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Yang family style (simplified Chinese: ??; pinyin: yángshì) tai chi chuan in its many variations is the most popular and widely practised style in the world today and the second in terms of seniority among the primary five family styles of tai chi chuan.
The Yang family first became involved in the study of tai chi chüan in the early 1800s. The founder of the Yang style was Yang Lu-ch’an (???), aka Yang Fu-k’ui (???, 1799-1872), who studied under Ch’en Chang-hsing starting in 1820. Yang became a teacher in his own right, and his subsequent expression of tai chi chuan became known as the Yang style, and directly led to the development of other three major styles of tai chi chuan (see below). Yang Lu-ch’an (and some would say the art of tai chi chuan in general) came to prominence as a result of his being hired by the Chinese Imperial family to teach tai chi chuan to the elite Palace Battalion of the Imperial Guards in 1850, a position he held until his death.
Yang Lu-ch’an passed his art to:
Yang Ch’eng-fu removed the vigorous Fa-jing (?? release of power), energetic jumping, stamping, and other abrupt movements to emphasise Ta Chia (?? large frame style). This style has slow, steady, expansive and soft movements suitable for general practitioners. Thus, Yang Ch’eng-fu is largely responsible for standardizing and popularizing the Yang style tai chi chüan widely practised today. Yang Ch’eng-fu moved to Shanghai in the 1920s, teaching there until the end of his life. His descendants are still teaching in schools associated with their family internationally.
Tung Ying-chieh (Dong Yingjie, ???, 1898-1961), Ch’en Wei-ming (Chen Weiming), Fu Zhongwen (Fu Chung-wen, 1903-1994), Li Yaxuan (???, 1894-1976) and Cheng Man-ch’ing were famous students of Yang Ch’eng-fu. Each of them taught extensively, founding groups teaching T’ai Chi to this day. Cheng Man-ch’ing, perhaps the most famous outside of China, significantly shortened and simplified the traditional forms Yang taught him.
Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semilegendary figures in the lineage, which means their involvement in the lineage, while accepted by most of the major schools, isn’t independently verifiable from known historical records.
The Cheng Man-ch’ing and Chinese Sports Commission short forms are said to be derived from Yang family forms, but neither are recognized as Yang family tai chi chuan by current Yang family teachers. The Chen, Yang and Wu families are now promoting their own shortened demonstration forms for competitive purposes.
Yang Shou-chung (aka Yeung Sau Chung, Yang Zhen-Ming, 1910-1985) is the 4th Generation of the Yang family. He was the oldest son of Yang Ch’eng-fu by his first marriage, and started learning his family style when he was 8 years old under the strict supervision of his father.
In 1949, he escaped from the Chinese communists to Hong Kong. There he taught many students privately at his home until his death in 1985.
He had three daughters, Tai Yee, Ma Lee and Yee Li, all continue teaching in Hong Kong. Over the years he had taught many people but he accepted only three people as his disciples. These Yang family tai chi chuan practitioners are
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