Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where can I find tapes of Yang Chengfu style tai chi?
Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun have a good tape, available directly from:
A Taste of China
111-S Shirley Street
Winchester, VA 22601
Traditional Yang Family Taijiquan, a 3-volume set (4 hours)of instruction. Professionally produced in the U.S. Yang Zhenduo's verbal instruction is presented in Chinese; a complete English translation is included with the package. $129 (3-tape set) VHS or PAL (U.S. funds only) $4.95 shipping/handling in U.S., additional required outside U.S
You can also try
- any tapes of Fu Zhongwen and his son and grandson
- anything you can find by the Dong family (Alex Dong email@example.com).
- Vincent Chu in the Boston area also does the Yang Chengfu style.
2. Which weapons are part of the original Yang family tai chi?
The traditional Yang style actually doesn't have many weapons. In the main they are divided into two groups: long and short handled weapons. The short weapons are the 67-move sword and 13-move sabre. Now the long weapons. We used to include the long spear (or Yang style 13-move spear), but later for safety reasons removed the spear head so that it became a long staff. The techniques for the staff remain the same as the original spear form. Later the long staff practice turned mainly into a way of training to emit energy (fa1 jing4). This is usually referred to as dou3 gan1 or 'shivering staff'. (Yang Jun)
3. Yang Lu chan, Yang Shaohou and Yang Chengfu are said to have demonstrated some fast taiji solo form. Can you tell us about the fast Yang taiji and the two person sparring set?
Originally Yang family members engaged in paired practice on individual moves only; they did not have a continuous two-man form per se. A student of Yang Chengfu named Chen2 yan4 ling2 created a two-man form by connecting up some of the single move elements that Yang Chengfu showed. The same thing with the fast form. The Yangs themselves did not have a fast form; some of Yang Chengfu's students created these fast forms.
4. In response to q about push hands competition behavior violating principles of push hands...
When we practice tui shou, we should first be aware of the purpose of practicing it. Tai Chi is a martial art. As a martial art, the ultimate goal of it is the practice of free fighting. Tui shou is a transitional stage of practice, coming between form practice and free fighting. This trains us how to 'listen' to the opponent (listening energy or ting1 jing4), next is 'understanding energy' (dong3 jing4), and last comes a kind of intuition about what the other will do. Thus, tui shou is just a means of training, not the ultimate goal. When we push hands we are still following a number of restrictions and conditions, and we are especially seeking to learn sticking, following, not opposing directly with force, and not losing contact. My personal opinion is: at a competition, people are not thinking of applying the rules and principles but rather how to win. In this way it is very easy to violate the principles we mentioned. When you add on the various rules and restrictions stipulated by those running the competition, it's often difficult for the judges to really focus on the actual details of who let go, who opposed with force and so on. This often may result in the phenomenon of people pushing with force and letting go at the competitions. When this happens it is a violation of the very principles, meaning, and purpose of push hands. So we often see very different behavior in normal training and at the competitions. (Yang Jun)