At Tai Chi class earlier this evening, I had a new participant–a young guy named Michael. Something in his arrival and his name, took me back twenty somewhat years, to when I was first introduced to this form of martial arts. At the time, I was in my mid-twenties, residing in Queens, NY, and attending a karate studio situated on Queens Boulevard. One day, a black-belt instructor named Michael, suggested to me and to my good friend Mark, to start a Tai Chi practice group. We met with him every Sunday morning at the studio’s small reception area, which was vacant on Sundays. Together we had a New York style bagel and coffee, and then spent a relaxed hour studying the scriptures of the Tao. This was followed by practice, guided by Michael who had existing knowledge of Tai Chi, of the Short Yang form, in a nearby park.
It occurred to me that if Michael wouldn’t have approached me, over two decades ago, suggesting we form this small group, I may have never known about Tai Chi and my life would have been forever different in multiple ways. Or would it? Here is the question I found myself pondering today: are events in our life predetermined, or are they completely at random? In other words, if it would not have been Michael who was to introduced me to Tai Chi, would I have run into this practice via some other means because it was in my cards? I do not think there is a decisive answer to this question, though it is one often asked since the early ages e.g. Sophocles’ Antigone comes to mind and the question of free will versus fate and destiny. Still, thank you Michael, my first Tai Chi instructor, wherever you are these days, for making that introduction to this wonderful art so many years ago. Hope you would be glad to know of the wonderful effect it had on my life, and that I too was able to pass along the torch and introduce this manifestation of the Tao to many others.
Learned from: a guy named Michael