Yang Family tai chi chuan 2005

Yang Family tai chi chuan 2005

Postby mls_72 » Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:39 pm

After seeing many various styles and teachers of yang tai chi chuan such as lineages from Yang jian hao (yang chen fus father) yang pan hao (yang chen fus uncle) and yang shoa hao (yang chen fu older brother) as well as yang lu chan (founder of yang tai chi chuan) do you think the yang family ought to expand their training cirruculum or at least research and accept/acknowledge these various branches?
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:29 am

I'm not sure how to answer that but here goes. Yang Zhenduo is nearly 80 now. He's been practicing and teaching most of his life. He teaches what he learned from his father, Yang Chengfu, his 'uncle' Yang Zhaopeng (Yang Banhou's son, who was put in charge of training Yang Zhenji and Yang Zhenduo when they were young), his elder brother Yang Shouzhong, as well as a few of Yang Chengfu's disciples, and interestingly, his mother. So as such Yang Zhenduo feels that he has had very rich and unique opportunities to learn his father's style and his desire is to pass on what he learned. He and Yang Jun are very supportive of other branches of the family, such as Yang Shouzhong, Fu Zhongwen, and his father's many disciples. They feel that taijiquan is one big family, and all taiji practice is good practice. Given this unusual and rich background, it does not surprise me at all that Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun are not shopping around for more knowledge, but more intent on practicing, deepening and passing on what they already have. You have only to talk to them to understand the profound respect they have for all practitioners and teachers. Yang Jun has made a special point of instructing us that the website and the Association Journal are not to be used to disparage any teachers or practitioners. Not only are Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun supportive of Yang style, they are also respectful and supportive of all other styles, such as Chen, Wu, Wu, Sun, and so on, and have good relations with the representatives of these styles.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:16 am

Greetings Matt,

I was just about to post, when I saw Jerry’s excellent response. Jerry is in a better position than I am to represent on this matter, and from what I know based on my limited encounters with the Yang family, he has described the situation very well.

I will just add the following observation.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of discussion and speculation about “complete” curricula—whether one school teaches the complete system or not. I think people who judge the value of an art on whether it offers up a prescribed inventory of forms and techniques are barking up the wrong tree. Sometimes what you learn has very little to do with how many movements you’ve been taught.

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 01-18-2005).]
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Postby mls_72 » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:12 am

Does Yang Taijiquan have orgins in Chen Taijiquan? And if so, doesnt Chen Taijiquan have roots in Chanquan (longfist)?


I found this article about 8 years ago and reread it today. It makes alot of sense to practice fast if you want to truley be a fighter. Dont get me wrong, time practicing slow with a group, diligently and slowly is very effective for martial skill also.
Supplemented with tui shou and Da Lu. However san shou has gotta be fast. Lots of speak about the past Yang family being powerful fighters and using fast in training.

The story about Yang Zhen Dou allowed to study with so many family members was touching. I am envious that he was brought up with close attention to details. Something I cant afford.

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Postby bamboo leaf » Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:34 am

( Sometimes what you learn has very little to do with how many movements you’ve been taught.)

Really nice thoughts Louis, totally agree.
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Postby mls_72 » Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:44 pm

I agree with the fact that the priciples and proper execution and quality of a few movements is better than many movements done incorrectly. The yang sytem is then perfect that way with no need to make any changes....just more refinements.

Another fact is alot of wushu and shaolin teachers have systems that train in as many as 50+ forms (like our favorite video man from tai chi magazine- jiang jian-ye).They have kung fu body to do so. I still get slack from taiji friends because as a wushu person I have trained in several from modern wushu: chang chuan, broadsword, spear, staff, straight sword,whip chain, taijiquan. traditional taijiquan- Yang family forms 103, straight sword and saber. My hangzhou taiji teachers forms- taiji spear,taiji stick, ect.

Fact of the matter however is that i have trained hard 15+ years with a few great masters who stretched me out, grinded me down, conditioned me, sweated and molded me, scrutinized me into making my body to conform to any martial arts posture taught. Its called kung fu body. when you get it you can do anything well.

