My name is Joshua Neuhaus, and I was born in 1994 in Berlin.
I have been studying tai chi and qigong with Johannes Mergner since 2007. Barely 13 years old, I was one of only two teenagers in the school. In good hands with my teacher, my training accompanied my everyday life as a high school student and, at the same time, provided me with balance and motivation. In 2011, I met tai chi master Yang Jun for the first time when he gave a seminar in Berlin spanning several days. Interested in the community that opened up to me through the Yang Family Tai Chi Association, I traveled to China in 2012 for an event where hundreds of tai chi practitioners from around the world gathered for a tournament and to learn from one another. Among them was Eric Madsen, a disciple of Master Yang Jun. He invited me to come to live and train with him in America later on. I accepted the offer after graduating from high school in 2013 and stayed in Seattle for six months. On this occasion, I also attended the Redmond school, back then led by Master Yang Jun, several times every week. In 2015, I began to study China Studies at the Free University of Berlin. The studies allowed me to learn Chinese and return to China as part of an exchange year abroad. I used my stay to improve my language skills and acquire basic Chinese tai chi terminology. In the spring of 2019, I passed my exam to become a tai chi teacher with the International Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association. Since then, especially during the Corona pandemic, I established an exchange with martial artists in Berlin, among them ninpo teacher Christian Sprink, tai chi practitioners of multiple styles, and the swordsmen of Jacamart. They are enthusiastically giving me opportunities to explore the applications of tai chi.
Perhaps because I started at such a young age, I am very excited whenever others also begin tai chi early in their lives. In 2003-2004, my first experience with martial arts was Taekwondo. As an 8-year-old, I couldn't relate much to the intense endurance exercises, and painful stretches demanded of me. So I had trouble coming to terms with the demand for martial expression that my instructor required of me when he stood in front of me and asked me to hit him as hard as I could against the belly. Then, when I was supposed to break wooden boards for the next exam, I bailed out.
Even then, the training was not always easy, but I knew it was right by how good I felt on the way home. Tai chi showed me that my interest in martial arts needed to be directed and nurtured in gentler ways.
The training wasn't always easy, but I knew it was right by how good I felt on the way home.