written by Pawel Müller
It’s amazing – to me – how long I’m into Taijiquan. This photo was shot in Turkey where I spent Christmas with my family. Even then, shortly over a year into Taijiquan an Yilu or two daily were mandatory to me. I’ve been to China once already and to me it was clear that I want to give Taijiquan much more time. Back in 2010 it was the old frame I practiced. Since March 2014 it’s Practical Method. It still and much more fills my life. I practice on my way to work, while carrying my kids open doors, … always. I had so many insights, new experiences, I met many new people from all over the world and spent more then 7 month in China to study this martial art.
For me it was always so obvious, I mean “why shouldn’t I do that” there were never questions in my head as “what I’m going to do with that?” Or “Isn’t that too expensive for a hobby?” People, when they found out that I went to China were asking “how is China? What have you seen?” Some tell me about their one or two week trip to China. They are all puzzled when I tell them, that I stayed a full month in Beijing, do get a basic understanding of the language. But they are even more puzzled when I tell them, that other than that I haven’t seen much except a small village called Chen Jiagou in Henan province where I practiced Taijiquan at a small school three years in a row for three months in total. Later when I changed to Practical Method I spent three month in a row at a mountain called Daqingshan in Shandong province. Guess how puzzled people were about that. The decision to do all that were not present. I never felt like to decide anything about it. It was clear that i wanted to do that. The only decision I really had to make was whether to change to Practical Method or not. That was a process of three or four month, after that I signed up for the Fulltime Training at Daqingshan. My Girlfriend supported me all the time even this time when she was pregnant with our first son who was born shortly after I came back from China.
Last year (2015) I went back to the mountain. The situation changed. I had a son, almost 1 year old whom I missed so much. And since summer 2014, I had a full time job at an office and limited time off. Since I was self employed for more than a decade you can imagine that 25 free days or so a year are not much. I went for two weeks. First time under a month. I must say it wasn’t so much fun. It wasn’t bad either. I met old friends, like Marjorie Chong, Lilia Tango-Berlin, Janet Ho, Gawain Siu, Michael Koh, Zili Ling and many many more and new friends, like Lee See Seen and Lutz with whom I spent three hours drinking tee and having lots of fun. It felt like family, but I missed “my” family.
This year (2016) was the first year after 2010 that I didn’t go to China. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t spent an intensive time learning Taijiquan. So in June 2016 I was touring Europe with my teacher Zhonghua Chen. We took my car and made about 2,500km. My journey was 3,500 km in total.
Chen Zhonghua, Fabian Schnurrbart and I went to Berlin, Germany. MC gave a workshop organized by Michael Winkler and his Girlfriend. I heard of him and I was mailing with Michael now and then, but we met for the first time. It was a warm welcome and a very good workshop. Without Fabian, who had to finish his Master Thesis, but with Carlotta, we traveled to Gdynia, Poland and met again in Praga, Czech Republic. After that MC and me went back to Vienna. Fabian, MC and me practiced every morning did sight seeing accompanied by good kitchen. There was a mini workshop who found some interested attendees, too.
During that time I learnt so much from Master Chen. And I don’t mean techniques or detailed instructions of some moves which were also important, no doubt. But through observing him and listening to him all this time. Each workshop was basically the same, but after a while I realized, that behind the obvious instructions there is a bunch of very simple messages. They were in front of me all the time. They are captured in most of his videos. My understanding of the method was re shaped. It got much more simple. This doesn’t mean, that Taijiquan is easier to achieve now, though. It’s also not, that the path towards it got straighter, better to oversee.
It’s me who changed. My expectations, my desires, me picturing the way,… all gone. But also this “all-gone” itself is a process which started at the end of the tour and continues until now. I was fighting, there was this “but…” and then it was gone. I still have this “but…” with some aspects. I don’t know what will happen to them. I don’t care.
Taijiquan is still a very important part of my life. It is a very important part of my past life, for sure. It might be a very important part in my future life, but maybe I stop tomorrow? Maybe not. There’s really no point in asking this question.
Out of Taiji emerges Yin and Yang. Then there are four, eight and many somethings (I forgot the names). But there’s also the other way, that the many, the eight, the four, yin and yang all come together in Taiji.
I didn’t know that six years ago at the beach in Turkey. But I would not understand it, even if someone would have explained it to me.