In the Mixed martial arts school we practice no forms what-so-ever and is in the realm of pure formlessness of execution of striking, kicking, wrestling, groundwork. no forms to practice.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:04 pm

Just wanted to jump in and say my peice. It may not be worth anything, but here it is anyway.

I can't imagine a better Association of true TCC practicioners than we have here in the International Yang Style TCC Association. We have in our midst some of the best players in the world, and many of us have come over from different lineages, styles and groups. I have found more acceptance/acknowledgement as a former member of another group of TCC practicioners than I have ever heard of before, certainly more than someone who would have come in to my former group could ever expect. My knowledge of a different style was not relegated to the ether, to be "forgotten" or left behind, instead it was embraced, my skills were probed, their applicability to my new styles principles was assessed and my instructor worked on hammering me into a better TCC player overall than I had previously ever considered possible.
I have found nothing but professionalism, patience, perserverance and quality of training at my local YCF Center, the Louisville, KY, USA, chapter. There was never any attempt to say that my old training methods were "bad", only that sometimes they were not appropriate for Yang family TCC as taught by the Grand Master. Those things that were incompatible were set aside for me to explore later on, after I have attained an adequate level of understanding of Yang family TCC, not relegated to some place or thing I should forget about forever.
Bill Wojasinski and Carl Meeks, our esteemed Center Directors, have worked a lot of long hard hours to make this acceptance of others and education about Yang family TCC happen here in KY.
I'll give you an example of how one of these two have worked towards these goals recently.
Bill has been teaching classes in traditional Yang family TCC for FREE, that's right FREE as in you don't pay him one red cent, since (I believe) last April. He started out at a local Japanese garden, a place called Yuko-En on the Elkhorn River in Georgetown, KY, on Saturday mornings and I was pretty amazed at the size of the turnout, that group size remained nearly consistent throughout the run of the class. The class has since moved over to the Kentucky Horsepark, in their indoor arena, since it got too cold at the end of November to continue our training outside and the day moved to Monday evenings, however the size of the class has stayed pretty much the same as far as I can tell. Some people stuck with it and come to the class, others could not accomodate that in their schedule, but the number of people seems to be about the same.
I have trained with Bill now for just over three years, and I have taken all three sections of the Yang family form more than once at his paid classes. What Bill teaches at the free classes is absolutely the same quality, and content, that he puts into the classes for his paying students. Absolutely no diminishing of the transmission of the principles, movements, anything, for the "free" students that come to those classes from what he teaches at the paid classes.
This is first rate education in TCC, given freely, by a person who truly understands what he's teaching, and done only for the love of teaching the art.
I have taken advantage of every "free" class that I have been able to drag my sorry bones to, I don't mind saying. Not because I wouldn't pay for his teaching, I would, have and will continue to do so, but because of the simple quality and sincerity of his teaching at these classes. I learned quite a lot during the regular class session, but I learned even in one fifteen minute session after the regular class was over than I have sometimes in a week of intense seminar training at other schools. That lesson, too, was freely given simply because he felt I was ready for more. He taught me and one of my training partners a new focus for push hands, more "sensing hands" as we've come to call it. But that's not my point...
Why do I mention this here?
Because it goes a long way towards telling me about the character not only of Bill Wojasinski, but of the orginization that he openly and freely represents, the International Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Association, and it's founders, Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo and Master Yang Jun.
As a member of that Association, I wanted to jump in here and let everyone know what a first rate job the Assocation is doing, at least in my neck of the woods which is all I have to go on, to educate anyone who wishes to learn about traditional Yang family TCC, its principles and movements. Anyone and everyone is welcome, no worries about whether or not you can afford it, just show up, open your mind, move your body and learn real traditional Yang family TCC.

How do you beat that?

