Archive through December 21, 2004

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Yang Family Hidden Form?: Archive through December 21, 2004
   By C.Wagner on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 03:56 am: Edit Post

i did not question anyone's honesty. i simply stated that there is a long form that was taught by Yang Shao Hou which is basically the same long form with 3 sections that was taught by Zhang Qinlin.

   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 02:34 pm: Edit Post

According to Tian Zhao Lin, in information passed to his son, Yang Shou Hou *only* practiced the 64 small frame. Which at the time was not called small frame. He did not practice his fathers middle frame or his younger half brothers large frame (the latter completely impossible due to the fact that he was dead when Cheng Fu developed it!!!!). The 64 small frame does not have 3 sections, it is almost entirely energetic and fast. It is not Tai-Chi as Zhang Qinlin taught it. There has been lots of creation and imagination in reaction to the rumour of it and not a little invention both in form and lineage. Very very few knew this work, many knew the simpler work. Very few had direct family ties but many had loose ties or met someone in a park and promptly became long lost disciples upon death and possibility of challenge. Commercialism became a modern necessity to motivate the spreading of the art but it is Yin and Yang, within that came deception and bullsh*t.

   By nats (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 04:21 pm: Edit Post

it is not important who the usurper was/is regarding Yang style. If, in the process of trying to make the non-lineage per present direction, the mass marketer, then we have failed. It is no0t who has the more 'commercialized' (i.e. (most students, etc) but who through though, word and deed exemplifies and creates their own tradition through virtue, good knowledge and xperience and can show the art.

It is not totally bs because many people have benefitted from the New Styles, so in that sense, health is paramount. Martially, is a different matter, that can easily be handled by shuaijiao and similar training.

caint we all get along without resorting to this level of discourse? Let us say people were to choose the best martial arts to study an they view this board, which art will they pursue based on our exchanges here??? Surly not what we xpound that we claim to be internal!//

jist a different point of view!

   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:45 am: Edit Post

I can't quite figure out what you are trying to say, is it just that we shouldn't argue. In that case think of it as a slightly heated discussion. All is yin and yang, if there is no energetic differential there would be no action or need for it and we would all just sit and stare at blank screens or blandly congratulate each other on our complete agreement. Is that what you want?

   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:58 am: Edit Post

The Chang Interview

An interview from China Wushu Magazine from the mid seventies with Chang Yiu-Chun a student of Yang Shou-Hou.

Q. How long have you been practicing the T'ai chi ch'uan

A. Since 1911.

Q. Who was your first teacher and how long did you study with him.

A. My teacher was Yeung (Yang) Shou-hu the grandson of the founder of the Yeung (Yang) style, Yeung Lu-sum. (Yang Lu-Ch'an). I was with Yeung from 1911 until his death in 1930.

Q. Many people have commented upon the sometimes brutal nature of Yeung Shou-hu's teaching methods.

A. Yes, quite often we would finish a training period with blood on our vests and many bruises. Sometimes a bone would be broken. Yeung did not have many students.

Q. What are your views on this type of training?

A. It was good for me because I was very undisciplined in my younger days. I always wanted to fight and so with Yeung I got plenty of fighting. It taught us that if we did not do T'ai chi ch'uan correctly then we were hurt.

Q. Most people in the West would look upon this type of T'ai chi ch'uan training as being quite brutal. The style of Yang style T'ai chi ch'uan today in the West is not brutal at all.

A. I do not know about what they do in the West. But what they do in China is a modified form of T'ai chi ch'uan invented by Yeung Shou-hu's younger brother Yeung Cheng-po (Yang Cheng Fu). This style is Yeung Cheng-po's own invention so that many older and sick people can do T'ai chi ch'uan.

Q. What you are telling me is that there are actually two different types of Yeung style?

A. Yes, the one that was founded by Yeung Lu-sum is not like the Yeung Cheng-po type.

Q. What are the differences?

A. When my teacher used to do his T'ai chi ch'uan, we would often say that he was like a canon shot one second and like the great river in the next second. He was very energetic. The Yeung Cheng-po style is all soft and flowing with no canon shots.

Q. I have never heard of this and I find it quite interesting. Why is it that no-one knows that there are two Yeung types of T'ai chi ch'uan. Did Yeung Cheng-po do the original T'ai chi ch'uan?

