What is "traditional" Yang style taijiquan?

What is "traditional" Yang style taijiquan?

Postby dorshugla » Fri Oct 17, 2003 3:27 pm

I ask because there has been always, and always will be those who claim that their style is the "ONE" and only. Though I have never believed that it is odd that people talk about lineage while villifying those without "lineage" when in reality we all have lineage in that we were taught by someone (a teacher) associated with the Yang style.
1. the frame of Yang Lu Chan is practically gone despite the secrecy though it is strange no one of present Yang family knows about it!!!

2. Shaohu and Jianhou frames are scattered but they may be considered traditional though not presently alive. DOes this mean they are not lineage?!

3. Chengfu had many students. His nephew? Zhongwen was the one who nurtured taijiquan to the general public but the offspring are considered "non-lineage".

One of my teachers stated that the best way to determine lineage was not that one basked in the shadow of the master/teacher but one looks at the character of the student/practitioner as that is a better gauge! One of my former teachers studied with Shaohu but his frame was not necessarily the same as change does occur within the form based on age, understanding, size, athleticism or lack thereof and practice.

My view of traditional is not that it follows my teacher's exact everything but whehter what I do is contained within the various method, "songs" (instructional verses, etc) and concepts/principles of the style-i.e. Yang

There are 2 parts of traditional, the lenngth of the form > 15-20 minutes, and based on concpts of the style (Yang).
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:06 pm


With all due respect,

What are you talking about?

Where is the evidence for the various claims you appear to be making?

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby dorshugla » Fri Oct 17, 2003 7:14 pm


I am making no claim to anything. I am only stating what is presently known. As I am not a "lineage" or anointed person basking in the luminoisty of the master from heaven, I am only inquiring and informing myself through knowledgeable individuals who I do not know.

I will henceforth reframe/restate:

1) Can I conside myself a lineage student since I studied with the student (also well known) of a famous teacher, OR do I have to be on both lineage lists to be anointed as such? My teacher (former) studied with Yang Shaohu so am I entitled? To what, I am not sure.

2. I have been told and I have seen, and have experienced that Fu Zhongwen was, as I have stated, a major contributor and henceforth, lineage student/assistant, etc of Chengfu but he is not acknowledged (as if he should be, I do not know) but he is apparently "shunned" (at least given lesser "play" in the lineage game! I am actually referring to his son!

As stated I am making no claim, just statting the "obvious", OR it may be a feint, I do not know but it does exist. Perhapos if I am in my own delirium, then no need to answer since what I have stated is false and should not be given credence.

The people I mentioned are real and I didn't make them up. If there is a point that is not correct, please correct me.

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Postby Wushuer » Fri Oct 17, 2003 8:18 pm

I used to worry about "lineage", quite a bit, up until recently.
I have since realized that it really, truly, honestly, doesn't matter.
What good is having a peerless "lineage" pedigree if you can't perform TCC properly?
I can't tell you how many students I have met over the years, students of genuine TCC, family recognized, "Masters", some of these students were "disciples", who couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag if you gave them both hands, illustrated instructions, four hours and a sharp knife.
So what good is their vaunted "genuine lineage"?
Do not worry about "lineage". If your teacher was a student of Yang Shoahu (not sure on the spelling there), then it sounds as if you have been getting genuine "knowledge" of TCC.
I would think that having genuine knowledge and the ability to perform TCC martially (in my opinion the "acid test" of if you really know TCC or not) are far more important than worrying about where, exactly, it came from and if it's pedigree is untainted.
Would you care if you teacher hadn't learned how to bake directly from Betty Crocker or her daughter, but he had learned instead from one of their students students, if your cakes taste just as good or better than thiers?
See how silly this "lineage" thing is?

Yang Zhenduo has the greatest quote I've ever heard, it pops up right on the welcome page of the Yangfamilytaichi website from time to time:
"For myself, I want you to become better than me. Practice harder."

I think that tells us all we need to know about this branch of the Yang family.

My advice:
Practice harder, Dorshugla, and stop worrying about things that don't really matter to anyone who knows.
As long as your cakes taste good consistently, no one cares where your teachers teacher learned how to bake.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 10-17-2003).]
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Postby dorshugla » Fri Oct 17, 2003 10:14 pm


Thank you sir.
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Postby Audi » Sat Oct 18, 2003 3:33 am

Hi Dorshugla,

I think I am familiar with the types of issues you raise in your post. I think you raise serious questions, but I fear they are hard to address appropriately in the context of an open forum.

I am also puzzled as to whether you are trying to begin discussion on something you see as new to this forum or whether you are commenting on things you have already read here.

I think I, myself, have used the term “Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan” several times in the recent past in this forum, are you referring to anything I have said? If so, I think there may have been some misunderstanding about what I mean by this phrase.

