Is it the Yang Family that put together Tai Chi from the Orginal 13 Movements?

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Is it the Yang Family that put together Tai Chi from the Orginal 13 Movements?
   By Shaolin Tai on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 11:46 pm: Edit Post

I like your site, but there are many people that I have talked to, that keep telling me that it was the Yang Family that put together Tai Chi from the Orginal 13 Movements. I guess that part of who was dfirst might be silly. Just wanted your input on that. Thanks.
Shaolin Tai

   By Tim on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 01:23 pm: Edit Post

Yang Lu Chan, founder of Yang style Tai Ji Quan, was a student of Chen Chang Xing, from whom he learned Chen style Tai Ji Quan. He later modified the Chen Tai Ji Quan into his own version of the system, which became known as Yang style Tai Ji Quan. The Chens had been teaching Tai Ji Quan for 200 years before Yang Lu Chan was born.

   By Graham on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 04:47 pm: Edit Post

.... or what he learned from Chen Chang Xing was not the Chen family art, but was in fact the art that later became known as Tai Chi Chuan after Yang LuShan had popularised it.

   By Royal Dragon on Monday, August 26, 2002 - 09:35 pm: Edit Post

Could be the Chen didn't teach him their family system and instead Taught him arts they had used as a foundation to thier style.

Yang is so different from Chen, it makes sense that, that would be the case, especially given the time period.

Maybe he got tha Tai Tzu Long Fist form, and some Hong Fist, mayby a bit of Pao Chui and the first 4 postures, then he stole a bit more, and amalgamated it to Yang style Taiji Quan.

That theory actually makes the most sense to me, from my limited understanding of the history.

   By Gerard on Sunday, September 08, 2002 - 12:59 pm: Edit Post

Intesting theory. The external postures of Yang tai chi appear to be of northern Shaolin origin. But I don't think the 8 energies stem from Shaolin, surely that was modified from Chen.

   By Royal Dragon on Sunday, September 08, 2002 - 03:21 pm: Edit Post

Here's a novell idea, maybe the Chen family got those energies from Yang Lu Shan.

   By Hans-Peter Geiss on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 09:30 am: Edit Post

This idea is probably not so novell as it seems. Actually I believe the theory, which says, that Chen Chang Xing got the Taiji transmission from a Wudang monk who resided some years in Chenjiagou.Yang Luchan arrived after his departure and Chen Chan Xing was not allowed to teach the Chen family boxing to Yang Luchan.The Chen's were very conservative and always only interrested in their family routines, probably very much influenced by the Shaolin monastery, located very close to the village. Therefore Chen Chan Xing taught him the Taiji which he learned from the monk. Many years later, after Yang Luchan has made Taiji famous, the Chens detected which gem Chen Chan Xing owned and passed to Yang Luchan. But meanwhile Chen Chan Xing was too old for teaching the complete art,and also has forgotten many things meanwhile. So the Chen family had to reconstruct the Taiji and figure it into their Chen family boxing style somehow. For doing this, they had to use Yang Luchan's energies. That could also be the reason, why Yang style Taiji looks very much like Wudang Taiji and Chen Taiji doesn't. It's hard for me to believe, that the Chen's were first in expressing the Taiji principles and the Wudang monks took them over from the Chen's and build completely different looking routines. If presumed that Taiji originates from Wudang Shan and it looks like Yang style - not Chen style, then how can the Chen-forms could be considered as the original Taiji-forms?

   By Mike Sigman on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 10:14 am: Edit Post

The interesting part of the various stories about how Taiji doesn't really originate from the Chen style is that these stories are direct insults to the Chens after they allowed one of the servants in the village to take part in the training.

The Yang family never tells these odd stories, although the stories tend to come from people who practice Yang style (or Wu style, before it split from the Yang family style) and who seem to want to glorify what they practice.

The Yang family used to be silent on the subject, but now they openly admit that the Yang style is derived from the Chen style. You can ask them. Besides, it is very obvious that the Yang form closely follows the Chen-style Lao Jia... if you did both of them, it is very obvious. Also, since the "Lao Jia" can be traced accurately back much further than Chen Chang Xing, it is difficult to put much credence to the story of Chen Chang Xing teaching a separate art that he supposedly learned in a short time, blah, blah, blah.

