Chen Hsiu Feng

Chen Hsiu Feng

Postby Francesco » Fri Jun 03, 2005 1:47 pm

On www.wuwei.org, I found following text:

Chen Hsiu Feng, Standing in Front of Yang's Tomb, Usurps the Title of Head Disciple:
In 1872 Yang Lu Ch'an became ill and died and was brought to his native place for burial. His two sons and disciples carried his coffin to the hillside cemetery. When the coffin of the great Master of his generation had been lowered into the ground, the s enior disciple Chen Hsiu Feng suddenly stood up before the tomb of his deceased teacher and before the earth had even dried he declared, "Yang's T'ai Chi is no longer in the hands of his descendents!" As soon as the words were out, everyone was startled. Chen Hsiu Feng, without politeness, went on to point out that while the Master was alive his two sons had never practiced his art well. Therefore Yang's secret and miraculous techniques had not fallen into the hands of the two brothers; but only Chen Hsiu Feng himself had acquired the Yang family's genuine teachings. Thereupon, Chen Hsiu Feng patted his chest and declared, "I am the only head disciple of the second generation of Yang family T'ai Chi. If there is anyone who is not convinced, please come up and try conclusions with me." Yang Pan Hou and Yang Chien Hou never anticipated that this elder student would snatch away the title of Head Disciple even before the earth on their father's tomb had dried. They were furious and wanted to challenge the eld er disciple, but upon considering the matter they remembered that even in daily practice sessions they were no match for Chen. As soon as they practiced with him, they were either knocked out or thrown over. If they were to contest the issue at this time, there would be no advantage whatever. The common saying has it . . . "When the gentleman takes revenge, seventeen years is not too late." So Yang Pan Hou and Yang Chien Hou endured their shame and anger without saying a word. They merely shot fierce glances at Chen Hsiu Feng, and silently descended the hill.


Hard Practice To Become the Best and Recover Family Fame:
To take up the tale again, when Yang Pan Hou and Yang Chien Hou returned home, they suffered from their inexpressible anger. They also regretted that they had not trained seriously during their father's lifetime because they did not wish to endure the har dships involved. But now they were of a mind to study and practice diligently, so they took out their deceased father's secret manuals and practiced the techniques described in them. The proverb says, "There is nothing difficult under heaven; a persevering will can overcome any obstacle." Accordingly, Pan Hou and Chien Hou, after a period of hard practice, improved their skill by leaps and bounds. After three years they were no longer weaklings, so they went together to seek out Chen Hsiu Feng and challeng e him in order to recover by force the title "Yang Family Head Disciple." At that time Chen Hsiu Feng was teaching T'ai Chi in the Yen Ch'eng district of Honan and had accepted pupils there. Yang Pan Hou and Yang Chien Hou sought him out and found him. After a few cold words of greeting, they came to the point, "Elder disciple, did you not say that the genuine teachings of the Yang Family are no longer in the hands of Yang's descendents?" Chen Hsiu Feng averted his eyes and replied, "Ah, I forget . . . How long ago did I say that?" Chien Hou, seeing that he was feigning ignorance, became very angry and flatly pointed out, "Three years ago, when we carried our deceased father's coffin up the hill and had barely finished burying him, you said those words." Chen Hsiu Feng now put on the appearance of understanding completely and s aid with a hearty laugh, "Yes indeed! Three years ago I really did say that. But at that time I did it only to intimidate you two brothers to advance. Now all is well; you have practiced hard and after three years, the Yang Family title can return to your hands again." As soon as he had said this, Chen immediately stretched out his right hand and, lifting the large armchair near him with the sticking energy of his palm, moved it and set it down in front of the two brothers saying, "Very good. You two brothers are not unworthy of being named sons of the great master Yang. This chair can be considered the Head Disciple's Chair. Please sit down." When Chen Hsiu Feng showed off this technique, the Yang brothers looked at each other with their mouths hanging wide open in amazement.

Does anybody has an opinion on this?
Francesco
 
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Postby Audi » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:19 pm

I have read many such stories in the literature and have no idea what is true and what is not. For instance, this particular story seems to contradict the skill level attributed to Yang Banhou by other stories that have been handed down. It is also unclear to me what the source of many such stories are and why they would be transmitted in this fashion.

Dramatic incidents of this type usually provoke differing reactions by witnesses. This story seems to take many quite personal emotional and psychological points as established facts. How can one have confidence in such a story without knowing how it was transmitted?

The story seems to be primarily concerned with the relative skill levels of the participants, but I must admit that the breach of etiquette at the funeral site is what impacts me the most. I find it hard to imagine the scene unfolding as described. The resolution the story proposes leaves too much unanswered for me, and even the emphasis on Chen's sticking ability seems difficult to understand.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby tai1chi » Fri Jun 03, 2005 4:00 pm

Hi,

fwiw, my opinion is that the funeral event never happened. But, my approach to such stories is to ask, "If true, what effect does it have on practitioners today?" More specifically, "What should contemporary TCC practitioners do, now that they know the story? What should change? Did Chen Hsiu Feng's TCC die out, or is it practiced by a small group of people somewhere?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jun 03, 2005 5:47 pm

Greetings,

There were several fictional novels that were popular in the early nineteen hundreds that contained stories of this sort. I wouldn't be surprised if that's were these stories came from. I share Audi's skepticism regarding the breaking of protocal at a funeral.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Francesco » Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:08 pm

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your feedback!

NB. The article was written by Master T.T. Liang and can be found on following link:

http://www.wuwei.org/Taiji/yanghist.html

I agree that it very well may be "one of those stories". Would you think that the other thread I posted (about Wan Lai Sheng vs. Yang Cheng Fu) must be regarded similar obscure?

Cheers!


Francesco
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:11 pm

Greetings Francesco,

A notable thing about T. T. Liang’s book is that he includes some materials from some other Chinese sources, but he doesn’t mention that he has done so. For example, he includes a short document comparing some lines from the taiji classics to some lines in the Daodejing. He did not write that comparison; it came from Chen Weiming’s book. In like manner, he likely didn’t write these anecdotes, but I can’t identify their source off hand.

--Louis
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