Preface — When Yin Meets Yang
by Joanne Chang
April, 2006

In life, those that find a soul mate find true happiness. I'm very fortunate that my life's path led me to meet David. David found passion in self-cultivation and refinement through the art of Taijiquan. Under his loving guidance and motivation, I myself have begun to appreciate the depth, breadth, and exquisite tranquility of Taiji.

I remember it was a warm summer night in 1993 when I met David for the second time. He looked at me earnestly and asked, “Will you give me 10 minutes of your time?“ I nodded joyously, anticipating a happy surprise. Instead, he stood up slowly and then positioned himself in front of me. After relaxing and loosening his body, he began to practice Taijiquan. Through the flow of his Taiji movements, his expression became focused with elegance and peace. This was the first time I witnessed the beauty of Taiji. Afterwards, he performed three Taijiquan postures and asked me to photograph them. The postures were the White Crane Spreads Wings, the Squatting Down Single Whip, and the Shoulder Strike. In his concentrated expression, I found his intense passion adorable. After becoming his wife, I realized that the Taiji philosophy was his belief and his faith. Taijiquan was his life's passion.

David had thoroughly infused his daily life into Taiji and Taiji into his daily life. He lived the Taiji philosophy. Even in routines such as dressing, driving, eating, and interacting with others, David never failed to follow the Taiji way. When we went grocery shopping, he loved to open the door and push the grocery carts for me. It is a challenging Taiji act to open the heavy store doors by transferring the energy from the feet to the fingers. In the early years, he would stand for many long minutes in front of the store entrance, trying repeatedly, before finally opening the door without using force from his arms. In time, those delays at the door grew shorter. In recent years, after opening the door for me, he would eagerly extend the same favor to the next customer. This door opening exercise became the first item on our shopping list. Aside from opening doors, pushing grocery carts was another one of his tireless favorite Taiji exercises. He focused on finding ways to use the least force to push, to turn and to stop a cart. He found joy and satisfaction in performing even the dreariest household chores, such as cutting grass and shoveling snow. They were all additional opportunities for him to practice Taiji.

Like a missionary, David was zealous in spreading the Tao of Taiji. With total dedication, he never let outside obstacles, fatigue, or extensive commutes keep him from teaching his Taiji classes in various locations. His teaching method was based on two principles: simplifying complex concepts and adapting his lessons to the unique needs of each student. When teaching, David noticed the smallest details and was full of creative ways to illustrate the most obscure ideas. He believed that Taiji is an all-inclusive art form, able to accommodate each individual instead of requiring people to adapt.

David held a liberal attitude toward his students. He often told them, “I teach you Taijiquan not so that you can become my students, but for you to become students of Taijiquan.“ His greatest aspiration was not to become a great Taiji master, but to one day relearn Taiji in one of his student's classes. As his wife, I have been deeply moved by his humble ways of seeing students not only as his equals but even as his teachers.

David's love and care for his students can be seen outside of the classroom as well. For example, after a snowstorm each winter, he would wake up early and bring his snow shovel to the Taiji class to clear the practice fields, concerned that the students might otherwise slip and injure themselves. One time I asked him, “Why don't you ask your students to help?“ He told me warmly, “Don't ask why Joanne. Do it because you can.“ For David, there is no hierarchy among students on the path to the Tao, only different times of arrival. Each student has his or her own unique strengths. Thus, a teacher is a friend and a friend is also a teacher; everyone is equal.

Maybe it was his nature that David always put others first in his actions and decisions. He had a pure heart toward everyone and never felt that he'd been taken advantage of. The ancient Taiji masters taught us that in order to really learn Taiji we must know how to invest in our loss. It seems this philosophy of Taiji is deeply intertwined with our everyday lives. With that mentality, he fervently developed and nurtured a growing Taiji community.

David was physically a big man, but his personality was warm and full of love, patience, and curiosity. His students nicknamed him the “Gentle Giant.“ When he practiced Sensing Hands with his students, his goal was never to show off his own strength but to simply act as a body for the students to practice against. It was a very enjoyable experience to practice Sensing Hands with David. His deep understanding of Taiji was praised by many and often mystified and amazed his students. They didn't understand how he could easily neutralize so many different forces with such graceful ease and softness.

Throughout the years, David traveled to Europe, China, Taiwan, Canada, etc. No matter where he was, he always woke up at the crack of dawn to practice Taijiquan with the locals at a nearby park. Because of his humbleness and warmth towards others, he made Taiji friends around the world. He started a Taiji school and created a Taiji website. Everyday, he spent hours discussing and sharing the Taiji philosophies with friends and visitors of the website. Outside of the regular class schedules, David held many additional Taiji events for his students and friends. Although hectic, these events brought him great happiness. Just as his hard work and promotions of Taiji began to gain real momentum, his health suddenly faltered. His unexpected passing left many of us with shock, denial, and a sense of great loss. It also ripped apart my entire world.

In retrospect, I've come to realize that he was a very lucky man. He lived everyday happily. He was very fortunate to be able to devote himself to his life's two greatest passions: creating art and teaching Taiji. In his last years, he was able to augment this by combining these two passions. Through his heartfelt illustrations, he has captured the thoughts, insights, and rewards he gathered during his journey in the Tao of Taiji.

For thirteen years David and I have supported, protected and loved each other. Although saddened by the brevity of our time together, I have learned from him the beauty, truth, and goodness of humanity. I'm deeply touched and proud to have found this soul mate as my partner in life. It is my desire that his teachings, passion, and dreams for Taiji can be passed on through this book. Just as David inspired me, I hope that through this book he can continue to inspire others in their understanding, practice, and love of Taiji.

