History and Origins - Yang Style

The Yang style takes it name form Yang Lu Ch'an (1799 - 1872), a man of humble origins from Hebei province from his youth he practiced 'Long-Fist' Kung-fu. To make ends meet the young Yang Lu Chan took jobs when ever he could, including one at a pharmacy in Yongnain run by the Chen family. Once he witness one of the Chen's deal with some troublemakers using a martial art Yang hand never seen before, when he asked to learn this art it was suggested that he travel to the Chen village, in Henan and study under master Chen Chang Xing.

Initially he was not taught the full system, as he was not a family member, but they did apparently employ him as a servant. Once when working in the fields he heard distant shouts of "Hen!" and "Ha!", he followed the sounds and spied through a hole in a wall, Chen Style Tai Chi being secretly practiced, he returned to this spot day after day to surreptitiously watch and learn. Eventually a passing Martial Artist challenged the family to a sparing match. Yang stepped forward, and upheld the family honour. The old master Chen Chang Xing was so impressed with his skills that he agreed to official to teach Yang the full secrets of the art. After 30 years he returned home and began teaching and demonstrating, gaining a reputation as Yang the Unbeatable.

Along with his sons, Yang Jian and Yang Ban Hou, Yang Lu Ch'an taught Wu Yu Xiang (1813-1880) who also learnt Chen style. It was Yu Xiang brother Wu Ch'eng Ch'ing who apparently found a mysterious manuscript in a salt shop owned by the Wu family which contained Wang Zongyue classic treatise on Taijiquan. Wu Yu Xiang taught Li Yi Yu who in turn taught Hao Wei Zhen the style of Tai Chi now known as Wu/Hao Style. Another Wu Style, the Chinese charaters are different, was created by Wu Chuan You who studied under Yang Ban Hou, yang Lu Ch'an son. One of Hao Wei Zhen students was Sun Lu Tang who was already an accomplished martial Artist and who in turned created the Sun Style of Tai Chi.

Yang Lu Ch'an's grandson Yang Chenfu (1883-1936) modified the style, giving more emphasis to the health benefits, removing the shouts and foot stomping. He also made the postures larger and more rounded and practiced at a smoother pace. Yang Chenfu's innovations helped make the form more accessible, as it can be played higher or lower stances according to person's health and fitness. Yang Style Tai Chi is most commonly practiced today.

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Yang Cheng Fu
Thanks to Wang Ning for the
calligraphy and explanation

Pushing hands

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