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.






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。