System Practice and Theory


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Click here to watch Video of Masters and variations of Yang Taijiquan with Grand Master Fu Zhong Wen, Fu Sheng Yuan, Weiqi He, Yang Zhen Dou, Yang Jun, Ben Lo and more.


Our Martial Art here is based on individual needs- strength, flexibility, health, sports- forms to fighting, self defense, qigong and meditation and spirit cultivation. To understand the system you need to understand the teacher and knowledge gathered from Traditional and Modern sources. I've taken the best exercises and drills that work best from my many teachers

along the path. These teachers have been Grandmasters, Professors, Professional Head Coaches, All-around Athletes, Champions in combat rings, and Doctors.

This system of shadow boxing includes-

Wu De- Martial Ethics

Warm-up and stretching sets

Physical strength training

Qigong

Body and hit conditioning

Forms- Traditional Taijiquan,
Modern Taijiquan,
Wushu and Kung Fu

Two person Drills, self defense, research of applications, and Qi-na: joint locks.

Boxing and Muay Thai- Bag, Pad, and Glove work: punching and kick training

Weapons- Knife, broad and straight Swords, Staff, Spear, Flexible weapons

Fighting- light sparring, full contact, push-hands, Shuai Jow- wrestling,Takedowns,and MMA.

Meditation

 

Taijiquan or “Tai Chi Chuan” is the name of a style of Chinese boxing that is practiced by millions of people around the world. As a healing martial art, Taijiquan is known for its slow graceful movements. “Taiji” is the name for the “Yin Yang” symbol of two fishes swimming in circle creating balance. One fish is black and the other fish is white symbolizing the change between day and night, hot and cold, increase and decrease. There are many symbolic and philosophical meanings to the Taiji symbol since it was created by the Taoist monks in the monasteries of China thousands of years ago. The word 'Quan' or 'Chuan' means 'fist' or 'boxing'. On a side note Taijiquan is a type of martial arts that leads to 'Kung Fu' (skill attained through hard work). In China, martial arts are referred to as 'Wushu' (War arts) while someone skillful in a particular style is said to have "good kung fu".

Taijiquan became famous in the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) when a young martial artist named Yang Luchan went to Chen village to study the art that was handed down from Chen Changxing (14th generation Chen family) whose lineage was from garrison commander Chen Wanting (9th generation Chen) whose lineage was from the Taoist founder Zhang Sanfeng. Yang Luchan took his art to the capital of Beijing where he became undefeated in Lei Tai (platform fighting). Yang Luchan became known as “Yang the peerless” for his high skill level and became an instructor of martial arts in the Emperor’s Palace to the Royal Guards.

It was in the early 1900’s when Yang Lu Chan’s grandson, Yang Chen fu (3rd generation Yang family)popularized Taijiquan when he travel around China teaching publicly. The original movements were changed, but he retained the essence and principles of the art. Yang Chen Fu wrote several books and articles on Taijiquan, and later became known as Yang Taijiquan, which is the most popular in the world.

Though there are now many modern and family styles of Taijiquan that exist today, all stem from the original 13 postures. These 13 are the 8 energies of: fending off, yielding, pressing, pushing, elbow/knee strikes, yanking, shoulder strikes, splitting, and the 5 movements of: advancing, retreating, rightward, leftward, and centered. The movements later evolved into a series of combat movements containing strikes, kicks, throws, take downs, sweeps, as well as two person training called Tui Shou or ‘sensing hands’. Taijiquan is also practiced with a double edged sword, single edged saber, and spear.

The course being offered is Yang Taijiquan with emphasis on the following: warm-ups, stretching, breathing techniques called ‘qigong’, physical strength and body conditioning, basics: stance work and forms, two person drills, and closing with centering meditation. The emphasis is on martial technique and correct authentic practice which leads to healthy and spiritual well being.


