BRIEF HISTORY OF YANG STYLE TAI-CHI CHUAN
Philosophically, the major concepts of Tai Chi Chuan are rooted in Taoism. In particular, two major Taoist texts were, and are still today, important for the Tai Chi practitioner: the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching. In the Tao Te Ching, a book of poems written by Lao Tzu, we learn that Tai Chi is the idea of Tao. According to the natural laws of the universe, versus the force or artificial, if one understands these laws and regulates one’s actions in conformity with them, one can turn everything to one’s advantage. It is out of this basic idea that Tai Chi received the name, Grand Ultimate. Tai Chi practitioners have taken this idea of the Grand Ultimate and have applied it to their martial system for fighting and for health. From the I Ching, Tai Chi martial artists took the concept of Yin and Yang. In the natural flow of events, the operating principle that drives the universe is the interplay of two polar forces-Yin and Yang. The Yin is considered the passive force while Yang is considered the active force. Between the Dynamic tension of Yin and Yang, all things find their nature. Traditionally, Tai Chi Chuan has been known by four different names according to personal preferences and local customs. These names are Tai Chi Chuan, Shi Shan Shih, Mei Chuan And Chang Chuan. Tai Chi was called Mei Chuan because the phrase means “soft sequence” and referred to the relaxed and gentle way in which the forms were performed. Chang Chuan, the last name used to refer to Tai Chi, means “long sequence”. The Tai Chi barehanded sequence, in comparison to those of other martial styles, take much longer to perform while also containing a larger number of techniques-thus the long sequence. There is also a Shaolin style of Chang Chuan, but in this case the phrase means Long Fist, referring to the style of long range fighting maneuvers.
It was not until the middle of the eighteenth century that the history became clear and precise. During that time, a man named Chen Chang Shen was teaching Tai Chi in the Huo Nan province to his relatives and a few selected outsiders. Traditionally, the teaching of many martial systems were tightly restricted to relatives and people with the same surname. At this time a man named Yang Lu Shann (1780-1873) wanted to learn Tai Chi. Because Yang Lu Shann wasn’t a member of Chen Chang Shen’s family, he had difficulty in gaining entrance; but, Yang Lu Shann did eventually gain entrance into the family as a servant. As a member of the families household, Chen Chang Shen taught Yang Lu Shann Tai Chi, but only its surface knowledge. For a long time Yang Lu Shann was disappointed he was not learning the key aspects of the system. Nevertheless, he faithfully and diligently practiced what he was taught.
Yang Lu Shann’s progress in mastering Tai Chi was painfully slow until one fateful midnight while sleeping, Yang Lu Shann was awakened by faint shouting sounds that came from a distance. He followed the shouts until he came upon Chen Chang Shen with a group of students. Yang Lu Shann carefully hid himself and observed all the martial secrets which Chen was teaching. Among the things which Yang Lu Shann learned were the Hun and Ha method of shouting for the generation of power. Up to this point, Yang Lu Shann could not use his power for martial purposes. Although Chen Chang Shen taught Yang Lu Shann the forms of Tai Chi, he did not teach him their martial purpose. In addition, Yang Lu Shann Learned how to apply all the techniques from the barehanded sequence that he had observed in secret. One day it happened that Chen Chang Shen asked Yang Lu Shann to spar with the students who practiced secretly at midnight. To Chen Chang Shen’s surprise, not even his best student could overcome Yang Lu Shann. From that moment on Chen Chang Shen Formally accepted Yang Lu Shann as his disciple; Yang Lu Shann was, from that point on, taught the family style in earnest.
Some of the colorful names of the Yang Style Tai Chi are:
1. Part the wild horses mane
2. White crane spreads his wings
3. Brush knee twist step
4. Play the guitar
5. Step back, and repulse the monkey
6. Ward off, Roll back, Press, and Push
7. Wave hands like clouds
8. Single whip
9. Pat horse high
10. Kick with heel
11. Strike the ears and Punch
12. Turn and kick to the heart
13. Snake creeps down
14. Golden pheasant stands on one leg
15. Lady works the shuttle
16. Pick up needle from sea bottom
17. Flash arms
18. Deflect Down Parry And closing, to bring Chi back to Dan Tien HISTORY