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Yang Cheng-Fu



Yang Chengfu is historically considered the best known teacher of the martial art of Tai Chi Chuan.

His direct descendants, the many students he taught and their students have spread the art around the world. He was born into the famous Yang Taijiquan family, the son of Yang Chien-hou and grandson of Yang Lu-chan. With his older brother Yang Shao-hou and colleagues Wu Jianquan and Sun Lutang , he was among the first teachers to offer Tai Chi Chuan instruction to the general public at the Beijing Physical Culture Research Institute from 1914 until 1928. He moved to Shanghai in 1928. He is known for having “smoothed” out the somewhat more vigorous training routine he learned from his family as well as emphasising a “large frame” or “Da Jia 大架” with expansive movements in stepping and using large circular motions with the arms. His smooth, evenly-paced large frame form and its hundreds of offshoots has been the standard for ever since.

Dong Ying-Jie, Chen Wei-Ming, Fu Zhong-Wen, Li Ya-Xuan, and Zheng Man-Qing were famous students of Yang Cheng-fu. Each of them taught extensively, founding groups teaching Tai Chi to this day. Cheng Man-ch'ing, perhaps the most famous outside of China, significantly shortened and simplified the Yang taught him after his teacher's passing, reportedly to make them more accessible to larger numbers of students. Although Cheng's modifications are considered controversial by most other schools and are not recognized by the Yang family, Cheng Man-ch'ing is known as the first to teach Tai Chi Chüan in the West.

His sons have continued to teach their , including his first son, the late Yang Zhenming , who brought Yang style Tai Chi Chuan to Hong Kong, his second son Yang Zhenji , and his third son, Yang Zhenduo , living in Shanxi Province, who is widely considered the most prominent of the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan instructors living today.

He was the official author of Essence and Applications of Taijiquan , published in 1934.


Yang Cheng-Fu (1883-1936) was the grandson to Yang Lu-Chan the founder of the Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan. It was Cheng-Fu who finalized this style into the present-day form that is so popular all over the world. Learning Tai Chi Chuan from his father since early childhood, Yang Cheng-Fu showed great talent and learned very quickly, especially the “middle frame” of Yang style passed on by his grandfather to his father and uncle Yang Ban-Hou , both of whom had taught martial arts in the Prince of Duan's mansion and enjoyed a great reputation in Beijing.

As an adult, Yang Cheng-Fu was invited by the Beijing Sports Society to teach martial arts in the city and afterward he traveled to Wuhan, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hangzhou to teach the Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan. Because of his modesty, gentleness and eagerness for perfection - which he seemed to have inherited from his grandfather, Yang Cheng-Fu was loved by all his disciples, who were scattered all over the country.

During his stay in Wuhan, he accepted a challenge by a local kung fu master versed in swordsmanship. Wielding a mere makeshift sword of bamboo; Yang easily defeated his well-armed opponent and apologized profusely for having hurt his wrist unintentionally during the fight.

Before Yang Cheng-Fu returned to Shanghai from Canton, he instructed his senior student Dong Ying-Jie and his first son Yang Shou-Zhong to stay in Canton to continue teach his Tai Chi Chuan in the southern China.

Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong's teacher Hu Yuen-Chou was also an outstanding student of Yang Cheng-Fu. When Yang Cheng-Fu was ill in the hospital, Hu was a resident doctor there. Hu was able to visit his teacher Yang Cheng-Fu and stay with him for long periods in the hospital. Hu Yuen-Chou had the opportunity to receive private instruction from Yang Cheng-Fu for more then six months in the hospital room. Before Yang Cheng-Fu went back to Shanghai, he told Hu Yuen-Chou to continue working out with his first son Yang Shou-Zhong and his senior student Dong Ying-Jie. This enabled Hu Yuen-Chou, Yang Shou-Zhong and Dong Ying-Jie to become very close friends and they all became major Yang style masters in Canton and Hong Kong.

taiji/yang_cheng-fu.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/25 20:43 by serena