Yang Cheng-fu (1883-1935)
The third son. In temperament more like his father, 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. He wrote 2 books *.
Every day, Master Yang said at least ten times "Relax. Relax. Be Calm. Release the Whole Body. If you are not relaxed, it means you are ready to receive a beating. I am not a meat hook, why are you hanging onto me?" (meaning in push hands you strive to be sensitive and relaxed, not stiff and full of tension - dead meat on hooks). He liked to stay in the Single Whip and Play Guitar postures for lengthy periods of time, as well as repeatedly doing Step Back Repulse Monkey and Deflect Downward Parry and Punch. Even in later life, when he was obese, he was unbeatable.
One day, Master Yang was in a playful mood when practicing push hands with Wang Pao-huan; he threw him for three yards, just like a doll, by playfully raising his hands. It was truly impressive. When one practiced push hands with Master Yang it always seemed as if you had no root, but the master was always perfectly composed, his hands and feet light and sensitive, yet like steel covered with cotton. No-one failed to respect him. (Story supplied by Tung Ying-chieh).
Yang Cheng-fu won an easy victory over the boxer Wu Hui-pei late in life. Approximately the same time in Shanghai, when Master Yang was walking along the street with Cheng Man-ching, a pedicab (bicycle rickshaw) hit Master Yang squarely in the back. Not only did he acknowledge the accident merely a glance, but the cab rebounded 10 feet to tip over and spill out the contents and passengers onto the ground.
When Yang Cheng-fu was in Hang Chou a boxer pestered him for a fight. For weeks Master Yang could not dissuade him; one morning this boxer even came into Yang's bedroom and finally got his wish. Master Yang said: Yes you win now, you get your fight. The Boxer asked him to stand up, but Master Yang preferred to keep on sitting. The man rushed in and was easily thrown onto another bed some 15 feet away.
His oldest son, Yang Shou-chung, was his successor.