Famous Tai Chi (taiji) masters
In Tai Chi Ch'uan (taijiquan) there were many famous masters who excelled in martial or civil virtues. The masters presented here are the ones who form the direct lineage of the Original Yang-Style Tai Chi Ch'uan (taijiquan).
Chang San Feng
is the mythical founder of Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan). He was a master of external martial arts (Shaolin) before he retired at age 70. He met a taoist immortal named Huo Lung (fire dragon) who taught him taoist meditation.
Chang San Feng was curious how to incorporate the strong flows of chi he experienced in his meditations into his martial movements. But he got no answer from his master.
One day, in his garden, he witnessing the fight of a snake an a crane. Observing the movements and tactics of the two animals, he finally grasped the principles he had to apply to his movements.
He changed the postures and movements accordingly and was without peer for the rest of his life.
Yang Lu Chan
is the founder of the Yang-style Tai Chi Ch'uan (taijiquan). He went to Chenjiagou to learn Chen-style Tai Chi Ch'uan and after initially spying the secrets that where not told to outsiders, eventually became the disciple of his master Chen Chang Hsing. He then defeated 18 famous martial arts masters an moved to Peking (Beijing) to become the trainer of the imperial guard.
Yang Lu-Ch'an had two sons, Pan-hou and Chien-hou who in their turn became famous masters.
Yang Pan Hou
was the eldest son of Yang Lu-ch'an. As a young man, he often fought challenge matches for his father and was called "Yang The Unmatchable".
He used to say: "If You cannot throw or overcome someone with T'ai Chi Ch'uan, it is simply because your skill has not matured. Don't say T'ai Chi Ch'uan is of no practical use. Don't be afraid even if someone is as strong as a bull - a 100 pounds weight is useless if it lands on nothing."
Yang Chien Hou
was the second son of Yang Lu-ch'an. When he was young, he was not at all endeared to practicing Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan) as much as his father made him do, and even ran away twice to become a monk (futile attempts, of course). He grew up to be a much milder man than his older brother, and was prone to enjoy jokes and pranks. Nonetheless, he was a master. He defeated a famous sword master with only a painting brush as a weapon. Also, he could set a swallow on his hand and listen to its energy - when the swallow tried to take off and push down with his legs and wings, he would yield to this pressure, and the swallow would have no purchase to take off, and could not fly away. He was fond of birds and they would sometimes even try to nest in his outstretched hands when he practiced standing Chi Kung.
Yang Shou Hou
Master Yang Shou-hou was the eldest son of Chien-hou. In temperament he was more like his Uncle Pan-hou, from whom he learned fighting and push hands more than anything else. He started training at seven and was know to love to fight.
Yang Cheng Fu
In temperament more like his father, Yang Chien-hou, calm. He did not like to practice when young, only later when he started to pick up quickly. Big of body, he later liked to use expansive, big movements in contrast to his older brothers who used small ones. His body, even though on the fat side, felt more like steel covered with cotton than flesh. He taught mostly in Shanghai after arriving there in the 1920s.
Yang Shou Chung
Master Yang Shou-chung was the eldest son of master Yang Cheng-fu. He begann the intensive training with his father and his uncle Shao Hou when he was 8. At age 14, he began assisting his father in his teaching. Five years later he had become so famous that he was hired by government officials as their private teacher.
During the big changes that shook his country, he moved to Hongkong where he settled down with his wife Yang Kwok Yee in 1947. Grandmaster Yang had three daughters Tai-Yee, Ma-Lee und Yee-Li.
In Hong Kong he taught many students but only three three disciples: Ip Tai Tak, Chu Gin Soon and Chu King Hung.
Chu King Hung
began his Tai Chi Chuan training with master Yang Shou Chung at age 12 and spent 26 years learning the complete curriculum of the Original Yang-Style from his master.
Master Chu King Hung founded the ITCCA together with master Yang in the 1970ies. He then moved to Europe where he teaches the Original Yang Style until now.
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