Take care,
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Postby dorshugla » Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:11 pm


In agreement. My experience is that "Traditional Taijiquan" is not the same for everyone, which I understand. Traditonal according to this forum per Yang Jun/Zhenduo is understood but tradtional is also Chengfu (close to Zhenduo as can be but those do exist), secret traditonal Yang style, Guangping (named agter the town/city) but claimed to be "traditional", etc.

Just stating the reality but i truly feel that the best gauge is the character of the individual.
The form is essentially empty without the individual.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Oct 22, 2003 7:52 pm

I have also made distinctions on this site between the first Yang style I studied and the YCF transmission I am studying now.
This may be part of your confusion.
The first Yang style I studied had some elements in it that are not present in the YCF tradition, though they were present in the Wu style I learned later.
The differences are: frame size (large, medium or small) and weight distribution between your legs.
The first Yang style I learned our instructor simply called "Traditional Yang Style". The instructor never mentioned which Yang style, never said anything about lineage, any of that, so I have no true idea what it may have been.
The "frame" was nowhere near as "large" as the YCF style I'm currently learning, but was larger than the Wu style I have studied since then. Seventeen years after I trained in this style I have no way to know which Yang family member that transmission came from. Though my brother, who trained this style with me (now a disciple of Sifu Wu Kwong Yu), believes that it was the medium frame and may have come down from a student of Yang Jianhou, who is the only Yang family member who is listed anyplace we can find who specialized in the "medium" frame.
Again, no way to know, that is simply a guess on our part, though based on research into the form names (my wife actually saved her form list, she trained that style with us and she's a a pack rat, came in handy this time though) and the fact that it was a 108 posture long form with a smaller overall "frame" than YCF style TCC but a larger one than Wu style.
This "traditional" Yang style also emphasized what we have here come to call 100/0 weight seperation between the legs during the forms, push hands exercises, applications training and free style sparring.
I still call this "traditional" Yang style, as I have seen this same form called by this name in many, many places. The form is out there and many people use it. I know of no other name to call it so I use that name, though I do not believe it has any more "tradition" to it than does YCF style.
Then I spent twelve years taking instruction under Sifu Wu Kwong Yu. The Wu family transmission comes down from Yang Banhou and Yang Lu Chan, the origins of which are recorded in many places so I will not bore you with them here.
The Wu family style is most definitely small circle and small frame style TCC, and uses the same 100/0 weight seperation as the first "traditional" Yang style I learned throughout the form with a few exceptions when it is 50/50. I continue to train their transmission of TCC to this day, though distance has made it impossible to train with any other Wu stylists.
This lack of training partners and my subsequent loss of skill (you try to go five years without pushing hands and see if you're still good at it) lead me to the only people in my area practicing ANY kind of legitimate TCC (I won't go into that here, I've whined about the fakes too many other places on this board) and that is YCF style TCC.
Fortunately my instructor is an excellent teacher with a fantastic sense of humor about inheriting this problem child of Wu Kwong Yu's (Yes, Eddie, you created a monster!) who is constantly going on about the strange weight distributions in YCF style, the "giving back" of weight to make a transitional move (which I have proven over and over and over again is completely unnecessary, though I do practice them that way to keep his head from exploding AND to keep the YCF transmission pure, you see I am a traditionalist after all!) and who seemingly cannot bring himself to get his body into large frame no matter how hard he tries.
I believe the distinction between "traditional" Yang style and the YCF transmission is that late in his life YCF altered his families "traditional" forms to reflect what he believed was a better form for everyone.
Some say it is inferior, others that it is the single best improvement to TCC since Yang Lu Chan learned from the Chen family.
I say that if Wu Chien Chuan can take what he learned from his father and Yang Ban Hou and make his "square form" and no one complained or said he was "cheapening" TCC, then why couldn't Yang Cheng Fu take his families form (same exact form, they both learned from Ban Hou after all, they both taught that exact same Yang family form together in the same school) and make it better?
Makes no sense to me.
Cheng Fu, after all, was the lineage holder of the family form. If he wanted to change it, I would say he certainly had more right to do so than Wu Chien Chuan did.
Anyway, again...
You now have "traditional" Yang style, the form before YCF improved his families style, (Yang Cheng Fu's earliest disciples and members of the Yang family who never trained with Cheng Fu still use this form to this day), and Yang Cheng Fu style TCC, the form he created and the YCF branch of the family (the one represented here) says he improved.
I dunno if there is a "better" here, just different.
I have learned both of them, though I have not retained the entire 108 "traditional" form over the years. My wife actually remembers much more of the
"traditional" form than I do (she didn't train Wu style after she learned it). With her help and the knowledge I am gaining from the YCF forms, I have been working on trying to recreate this form for myself.
Not having much luck, but I'm stubborn. I may find a tape someplace if I can get one that has some claim to legitimacy and see if I can't get myself versant on that form again.
That's all I know about the questions you ask on "traditional" vs. YCF Yang styles.
Hope this has been informative for you.
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