The day marked the first national Fitness Day in China and was established to commemorate the 2008 Olympics which was held there. On this day, 33,996 people appeared before the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the primary location of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Those involved performed the simplified 24-posture Tai Chi. The previous record was for 30,648 people performing Tai Chi at once in Luoyang, Henan province. This was set in April 2004.
The people that participated came from all walks of life, some coming from many miles away from the capital to participate in the day’s event. The form lasted only a few minutes and under a misting sky. It was part of a greater celebration that was intended to encourage all Chinese to exercise at least one hour a day for better health and well-being. Attending were many government officials as well as the first ever Chinese gold medalist, Xu Haifeng, who won in 1984 for sharp shooting.
The simplified 24-posture Tai Chi was created by the Chinese Sports Committee in 1956 as a form of exercise for the masses. The four tai chi instructors that created the form started with traditional Yang family Tai Chi with the aim to give beginners an introduction to the basic elements of Tai Chi. The basic movements are recognizable by most people who practice Tai Chi.
The 24-postures are:
- Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane
- White Crane Spreads Its Wings
- Brush Knee and Press
- Playing the Lute
- Repulse the Monkey
- Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail (left)
- Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail (right)
- Single Whip
- Wave Hands like Clouds
- Single Whip
- Pat Horse on Back
- Right Heel Kick
- Strike Ears with Both Fists
- Pivot and Left Heel Kick
- Snake Creeps Down, Golden Rooster Stands on Left Leg
- Snake Creeps Down, Golden Rooster Stands on Right Leg
- Fair Lady Works with Shuttles
- Picking Up the Needle from the Bottom of the Sea
- Fan Penetrates Back
- Deflect and Punch
- Apparent Close
- Cross hands
- Formal Close
Other Martial Arts Guinness World Records include:
- Longest Punch-Bag Marathon – June 15-17, 2004. Held by Ron Sarchian. Was for 36 hours and 3 minutes in Encino, California, USA.
- Most Competitive Full Contact Rounds – From 1993 to November 2005. Held by Paddy Doyle. Was for 6,264 competitive rounds held over the period of 13 years.
- Most Concrete Block Broken in a Minute – January 9, 2009. Held by Ali Bahçetepe. Was for 888 blocks broken in Magrid, Spain.