Yang style
   
     

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Yang the Invincible

The Yang style of taijiquan was developed by the kung fu legend Yang Lu-chan.
Yang Lu-chan's nickname was 'Yang-the-Invincible'.

He is famous for teaching his taijiquan to the Manchu Emperor's elite palace guards.


1950's China

Faced with a major health crisis, the People's Republic of China turned to Yang style tai chi for a solution.
Just think about what that means...
Yang style tai chi's reputation for health was so well founded that the government of China thought to employ the Art officially as a means of improving wellbeing.
The Art was introduced to schools nationwide.
 

One should note that right from its creation, Yang taijiquan has always been combat-oriented. The set should be practiced with its martial applications in mind. These applications may be taught through the set, individual movement explanations, tui shou (push hands), san shou (fixed-step sparring) and san da (free sparring).

(Alex Yeo)

Yang forms

We offer 7 Yang style taijiquan forms:

  1. Long Yang

  2. Sabre form

  3. 2 person cane form/drill

  4. Staff form

  5. Walking stick form

  6. Straight sword (jian) form

  7. Pao chui form

The first form has a fairly slow pace to begin with whilst the other forms are more brisk.


Yang style?

People may look at different versions of the Yang style of taijiquan and wonder whether or not they even qualify as Yang style.
There are so many interpretations being taught.
This is a reasonable question.


What are you observing?

When watching somebody perform Yang style taijiquan are you watching form, application, combat or partner work?
Which form?
What skill level is being demonstrated?
Is this a public form or a martial form?
Has the teacher got martial skill or do they only teach tai chi for health?
Can you actually understand what you are watching?


Which version?

When a beginner learns a taijiquan form they cannot conceivably start with an advanced rendition of the form.
They learn a crude, introductory version: the slow form, the square form.
This is the version usually shown to the public.


Form changes

As the student gains skill, the form changes. It looks more rounded and flowing.
Eventually, the form becomes more martial.


Which stage?

To learn any form, a student passes through 5 distinct stages: 1) The pattern, 2) Whole-body movement, 3) Martial applications, 4) Shen, 5) Naturalness.
These stages are inevitable and necessary.
Most people never reach stage 2 and few get past stage 3.


Long Yang form

The classical Yang form may be called many different names.
This is OK.
However, the order of the
movements should be fairly consistent from school to school.
This is the Long Yang style sequence.
 

Yang style has something of the feeling of 'killer energy' about it; it is more martial in appearance.
A spectator can see the applications of the movements when they watch the form.

(Master Xu Shu Song)

Short forms

Simplistic forms are known as 'short forms'.
They have many movements omitted and tend not to be martial.


Yang Cheng Fu style

Some people believe that they are practicing "Yang Cheng Fu style" taijiquan.
Is this accurate?

Surely only Yang Cheng Fu practiced taijiquan in the Yang Cheng Fu
way.
Even the most faithful rendition cannot account for his proclivities, personality, preferences.
Is there any way of knowing if he even shared his most advanced practice?


Yang Cheng Fu form

Most people only talk about one Yang Cheng Fu form.
What about his other material? His pushing hands? His combat applications? His neigong?
Are you accurately reproducing this too?
Who can say for sure?



Your art, your version

Yang Cheng Fu was very big and fat.
This fact will have influenced how he performed his art.
A smaller, more nimble person would not benefit from emulating Yang Cheng Fu.
They should instead train the Yang style in a manner that suits their own body and their own aptitude.
Follow The Tai Chi Classics.


Is it really Yang style?

A lot of modern classes purport to be teaching Yang style taijiquan, but are they?
Common approaches you may encounter:

  1. Tai chi for health (fitness & wellbeing)

  2. Tai chi tailored for the elderly

  3. Tai chi tailored for specific medical problems i.e. arthritis

  4. Tai chi as keep fit

  5. Tai chi-style exercise

  6. Tai chi as performance art

  7. Numbered forms (i.e. 24 step)

  8. Tai chi as dance

  9. Taijiquan offered alongside other martial arts by an instructor who practices a variety of external martial arts

  10. Tai chi classes offered by a so-called instructor who 'learned it from a book' or has a 'fast track' or 'long distance' qualification

  11. Tai chi as an add-on to something else, e.g. Alexander Technique "Let's do a bit of tai chi"


Taijiquan fighting method

The differences between Yang style approaches are worth some consideration.
Remember: Yang style taijiquan is a martial art. It is an advanced kung fu method.
Is this what you are learning?


More...


Page created 1 May 1995
Last updated 16 March 2017