Basically, the story appears to not be what extraordinary concepts and energies the Yang style has (if you know anything about the "energies", that idea is a joke, since the famous saying is "there is only one jin" and that is the nei jin called "peng jin"... all other jins are made of that core jin), the story is more along the lines of what concepts and energies the Yang style does not have.

The story I heard from Chen Village is that Yang Lu Chan was given permission to teach (he asked,as any student would have to in those days) and he was allow to teach Taiji with "sink the qi" but he was not allowed to teach the use of the dantien power.

Naturally, without the dantien training, you cannot do the shaking power of the Chen style and it will be lacking in many other things. As history will tell you, Yang Lu Chan practiced the full Chen-style and that is what he taught his sons... but Yang Cheng Fu dropped the ball (which is why the Wu style went its own way; they didn't thing YCF rated being head of the style). So if YLC and Yang Ban Hou were the last of the "invincible" practitioners of the Yang style, how can someone argue about the superior "energies" of the Yang style?

But the main point is the first one.... why would people insult the village that was kind enough to teach Yang Lu Chan and to set him free from being an indentured servant?


Mike Sigman

   By Royal Dragon on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 08:14 pm: Edit Post

"But the main point is the first one.... why would people insult the village that was kind enough to teach Yang Lu Chan and to set him free from being an indentured servant?"

Maybe because they are PO'ed that he WAS an indentured servant. Sort'a like slaves that hate thier owners, but are really, really nice to him because they fear the "switch" (That's a small whippy stick used like a whip for those that don't know).

A soon as they are free from their master's, they can experss their true feelings, and often do........for generations down the line.


   By Mike Sigman on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 10:21 pm: Edit Post

Sure, that's why Yang Lu Chan went back to Chen Village 3 times for corrections after he left. You're somehow adding the politically correct American idea on "slavery" to the traditional Chinese idea of selling a child out for servitude in order to make ends meet. To finish your line of reasoning, Yang Lu Chan would have to have hated his parents for selling him into servitude.

What seems to have happened in reality is that Yang Lu Chan never said a word, but Wu Yu Xiang started the legend of the "southern transmission" of Taiji in order to hype the Yang style as being special and not really from Chen Village... the idea was carried to extremes by the likes of Wu Tu Nan who even lied about his own age. Wu Lin magazine even says worse.

Perhaps the problem is that you're just looking to justify the stuff you're selling as Taiji and you don't mind throwing any and everybody under the bus while you do so? We need a subject you can wildly speculate upon without your using other peoples' names and reputations as throwaways... let's use your name, Gian (John) Lencioni, and speculate about how you're a karate guy trying to make your name by trashing things you know nothing about and selling lessons to people who don't know any better. Why don't you give us some debate points along those lines... it would be something you at least have a little information about, so the debate wouldn't be so tenuous and it certainly would be fairly interesting to hear why you think you know anything about Taiji. Doesn't your website indicate that you learn things from videos?


Mike Sigman

   By Observer on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 12:32 am: Edit Post

Actually, it was Chen Xin who gave the Chen version of who taught what to whom.

No doubt the modern tigers have their story, but that's a family affair, if they want to call one of their long dead literate members a liar.

As for Sigman being their U.S. representative authorized to insult the Yang family, and pass on the wisdom of the one and only jing, complete with body shaking, that tells more and better about the current state of Chen family business.

Hope they never get into the lawn bowling business.


   By Mike Sigman on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 09:58 am: Edit Post

Actually, it wasn't Chen Xin that gave the Chen version. If you look at Chen Xin's book and you do a little research, you'll find that the parts about Wang Tsung Yueh, etc., were added after Chen Xin's death as part of the deal to get his book published.

I don't know where the part about me being a representative of anyone comes in. I speak for myself as truthfully as I can about the known facts and I have the ethics to sign my own name if I take a shot at someone.

