Shanghai, spring 1967
How the Cultural Revolution made me a Taiji teacher
Born to be a doctor, it was the Cultural Revolution that made me a professional Taiji teacher. Here is my story.
Illness and Recovery
By the time I got home I was very ill. I developed Banti's syndrome; the spleen and the liver swelling up on both sides near the navel. I went to the hospital and received a treatment from Dr. Xia LiJuan. He was a friend of mine at the university. He sent me to a laboratory to test my bone marrow. As a doctor, I knew that this meant I could have a very serious disease such as cancer. I was exhausted, very depressed and had to stay in bed.
Ill in bed, I still wanted to do things such as reading books or practising meditation. At that time all books were banned except the famous red book of Mao. But interestingly, through reading this book I came to like his philosophy, which he attributed to Marx but which was really his own. He very cleverly applied the Yin-Yang theory to the political spectrum, demonstrating, for example, how opposing forces could work together for Revolution. It seemed to offer practical solutions to the many problems of society, and for me it provided a good foundation on which I would later study and develop further knowledge.
The rest of my time I spent practising meditation. This not only cured my illness, but also provided a strong grounding for my later work as a professional Qigong doctor.
After two months in bed, the spleen swelling went down and the liver more-or-less returned to normal. The depression finished. My appetite returned and for each dinner I needed three bowls of rice. This was a problem, because at that time you needed a special ticket in order to buy rice.
I tried to begin exercising again with Taijiquan. I started in my room with one position at a time, but as I had the habit of exercising in a strong way I ended up practising hour after hour. By the end of April when the weather was getting hot, perspiration would run down my body as if I had just washed.