If the good deeds of those who represent the Association near to me are any indication at all, I would have to say that this is the best Associaton I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
I don't think the Association, the Grand Master or Master Yang Jun should change one blasted thing. They are giving us all the opportunity to learn about TCC, direct from the family who have been practicing and teaching that art for six generations of their family. The Yang family has been teaching those outside of their family who wish to learn this art for far longer than any other family branch of TCC before them and even most of them since. That tradition seems to be carried out with more openess and sincerity by the IYSTCCA than I've seen exhibited by a lot of other groups. Having been a member of some of those other groups of practicioners over the years, and remembering clearly what went on in those groups and how, sometimes, the teachers of those groups were less than forthcoming even to their paying students (OK, I've never seen another teacher who taught for free, so I can't really compare with that, but do I need to?), I can say with heartfelt honesty that I believe this Association has got the right spirit.
They sure have managed to convince me, a guy who three years ago didn't feel there was a group of TCC practicioners outside my former group that was worth spending any time on.
Bill met me while I was in that frame of mind and met the challenge he saw there. He slowly chiselled away at the rock inside my skull, and has managed to turn that opinion on its head in less than three years.
Let me tell you, that wasn't easy. I didn't have an easy time of it, I caught hell from some people who are still in the former group of players I used to associate with about it too, which sometimes lead me to backslide a bit. But in the end, I saw Bills sincerity and honesty of purpose clearly, and that is what convinced me to leave those old habits behind and move forward with what he was more than willing, and able, to help me achieve.
He didn't do it by showing me feats of prowess that I haven't seen others do, I've seen the dog and pony shows they don't impress me much anymore. He didn't do it by telling me secrets of the Yang family to entice me out of my shell. He didn't do it by offering me anything but a sincere education.
It was his sincerity, his willingness to teach even me, a nearly completely closed minded individual from another lineage who took the first class, 13 posture form actually, just so I could discount yet ANOTHER bad TCC instructor in my area.
After taking the first lesson with Bill, I began to think that this time I hadn't found yet another bad TCC instructor. After the eight weeks of the course were up, I knew I had found someone who knew his stuff, much better than I did despite my former arragonce about my abilities, and even more he was not the least bit afraid to teach what he knows to me.
THAT is the mark of a true teacher and I haven't met too many of those before in my time in TCC. Only one, actually, but that's another story.
Since I began to train with Bill my understanding of TCC, its principles, movements and applications, has increased beyond my wildest imaginings.
At the same time, I have yet to begin to understand TCC, its principles, movements or applications.
I'm learning more every day and with Bill and Carls help I feel I will continue to progress as far as I could wish.

This is a grass-roots, heartfelt plug for the Association from someone with no reason to do so other than that I believe what I'm saying.
If Bill and Carl are any indication of the quality of YCF Center Directors around the world, I feel that the IYSTCCA will thrive for quite a long time to come.

OK, end of shameless plug.
Bill can stop blushing now.


[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 01-20-2005).]
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Postby tai1chi » Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:42 pm

Hi Bob,

I think you speak for a lot of people, and your words are especially relevant because you come from another tradition. I agree with you wholeheartedly the deeds of Yangs and those in their associations speak well for their characters. If that is something worth learhing; they have been excellent objects for study; and many could learn from them.

Steve James
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Postby mls_72 » Fri Jan 21, 2005 3:50 pm

As this is only my second year as a member of the association, but I understand how people feel how well it is. It is a great thing many people have learned and experienced fresh insights even after going over the same movements.

The yang Tai chi chuan is a highly misunderstood martial art. as a young generation person I was always the youngest in every class i took. Much younger because all the students were much older than me taking it for health only.

I believe it to be a martial art for combat. Being small and teased alot since I was young...one night I exploded on a big guy who thought you cant fight with tai chi. I did the court thing and the jail thing and the anger management thing which only made me a better person. I saw a comdian on TV one night...he had a joke. "you dont know someone can fight with tai chi until you get your ass kicked by someone who knows tai chi."

Thats how I feel about our art. Other schools think that the Yang school has lost much of its original power and essence. I might know this is not true, you might know its not true, but generally martial artists think its true. Its sold out to non-fighters. It sold out to the public who has the money. for instance we know that black belts doesnt always mean you can fight. same with ranking. It can always be bought by those who can afford the seminars, merchandise, travel, ect.

Priorities for everyone is different...thats a great thing. I am just bummed that its not taken seriously enough out in the real world. There is Max chen who fights San shou and on USA san shou team. His father is Willian chen a student on Cheng Man ching. I myself train in the ring in mixed martial arts so I can apply the unknown taiji skills on the jujitsu and kickboxing guys. Its fun applying something they are unfamiliar with. Techniques from push ands and two man fighting set.