A. In the early days before Yeung Cheng-po, we would only teach T'ai chi ch'uan to family members and very close friends, friends who were almost like family members. I am a family member, a second cousin to the Yeung Shou-hu family. Yeung Cheng-po was the first one to teach everyone and he became very famous all over China. So this is why we only ever hear about this style. Yes, Yeung Cheng-po did the original Yeung style of his grandfather before about 1915, then he changed it. Many people watched him practice the original style and he even taught a few people. But when he invented his own style and changed it over a few years, all of his students forgot about the original style.

Q. From what you know about him, was Yeung Cheng-po as good at self defence as we are told today?

A. Yes, he was very good at self defence. He was quite large and strong and he could also be quite brutal in his pushing hands but he learnt the original style first.

Q. Other T'ai chi ch'uan styles sometimes say that the Yeung (Yang) style is no good for self defence, why is this?

A. Yes, it is no good for self defence if you are talking about the Yeung Cheng-po style. But if you mean the Yeung Lu-sum style then it is very good for self defence. No-one outside of the family knows the Yeung Lu-sum style and so everyone thinks that the Yeung style is useless.

Q. How good then is the original Yeung style of T'ai chi ch'uan?

A. ... it is the best.

Q. Why and how is it used for self defence.

A. We use T'ai chi ch'uan in two ways. The first I can tell you about because many people know this way today. This way we take the movements and use them for self defence. we move out of the way of an oncoming force and give our own attack as he passes. we lock his bones, we break his legs and arms. This is the first level of T'ai chi ch'uan self defence. The second way is too sinister and evil for me to talk about.

Q. Why?

A. I am sorry, I have taken an oath not to tell about this way of self defence.

Q. Does pushing hands play an important part in your T'ai chi ch'uan?

A. Today it does but in the early days it did not. we used to place more importance upon the fighting but as we learnt more, we used pushing hands to teach us about balance and the theory of yin and yang.

Q. What do you mean by 'fighting'.

A. By that I mean the shan-shou. But there are also today two versions of the shan-shou. The one version by the Yeung Cheng-po family is softer and less brutal while the older version is quite brutal.

Q. Brutal, why.

A. We do the shan-shou in three ways. The first way is to learn the movements of attack and defence. The second way is to do these movements faster and with much more power, this is where we get some bruises. The third way is when we try to strike each other for real and try to get each other off balance by doing the movements in the wrong sequence.

Q. If Yeung Lu-sum were to be alive today, what would he say about his T'ai chi ch'uan.

A. Firstly he would not recognize the name because it was not called T'ai chi ch'uan until fairly recently. He would even recognize what is being taught in his name today. Unless he saw the Yeung Shou-hu style. Although I am sure that over the years this too has changed as everything does. But not as much as the Yeung Cheng-po style.

Q. Many people in the West have changed the Yeung Cheng-po style even more. Even in China we now have people changing the styles trying to integrate the three styles. (the beginning of the Peking styles... Editor). What is the future of T'ai chi ch'uan.

A. I do not want to say anything about the way in which our Government is changing the styles and I do not care what is happening in the West. But if T'ai chi ch'uan changes any more and no more people begin to teach the original Yeung style then when we used to have a goat, now we have a duck.

Q. So you think that Tai Chi has changed much since it was founded by Yang Lu chan

A. Yes, I look around China and see everywhere people who think they are doing Tai Chi Chuan but not many are realy doing Tai Chi Chuan.

Q. What do you mean, surely it does not matter what style they do, it must all be Tai Chi Chuan?

A. I am not talking about the different styles, I am talking about the way in which people learn Tai Chi Chuan today. They think that if they learn some slow movements that they are doing Tai Chi Chuan. It takes much longer and much more dedication to learn Tai Chi Chuan properly.

Q. But surely, those who do not wish to do Tai Chi for fighting will only ever have to do the slow movements for good health.

A. Some of them will gain some small benefit to their health, I agree but much better health is available through doing Tai Chi in the correct way.

Q. Why did you take up Tai Chi Chuan, as a health improver or for fighting.

A. Most of us when we started our Tai Chi Chuan training years ago only knew it as one thing and that was for fighting. No-one even suspected that this great art could be good for health until Yang Cheng-Fu popularized his version. In doing the fighting, we also improved our health automatically but we did not take classes with the thought of improving our health.

Q. But surely, many people must build up the body first of all before fighting and isn't this where the slower forms come in?

