I know what some of you imagine when you think “China”. You imagine shoddy and cheap clothing, fake Casio watches, the sky-scrapers of Hong Kong and – of course – a whole nation of Kung Fu masters! You imagine people connecting to nature in the first light of the morning, high up on a mountain ledge, cultivating their qi energy and splitting bamboo trees with their breath or falling chestnuts with their shins in a very Jean-Claude-Van-Dammesque fashion (if you haven’t seen The Kickboxer, stop reading and go watch it now).

Well, let me tell you.

It’s actually sort of true.




And FYI: yes, it seems like it’s impossible to do taichi without these becoming traditional outfits, just as it’s impossible to go mountain biking without tight lycra shorts. Maybe plain sweatpants would block the energy flow? Aah, who am I kidding. I’m sure that most of us, were we to practise taichi, would prefer to do it in a cool costume, wouldn’t we? Otherwise what’s the point?