My point is ...I love the Yang martial art just as much as the next guy, just concerned a little about its image to the average martial arts and other yang stylists who practice a wider range of forms , techniques, weapons.

[This message has been edited by mls_72 (edited 01-21-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:47 pm

I guess I'm missing your point.
What reason do you have to worry about the reputation of TCC as a martial art? Why do you care what other martial artists think about TCC? What they think about TCC can't hurt you and, from what you say, works in your favor.
Let them think what they will, that's their problem.
Certainly some of their opinion is based on fact. I don't know too many TCC players who could fight their way out of a wet paper bag, even if you gave them light, illustrated instructions, the use of both hands and a sharp knife.
Do you?
Most people involved in this art are here for the health benefit you gain from it, not to become Yang Lu Chan. There isn't a single thing wrong with that. I don't want to be Yang Lu Chan, either. I wish to be martially capable of defending myself, but it's certainly not a requirement for everyone.
That's not to say that there aren't a lot of genuine martial artists in TCC, because I do know some and I've heard of many others. All I'm saying is that for the vast majority of people, TCC IS for health and not for martial.
So let the other martial artists keep on believing what they wish. It can't harm you in any way, and it gives them something to prattle on aimlessly about, as they seem to like to do.
Those of us who practice TCC as a martial art can just smile, nod, and then move on. In this way, we've practiced our martial art at its highest nadir, we've turned a confrontation into a laugh session with our would be opponent.
That's called yielding to conquer, and in doing so you will have displayed martial ability at it's highest peak.


[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 01-21-2005).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:38 pm


I think I get where you’re coming from now. It’s a tough thing to be young and practicing an art that not only takes a long time to learn, but is sometimes perceived by outsiders and the inexperienced as “wussy,” “dead,” or “not really a martial art.” I know it’s a martial art. You know it too. But like the comedian you quoted, the people who are good enough to kick ass generally don’t bother, so how are outsiders supposed to know that tai chi is a martial art? It’s a catch-22: like the Tao Te Ching (54) says: “Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know.”

When you’re young and scrappy and out to prove to the world that you can hold your own in it, then it’s not fun to listen to other people deride the art you practice. I’m still working on this stuff myself, being relatively young too. You want to prove your art is worthy, but where’s your back up, where’s the proof? We don’t have any highly visible competition champions on TV waving medals around or flashy spreads in the martial arts magazines like some other martial arts do.

We can point to Yang Jun and Yang Zhen Duo, and other tai chi families’ masters as superstars, but outside the world of tai chi, all tai chi masters from all styles are relatively unknown, even among the greater masses of tai chi players who are unaware of tai chi chuan’s martial applications.

But being relatively invisible is kind of the nature of this art. There are sayings like, “Never show 100% of what you’re capable of,” “Suddenly appear, suddenly disappear,” “Be humble.” What I love about this art is that the practitioners are more interested in being good at tai chi than proving to the world that they’re good at tai chi. Sure, there’s a part of me that would love to kick-ass, prove that I’m good at this, that I’m studying something worthwhile, etc. But you know, that’s my problem, not tai chi’s problem. The art will be sound and whole and useful whether anybody else knows about it and whether or not I’m any good at it. I figure that by the time I’m good enough to really wipe the floor with someone, I’ll no longer want to. There’s that other saying, I can’t quote it exactly, but it’s something like: “Do not kill when you can maim, do not maim when you can hurt, do not hurt when you can check, do not check when you can intimidate, do not intimidate when you can avoid, because all life is precious and should be cherished.” That’s what I believe tai chi is about.

The Tao Te Ching has some great sections about mastery that I’ve been thinking about this morning:

Chapter 30

Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.

The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn't try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn't need others' approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.

And from Chapter 22:

The Master, by residing in the Tao,
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn't display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn't know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goad in mind,
everything he does succeeds.

When the ancient Masters said,
"If you want to be given everything,
give everything up,"
they weren't using empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.

