Monday, September 22, 2008

Yang style tai chi chuan

Yang family style tai chi chuan in its many variations is the most popular and widely practised style in the world today and the second in terms of seniority among the primary five family styles of tai chi chuan.


The Yang family first became involved in the study of tai chi chüan in the early 1800s. The founder of the Yang style was Yang Lu-ch'an , aka Yang Fu-k'ui , who studied under Ch'en Chang-hsing starting in 1820. Yang's subsequent expression of tai chi chuan as a teacher in his own right became known as the Yang style, and directly led to the development of the other three major styles of tai chi chuan . Yang Lu-ch'an came to prominence as a result of his being hired by the to teach tai chi chuan to the elite Palace Battalion of the Imperial Guards in 1850, a position he held until his death.

Yang Lu-ch'an passed his art to:
*his second son but oldest son to live to maturity, Yang Pan-hou , who was also retained as a martial arts instructor by the Chinese Imperial family. Yang Pan-hou became the formal teacher of Wu Ch'uan-yü , a Manchu cavalry officer of the Palace Battalion, even though Yang Lu-ch'an was Wu Ch'uan-yü's first tai chi chuan teacher. Wu Ch'uan-yü became Yang Pan-hou's first disciple. Wu Ch'uan-yü's son, Wu Chien-ch'üan , also a Banner officer, became known as the co-founder of the .
*his third son Yang Chien-hou , who passed it to his sons, Yang Shao-hou and Yang Ch'eng-fu .
*Wu Yu-hsiang who also developed his own , which eventually, after three generations, led to the development of Sun style tai chi chuan.

Yang Ch'eng-fu removed the vigorous ''Fa-jing'' , energetic jumping, stamping, and other abrupt movements to emphasise ''Ta Chia'' . This style has slow, steady, expansive and soft movements suitable for general practitioners. Thus, Yang Ch'eng-fu is largely responsible for standardizing and popularizing the Yang style tai chi chüan widely practised today. Yang Ch'eng-fu moved to Shanghai in the 1920s, teaching there until the end of his life. His descendants are still teaching in schools associated with their family internationally.

Tung Ying-chieh , Ch'en Wei-ming , Fu Zhongwen , Li Yaxuan and Cheng Man-ch'ing were famous students of Yang Ch'eng-fu. Each of them taught extensively, founding groups teaching T'ai Chi to this day. Cheng Man-ch'ing, perhaps the most famous outside of China, significantly shortened and simplified the traditional forms Yang taught him.

Yang Family Tree

Zhang Sanfeng*
circa 12th century

Wang Zongyue*
Chen Wangting
1600-1680 9th generation Chen

| |
Chen Changxing Chen Youben
1771-1853 14th generation Chen circa 1800s 14th generation Chen
Chen Old Frame Chen New Frame
| |
Yang Lu-ch'an Chen Qingping
1799-1872 1795-1868
Chen Small Frame, Zhao Bao Frame
| |
+---------------------------------+-----------------------------+ |
| | | |
Yang Pan-hou Yang Chien-hou Wu Yu-hsiang
1837-1892 1839-1917 1812-1880
Yang Small Frame |
| +-----------------+ |
| | | |
Wu Ch'uan-yü Yang Shao-hou Yang Ch'eng-fu Li I-yü
1834-1902 1862-1930 1883-1936 1832-1892
| Yang Small Frame |
Wu Chien-ch'üan | Hao Wei-chen
1870-1942 Yang Shou-chung 1849-1920
1910-1985 |
| Sun Lu-t'ang
Wu Kung-i 1861-1932
| |
Wu Ta-k'uei Sun Hsing-i
1923-1972 1891-1929


from Yang Ch`eng-fu
| |
Cheng Man-ch'ing |
1901-1975 |
Short Form |
Chinese Sports Commission
Beijing 24 Form

Notes to Family tree table

Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semilegendary figures in the lineage, which means their involvement in the lineage, while accepted by most of the major schools, isn't independently verifiable from known historical records.

The Cheng Man-ch'ing and Chinese Sports Commission short forms are said to be derived from Yang family forms, but neither are recognized as Yang family tai chi chuan by current Yang family teachers. The Chen, Yang and Wu families are now promoting their own shortened demonstration forms for competitive purposes.

Yang Shou-chung

Yang Shou-chung was the oldest son of Yang Ch'eng-fu by his first marriage, and started learning his family style when he was 8 years old under the strict supervision of his father.

In 1949, he escaped from the Chinese communists to Hong Kong. There he taught many students privately at his home until his death in 1985.

He had three daughters, Tai Yee, Ma Lee and Yee Li, all continue teaching in Hong Kong. Over the years he had taught many people but he accepted only three people as his disciples. These Yang family tai chi chuan practitioners are
*Master Ip Tai Tak in Hong Kong, who unfortunately died during the spring 2004. Ip Tai Tak had 2 disciples, 1st - John Ding, 2nd Robert Boyd . Other students that continue teaching and practice in Hong Kong include:Hui Kuk Chan, Shui Hung Lam, and Kok Kuen Lau.
*Master Chu Gin Soon in Boston, USA. With the permission of his master he founded the Gin Soon Tai Chi Club in 1969 to propagate Yang-Style Tai Chi Chuan in North America.
*Master Chu King Hung in United Kingdom. Chu is head of the International Tai Chi Chuan Association which was founded by him and Yang Shou-chung in 1971 and at present has branches all over Europe. He already has accepted several disciples.

Yang Zhenduo

Master Yang Zhenduo is the 4th Generation of the Yang family. He was born in Beijing in 1926 and is the son of Yang Ch'eng-fu. He started studying with his father when very young and continued studying with his elder brother after his father died. In 1960 Yang Zhenduo moved to Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Since then, Yang style tai chi chuan has gradually spread within Taiyuan and to other cities, provinces, and countries.

Since 1980 he has served as Vice-President of the Shanxi Wushu Association. In 1982 Yang Zhenduo founded the Shanxi Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Association, and has served as President since. The Association has now grown to over 30,000 members throughout the Province and is the largest martial arts organization of its kind in China. In October 1998 Yang Zhenduo founded the International Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Association, serving as Chairman of the Board. Under his leadership, in just one year the International Association has grown to 18 centers in 9 countries with over 350 members. The Chinese Wushu Academy recognized Master Yang Zhenduo in 1996 as one of the top 100 Wushu Masters in China. He has also been honored by proclamations from the Mayors of San Antonio, Texas and Troy, Michigan.

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