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About my first rendezvous with Tai Chi

These winds were obviously sent by witchcraft and wanted my suitcase to turn into an unmanned aerial vehicle. A drone ready for take-off. With all my bodyweight, I held down my trolley suitcase from flying away.

“It’s a tornado, you had better go home”, one of the men in work overalls called out to me. He belonged to a gardening team. Half a dozen men were cutting branches from the trees. But the storm had its own rules and made branches jump in the air like acrobats doing dangerous somersaults.

“Excuse me, I can’t find the A&O hostel”, I shouted above the roaring wind.

“Don’t worry, it’s not far away.” The gardener came nearer, smiled and escorted me, not more than 100 meters, to the hostel’s entry. I had passed it several times, but in panic I took it to be a gambling casino.

This walk had not been planned. On the contrary, I would have left Berlin hours ago, if the roads had not been shut for safety reasons. But busy with my last sightseeing promenade, I missed the weather forecast. When I joined the queue in front of the tourist office, there were tourists from all over the world, surprised by the storm and in search of rooms. My A&O reservation was great luck.

Brooding on the question whether to go out for dinner or not, I strolled along the corridors of the hostel. On one of the floors the air was filled with a certain smell, cabbage? I knocked on the door of the guest kitchen. No one answered. I slowly pushed the door open. A moment later - I looked into the smiling face of a young man. Without a word he lifted the lid of a saucepan and showed me his cooking, broccoli in water.

“Oh, how nice, broccoli for dinner”, I said.

The young man kept on smiling, and whispered some words, which I guess were Chinese.

With “Ni Hao”, the only Chinese I know, I wished him good bye.

Next morning, I woke up at first daylight. From my window, I could see the building’s courtyard, an uncomfortable place. Nevertheless, someone was exercising down there. I peered at the person. No doubt, it was the young cook. He moved very slowly, presenting one elegant posture after the other. A smile on his lips. He’s is in a trance, I thought. The mud, and the rain did not matter to him. Fantastic!

Back home, I booked a beginner’s Tai Chi course. To keep balance and memorise the choreography meant hard work and sometimes I felt frustrated. But in the end, fascination won over frustration. Tai Chi is now a help for me to cope better with my pain.

To get in touch with Tai Chi, I would suggest the Eight Pieces of Brocade. The internet is full of videos. But it might be prudent, especially for bendy people, to start with a qualified teacher (my experience). Here you see one of my sketches for memorising Tai Chi choreography.

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