Edward Gatalskiy

I’ve been practicing Qigong and soft Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) Yang style since 1995. I’ve learned from an unknown Chinese Master. I practice for a few hours daily, as when you make a step towards the Light, there’s no point stopping, because now you see it with your own eyes, not with someone else’s ones.

In my childhood I was rolling like cheese in butter. The youngest child in the family is often the most pampered one. That’s why I was free to choose my own Path in life. I was trying to unlock my creativity in different ways: I went to a ballet school, to chorus classes, I was a water polo goal-keeper.

The infinite love for the art of the Russian legendary “bogatyr” – athlete and wrestler- Ivan Poddubny awakened the desire to win in me. I went into greeco-roman wrestling. I was blessed to meet my first, and I would call him Magical, Teacher – Victor Kovalenko. With his guidance and his striving to bring up a hero, the foundation of my will to win and to attain my goals was laid.

Soon I was accepted into an Olympic Reserve School. Boarding school with two trainings a day and a nourishing diet led me to the rank of “Candidate Master of Sports”. Top-class sports cause injuries, and I was not an exception, I got a meniscus injury and had to be operated. Further it will be clear, why I’m paying such particular atteniton to this fact.

Then I studied at the Belarusian State Institute of Physical Culture, as it was called in the 90es. I was enlisted for the Military Service in Riga, where I spent one year serving in the Secret Communication Underground Lines department. I retired from active service and left the capital of Latvia full of determination to build my happy life.

I happened to meet my childhood friend, my classmate Zhora Yailyan. He told me: “Your wrestling experience is nothing compared to the knowledge that I possess”. Having won lots of fights throughout almost 10 years, I was absolutely confident of my skills, and his “Kung Fu” was all Greek to me.

But another meeting with him changed my whole life. He suggested doing some Taiji (Tai Chi) together, and those strange soft movements somehow brought to the surface something in me, as if an invisible shadow of those movements stirred up and revealed an unknown me, who was capable of winning and attaining his goal without making efforts. To be exact – “to win a fight without fighting” or “to use the opponent’s energy against him”. But in my case, my opponent turned out to be me! Zhora asked me a question: “What do you think breathing is?”, – and again it dawned on me! Breathing increases potential. It’s like an additional gas tank in a car.

Having opened an infinite interest to myself and to my internal potential, having equipped myself with an invisible shovel, I started digging. Since then I’ve been “digging” throughout my whole life, every day! From day to day, sometimes even at nights, I was honing my movements and developing continuity – continuity of movements, breathing. I was tracking the beginning and the end of the conscious moment “here and now”. It was capturing and carrying me into a “Wonderworld”!

I read a lot of literature, going deep to the fundamental principles of Taiji. And, of course, I discovered “acupuncture” – a new word to me. “If there is a question, there is always an answer”, or “When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear”. There was a Chinese restaurant on Pushking Street in my home town- Gomel. There I met Lee Wei – a chinese guy. He told me that his father, who happened to be the Master of Qigong and Chinese medicine, was supposed to arrive soon. So, his father taught me acupuncture techniques and spinal cord problems treatment methods. This precious experience and real methods of helping people implanted love for this art in me for many years to come.

Soon I started a private practice of body posture correction and I was teaching Taiji and Qigong. After a year of work a line of people waiting for the appointment with me indicated that I had room for further development. My next step was moving to Poland, to Bialystok. I started a private manual therapy practice and I was teaching Taiji and Qigong in the gym of a Medical College. After about a year I came to the same result as in Belarus: there was a line waiting for the appointment, and this gave me motivation to move on, so, I moved to Moscow.

Gradually I got a lot of clients through word-of-mouth recommendations. And among the people who wanted to treat their spinal cord problems was a Shaolin Kung Fu Master – Pavel Ryabikov. When he was once leaving for Shaolin with a group of students, he offered me to replace him in his group in Moscow. That is how I returned to teaching Taiji and Qigong.

I met a lot of Masters of different levels and different styles, and the destiny brought me to Andrey Milyanyuk. As it turned out, he had Belarusian roots too. Andrey Olegovich introduced clarity into my vision of both Taijiquan and Qigong. Professor and chief research scientist of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IFES RAS), President of Moscow Wushu Federation, coordinator of the scientific research section of the “Traditional Wushu League”, The League’s badge of honour awardee, President Emeritus of the Russian Association of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology.

Thanks to Andrey Milyanyuk and his Teachers, I gratefully adopt and transmit the accumulated knowledge from Yang Luchan and Wu Tunan, Master Zhou Yi and Li Lian.

The practice has almost completely healed my meniscus, that was operated after the injury. If i hadn’t started practicing Qigong and Taiji, I would have been using a walking stick by now.

I’ve been practicing Taiji and Qigong since 25 years, whereas I’ve been holding the “Tree” posture every day. I thank my destiny for being blessed to choose my Path; all the good people that contributed into the formation of my experience. It is the passion for new discoveries, that was and is helping me to search for and to renew the knowledge passed to me by my Friends and Masters, to continue the movement to new discoveries in the Wonderworld, being blessed to follow the Path between the two interconnected rivers of generations of Qigong and Taijiquan.

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