A. What people today do not realize is that back then when I was learning and it was still relatively unheard of even in China with only the main families like the Chen, the Wu and the Yang keeping it to themselves. It was only after Tai Chi became good for the health that many people started to learn. Most of us were already good at other styles of fighting. I knew Tiger Boxing and because of this and having to work very hard I and many others were already robust so we did not have to do the slow Tai Chi Chuan and even if we were not robust, there was no slow Tai Chi Chuan anyway!

Q. What was the area in which you trained when you first went to see Yang Shou-hu?

A. As I have already said, I was good at Tiger Boxing and so I was boastful about my ability. This boastfulness was soon taken out of me by Yang Shou-hu.

Q.How was this done?

A. I was much younger than Yang Shou-hu and thought that I was strong and like a young stallion but when I arrived at my Cousin's school I was forced to fight with him.

Q. You had to fight with Yang Shou-hu!

A. Yes, before this he was just cousin Yang but now he was no longer my cousin, he was someone that I had to fight.

Q. What happened?

A. I thought that I could surprise him with a technique we used to call The Tiger Is Cornered and this is when we use many attacking techniques to get us out of a corner. When I attacked Yang, I thought at first that he had disappeared but later I believed that he just moved so quickly and at the same time that I moved that he was right in front of me before I could do anything. My strikes were aimed at a greater distance than Yang actually was and I found myself hitting the floor unconscious.

Q. How did he knock you out?

A. He used a very advanced technique, one that I am unable to talk about.

Q. Were you hurt badly?

A. No, only my behind was sore when I hit the floor, I did not feel anything at first but later there was some slight swelling around where he struck me.

Q. And did you eventually learn these techniques.

A. Only when I had been with Yang for many years and even though I was a family member, I had to prove myself to be an honorable person.

Q. What do you mean by an honorable person.

A. By that I mean that I would never go out and use these techniques for the purpose of being boastful or to show off. Yang taught that if we were ever provoked that we should try to play the coward first of all but if that failed then we must act so quickly as to not allow our attackers to know which techniques we were using.

Q. Did you have to defend yourself many times.

A. As I progressed, I became one of the senior students and it was my job to teach the younger students. When I say younger students, there were only about three ever at a time because the training was so brutal. Many times we would have people from different schools coming around to Yang's house and be boastful about their ability. We were told to ignore this. It was only when these people actually came inside of Yang's house that I was allowed to fight them.

Q. And the outcome?

A. I am no longer boastful. I will say that in all of the years with Yang, I never saw any of his students beaten.

Q. Not once.

A. Well, there was one time when this person came to the school but he was different and did not seem to show off like some of the others. He would look in and we would stop, he would go away, then he would appear again and we would stop. This went on for some time until I was asked to go out and invite him inside.This chap was called Chiang and he was apparently good at Pa Kua Chang. I did not fight him but one of the other students did and the fight lasted quite a long time with no-one winning. In the end Yang stopped the fight and congratulated the young man and then invited him to attack. This seemed to be getting serious but in the end the young man just stood there waiting. Yang stood there waiting. Then they bowed and he left.

Q. Why did they do that?

A. Yang and Chiang knew that they both knew something. There are no attacks in Tai Chi Chuan or Pa-Kua Chang. It may look like we are attacking but we only ever attack after we have been attacked so Chiang did not attack and neither did Yang and so there was no fight. We were all disappointed but learnt a good lesson.

Q. What happened after Yang Shou-hu died, the style seemed to disappear.

A. Yes, the few senior students of Yang Shou-hu decided that it would be best not to teach what we knew to everyone and so we all went our different ways to teach only a selected few students.

Q. How many students did you have?

A. I only taught about seven people what I knew and they in turn did not teach many.

   By C.Wagner on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit Post

if this is a discussion, let us discuss the facts. there is a short form and a longer form that was taught by Yang Shao Hou. the longer form is taught by students of different lineage and is so similar as to be the same with variation. the short or small frame form is the old Wu style with greater variation. the very exsistance of these forms and variations shows what was taught. what does it all mean or matter? who knew what, who taught who, who was better, etc..... are opinions that have little to do with practicing and more to do with marketing. Tai Chi Chuan follows principle, not style or form.

   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 02:07 pm: Edit Post

Who told you this, and why do you presume you have correct information?