My experience has been that the Yang family does accept other lineages and is interested in reaching out to others. Jerry had a very good post about it. I’ll just add that Masters Yang Jun and Yang Zhen Duo recently invited the remaining disciples of Master Yang Cheng Fu and their children and disciples to meet with them in Hong Kong. I don't remember who all attended, some were famous names I recognized, and others I didn't. But I think very highly of them for organizing an event that brought together many of the Yang family tai chi descendants for the first time, many of whom were people they’d never met before. They are reaching out to/maintaining connections with people from the other Yang lineages as well as the other major families.

As far as expanding curriculum goes, I’m not concerned with learning a lot of forms and weapons as long as I can learn to do a few useful things well and understand how to use them against a range of comers. I would rather study with someone whose knowledge is very deep in a single subject, than more broad but lacking depth. My teacher has a curriculum that keeps expanding. He never runs out of new lessons for me—new techniques, new ways of pushing hands, deeper instruction into earlier lessons. If there is ever a time when he has taught me everything he knows, then I’ll eat my hat—but my teacher has already proven that he is a sincere and dedicated student, so I don’t doubt that he will always be far ahead of me in mastery.

Sometimes, teachers’ curricula are limited by the capacity and development of their students. It’s not my intent to insult anyone’s skill level. But for me personally, it’s as though I'm in grade school—my teacher can't teach me at the college level, much less higher, until I've finished K-12.

You said: “My point is ...I love the Yang martial art just as much as the next guy, just concerned a little about its image to the average martial arts and other yang stylists who practice a wider range of forms , techniques, weapons.”

My suggestion is: don’t sweat it. Are tai chi practitioners physically harmed by others’ perceptions? Generally, no. It may hurt the pride a little, but that’s part of the training to “eat bitter,” and to “give up the self and follow others.” Let the opponent have what he wants. Let them believe what they want and we’ll go our own way, and if we ever can’t get out of a fight, we’ll do what we must but no more.

When someone wants a fight, there’s always one to be had. When someone wants to prove something, there’s always someone to push against. But when one doesn’t care about proving something one way or another, there’s nothing to push against, no resistance, nothing there to fight—and the essence of the thing is unharmed by yielding.

I can tell you are a good person and its great that you’re learning to control your anger. I believe that may be why you are studying tai chi, which, IME, is a good practice for controlling anger.

The school I go to actually has a rule: no fighting with people from other schools. My teacher said, “Don’t worry if someone insults the school or insults me. I don’t want you to fight about it. If they insist, they can come to visit. I will try not to fight with them, but [he shrugs] I am not afraid.” So. We don’t enter competitions; we don’t fight with others.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t train with outsiders, or spar with our friends who study other martial arts. Visitors are always welcome, and push-hands bouts can be vigorous; but part of what we are learning, in my opinion, is how to control our tempers and help others not lose face. So if some guy comes to the school and wants to try to knock me about for 2 hours, I will yield and deflect, evade and circle softly, but I’m not going to introduce him to the floor or try anything nasty, just as I hope he will have the same courtesy for me if he turns out to be more skilled. So far, I’ve had experience with both sides and it’s all worked out.

Who is my teacher?

My teacher is Yang Jun.

Best wishes to you on your path,

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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:15 pm


Very well put. I wish I had your way with words. I tried to say basically the same thing, but my post looks pretty puny and illiterate next to yours.
I am going to print your posting and stick it on the wall of my studio, in a frame, so that I, and hopefully those who train there with me, will never forget it.
Thank you.
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:24 pm

Wow, Bob, thanks!

Actually, I read your post when I was about 3/4 done writing mine and thought, "Oh, he's beaten me to the punch," meaning I thought you'd said the same thing, only more concisely!

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Postby Bamenwubu » Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:41 pm

No, thank you. I meant what I said, I even picked up the frame this morning.
I have not always had the mindset you have espoused, it is a recent acquirement that took a lot of soul searching,going against former training and, admittedly, personal inclination to reach.
My posting might have been shorter, but yours says it much more clearly, and you used your knowledge of the Tao Te Ching to back you up. My knowledge of the Tao Te Ching is much more limited, though I have been working on that.
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Postby Michael » Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:44 pm

Bob and Kal,

Nice job.

Bob, it has been really interesting watching you along the path from that point three years ago. Three thumbs up. You have especially spoke what I have thought.
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