by mls_72 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:29 pm
"Being a CMC person from the start....the only thing i have to say is... I asked Fu Zhong Wen about Cheng Man Ching and he laughed. His translator (his grandson) said the Fu had studied with Yang Chen fu since the age of 9 and followed YCF almost everywhere to help teach. He said CMC was only around a few short years."
Many in the Taichi circle have made light of CMC’s Taichi accomplishment basing their allegations very much solely on the perceived short stint of CMC with YCF. These folks have conveniently ignored a very basic fact of life that life is not fair. Some individual’s achievement in a few short years can be much more than what many others can get out of their entire life’s effort and toil. A couple of historical cases come in mind: First, Wu Yu-Shiang, the author of two of the five classics that form the core literary transmission of Yang Taichi lineage. His pedigrees consists of a very short few months of study with YLC and then, if I remember it correctly form what I read many years ago, a very short couple of years with Chen Ching-Ping in Zhaobao Village. His study with YLC was so brief in time and substance that that experience is barely mentioned in Wu/Hao Taichi history. Yet practitioners of his school are responsible for a large proportion of contemporary Taichi literature commonly known to Taichi students. Another case, Sun Lu-Tang studied with Hao Wei-Chen, lineage holder of the Taichi taught by Wu Yu-Shiang, for only a short several months. Yet no one ever questioned if the Taichi he taught and the book he wrote were genuine or legitimate.
Fu Zhongwen stated in an interview published in Inside Kung-fu, April 1993:
"...Cheng Man- ch'ing was legitimate, and now it is important for his students and other North American practitioners to research where 'they first drank the water.'..."
Just imagine that professors at Zurich Polytechnic, Albert Einstein’s alma mater, would advice Einstein’s students to research where ‘they first drank the water’. It is proper that the school would feel proud of its luminous graduates and honored that it took part in their formative years. But it would be preposterous for the school to see itself as if it were indispensible to or the sole source of its graduates’ accomplishment. Sun Lu-Tang got his Taichi from Hao Wei-Chen. He turned around and taught “Taichi Chuan” to others and wrote a book “Taichi Chuan Shue” on it. He did not teach Wu/Hao Taichi nor did he write about Wu/Hao Taichi and I doubt that he ever recommended his students to further their study with the Hao’s after they were done with him. Apparently the Hao’s were not bothered that Sun Lu-Tang and his students did not search where they first drank the water.
If seeking out the ultimate source of the water that we now are drinking is really important or of great interest, then we must own up to the fact that neither any of our teachers nor any of the masters that we know of invented or discovered Taichi Chuan. So we must go beyond YLC. (Sorry, Earl, you didn’t set your sight far enough.) A Taichi master of the Yang lineage did just that. Wang Tzuang-Hong (王壯弘 http://www.taijiacademy.com/trad/master_wong.htm
), a Taichi adept graduated in a short two years under Dzu Guei-Ting (褚桂亭) who was an in-door student of YCF, in his later years called the Taichi that he taught Wang’s Taichi to signify that what he taught was based on the principles delineated in the Taichi treaties authored by Wang Tzong-Yue. I have no doubt that he retained many of the methods of the Yang lineage but he did not mistake methods for the principle and he understood that it is the principle that defines the art.
It is also worthy of note that Wu Yu-Shiang and his brothers, Li I-Yu, Sun Lu-Tang, CMC, and Wang Tzuang-Hong are all people of letters. Small wonder that Li Ya-Shuan, though a professional martial artist (i.e., not much schooled or well read), would say that Taichi is meant for brainy people.
In the same article Fu Zhongwen also stated:
"The traditional methods of the Yang family style must be preserved..."
In one of Yang family Taichi Chuan instruction CVD Yang Zhenduo also said something similar that his goal and duty is to preserve his father’s form/frame.
To me this sounds like the death nail to the Taichi Chuan his forefathers had mastered. As a comparison, one of CMC’s students, Wu Guo-Tzong, who happened to have studied for only a short five years (CMC’s last five years), got it right – “methods may change but not the principle”. He surely understands the nature of the art very well.