I repeat, the constant companion of Yang Shou Hou after Ban Hou died was Tian Zhao Lin. He was instructed by Jian Hou to transfer and Baishi to him, do you know what that means?? He knew and trained all the work of Shou Hou. He passed that FULL information to ONLY one person, his son Tian Yin Jia. As the article states the information was not devulged to non family or non Baishi. Some others had part of this information including Cheng Fu due to him running away from home and not coming back until after his father died. Certain people have seen a commercial imperitive or advantage that can be taken under the presumption that this information would never emerge. And it has not as both senior Tian and his son kept a very low profile in defference to the Yang Family. But now the truth is out there take it or leave it.

You question this!! under the authority of whom? I am afraid both you and your source are talking out of their hat.

There were no forms as we know them today that is all post Cheng Fu and was a development or simplification of the form Jian Hou developed to help give access to the training. The name for that and the name for the original training was only coined post Cheng Fu to differentiate the different training. So all this non sense coming along in this modern age about secret forms only taught to Chauffeurs or window cleaners or anyone else is just pure nonsense as none of this existed pre Chen Fu so how could it have been taught!! The training was the training, the form if you wish to use a *modern* word for the training was not fixed it was flexible and fluid according to your opponent. And yes there was an opponent when you trained and YOU created him, again this will mean nothing to you yet if you really knew then it would. Where do you think the 88 san shou came in it was the same but with a real opponent, the two went hand in hand. This original training method was seperated out by Jian Hou into exercise methods for training specific skills which have more recently been refered to as Yang Family 8 Brocades, which I think is very confusing as it bears little to no resemblance to the more common Shaolin derived 8 brocades, form which is now known as middle frame and application as in San Shou. This was extended and simplified further by Cheng Fu. Your information it seems comes from THAT source not before.

   By Michael Andre Babin on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 02:39 pm: Edit Post

Poor old Shao-hou, Ban-hou and even Yang Cheng-fu must be spinning in their graves at high speed when they see that the martial arts that they practised and taught have turned into a side-show of competing shills all shouting that they, and only they, have the complete goods.
You can't automatically inherit apptitude or learn high-level martial skill by practising a form or two -- no matter how good it/they might have been in the hands of the expert who created it.
There are always exceptions but, in my limited experience, those teachers and students who make the loudest noises about lineage are often those with the least amount to offer in objective terms...

   By C.Wagner on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 02:53 pm: Edit Post

i was told this by my teacher. using my own personal observations i confirmed in my own mind what i was told. i have seen (in person) 2 versions of a long form ( Yang Shao Hou lineage, Zhang Qinlin lineage), a version of a small frame/usage form (72 forms, over 200 moves), the old Wu style form and an old Chen form. i am sorry if this conflicts with what you were told. i have nothing to gain or to prove from sharing this information. my only goal is to finish learning all the forms, to practice them and to perfect them.

   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit Post

So you PRESUME your information is correct. Who is this information from and what is the passage of this information from source, or is this just part of your belief structure?

Quite simply I am not promoting or deriding anything apart from information that is false. I am sure all of these forms are good and post Cheng Fu training is both functional and adequate.

I am reacting to someone who is saying that the information I am providing is false. I am not reacting by saying I am better or claiming superiority for ANY teacher or line.

I am refering to information that is new. It is not just my information it is verifiable. No one is selling anything, not seminars, not videos, not trying to take anyones students. It is just INFORMATION from a source that is unimpechable. It is the most direct information from that time that is available. It is only one removed from the source of that information so there is no hearsay involved. I will give you an article and another two witnesses to this information from Tian Yin Jia. Both of the authors of this article winessed the same conversation I did, this is not superiority it is history!!

Tian Zhaolin: A Legacy of Yang Taiji


Leroy Clark and Key Sun

The immortal arrives without shape; moves without form; comes and goes with no trace;

Such is the quality of the expert.

Although Tian Zhaolin (1891-1960) is lesser known outside China than other taiji masters like Chen Yenlin (Chen Kung) and Cheng Man Ching, he occupies a significant position in taiji lineage and is one of the most senior non-family descendants of the Yang family taiji. He was more senior than any yet known to the west. For example, Chen Yenlin directly learned taiji from Tian Zhaolin. Also, Cheng Man Ching’s teachers include Yang Chengfu and Ye Da Mi. Ye Da Mi was also a student of Tian Zhaolin.

