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Tai chi broadsword

Linden Ponds resident shares the power of martial arts

Created date

November 22nd, 2011

With deliberate but graceful movements, Mia Kusumadilaga swings her broadsword behind and in front of her body, bringing it to rest before her as she sinks into a lunge. Tai chi broadsword is a relatively new endeavor for Mia, but it is also an extension of the Chinese martial art tai chi, which she has practiced since shortly after moving to Linden Ponds in 2005. Tai chi broadsword is a form of tai chi that adds the use of a large metal sword. The broadsword really gives tai chi another dimension, and it helps develop upper body and arm strength, Mia says.

Shared talents

Mia began learning tai chi broadsword earlier this year at Jade Forest, a studio in Cohasset, Mass., near the Hingham Erickson Living community where she lives. She also takes tai chi classes at the studio four days a week. Mia more regularly shares her tai chi talent with her community by offering instruction to others who live at Linden Ponds in a weekly class. Fellow community members saw Mia practicing around Linden Ponds she often takes advantage of outdoor spaces and asked if she could teach them a beginner class. Mia obliged and usually has a handful of students each week. Slow movements connected in a series characterize tai chi. The practice has been lauded for its benefits to balance, strength, and flexibility. It has also been shown to help people suffering from arthritis. Mia attests to this benefit; she believes her tai chi practice has arrested the progression of her arthritis. It teaches you how to use your body properly, Mia says of tai chi. You learn structural strength; you re holding bone structure in a certain way so you stay stable and strong. Mia says her students have also spoken of improvements in their balance since beginning tai chi. You use your muscles better so you don t develop these aches and pains that are associated with old age, Mia says, adding that chronic pain is often the result of misuse of the muscles. These illnesses associated with old age are really reversible.

Mind-body awareness

Mia s appreciation for the mind-body connection precedes her life at Linden Ponds. Previously in business selling scientific research equipment, Mia also taught yoga for approximately 20 years and at one time taught as many as 15 classes. Much like her recent addition of tai chi broadsword, Mia began tai chi in an effort to try something different. Mia s affinity for new challenges also extends to music. She s learned to read music and play the harp, which resides in her living room among lush plants and decorative pieces that speak to her rich history, including a colorful sarong that once belonged to her grandmother. Mia hails from Indonesia but has lived in the U.S. since she was 17, when she moved to California. She spent 30 years there before moving to Hingham, Mass., in the 80s. She and her husband began considering a move to Linden Ponds in an effort to make life easier. We were trying to simplify our lifestyle, Mia says. We had a big house and garden it was too much. Among the evergreens outside of her residence building at Linden Ponds, in the serenity and concentration of tai chi broadsword movements, Mia seems to have embraced a lifestyle that is simpler but rich with new opportunities.