical team in Zimbabwe.

"Tai Chi is also good for children. In one aspect, it can help them to concentrate on their studies," Zhu told Xinhua in an interview.

Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise rooted in multiple Chinese traditions including martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy.

It emphasizes a mind-body connection using gentle movements, meditation and deep breathing.

The martial art is widely recognized as a fitness practice with a wide range of health benefits.

Zhu said Tai Chi provides mental benefits which include improved cognition, mood and focus, as well as decreased stress, anxiety and depression.

In addition, as a martial art, Tai Chi can improve children's self-esteem, confidence, and physical strength.

It can also teach children discipline, a sense of inner calm, and social skills, Zhu said.

"In other aspects, it also can help children have good health. It can improve the immune system," said Zhu.

Through the TCM clinic at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, Zhu has also provided thousands of Zimbabweans with medical assistance using traditional Chinese remedies.

The youthful-looking doctor said Tai Chi has made a huge difference in his life.

"I seldom get cold. Even in winter I can have less clothing and do not get cold. It can also help me to keep looking young," he said.

The organizer of the children's event, which was held in Chitungwiza near Harare, Abraham Matuka, said keeping children and young people busy and entertained with activities such as Tai Chi can help stem challenges of youth drug and sexual abuse in low-income townships such as in Chitungwiza.

Matuka is the founder of Teen Rescue Mission (TRM), an organization that empowers the youth by offering them various opportunities in education and skills development.

With support from the Chinese Embassy, enterprises and the Chinese community, the TRM has opened a platform where young people can showcase their talents.

"As an organization, what we have done is we have opened a platform for the young people to come and share their challenges they are going through," Matuka said. Enditem

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