The present article intends to introduce several contributions of Tian Zhaolin to Yang taiji. It is in part based on knowledge obtained from our correspondences and conversations with Masters Tian Yingjia (the middle son of Tian Zhaolin) and Yao Guoqing (Tian Yingjia’s primary Tudi) over the last several years.

The Early Years

Tian Zhaolin’s father passed away when he was an infant. As a young boy of eight years, he had to sell fruit to support his mother and two sisters. Yang Jianhou (1839-1917), the second son of Yang style founding father Yang Luchan, noticed him on his walks to the palace where he taught. He recruited him as his student and also provided maintenance for young Tian’s impoverished family. Thus from the age of 13 years and on, Tian Zhaolin learned taiji from Yang Jianhou and subsequently from Jianhou’s sons Yang Shaohou (1862-1930) and Yang Chengfu (1883-1936). These teachers were exceptional and profound taiji grand masters.

Once in the Yang family household, Tian Zhaolin was required to participate literally around-the-clock in the practice of their internal art alongside Jianhou’s sons Shaohou and Chengfu. The practices were overseen by father Jianhou. Tian Zhaolin lived with the Yang family, practiced day and night with them, ate with them, and slept with them. The first six months Zhaolin was made to practice stake exercises exclusively. After that Jianhou began to teach him the soft, sticky, energy art that he had inherited from his father Luchan. During the stake practice, should one of them move even the slightest, ole Jianhou would quickly come over to strike that person sharply with his long-handled smoking pipe. Similarly, during the practice of jin, should one of them hesitate or stop, Teacher Jianhou would quickly approach and strike that person sharply with his pipe. Tian Zhaolin also became a constant companion of Yang Shaohou. Tian also served as a practice partner for Shaohou. He learned to withstand his various “jins” and blows.

During those early years, in addition to living, learning, and practicing at the Yang family home, Tian Zhaolin also followed Teacher Jianhou to the palace and other various teaching sites carrying the master’s sword. Since Zhaolin had a very solid foundation and a very high awareness level and with the excellent teaching and training, he made a great progress.

After some seven years of learning and severe practice, in 1911 Teacher Jianhou ordered Zhaolin to enter a public fight contest representing his family. Zhaolin was surprised and quickly tried to beg-off, explaining to his teacher that he did not feel adequately prepared and did not wish to bring dishonor on the family. Jianhou responded by telling Zhaolin that he would not have ordered him to enter such a contest if he (Jianhou) did not believe he was well prepared. Tian Zhaolin then followed his teacher’s advice, entered the contest, and he won. Once home after the contest, Teacher Jianhou ordered Zhaolin to follow his eldest son Shaohou from this point onward. Shaohou and Zhaolin were often seen together around the capital and at martial art exhibitions. Tian’s reputation began to grow after his success in that raw fight competition.


After Jianhou’s passing in 1917, Tian Zhaolin continued to learn from Shaohou. Shaohou was known to possess a skill and method called, “One Thousand Hands Guanyin”. Tian also used this same method. In 1921 Zhaolin followed Shaohou to Hangzhou. There he hired a man-pulled chariot. The chariot man upon hearing the northern accent tried to double charge Tian his fee. Tian refused to pay the unfair, outrageous price. Soon some ten additional chariot men appeared and started to attack Tian. He launched them all out and to the ground.

Another time Tian was drinking tea in a teahouse by a lake. Two Army officers came in and told him to give them his seat. Tian refused. They struck at him but both were launched away. The Army officers then ordered ten nearby soldiers to fight him. Again, Tian launched them away, effortlessly, one by one.

Once Shaohou and Zhaolin attended a martial arts show together. Western boxing was included in the demonstration. When the western boxer finished his demonstration, the audience barely applauded. Then Zhaolin got up on the stage and demonstrated some taiji techniques. The audience went wild with applause. This offended the western boxer greatly. He got back up on the stage and demanded to know from the announcer why his western boxing demonstration received such little recognition while the taiji demonstration received such good response. The ring announcer suggested it was probably because so few in the audience understood western boxing while they did understand martial arts and taijiquan. With that the bellicose western boxer immediately demanded a challenge of the martial artist.

Yang Shaohou was sitting with Zhaolin at ringside. Zhaolin immediately jumped back into the ring and told the announcer he was willing to take the western boxer’s challenge. Shaohou shouted up at Zhaolin to knock the guy out of the ring. The challenge match began. The two fighters approached one another. Zhaolin started to circle slightly. He held one arm up shoulder level and extended the other to the front. Suddenly the western boxer lunged at Zhaolin. Before anyone could see, the western boxer was suddenly tossed cleanly from the ring. It was as if he were a kite held taunt by a string when suddenly the string is cut and the kite suddenly jumps out, up and away cleanly. He was bewildered and did not understand what had happened.

