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History

There are five main styles of Tai Chi Chuan, in order of seniority:
    - Chen style
    - Yang style
    - Wu or Wu/Hao style
    - Wu style
    - Sun style

In order of popularity, the Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan is most widely known and practiced around the world, and is derived from the Chen style, and followed by the other three main offshoots: Wu, Wu (Hou) and the Sun.

History speaks of Yang Lu Chan (1799 – 1872) who was employed in the home of the Chen family wanting to learn Tai Chi Chuan. But, as tradition dictated only family members could learn this ancient martial art, so he had no other recourse, when frustrated after patiently awaiting instruction, than to spy on the private exercises of the Chen family, and secretly practice, what he saw, on his own.

One day he was surprised by the Grand Master Chen Chang Xing while practicing and was asked to demonstrate what he had learned. The Grand Master was so astonished at Yang Lu Chan’s mastery that he decided to take him as his student.

Yang Lu Chan continued to practice for several years, and unsatisfied, returned several more times until on his third return he deemed that his mastery and technique were insurmountable.

Moved by his perseverance and capabilities, and having become his best student, Grand Master Chen Chang Xing granted him the secret knowledge of Tai Chi Chuan.

Later Grand Master Yang Lu Chan began to teach the Chinese Emperor’s guards, and his court, adapting the style to fit the elders, the physically challenged, or ill among the emperor’s court.

Soon it was evident that the weak became stronger and the health of the infirm improved. He gradually awakened to realize the true and great possibilities and potential of Tai Chi Chuan not only as a martial art, but as a health benefit.

Yang Lu Chan had three sons, and passed this knowledge on to two of them, Yang Ban Hou (1837 – 1892) and Yang Jian Hou (1842 – 1911). In turn, Jian Hou had three sons, two of whom continued the tradition, the eldest Yang Shao Hou (1862 – 1930), and youngest Yang Cheng Fu (1883 – 1936). It was this youngest brother that brought forth the true Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan, as his grandfather, father, uncle, and older brother practiced and taught an adapted form of the Chen style.

Thus was born the authentic Yang style, with its singular and unique identity that easily stands out, and lauded by the Chen family themselves.

The Grand Master Yang Cheng Fu passed through three stages in his practices and teachings. The first was one that was passed down from his ancestors; the second was a modified variation of the same; and lastly, the third stage was perfected and highly evolved. His work was complete.

Yang Cheng Fu became the most famous Tai Chi Chuan Master, for his invincibility and for having spread Tai Chi Chuan throughout China.

Of the Grand Master’s four sons, the first one has now passed away, the second son is now very old, and the third, the Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo is who currently presides over the family. In 1982 he created the Association for Traditional Tai Chi Chuan of Shanxi, China over which he presides. Every five years professors and students from around the world gather in celebration to commemorate its founding, taking part in exhibits and tournaments.

Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo left China for the first time in the 1980s to restore the true Tai Chi Chuan to the rest of the world. He had heard of and witnessed the many mutations of his family’s art that had taken place, to the detriment of the potential and substantial benefits that this implied.

Upon his departure, China’s Sports Minister announced: “We are sending our best and most authentic Master of this art.” So it was that the Grand Master and his grandson, Master Yang Jun formed in 1998 the International Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Association to impart there art through the Yang Cheng Fu Tai Chi Chuan Centers, named after the father. Today there are more than 30 centers worldwide, 5 of them in South America. In Argentina since 1999.

The Masters that descend down through the generations of the Yang family have elevated the art of Tai Chi Chuan to be recognized as a National Treasure in China, while having given this great gift to the rest of the world.

Note : All historical data has been taken from personal documents belonging to the Yang family.

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