The History Of Yang Style Taijiquan

The Yang family first became involved in the study of t'ai chi ch'uan (taijiquan) in the early 19th century. 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 t'ai chi ch'uan became known as the Yang-style, and directly led to the development of other three major styles of t'ai chi ch'uan (see below). Yang Lu-ch'an (and some would say the art of t'ai chi ch'uan, in general) came to prominence as a result of his being hired by the Chinese Imperial family to teach t'ai chi ch'uan to the elite Palace Battalion of the Imperial Guards in 1850, a position he held until his death.

Yang Famiy Tree

Yang Lu-ch'an passed on his art to:

His second son, the oldest son to live to maturity, Yang Pan-hou (1837-1890), who was also retained as a martial arts instructor by the Chinese Imperial family. Yang Pan-hou became the formal teacher of Wu Ch'uan-yu (Wu Quanyou), a Manchu Banner cavalry officer of the Palace Battalion, even though Yang Lu-ch'an was Wu Ch'uan-yu's first t'ai chi ch'uan teacher. Wu Ch'uan-yu became Yang Pan-hou's first disciple. Wu Ch'uan-yu's son, Wu Chien-ch'an (Wu Jianquan), also a Banner officer, became known as the co-founder (along with his father) of the Wu-style.

His third son Yang Chien-hou (Jianhou) (1839-1917), who passed it to his sons, Yang Shao-hou (1862-1930) and Yang Chengfu (1883-1936).

Wu Yu-hsiang (Wu Yuxiang, 1813-1880), who also developed his own Wu/Hao-style, which eventually, after three generations, led to the development of Sun-style t'ai chi ch'uan. Yang Chengfu removed the vigorous fa jn (release of power) from the Hand (solo) Form, as well as the energetic jumping, stamping, and other abrupt movements in order to emphasise the Da jia (large frame style), but retained them in the Weapons (sword, saber, staff and spear) forms.[The Hand Form has slow, steady, expansive and soft movements suitable for general practitioners. Thus, Yang Chengfu is largely responsible for standardising and popularising the Yang-style t'ai chi ch'uan widely practised today.