The Taijiquan form in analysis for combat

Kicking techniques:

Golden Rooster
Separate Foot
Kick w/ Heel

Slap kick
Lotus Kick

 

Joint locks and chokes:
White Crane
Step Up to Seven Star
Strum the Lute

Tame Tiger
Grasp Sparrows Tail


Striking techniques:

Fist Under Elbow
Twin Fists Strike Ears
Punch toward Groin
Punch Downward
White Snake Spits Tongue
Chop with Fist


Takedowns and throws:

Single Whip
Repulse Monkey
Raise Hands
Sealing Tightly
Flying Diagonal
Cloud Hands
Snake Creeps Down
Fair Maiden works Shuttle
Ride Tiger
High Pat on Horse (both variations)
Embrace Tiger
Needle to Sea Bottom/Fan through Back
White Crane Cools Wings
Brush Knee/Push
Wild Horse Parts Mane
Bend Bow Shoot Tiger
Grasp Sparrows Tail


% of Kicks = 12%

% of Locks/Chokes = 15%
% of Strikes = 24%
% of Throws = 52%

Chronology of the development of Taijiquan

China has a 4000 year history in which there were warring periods and long dynasties for the ripening of time tested combat for basic survival. Some of the earliest records in history point to the some of the emperors of china. There were continual evolution in the areas in Qigong (breathing exercise), medicine, physical culture, religion and philosophy, art, politics, and martial arts thoughout this historical timeline. The ancients already had terms like Xingqi, (Promoting and conducting qi) Fuqi, (Taking qi) Shushu (breathe-counting), Zuochan (sitting meditation),Shi Qi (living on qi), jingzuo (sitting still), Nei qi (internal qi), and waiqi (external qi). The Taoists, had Five Sacred Mountains where they studied the Tao. Mao Shan, the Jade capital sect was where astrology and sorcery were studied, Lungmen and Huashan, the heavenly pillard sect were the center of asceticism, Wudangshan, the Pole star sect was concentrated on military arts and exorcism, Lunghushan, the Jade prefecture, was the priestly sect, and lastly the Lushan, the Spirit Cloud sect were the Buddhist influenced Taoists. At these places Taoists’ studied to unify and harmonize with Taoist trinity of heaven, self (within humanity), and earth.

Fu Xi (2852 B.C.) is a ancient emperor of china famous for discovering the I-Ching or Book of Changes and the Bagua (pakua or 8 symbols)  Pre Heaven configuration used in Feng shui and Divination.

Shi Huangti (2000 B.C.) or the "Yellow Emperor" became known as the Father of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The 'Nei Ching' or "Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine" is a Chinese classic literature on Yin and Yang theory, Five element theory, and living in harmony with Nature and the changing Seasons.

Another historical figure that is important is King Wen (Wen Wang) 1143 B.C. who arranged the Bagua symbols into a Post Heaven configuration based on the Lo scroll or 9 palace numberology. Shao Yung (1011-1077 A.D.) also studied how the I-Ching uses mathmatical binary algorithms.

 

Confucious was one of the early commentators on the I-Ching while Lao Tzu was the author of the Taoist Classic- 'Tao Te Ching' or The Simple Way.  Because of his writings, Lao Tzu became known as a Immortal and followers became 'Taoists.' 

Lao Tze and Confucious were legendary contemporaries. Lao Tze and Confuscious had similar teachings but Lao Tzu left society to live in the mountains while Confucious believed to keep teaching humanity and create order in society. Confucian  idioms or saying are still very popular throughout the world today.

Lao Tze retreating to the mountains on an ox's back.

Sun Tzu is an important person in the development of Chinese Martial Arts .  Tai Chi Boxing theory has much of its roots in his writings "The Art of War.".

Hua To-(Late Han dynasty 300 a.d.) legendary doctor of Chinese medicine to have developed a Qigong from ancient du na (deep breathing) and dao yin (inducing and conducting chi) exercises. His exercises are known as the Wuxing 5 animals frolics, (Deer, crane, turtle, monkey, bear) based on the ancients understanding of Santi (3 treasures) of jing, (our essential physically sustaining hormonal energy) Qi, ( the vital energy of the internal organs) and shen. (the bioelectrical energy of our brain and nervous system, controlling the psyche)