前言

人的一生中能有一位知心的伴侶是幸福的,我很幸運的在人生的旅途上能夠和陳鉅相遇。陳鉅醉心于太極拳藝的修練﹐由於他的引導以及潛移默化,讓我也略略的領會到太級藝術的沉靜細緻,博大精深。

記得那是一九九三年,在一個夏日的傍晚,我和陳鉅第二次見面。他認真的看著我說:「能不能給我十分鐘的時間?」我滿心歡喜的點頭答應,期待著一份意外驚喜。只見他緩緩站起身來走到我面前,全身一鬆沈,開始演練起太極拳來。隨著太極拳架的施展,他的神情專注凝斂、儀態沈穩優雅,這是我第一次見識到太極之美。隨後他擺了三個定式:“白鶴亮翅”、“單鞭下勢”、“肩靠”,並要求我為他拍照。那個認真的模樣,讓我覺得他真是“痴”得可愛。成為他的妻子之後,才瞭解到太極哲理像是他的信仰,而太極拳是他生命中的摯愛。

陳鉅是個“生活太極化”、“太極生活化”的徹底執行者。在日常生活中,穿衣、吃飯、走路、開車、與人交往,無一不依循著太極的理念而行。出門購物時,他喜歡幫我開門、幫我推購物車。美東氣候嚴寒,各公司行號都是厚重的雙層玻璃門,如何將力由腳導至手指將門打開是個難度極高的練習。回想在頭幾年,他總得立在店門前好長一段時間,一試再試,最後,好不容易才能不用手力而將門打開。日子久了以後,”罰站“的時間也漸漸縮短了,近幾年他幫我開門後,還會開心地為下一位顧客服務。這個“開門練習”多年來一直是我們購物清單上的第一要項。此外,推購物車也是他樂此不疲的練習,如何用最少的力、如何轉彎、如何停止,也向來是他陪伴我購物時的重頭戲。夏天除草、冬天剷雪這些大家深以為苦的差事,他也都能樂在其中,樂在又多了一個練習太極的機會。他總是能將太極融入很簡單的事情中,並獲得極大的快樂與滿足。

像一個“傳道人”,陳鉅積極的宣揚太極之”道“。他身體力行,不畏艱辛,長途跋涉,定期到各地教學。“深入淺出”、“因材施教”是他教學的兩大方針。在教學方面,陳鉅觀察入微、創意十足,能將深奧的拳理生動的描繪出來。他也會認真揣摩各個學生個性上的特點,而給予不同的指導。他相信太極是一門包容性極大的藝術,適合每一個人;而不是一套固定的形式,要每個人去適應它。他對學生態度開放,經常對他們說:「我教你們太極拳,不是要你們成為我的學生,而是要你們成為太極的學生」。他最大的願望不是成為太極大師,而是期望在若干年後能夠加入學生的太極課程,重新學習太極。他這種弟子不必不如師,師不必賢於弟子、虛懷若谷的精神,做為他妻子的我也深受感動。

此外,他私下對學生的愛護,也是甘心樂意,處處可見。例如,每逢冬天下雪時,他一定起個大早,揹著雪剷,先到戶外練習場把雪清乾淨,就怕路滑學生會受傷。有時我真心疼他,問道:「為什麼不叫學生輪流剷雪呢?」他總是溫和的笑著對我說:「不必問為什麼,能做就去做。」古人有”程門立雪“的故事,他卻反其道而行,老師為學生剷雪,這就是陳鉅﹗我想,在他的思想裡,聞道有先後,術業有專攻,師亦友,友亦師,人人平等,沒有階級之別。也許是他的天性使然﹐陳鉅為人處事,往往願意先為別人著想,心地寬廣,仿彿心裡從不覺得自己吃虧。太極先輩也指導我們“要學好太極拳必先學會吃虧”,看來太極拳藝與日常生活是息息相通的。 他就是本著「不敢為天下先」這樣的精神,積極投入推展太極的各項活動中。

雖然陳鉅個頭高大,但他的個性極其溫和,充滿愛心、耐心與好奇心,他的學生戲稱他是“溫和的巨人”(Gentle Giant)。和學生推手時,他不會想著去推倒學生,反而是把自己當成學生的”靶子“,慢慢一步步教導學生如何化解。和他練推手是件很享受的事,他的功夫內涵教人稱許,也往往令他的學生稱奇,不明白他是如何鬆鬆柔柔的就能化解各式各樣的力道於無形之中。長期以來,他每次遠行,無論是到台灣、中國、歐洲、加拿大...等地,他總是每天起個大早,到公園和當地居民一起練拳、一起切磋拳藝。由於他的謙虛與熱情,在世界各地均結交到無數的拳友。他並成立拳社、架設網站,每天都要花好幾個小時在網站上和拳友探討拳理。拳社除了固定課程,每年並舉辦多項太極活動,雖然忙碌,卻是他最快樂的時刻。就在他推廣太極拳忙得不亦樂乎且頗有心得之時,他卻突然倒了下來。他的驟逝,令人震驚、令人扼腕、令人不解、令人不捨,更令我痛不欲生。然而,從另一個角度來看,他其實是個有福氣的人,因為他總是開開心心地過日子。他何其幸運能夠從事他最喜愛的繪畫和教拳這兩項工作,又能在有生之年結合這兩項專長,以圖文方式,將他個人在世上”太極之旅“ 中的所思所得、所想所感,誠實的記錄下來。

和陳鉅相知、相惜、相守了十三年,雖然遺憾時光短暫,但卻從他身上認識了人性中的真、誠、美、善,我深深的以擁有這樣一位知心的生命伴侶為榮,也希望他發揚太極拳藝的願望能藉由此書延續下去,像他激勵了我一樣,激勵更多的人,認識太極、學習太極、喜愛太極。