Mike Sigman

   By Mike Sigman on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 11:42 am: Edit Post

Here's a couple of emails I have stored in relation to some of the Taiji history. The story (not included because I can't spot the filename) about the Wang Tsung Yueh character being added to Chen Xin's book is fairly well known, so it doesn't need much of a look if someone wants to find it. So here's a couple of my files that are somewhat related:

Following is a note that Chen Xin wrote in "Wen Xiu Tang" boxing manual of
> Chen clan (the text is dated September 22nd, 1928):
> "It should be known that Chen Family Boxing was already famous in Yuan
> dynasty, my ancestor (i.e. Chen Bu) was very famous in the beginning of
> dynasty, and (the Boxing) was not taught by Jiang; before Chen Zouting
> Chen Wangting), in early Ming (dynasty) there were many good boxers (in
> clan); after Chen Zouting there were many good boxers as well. It is
> important to know that Chen Zouting lived in Ming dynasty (i.e.
> while Jiang Bashi ("Bashi" is the popular term for skilfull martial
> lived during the reign of emperor Qianlong (i.e. 1736-1795), it is absurd
> point out that Chen Family Boxing came from Jiang. Such claim is absurd,
> Jiang by any means cannot be considered Chen Zouting's teacher, he lived
> another period (...) and was not as good as Chen Zouting, there is no need
> to talk nonsense and make people uncertain, from now on it it absolutely
> forbidden to say that Chen Family Boxing was passed by Jiang (...)"
> Chen Xin says here that Jiang lived in Qianlong period.
> However in his "Illustrated Explanations to Chen Family Boxing" published
> 1933, Chen Xin mentions that there was a Jiang, member of Li Jiyu's
> uprising, who could not only run extremely fast, but was also a skilfull
> martial artist. This Jiang became Chen Wangting's servant.
> This text suggests that Jiang was contemporary to Chen Wangting, i.e.
> in 17th century.
> In 1935 Chen Ziming in his book "Chen Family Boxing Transmitted Through
> Generations" included a drawing of sitting "Chen Wangting with Servant
> Fa" standing behind him and holding halberd.
> It seems that while Chen Xin considered Qianlong period Jiang and Ming
> period Servant Jiang to be two different persons, Chen Ziming - probably
> mistake - made them one person and this is one of the reasons for
> we have nowadays.
> Probably the earliest source that provides some more information about
> Fa is Du Yuanhua's "Orthodox Tajiquan" published in 1935:
> "Great Master teacher Jiang Fa was a native of Huaiqing, Wen County (Henan
> Province) and born in the second year of emperor Wanli of Great Ming
> (dynasty) (i.e. 1574) and lived in Xiao Liu Village in the eastern part of
> the county, several li from Zhaobao Township. At the age of 22 he learnt
> martial arts from Great Master Wang Linzhen in Taigu, Shanxi. (...) He
> studied (boxing) for seven years (...)."
> Was Jiang Fa native of Shanxi or Henan? What about his expertise in
> Tongbeiquan?
> #2.About Hongdong Tongbeiquan:
> According to late Meng Naichang (based on his analysis of Hongdong
> Tongbeiquan text "Zhong Yi Quan Tu Gao Ben" - "The Illustrated Book of
> Yi Boxing" - published in 1936) the style was brought by Guo Yongfu
> of Henan, lived during Qianlong period) to Hongdong. The style is
> to be "Long Fist Boxing in 108 Postures" lost in Chenjiagou. The
> of "General Song of Boxing Classic" recorded in Chen style manuals and
> of movements of Chen style Long Fist Boxing and those of Tongbeiquan are
> almost identical.
> >From what I know there is no record of Jiang Fa in Tongbeiquan
> Several years ago an interesting article was published in one of Chinese
> magazines about Gui Che Zuan, a rare style popular in northern part of
> Shanxi province. The style was said to be created/taught by Jiang Fa of
> Henan Province. I have the article somewhere but it will take me some time
> to find it in those high piles of papers...:-)
> I believe Greg Bissell has published articles on Guo Yongfu and Hongdong
> Tongbeiquan as well as Gui Che Zuan in his excellent "Chenstyle Taijiquan
> Journal".
> Chen
> > Wangting was a famous military leader at the end of the Ming dynasty and
> the
> > beginning of the Qing dynasty. His barehand and weapon skills were very
> > good, and he is known for having cleaned up the bandits in the areas of