Da Mo- (a.k.a.) Bodhidharma (ninth century) is the founding patriarch of Shaolin temple. His accomplishments were the development of Yilinjing (muscle and tendon, bone and marrow, jing and mind trainings) for the practitioners of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. From this base, Shaolin kung fu blossomed into a multitude of styles. The early styles were involved in a basic routine(hard style) called Wuxingbafa (five animal 8 methods) Gong Fu. The Tiger form was for developing muscular strength, Crane developed the qi, Dragon was for the spirit, Snake form developed the jing, and the leopard created tendon agility. The eight methods included hand techniques, leg techniques, grappling, qigong, meditation, sound, secret techniques). Fohanquan, (buddhist monk fighting) Ditangquan, (ground shadowboxing) Changquan, (long fist) Mitsung, (lost track) and Lohanquan (Arhat boxing) are still practiced this day at the temple.

Yueh Fei- Legendary general and military hero around 1130 a.d. promoter of one of the oldest internal kung fu styles, Xingyiquan, (intention and shape boxing) a Taoist martial art having soft and explosive quality. Xingyiquan uses five element fists and twelve animal shapes. He was known to have also created Yingzhao Fanziquan (eagle-talon continuous attack boxing) the 108 pressure point fighting system, and the health and hygiene practice, Baduajing. (eight piece brocade)

 Zhang San Feng-(origin unclear possibly Song Dynasty(12th) or Late Yuan(15th) Taoist saint to have left shaolin temple to practice on Wudangshan (Mt. Wudang), haven for the Taoists of the Internal Alchemy . Legend explains that he was inspired by a dream of a bird and snake in combat, to develop a martial art; Taijiquan (Grand Ultimate Boxing), based on 13 postures. The form of Wudang Taijiquan that has evolved until today, bears little resemblance to the main styles currently practiced.

Oral tradition indicates that Taoist monasteries began to incorporate taijiquan into various ascetic and martial practices. Some of these earlier forms were called, Wu Shing,(the five element style) incorporated the rising of fire, the rolling of water, the outer billowing of wood and the inward penetrating of metal, and the immovability of earth; I-Ching (Book of Changes) was a form based on the holding of postures that each represented the 64 combinations of the Pa kua. (eight symbols); Pai Kan Chang,(Butterfly Palms) was a poisonous hand technique resembling a butterfly; Chi Hsing, (Seven Star) the seven stars of the big dipper, the taoist bear constellation, was sacred and this form used many one legged stances and sweeps; Pei Chou, (folding) used many elbow and shoulder strikes; Tang Lang (Praying Mantis) attacked with finger and wrist attacks, She Hsing (Snake) was a form that had a body and arms resembling snake-like movements; Yu Chou, (Universal Style) was a very slow and long form that was finished with hours of the taoist yoga sitting meditation practice of the Lesser Circulation Microcosmic Orbit; Wu Hsing, (formlessness) was a form passed down only from abbot to abbot in the taoist tradition.

Here are some links to some Wu Dang Taiji websites.

Wu Dang Master Lu Xiao Lin/
Wu Dang Internal arts website


Wang Zongyue, Chen Zhoutong, Zhang Songxi, and Jiang Fa form the direct lineage from founder Zhang San Feng to Chen Wang Ting of Chen village.

Chen Wang Ting - Late Ming(1368-1644) Ninth generation Chen family Garrison commander to have inherited Taijiquan from the Zhang San Feng lineage developed a several routines and weapon forms. Chen style Taijiquan is the mother of the Yang style and should be considered an important style to study for any serious taijiquan player. Chen is broken down into several styles: Lao Jia or Old Frame/BigFrame, New Frame, Xia jia,-Small Style, Pao Chui (Cannon Fist), Zhao Bao.

Feng Zhi Qiang, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenlei, Zhu Tiancai and Wang Xian (not pictured) are amoung the currently top Chen instructors in the world. Ren Guang Yi's Chen taiji website and Chenstyle.com. Another CP Ong's Chen taiji website

Chen Chang Xing- ( 1771-1853) 14th generation Chen Family. Transmitted to Yang Lu Chan the Chen family’s knowledge of the Lao Jia’s(old frame, big style) two sets, Yi lu and Pao chui, first routine and cannon fist.

