Preface — When Yin Meets Yang
by Benjamin Lo
This was a truly unbelievable event, but it happened. It was David's sudden departure from his loved ones and his Taiji community. I believe that for everyone who knew him and knew of him, the shock was like an unexpected thunder on a sunny day. He left us too unexpectedly, leaving many hearts in boundless sadness and loss. His usual good health and achievements in Taiji made it difficult to understand how this could have happened.
Not long before he passed away, we discussed Taijiquan on the phone. We spoke of heightening our level of practice and contemplating even deeper Taijiquan's essence. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable and no one could have guessed that David would leave our world this way.
David was an artist. He loved graphic design and was very successful in his work. Because of his particular talent and interest, David asked for my opinion on his desire to create an illustrated Taiji philosophy book. I told him, &ldqua;Great! Even if others have thought of the same idea, few in the world possess sufficient talents in both Taiji and art to create such a book. It would be wonderful if you could do this!“ This conversation took place 2 to 3 years ago. Since then, he rarely mentioned this project and worked quietly. Only once in a while, during chats on the phone, would he update me on his progress. In early 2005, he told me that the book was almost complete. Regrettably, it was also later that same year, on December 25, that David passed away. After his passing, I forgot about the book until his wife, Joanne, reached out to me in March, 2006. She was determined to publish her late husband’s book. She mailed me a copy of the original manuscript and illustrations so that I could write this preface. It was only then I realized that the book had been completed and was ready for publication. It is unfortunate that he was not able to see this book through publication. But Joanne’s hard work and diligence has helped him realize his dream and will bring him peace in heaven.
When David started to learn Taijiquan 15 years ago, it was so that he could live a healthy life. Because David lived on the east coast in the DC suburbs and I was on the west coast in San Francisco, he followed the teachings of my apprentice Arnold Lee. For 15 years, David learned and practiced without a break. At the same time, David was also practicing with another apprentice of mine, Julian Chu. He also attended my annual Taijiquan Workshops. David's tireless hours of practice, his instinctive comprehension and his abilities naturally led to him to acquire his Taijiquan skills at an accelerated pace.
David was a gentle and warm person. He treated people with sincerity and often with a smile. In the Taiji community he has built great relationships and friendships because of his agreeable personality. I was thrilled to have such a studious and talented student. Not only did I have high hopes for his growing skills, I also believed that David would be a key member for developing the Taiji community for future generations. Fate has dealt us an unfortunate hand and David was taken from us abruptly.
The illustrations in the book are accompanied by clear and eloquent words. Some pages will bring an unexpected smile, some will promote reflections of Taiji concepts, and some are deeply philosophical. The “Wuwei Fighter“ described on pg. 97 is a good example. For that idea, I think David was inspired by a story in the ancient book ZhuangZi in chapter DaShen, where Mr. Ji raised fighting cocks for the emperor. David's use of this story to illustrate a key Taiji principle is sublime. His main message in this book is to discourage violence and to promote a spirit of peace and calm. Ultimately, this book is not just another excellent Taiji text. It uniquely combines words and pictures to illustrate Taiji thoughts like no other book has before. As far as the illustrations themselves, I'll leave it to you, the readers, to enjoy and contemplate.