> > Henan and Shandong. There is a tradition that because Chen Wangting
> > the life of Jiang Fa, Jian Fa owed him a debt of gratitude and so
> > Chen Wangting. According to one story Jiang Fa taught tongbeiquan to
> > Wangting, so that his relationship to Chen Wangting was both friend and
> > teacher. Another story is that Jiang Fa was a disciple of Chen Wangting.
> > There is no definitive explanation or proof of their true relationship.
> > have discussed this matter with a famous teacher and representative of
> > tongbeiquan, and according to him, in the the current Chen style second
> > routine Pao Chui (cannon fist) there are many moves which very much
> resemble
> > tongbeiquan. In the Chen family they have a painted portrait, the
> > of which are Chen Wangting and Jiang Fa. This confirms that a person
> > Jiang Fa existed and that he had some position with regard to the Chen
> > family. That Yang Luchan studied with the 14th generation Chen family
> member
> > Chen Changxing is well established and not disputed. Yang Luchan went to
> the
> > Chen village 3 times and spent a total of 18 years learning their art,
> > was one of the most expert practitioners of Chen style at the time. The
> > linkage between the Yang family and the Chen family runs very deep. My
> > grandfather is entered into the Chen family records as a member of the
> 18th
> > generation and has very good relations with the current Chen style
> > representatives Chen Xiaowang and Chen Zhenglei. Whenever the two of
> > encounter my grandfather they refer to him as 'shi shu' (senior fellow
> > disciple) and whenever I see them, I also call them them 'shi shu'.
> >
> > Wu Yuxiang first studied with Yang Luchan. Later he went to the Chen
> village
> > in hopes of becoming a disciple of Chen Changxing, but because Chen
> > Changxing was already very old at that time and did not wish to take on
> any
> > new disciples, he sent him to the town of Zhaobao to become a disciple
> > Chen's cousin Chen Qingping. Wu Yuxiang and Jiang Fa did not live in the
> > same time period.
> >
> > Wang Zongyue (lived during the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty,
> > 1736 to 1795) was a native of Shanxi. He lived in Henan in the vicinity
> > Kaifeng, Luoyang. His profession was teacher. He was a plain person who
> > greatly loved martial arts. He was expert in taijiquan (it is said he
> > learned taijiquan from the Zhang Sanfeng lineage of the Wudang school),
> > spear, and sword. He authored a book called Taijiquan Pu (Manual of
> > Taijiquan). Wang Zongyue and Chen Wangting did not live in the same time
> > period.
> The popular biography of Wang Zongyue comes from Tang Hao's writings.
> Tang Hao found a spear manuscript in Beiping (Beijing) bound together with
> Wang Zongyue's "Taijiquan Classic"; the "Yinfu Spear Manual" contained
> preface (written by somebody else) with biographical information about a
> "Mister Wang from Shanxi" (author of the "Manual", expert in sword and
> techniques); Tang came to the conclusion that this "Mr.Wang" must have
> Wang Zongyue.
> Closer analysis of both texts (as done by Xu Zhen and Wu Wenhan) shows,
> they were not written by the same person and Wang Zongyue (author of
> "Taijiquan Classic";) is not necessarily "Mister Wang from Shanxi" (author
> "Yinfu Spear Manual";). For this reason the biography of "Mister Wang from
> Shanxi" is of course not necessarily that of Wang Zongyue.
> As Douglas Wile and Li Zijian pointed out it is very possible that there
> not such a person as Wang Zongyue and texts attributed to him were written
> later, probably by Wu brothers.
> > In regard to origin and history of taijiquan, in China there are many
> > historians and amateur scholars who have tried to sort this out, but up
> > until the present, there are still no definitive conclusions. In recent
> > times the most popular tradition is that taijiquan no doubt originated
> from
> > the Chen family. The matters that I have related above are not
> definitively
> > proven by historical fact or documents, but I have provided them for
> > reference.
> This is the part of the whole statement that I like the most...:-)
> Jarek
> *******************************************
> Jarek Szymanski
> Shanghai, China PR
> Tel/fax : +86 21 54187906
> Email : or
> Website:

Chen Qingping (1795-1868, 15th generation) was married to Zhaobao Village at the age of 19. This is a special case because he was married to his wife instead of his wife married to him. This means that his wife's family had no male children and they paid a lot of money to make a man come to the woman's house. By implication, the children will bear the mother's named, not the fathers. The oral history used the words "He was married to the Zhaobao Village". We do not know whether his children had to use their mother's name.

So he taught in the Zhaobao Village and started a Taiji lineage there. There was no Taiji there prior to his arrival.

Wu Yuxiang studied from Yang Fukui (Lu Chan) at the beginning and then went to the Chen Village to study from Chen Changxing. Changxing was at an advanced age and did not teach any more. Changxing's son Gongyun was a guard outside of the Chen Village. Changxing then referred Wu Yuxiang to study from Chen Qingping in the Zhaobao Village. As a matter of fact, this is the reason that the Zhaobao village style Chen Taiji got known to the outside.

I heard the above story from Hong Junsheng, Feng Zhiqiang and Chen Xiaoxing (CXW's brother) and also read something to the same effect in a book written by Chen Zhenglei.

I am sure this is also the same story you have.



I have heard from many common sources that the origin of controversy in Taijiquan is from the Wu Yuxiang book. The Yang family had not done anything to discredit the Chen origin story.

Hong Junsheng read a handwritten copy (supposed to be original) of the Wu Yuxiang book when he was in Beijing in the early 1930s. He said it was full of errors, the kind of misuse of words (same sound but different meaning) that he felt the book must be a forgery (?) by someone who did not know taijiquan. I thought it would be counterproductive to get into that kind of thing so did not ask further.


Enjoy it.


   By Observer on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 06:52 pm: Edit Post

Same old, same old.

Chen Xin was the first to write about Chen history.

He stopped writing it in 1919. So, very likely a 1928 marginal note was by someone else who wanted to confuse people.

The issue is whether Chen Xin gave an account of Jiang Fa, a tofu merchant, teaching his tricks to Chen Changxing, after defeating Changxing in a contest.

You know the old Lim references:

As for using your own name, what was the reason you were banned from the Yang Family board?

If Dantian rotation, Chen style version, were the key to boxing prowess, Shakira would be a martial arts master.




   By stc on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 07:09 pm: Edit Post

hey dudes

Shakira.. i'd kneel and offer her a cup of tea if she offered to teach me dantien rotation..hubba hubba



   By Royal Dragon on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 07:33 pm: Edit Post

Mike Sigman said "Perhaps the problem is that you're just looking to justify the stuff you're selling as Taiji and you don't mind throwing any and everybody under the bus while you do so?"

Hey Sigman!, Your out of line pal, I am just throwing some speculation out there to see what the responses are. I am NOT trying to trash anyone, and I don't see as how my comments do so. I think your too easily offended. You might want to toughen up a bit, someday mommy's hand won't be there to hold on to.

Also, on the video thing, big deal, I still flew out to learn from the master, in his home. AND I have an internal guy here coaching me as well. I have the "Inside" of the set.

   By LMAO on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 08:08 pm: Edit Post

You guys have absolutely NO idea how funny I'm finding this.

   By Royal Dragon on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 09:25 pm: Edit Post

I hope your laughing your ass off. This debate has degenerated in to comic idiocy.

Can anyone save it???


PS, I have considered selling Mike Sigman, any offers?

   By Meynard on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 09:54 pm: Edit Post


The video thing is a big deal. Having your video correspondence tai ji corrected by a liu he ba fa is a big deal since you're supposedly teaching tai ji. Saying that you have the original tai ji set is a big deal, especially when you know that it's probably just some mish mash. You're just trying to fish for validation of the stuff you're making up. Admit it. I think Mike Sigman is right.

   By Bob on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 11:38 pm: Edit Post

Am I missing something? History is fun but how will it make me a better fighter with IMA?

   By SysOp on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 - 02:21 am: Edit Post

I want to catch this thread before it degenerates and veers off the original topic. Stay on topic or go the Flame Room or a little of both.

   By Cat among the pigeons on Sunday, October 27, 2002 - 06:28 pm: Edit Post

Mr Sigman,

You said:- "Wu Yu Xiang started the legend of the "southern transmission" of Taiji in order to hype the Yang style as being special and not really from Chen Village."

Interesting statement - following Wile, I thought he was just hyping an "essential" Taiji of his own making (based on his own experience of Yang's Chen and QP's Chen); part of his (and his brothers'?)attempt at the deliberate creation of a "self-strengthening" fad; trying to give it a more "respectable" lineage. (The "classics" were Wu(Hao) documents too, maybe even primarily.)

What's the basis for thinking it was Yang hype in particular?

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