 

Yang Lu Chan- from Yong nian county, Guang ping Prefecture, traveled to Chen Jia Gou (chen village) to learn the secret martial art from there for 18 years practicing the (old frame routines.) Became famous as Yang the Unsurpassable and taught in Beijing to the emperor’s court. Passed his art to his sons and became known as Yangshi Taijiquan (Yang style Taijiquan).

Yang Pan Hao- Lu Chan’s second son, inherited a smaller shaped frame work of taiji that was low stanced, faster and agile. Also became known as Yang the unsurpassable for his challenges.

Yang Jian Hao- third son of Yang Lu Chan who was skillful at issuing internal energy and weaponry. Became undefeatable in combat and taught many because of his warm hearted nature.

Yang Shao Hao- son of Yang Jian Hao inherited a small and quick frame style of Taiji from Pan Hao and his father that was primarily a fast combat form.

Yang Chen Fu- son of Yang Jian Hao, the most famous for speading the standardized Long Form publicly throughout several cities in china. Wrote several books on Taiji including, 'The Art of Taijiquan', 'Applications of Taijiquan', and 'The Complete Principle and Theory of Taijiquan'.

Yang style taijiquan can be defined by the several lineages that have blossomed from the Yang school.

Traditional Yang Long Form is currently headed between the

Fu zhong Wen side (Yongnian Taijiquan Association) and the Yang Family side. It is easy to see the differences in the forms and each one gives a different number of total movements. Fu Zhong Wen was Yang Chen Fu's disciple and Fu Zhong Wen taiji website

Yang Zhen Dou was Yang Chen Fu's son. When Yang Chen Fu died, Yang Zhen Dou was only 9 therefore Fu Zhong Wen was considered the inheritor of the form. Fu Zhong Wen always said he never modified the form, and kept it in its "Authentic" frame out of respect for his teacher. On the other hand, Yang Zhen Dou studied with many master of Yang Taijiquan himself including Fu Zhong Wen, his older brother Yang Shao Ching, and many other uncles. There are obvious differences in terms of linear and round movements in both Fu Zhong Wen's and Yang Family taiji.Yang Family taiji website

 

Wu Yu Xiang, Li I Yu, Hao Wei  Zheng, and Sun Lu Tang.

Wu Yu Xiang- Learned taiji from Yang Lu chan and in Chen village. Developed Wu family Taiji based on the Chen and Yang style. Found the Tai chi Classics in a Salt shop, writings from a Master Wang Zongyu, dating several centuries previous with reference to Zheng San Feng. He passed his art to  Li Yu Yu down to  Hao Wei Zheng (Hao style taiji) who passed his art to  Sun Lu Tang (Sun Taiji.).  Wu Yu Xiang, Hao and Sun Taijiquan is from Yongnian county. Wu is from a scholary family who passed Ching dynasty examinations in confucianism and taoism. Wu Yu-Xiang studies with Yang Lushan and Chen Chin-Ping. He is famous for the "Taiji Classic writtings" that were believed to be found hidden in a salt shop. The style is small and compact with simple, but highly complex techniques. He passed his art to his nephew Li Yi Yu (Li style) who passed it to Hao Wei Zheng where it became "Hao style." Later Hao Wei Zheng taught it to Sun Lu Tang, a Hsingyi and Bagua master who incorporated the two other internal arts into "Sun Taijiquan." Wu/Hao taiji website Li Style taijiquan Li style taiji website

Quan Yu- Manchu Guard that became a indoor student of Yang Pan Hao and Yang Lu chan. QuanYu and son

Wu Jian Quan created "Wu Taijiquan". It is a compact style of taiji with smaller circles as opposed to the more open 'big' postures the Yangs' teach. Two routines are done, one is slow and even, the other is fast. Quan Yu and Wu Chien Chuan of "Wu style" came from the Manchurian guards of the Emperor of china. Quan Yu was a student of Yang Lu Shan and Yang Pan Hao. Quan Yu was described as having attained the neutralizing quality of Yang Lu Shan, the originator of Yang style. The form uses smaller circles with both feet pointing in the direction of the movement, and spine in a straight line from the foot resembling a slight forward lean. This may be due to the fact that the dress attire of the time was in long heavy robes or coats. The Wu family was close with the Yang family. The wu's also inherited a fast form which is very different from the Tung fast form. This fast form was said to have come from Yang Shao Hao, brother of Yang Chen Fu.Wu Chien Chuan taiji website and Shanghai Wu style website

 

Dong Hai Chuan- founder of Baguazhang (Pakuachang) transmitted his circular fighting art in Beijing circa 1800’s.

