Founder and President of the Taji Bailong Ball Association, born in China in 1980, he found a new home in Germany at the age of 10. As a child of both cultures, Xiaofei (pronounced “Shaofai”) has always been someone who is committed to intercultural exchange. It is important for people to engage in this kind of dialogue in times of globalization. Cultures will become more and more blurred in the future. People should learn to no longer measure themselves by their differences, but to enjoy them. Xiaofei’s entire life has been shaped by two different cultures. So his whole life unites the differences and makes something lively out of them. This is especially noticeable when it comes to sports. His passion for Western sports disciplines and Chinese arts of movement makes him the perfect pioneer for BailongBall. After all, the sport combines the skill of badminton or tennis with, for instance, the elegance of Tai-Chi Chuan.
In 2004, Xiaofei joined a course for becoming trainers in China and was instructed by the inventor of the sport himself. Prof. Bai Rong gave him the task of promoting the Europe-wide spread of the Chinese trend sport. One year later Xiaofei founded the TBBA e.V. The following year he was trained as an instructor by his master. For some years now, Xiaofei is allowed to train coaches himself and can now devote more time to his new task of spreading the sport throughout Europe. In 2008, he published the book “Taiji Bailong Ball – Kraft und Entspannung mit der Trend-Sportart aus China” (“Taiji Bailong Ball – Strength and Relaxation with the Trendy Sport from China”) through O.W. Barth Press. Unfortunately, a German book about an unknown Chinese sport sells very slowly. Our pioneer is still sitting on a huge pile of the big edition. But Xiaofei is not only a book author. He has been on television a few times as an ambassador for the sport. Among other things, he sat on Stefan Raab’s legendary couch during an episode of TV Total.
The pioneer has been doing his work for 14 years now. A long period of time. Of course, Xiaofei has not dedicated his entire life 100% to this sport. Enough about him, more about himself. We asked him a few questions:
TBBA is not your only project. Where else do you work and what tasks do you fulfil there?
I founded the TBBA e.V. in 2005 with a few like-minded friends. At that time, we set ourselves the goal of making the sport developed by Prof. Bai Rong known in Germany and Europe. We soon realized that besides enthusiasm,, a lot of perseverance and persuasion are needed. You have to try to combine your vision with your profession. I can also tell from eperience: I work for the LaoShan Centre, which my parents have built up. Here I often come into contact with people who are open to new things and directions. I am actually the boss on duty here, which means I am responsible for pretty much everything. From trading products, producing and marketing them, to bookkeeping and planning and running seminars! An independent full time job!
The LaoShan Centre in Hamburg deals with traditional Chinese medicine and life care. Courses and treatments are offered there (QiGong, meridian tapping, or even bailong ball, among others).
As a child of China and Germany, you have experienced two cultures first hand. What was your childhood like in China and how was the move to Germany for you and your parents?
My childhood in China was wonderful! I was born in 1980 in Qingdao, on the coast of the Yellow Sea, and lived there with a 1-year break until I was 10. We lived in unpretentious circumstances. A one-room flat, where the kitchen and sanitary facilities were still shared with flatmates. But that was quite normal in those days, because strict communism had just begun to open its markets. I grew up in a large family with many relatives. There was always something to celebrate! In the meantime, three families lived in my grandparents’ house. So it was never boring. We often played outside with my school friends, cousins and did lots of things. When I moved to Germany for the first time in 1986 and then for good in 1990, it was a bit of a change. I didn’t know any German and had to find new friends. I adapted to the new environment quite quickly and I can say that I integrated well into school and German society. For my parents, it was a great challenge to gain a foothold in a foreign country and to build up a business. Professionally, my parents focused on teaching Chinese life care philosophy, QiGong and TaiJiQuan. As a result, we have always lived a very traditional Chinese life in Germany and have thus remained true to our roots.
What moved you most in your teenage years?
My teenage years were dominated by sports – and above all, no surprise here, by soccer. Like almost every other teenager, I dreamed of a soccer career! But my soccer skills were really not worth mentioning, because I simply started too late, I think in retrospect. however, I was quite good at Chinese martials arts, like WuShu or Kungfu. My father taught me and we practised regularly in Hamburg’s city park no matter the weather. Since the training usually started at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, it was difficult to get out of bed. Especially when you went partying with friends the night before.
How strong are the ties of your wife and children to China?
My own family still has a strong connection to our homeland, China. My wife is also Chinese and accordingly we bring up our two children bilingually. We visit relatives in China at least once a year and travel around the country with our children. China has undergone an enormous change in the last 20 years: in the 90s, people looked more to Germany to see if there were new trends or what the standard of living was like. Today, I sometimes envy people of my generation living in Chinese – it is such a strong and progressive country.
Xiaofei is a man between cultures, and his work is a good way to promote dialogue. One of the most important social tasks.
A big THANK YOU for this to Xiaofei, the Bailongball Pioneer No.1