Yang-style tai chi (Chinese: 楊氏太极拳; pinyin: Yángshì tàijíquán) is one of the five primary families of tai chi. Including its variations, it is the most popular and widely practised style of tai chi in the world today. It is second in terms of seniority, after Chen-style tai chi.[1][2]

Yang-style tai chi
Yang Chengfu utilizing the single whip technique.
Yang Chengfu utilizing the single whip technique.
Date founded1st half of 19th century
Country of originChina
FounderYang Luchan
Current headZhao YouBin
Arts taughtTai chi
Ancestor artsChen-style tai chi
Descendant artsGuang Ping Yang tai chi
Yangjia Michuan tai chi
Wu (Hao)-style tai chi
Wu-style tai chi
PractitionersYang Jianhou
Yang Chengfu
Cheng Man-ch'ing
Dong Yingjie
Zhang Qinlin
Zhao YouBin
Chu Guiting

History edit

The Yang family first became involved in the study of tai chi in the early 19th century. The founder of the Yang-style was Yang Luchan, who studied under Chen Changxing starting in 1820. Yang became a teacher in his own right, and his subsequent expression of tai chi became known as the Yang-style, and directly led to the development of other three major styles of tai chi (see below). Yang Luchan (and some would say the art of tai chi, in general) came to prominence as a result of his being hired by the Chinese Imperial family to teach tai chi to the elite Palace Battalion of the Imperial Guards in 1850, a position he held until his death.[3]

Yang Luchan passed on his art to:

Yang Jianhou passed on the middle frame long form, sometimes called the 2nd generation Yang form or the Yang Jianhou form, to his disciples who still practice this more martial form. It is seen as more reminiscent of Chen style for which it is closer to in time as well as form than the Yang Chengfu form or 3rd generation styles.[4] Yang Chengfu removed the vigorous fa jin ("release of power") from the Hand (solo) Form, as well as the energetic jumping, stamping, and other abrupt movements in order to emphasise the Da jia (大架 large frame style), but retained them in the Weapons (sword, saber, staff, and spear) forms.[5] The Hand Form has slow, steady, expansive and soft movements suitable for general practitioners. Thus, Yang Chengfu is largely responsible for standardizing and popularizing the Yang-style tai chi widely practised today.[Note 1]

Modern short forms edit

 
104 pictures showing Yang Chengfu performing the tai chi form.

Yang Chengfu developed his own shortened "large frame" version of the Yang long Form, in order to make it easier to teach to modern students who are busy with modern life. Now the most popular long tai chi form in the world, the classic Yang Chengfu form retains the health and self-defense benefits of the original 300-movement sequence in only 150 movements, most commonly divided by teachers today into 85, 88, 103, or 108 "postures" or stopping points.[6]

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

As the 21st century began, the Chinese government also commissioned short 10 Forms and 16 Forms from each of the five major tai chi lineages. (The 10 forms are also known as 8 forms.) After these forms had been taught for several years, they were all presented as a set to attendees of the First International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium in Nashville, TN in July 2009.[7]


Yang Chengfu
1883–1936
3rd gen. Yang
Yang Big Frame
Cheng Man-ch'ing
1902–1975
4th gen. Yang
Short (37) Form
Chinese Sports Commission
1956
Beijing (24) Form
1989
42 Competition Form
(Wushu competition form
combined from
Chen, Yang, Wu & Sun styles)

Tai chi lineage tree with Yang-style focus edit

Some notable descendants of Yang Luchan edit

Yang Shouzhong edit

Yang Yang Shouzhong is from the fourth generation of the Yang family. He was the oldest son of Yang Chengfu by his first marriage, and started learning his family-style when he was eight years old under the strict supervision of his father. In 1949, he moved 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—and all continue to teach 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 practitioners are:

The President of the International Yang Family Tai Chi Association is the direct Lineage Grand Master of Yang-style tai chi, Yang Jun. He is the Grandson of Yang Zhenduo.

Yang Zhenduo edit

Grandmaster Yang Zhenduo (1926 – 2020) is from the fourth generation of the Yang family and is officially the Fourth Lineage Holder of the Traditional Yang-style tai chi. He was born in Beijing in 1926 and is the third son of Yang Chengfu. He started studying with his father when very young and continued studying with his older brothers and Zhao Bin after his father died. In 1960, Yang Zhenduo moved to Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Since then, Yang-style tai chi 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, the International Association has grown to 28 centers in 12 countries with over 2,000 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.

In July 2009, at the First International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium,[7] held at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, TN, Grandmaster Yang Zhenduo officially named his grandson Yang Jun as the Fifth Lineage Holder of traditional Yang-style tai chi. Zhao YouBin is also direct 5 generation family member of Yang Family and the senior lineage holder in the family. Zhao Bin (1906 – 1999) his father was the teacher of Yang Zhenduo and was the oldest of the 4th generation Yang children his grand father was Yang Chengfu's older brother Yang Zhaoyuan. Yang Zhenduo's second wife's children were adopted by the later, therefore not direct blood linage. Fu Zhongwen (1903–1994) was married to Zhao Bins sister therefore his brother in law also 4th generation family inheritor. His son Fu Sheng Yuan (1931 – 2017) 5th generation lineage holder has one son James Fu. Zhao YouBin has one sone Zhao Liang and a grandson all actively practicing Yang Family Taiji in China.

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Yang Chengfu 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. Dong Yingjie, Chen Weiming, Fu Zhongwen, Li Yaxuan (李雅轩, 1894–1976), and Cheng Man-ch'ing were famous students of Yang Chengfu. Each of them taught extensively, founding groups teaching tai 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.

References edit

  1. ^ Horwood, Graham (September 2008). Tai Chi Chuan And The Code Of Life: Revealing The Deeper Mysteries Of China's Ancient Art For Health And Harmony (Paperback). Singing Dragon. pp. 192. ISBN 978-1-84819-001-6.
  2. ^ "History of Tai Chi Chuan". taichi-horwood.com. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
  3. ^ "Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association". yangfamilytaichi.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2017. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  4. ^ 6th gen Disciple (T.Barnes1952-)
  5. ^ Rodell, Scott M. (1991). Taiji Notebook for Martial Artists. Seven Stars Books and Video. ISBN 0-9743999-3-0. Archived from the original on September 2, 2009.
  6. ^ Yang, Chengfu (1934); Swaim, Louis, translator (2004), The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan (太極拳體用全書), Blue Snake Books, ISBN 978-1556435454
  7. ^ a b "International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium". Nashville, TN. July 5–10, 2009. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2019.

Further reading edit

External links edit