Energy, including that of taijiquan, may be thought of as transmission by wave. Earlier generation adepts in taiji had an expression – “'hitting the cow on the other side of the Mountain.” This phrase referred to hitting an opponent’s front side with the pain and effect being felt on the back side. In years past, people who sparred with Shaohou often described him as also having an energy like electricity. That is, it caused very painful sensations in the muscle and even on the skin surface. Tian Zhaolin, coming from that background, also knew this method. In the 1940’s a guy known as "Big Spear Liu" came to Shanghai’s “big world,” the city’s major performance and entertainment center. Spear Liu asked the doorkeeper, “Are there any good hands around here?” In other words, he was seeking someone considered highly skilled in martial art in order to make a challenge. The doorkeeper told “Big Spear Liu” of Tian Zhaolin. With that Big Spear set off to find Mr. Tian. He found Zhaolin and immediately demanded to spar by each striking the other three times. Tian responded that it may not be necessary. He said, “Just let me touch you. If you can tolerate my touch, you win. Liu, sensing a fool and an effortless victory, immediately agreed. The two men approached and Zhaolin reached out his hand to touch Liu’s chest. Within a few moments, Liu's facial muscles started to contort. Soon he grimaced and his face showed signs of intense pain. Spear Liu pulled away and, after recovering, commented: “I have traveled throughout five provinces and various cities but until today I have never seen such a profound skill.”

According to the descriptions of two elderly gentlemen still living today who observed Tian Zhaolin’s teaching practice at a park in Shanghai from early 1950’s to his later years, Tian’s push-hand practice with his students and others was particularly impressive and amazing. They describe Tian’s sparring with people as being like a “wheel fighting”. That is, an opponent would come forth, touch hands with Zhaolin, and quickly be sent flying as if they had ran into a rapidly turning wheel and had been repelled off. From 6:00 a.m. to noon he would teach and push-hands with them. Tian would just smile and teach without ever breaking a sweat, hour after hour, everyday, day after day. Many, many people came to learn from him. He was a throwback and reflection of the early Yang masters. He would push-hands with anyone without even asking their style or their names. In a flash they all would fall to the ground, one after another, without fail. His teaching and practice was a fascinating sight to behold. Tian’s early tudi’s, Ye Da Mi, Cheng ZhiJin, Yang KaiRu, and Shen PeiRong were all very good at push-hands.

There was a port-worker who was skillful in shaolin boxing. Once he tried to secretly attack Tian from behind while Tian was pushing-hands with another student. Tian didn’t even turn around; he simply made a certain kind of vocalization. With that sound both the student and the attacker were launched-out four yards away. Then Tian turned around and asked the port-worker if he had been hurt. That port-worker felt shame and apologized for his rude behavior.

Another time in the 1950’s, Zhaolin participated in a charity event in Shanghai. He demonstrated the rare taiji skill known as “lin kong jin”. A shaolinchuan master was there and thought it was a trick. He became incensed and bellowed that the demonstration was a fraud. He expressed a desire to challenge Tian. A relative of Chengfu’s student Tung Ying Chieh was there and stopped the challenger from going ahead with fighting Tian. Tung’s relative said he knew Zhaolin and absolutely understood that Zhaolin would have seriously hurt the external boxer if the two were allowed to fight there.

On another occasion, grandson Bingyuan likes to describe how a Shanghai gang came to their home to attack his grandfather. The gang members knocked on their door. Zhaolin opened the door and without any warning the thugs attacked him with an axe. Zhaolin managed to thwart the attack and struck the thugs, launching them all out. They fled immediately before Tian could follow up.

One of the most enlightening and widely read books on taijiquan in the west, as well as in China, has been attributed completely to the late Chen Yenlin. In fact, in China Chen Yenlin’s book has been republished and reworked several times. Some have claimed Chen learned directly from Yang Chengfu and that he was a teacher of Chengfu’s children. That is incorrect. Chen Yenlin did not even met Yang Chengfu. Chen Yenlin learned taiji from Tian Zhaolin for approximately a year about 1940. Prior to this Yenlin had learned a shaolin art.