 

Huo Yuan Jia- founder of 'Ching Wu' in Shanghai

 


Other famous master from Yang Taijiquan are:


Tian Zhou Lin- student of Yang Jian Hao and Yang Chen Fu.

 Chen Wei Ming- student of Yang Chen Fu and authored books for Yang.

Chang Yui Chun- student of Yang Shao Hao- 'Lao Jia' or Old Yang Frame.

Michuan Yangjia taijiquan was passed to

Chang Ching-Lin, a disciple of Yang Jian Hao. This style is completely different from all other yang styles and is considered the secret style that is now open to all people through Wang Yen-Nian of Taiwan.
Yangjia Michuan website It uses a different stepping, weight distribution, pivoting of foot, waist circling and upward spiraling. It is mentioned in several books and journals that Cheng Man Ching learned many push hands skills from Chang Ching-lin.

Tung family taijiquan is from a family that studied with the Yang family, and is currently taught in Los Angelas, Hawaii and Hong Kong. The Tung's teach two rare fast taiji sets in which they say is based on what Yang Chen Fu taught and used in actual combat.Tung taiji website

There have been other schools starting to make a comeback in the Taiji World that are very rare. Some of these include teaching such as 'Imperial Court Yang style', a lineage from Yang Lu Chan. There have been some other variations of Yang taiji from disciples of Yang Pan Hao, Yang Shao Hao and Yang Jian Hao.

Republic of China (R.O.C.) of Taiwan has adopted the 37 Cheng Man Ching Yang short form, which is a variation of the Traditional Yang style. As its national form, it has its own characteristics such as squareness within the circle, medium framed, and beautiful lady palm style. Some of the American representatives of this style are William C.C. Chen and Ben Pan Jeng Lo.William C.C. Chen's Tai chi chuan

 

Guang Ping Taijiquan was brought to America by Kou Yen Ling in the San Francisco area. This style named after the Perfecture where Yongnian County exists, and ( the county where Yang family came from) where Yang Pan Hao taught in his early days. This style has a low stance, wide frame, strong body method and a different style of starting, turning, following, and finishing the postures normally seen. Some of the names of the postures are different. Currently Henry Look of San Francisco is a top representative of this Yang version.Guang Ping website


Fu Zheng Song Taijiquan is another taiji hybrid style that combines aspects of Chen, Yang, Bagua and Hsing yi. Fu was known as one of the "Tigers of China," for killing a group of bandits that raided the village. He traveled through china teaching Baguazhang, weapons, Taiji, Baji, Liang yi,lightning fist and more.

Fu Zheng Song taiji website Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi master Fu Zheng Song created his own system of 'Nei Jia' or Internal Martial arts from Chen and Yang Taijiquan. Student of Fu Zheng Song: Liang qiang-ya wudang taiji website


Chen Pan Ling taijiquan

Chen Pan ling studied with Yang Shou Hao and Yang Chen fu. He was pivotal in the development of the Koushu or "national art" tournment and military trainings in Nanjing. He does a rare version of the long form called "Old Frame" since he had trained with Chen, Yang, and Wu taijiquan masters. He later moved to Taiwan to develope and continue kou shu for people. Chen Pan Ling taiji website


Wang Shu Tien taijiquan- Mater who created an ecclectic system  of Yang Taijiquan, Pakuachang and Xingyiquan. Wang Shu Tien taiji website



Chang Tung Sheng Taijiquan

Another notable from Taiwan is master Chang Tung Sheng who was a Shaui Jow (Chinese Wrestling) All Star Champion in China who learned from Yang Chen Fu as well. His taijiquan incorporates many of the throwing knowledge and skill.

Chang Tung Sheng Website website

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