<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Shi Tianren:
<B>I have been practicing the Dong version of the Yang style for about 3 yrs now. But lately I have been looking at Yang Zhenduo movements and I see a lot of similarities and differences between the two families. For one, there is a lot more in the Dong repertoire. Fajin is much more apparent in their forms. I do tend to like the stretched out movements of Yang Zhenduo; however it seems that the body is more connected in the Dong version.
Is there anyone here who studies with Tung/Dong family? Have you also studied with the Yang family? If so what are the differences and similarities that you have noticed?
Your preference for the Dong style should not cloud your view of what Yang Style is. There are three major branches of Dong Style Tai Chi. (Tung is the Pinyin/Wade-Giles pronunciation and is used by Tung Kai-Ying.) Each of the Dong styles is different in several respects, and the students of each of these (families) teach a variation of the Dong style. This is not surprising, as Tung Ying-Jie created his style as a variation of what he learned under Yang Cheng-Fu.
I began instruction in Yang style in 1942 under Dr. Yung Chen who had studied under Yang Cheng-Fu and Yang Chung (Shou Zhong), and met both Yang Chung and Tung Ying-Jie in Hong Kong in 1956 and again in 1957. Both masters were kind enough to show me the way they had learned the set originally, and the ways they did it (20 years after their former master had died). Their postures were similar but not the same with both masters. The most treasured advice both Tai Chi masters gave was the same that Dr. Yung had always given: That no matter what they taught, or what others might teach, the standard for my postures was to be like those of Master Yang Cheng-Fu. I have learned six different ways of doing the Yang form since then, and Fu Zhongwen and Yang Zhenduo do the form the closest to what I was originally taught, which is also closest to the way Yang Cheng-Fu’s son and his senior disciple Tung Ying-Jie showed me how Yang Cheng-Fu did the set.
To my knowledge, there is no one today teaching the Dong style the way Ying-Jie taught it. All his students, including his sons, have modified the style somewhat. But having met Tung-Ying-Jie and having studied under one of his top students from 1958-1962, I am well aware of what he taught, and how it differs from his students, and his sons.
The standard for Yang Style is the Yang Cheng-Fu postures, and I would suggest you study them closely. I can only begin to tell you how Tung Ying-Jie differed from Yang Cheng-Fu, and from what I have seen of his students, this has been modified even more, going from the original Large Frame to Medium Frame and in some postures, Small Frame.
Tung Ying-Jie had a very low crouching movement in all postures. This is not found anywhere in the Yang Cheng-Fu postures. Ying-Jie kept his head down or lowered in most of his postures and transitions yet he was strong.
The first major change in the style was the transition from Large Frame to Medium Frame, followed by Tung Hu-Ling changing the opening to have the palms face in toward each other as they raise and turned down only as they lower.
In ward off left the hands are not distinct, but rather both arms and hands are curved and not “Elegant Lady hands.” It should be noted that only Fu Zhongwen placed the right hand further forward than the left hand when facing right in ward of left, as Yang Cheng-Fu. But if you understand the way Yang Zhenduo is teaching, you will understand why he chooses to bring the right hand back by the right leg.
In Tung-Dong, Grasp Birds Tail, the hands rise higher than the head in rollback and the body bends forward and down in this motion and in the following push.
In Single Whip, the palms face out (away from the body) and are higher than the head as they move from right to left, instead of being “somewhat downward”; and, they go low, below the waist in moving from left to right, instead of across the front of the chest in a “semi-elliptical plane. This makes the movements Single Whip from Grasp Sparrows Tail similar to that of Single Whip coming out of Cloud Hands – The two were different under Yang Cheng-Fu.
In raise hands, Tung Ying-Jie had both hands moving down, instead of at chest height, while Dong Hu-Ling brought them to height – while others still do this as Ying-Jie did.
In Brush Knee (today) Dong makes a short sweeping motion from the center of the body with the brushing hand (as if grabbing) and the motion follows the arms, not the waist, while the pushing hand comes from high, by the head, making a somewhat circular motion. This means that the brushing hand is circling from the center of the body across the body and back while the pushing (striking) hand is circling forward in a somewhat straight motion. While this circle/straight arm motion is common with many Yang students, it is not the way the motion was taught by Yang Cheng-Fu, Fu Zhongwen or done by Yang Zhenduo.
I’ve omitted many of the other differences up to Brush Knee, as this should be sufficient.
There are several major differences in the way Yang Zhenduo does the set from what I learned, and from the postures of Yang Cheng-Fu, but I understand why Yang Zhenduo teaches this way, and I agree it is the way the form should be taught. Each move and posture should be distinct and the same for each student. That way, when the master looks at a class he will be able to see how each student differs from the standard. Yang Zhenduo uses the analogy of writing Chinese characters, which are learned with precision and elegance. But more to the point, if you don’t know the standard, you will never be able to duplicate it.
From a personal point, had I the opportunity to train with Yang Zhenduo from the beginning, I would never have trained under anyone else.