Chen Yenlin was encouraged to study taiji by a print shop owner named Shi Huan Tang, Shi was also a taiji student of Teacher Tian. Chen Yenlin subsequently became a student of Tian Zhaolin. Notably, Yenlin wrote a couplet in honor of his teacher Zhaolin after his passing in 1960.

The work entitled, “Taiji Boxing, Saber, Sword, Spear, and Push-Hands”, was actually co-authored by both Shi Huan Tang and Chen Yenlin. All the information for that work was obtained from Tian Zhaolin. Yenlin would invite ZhaoLin to his home, along with three or four other senior students, for dinner. A secretary would be on hand to record the conversations on taijiquan. All the information in that book came from Tian Zhaolin. Originally, the book contained pictures of Chen and Shi pushing-hands. Tian had been asked for pictures but he responded that he did not know where he had placed them.

Tian then asked an artist to make drawings of his gestures for the book. However, when the book was published only Chen’s photos were included. To make matters worse, co-author Shi Huan Tang also was excluded from any credit by Chen Yenlin. Tian’s students were very upset over this. Tian Zhaolin, himself, was also dismayed by Chen’s behavior. Nevertheless, descendents today acknowledge the work today as being a good description of the large frame practice of Yang’s method. One should note, however, the large frame is but a small portion of the complete Yang family method.

Chen Yenlin’s book was first published in 1943 in two volumes. The book detailed and recorded the large frame, weapons, and the foundation for inner jin. It is noted, however, the middle frame of Jianhou and the 64-gesture small frame of Luchan, Banhou, Jianhou, Shaohou, and Zhaolin were not included in that book. Very few people know the middle frame and the small frame today.

Tian Zhaolin and Taiji’s Original Frame

The Door to Virtue is Heavy and Hard to Push

The small frame was the original frame of taijiquan as taught by Yang Luchan. It was done quickly. Except for the early members of the family and Tian Zhaolin, very few people who learn Yang’s tai chi can do the original small frame set.

When Luchan and his sons came to the capital and began teaching, he separated some of the original curriculum into component parts. Included in some of those changes, the small frame evolved and slowed into the middle frame. Jianhou finalized some of those changes in the middle frame. The large frame is distinctly different from the middle and small frames. The large frame is nearly devoid of circular motion. Third generation Yang Chengfu is credited with most of the development of the large frame. This was done to popularize taiji and to accommodate the interest of average citizens.

Yang Jianhou also taught that a key to the practice was the exercise known as “Eight Pieces of Brocade”. However, the taiji’s Eight Pieces of Brocade exercise differs from that of the same name known in shaolinchuan circles. Jianhou also advised that the set is the external side of taiji and meant only to lead the student to better energy development and usage. The goal of taijiquan is finally to leave the set as one incorporates the practice into one’s daily walk and activities.

Spirit and Two Red Lanterns

Tian Zhaolin was hospitalized in Shanghai in 1960. Some four months earlier, his beloved wife of many years and the mother of his three sons, had passed away. This tragedy had shaken him so much that he became increasingly listless and ill. One night, his oldest son Tian Hong and middle son Yingjia, staying by their father’s hospital bed, noted he was suddenly excited after awakening from a sleep. He told them of a dream he just had. In his dream, Jianhou and Shaohou came walking towards him. As they approached, he noted, each was carrying a red lantern to receive him. They welcomed him, smiled, and beckoned him to rejoin them after all these years of separation. Finally, Zhaolin advised his sons, he was now going to rejoin them, to be with them again at last. With that Tian Zhaolin smiled and quietly passed away. This event showed his close relationship with the senior Yang family.

Tian Zhaolin had three sons. The eldest, Tian Hong, was a school teacher. The middle son, Tian Yingjia, became an electrical engineer and also followed his father in taijiquan. The youngest son, Tian Yingrui, became a university professor in Shanghai. Only Yingjia followed his father’s footsteps in taijiquan. Tian Bingyuan, grandson of Zhaolin, learned taiji from his father. Yao Guoqin was selected as Master Tian Yingjia’s primary student. Tian Yingjia has 49 disciples and has taught some 500 students in all.

   By sleepydragon (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit Post

One could say... you presume to have the correct information.

The facts are simple... none of us where alive or lived in China at that time, and none of us will ever know "secret" forms if there are any.

Even the "masters" back then could not agree.


