Needle at Sea Bottom

By Sara Olsen
Needle at Sea Bottom is not just the name of a posture in the Yang Form. It is an example of how myth and fact have blended throughout China’s long history to become accepted as history. Accounts of events and figures from the earliest Neolithic years were not recorded in writing until much later. The exploits of great mythical and historical figures preserved for centuries in spoken tales made their way into written records in many different versions. One of the earliest myths, the story of Great Yu concerns events over 4,000 year old. Continue reading

A Brief Biography of the Yang Family (II)

Yang Shao Hou

Yang Zhao Xiong was born in 1862 and died in 1930. Also named Meng Xiang, and later called Shao Hou, most just called him “Mr. Big”. From very young he studied with his father and his uncle. He learned the greater part of his skill from Ban Hou. His nature was forceful and he would stand up for injustices suffered by others. Shao Hou enjoyed sending people flying, rather like his uncle’s style. When he was young he taught the middle frame established by his father, but later changed direction. He developed a form that was high with small movements done in a sometimes slow and sometimes sudden manner. His releasing of energy (fajin) was hard and crisp, accompanied with sudden sounds. The spirit from his eyes would shoot out in all directions, flashing like lightning. Combined with a sneer, a sinister laugh, and the sounds of “Heng!” and “Ha!”, his imposing manner was quite threatening. Shao Hou taught students to strike quickly after coming into contact with the opponent, wearing expressions from the full spectrum of emotions when he taught them.

Yang Shao Hou

Students with fewer skills passed difficult times with him, therefore he didn’t have many of them. Shao Hou had a son called Zheng Sheng that later studied with Yang Cheng Fu. Continue reading

A Brief Biography of the Yang Family (I)

By Master Yang Jun, 6th Generation of the Yang Family


Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan is one of the gems in the realm of Chinese Martial Arts. Ever since the founder of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Yang Lu Chan, his sons Yang Ban Hou and Yang Jian Hou, his grandsons Yang Shao Hou, Yang Chengfu, and the fourth generation (great-grandsons) Yang Zhen Ming, Yang Zhen Ji, Yang Zhen Duo, and Yang Zhen Guo have all worked together to research, change, develop and spread Tai Chi Chuan. It has become extended and graceful, carefully structured, relaxed, gentle, and flowing, while still maintaining the martial arts aspects. It is also a method for improving health and curing illness. Tai Chi Chuan is loved by tens of millions of practitioners, spreading Tai Chi Chuan at home and abroad. It has become the most popular of all Chinese martial arts, providing a remarkable contribution to health of mankind.

This article is a biography of the Yang Family, allowing even more Tai Chi Chuan lovers to understand the history of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. Continue reading

The Sword Form: Flying through Myth and Legend

Each of the Yang Family forms embodies the core principles of Taijiquan, yet each has a different flavor. In practicing the Sword Form, or Taijijian, we are told to show light and flowing movement.
The need for such lightness can be seen in the distinct nature of the names of the postures. Of the 67 named postures, more than 40 of them refer to flying creatures, wind, or sky. While the hand form calls for measured steps and sharp distinctions between empty and full, the Sword Form invites us to fly and flow more with our outward movements. Judging by the names of the sword form postures, we must wield our sword as if following the movements of wasps, swallows, geese, and falling leaves. At other times, we must “Embrace the Moon” or chase it like a shooting star or comet.
In order to enrich our practice, we must engage body, mind and spirit. Giving thought to the images the posture names can help guide our movements in the proper way. Many of the names are easy to understand, but others are not so familiar to those with limited familiarity with Chinese culture. The purpose of this article is to explore some of these images and their possible relevance to our practice. Continue reading

DISCUSSIONS WITH CHEN XIAOWANG

Q: How do you use the dantian in applying force?
CXW: The dantian is the energy center of the body and requires coordination of the entire body. The force generated originates from the dantian and coordinates with the rest of the body, gaining force.

Q: What are the mechanics of applying dantian force?
CXW: Spiral force coordinated through the movement of the body. When the dantian turns, the body turns and pushes the hands. The dantian area is like the center of a circle. Continue reading