   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:02 pm: Edit Post

You obviously have not read the thread because that is exactly what I am saying. The claimed secret forms of bus drivers, chiropodists or cooks et al :o)) taught as secret Yang family forms and marketed as such do not exist. It is all very simple, Yang Lu Chan practiced a form or I should say a *not* form, as did Ban Hou and Shou Hou and Jian Hou. Jian Hou developed training work into a form so we had one, which is now refered to as middle frame, and Cheng Fu created the form that we all now know and recognise. And small middle and large has nothing to do with length of form or size of gesture as most people presume.

And pre Cheng Fu the number of students they each had could be counted on your two hands. If it were not for Cheng Fu and post Cheng Fu forms there would be NO Tai-Chi for us to speak of, this was his genius. And all of these so called secret forms are post Chen Fu forms, they contain none of the distiguishing aspects of the early forms.

Once again can you doubt information that is being provided due to a desire (at last) to make this knowledge public by probably one of anywhere from 10 to one individuals who actually know this. Tian has not met anyone recently who has this work, he says the ones he knows are now all dead. He hasn't even taught it to his son or primary student as "they are not ready yet"!!

I will never be ready and he wouldn't teach me anyway, my association is too loose. If you doubt what I say go to link to Tai-Chi samples then link to small frame sample, and if YOU recognise what he is doing as Tai-Chi I will eat my hat.

If you have different information please provide your sources. You are questioning the authenticity of someone who had 40 years direct tuition from his father who in turn spent a lifetime with the Yang Family having been adopted by Yang Jian Hou at the age of 13. He knew everyone of his fathers small number of students and also has a list of all his adopted fathers and eldest brothers students. And none of the proponents of these secret forms exist on those lists.

   By Bob #2 on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit Post

Wow- this is awsome. it's just like watching a tennis match between two blind guys.

   By Bob #2 on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:46 am: Edit Post

after a little hindsight- I'm sorry- that was rude. I meant to say it's like a volley-ball match between 4 blind, one-legged chicks.

Either way- you guys are hysterical. I wish we where all trapped in an elevator together.

   By C.Wagner on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit Post

i would agree that lineage arguments are entertaining but silly. it is quite common in martial arts for students of a particular lineage to position themselves as the only true students once the teacher dies. this is further complicated by the fact that students are often taught differently and have different interpretations of the information given by the teacher. all of this is nothing new. the various Yang family members probably experienced it throughout their lives. this may be one of the reasons they were so selective and "secret". if they are spinning in their graves, it is because very few students have achieved or surpassed their abilities. the disagreement however, is about the existance of forms practiced and taught by Yang Shao Hou. the information comes from Prof. Hou Chi Kwan and Master Lu Hung Bin. additional information comes from a senior student/teacher of our group who studied with Master Wang Yen-Nien in Taiwan. i cannot dispute or verify anyones beliefs, i can only state my own. my teacher has told me that "people are like water, they tend to flow to what ever level they are at." he also tells me that the time i spend posting is time away from practice. i still have alot to learn!

   By Richard Dunn (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post

Amd what is the connection between these people and Yang Shou Hou or Yang Chien Hou?

   By curious (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit Post

I watched the sample clip of the small frame form.

Are students taught to hunch their shoulders over like that? or is it just that the gentleman doing the form has poor posture?

   By Buddy (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit Post

brothers of another mother?

   By C.Wagner on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:57 pm: Edit Post

Prof. Hou Chi Kwan was an aristocrat, scholar and student of Yang Shao Hou. i was told Master Lu Hung Bin learned from him as well, but i have not confirmed this.

   By nats (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 04:14 pm: Edit Post


Prof. Hou Chi Kwang was a calligrapher among other things and despite knowing the many styles, his family was also a 16th generation exponent.
The family was well known for scholarship. I do know that although he created the CHinese Cultural Academy in Evanston, IL., it is under different 'ownership and I believe the present teacher does carry on the 'Shaohou' connection.

Perhaps some of you guys in the area who ask politely, that person may give a demonstration. The school is on Dempster street, Evanston IL an dthe school is the Chinese CUltural Academy.
Please be polite and gracious!

Lu Hung Bin was from the other side of the tracks, in that he dirtied his hands as a bodyguard at end of Qing dynasty,. He was not a scholar. I belive Hou studied with another xing-i teacher but not with Lu Hung BIn (as main teacher)
I will have to find the old information school info booklet to verify that as I do not recall.