Yang Family Taichichuan - Yang family
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Biography of Yang Family

by Master Yang Jun 6th Generation

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 and Yang Cheng Fu, and his 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. Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan 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 the health of mankind.

Yang Luchan

Yang Luchan

Yang Fu Kui (楊福魁), later called Yang Luchan (楊露禪) (the "Lu" having two different Chinese characters as accepted) was born in 1799 and died in 1872. Yang Lu Chan's family was from Hebei Province, Guangping Prefecture, Yongnian County and since childhood his family was poor. He would follow his father in planting the fields and as a teenager held temporary jobs. One period of temporary work was spent in doing odd jobs at the Tai He Tang Chinese pharmacy located in the west part of Yongnian City (the pharmacy was opened by Chen De Hu of the Chen Village in Henan Province, Huaiqing Prefecture, Wen County). As a child, Yang Lu Chan liked martial arts and started studying Chang Chuan, gaining a certain level of skill. One day he saw some hoodlums who came to the pharmacy looking for trouble. One of the partners of the pharmacy used a kind of martial art that Yang Lu Chan had never before seen to easily subdue the troublemakers. Because of this, Yang Lu Chan decided to study with the owner of the Tai He Tang pharmacy, Cheng De Hu. He saw that Yang Lu Chan came from the heart and was eager to study and sent Yang Lu Chan to the Chen Village to seek the 14th generation of the Chen Family Chen Chang Xing as his teacher.

Second generation

The momentum created in the Tai Chi world by Yang Lu Chan throughout his lifetime did not stop with his death in 1872. Yang Lu Chan transmitted all of his knowledge to his two sons, Yu, nicknamed Ban Hou, and Jian, nicknamed Jian Hou, who became the 2nd generation representatives of the Yang Family.

Yang Banhou

Yang Banhou

Yang Yu, also named Yang Banhou (楊班侯), but referred to as the "2nd Son" by all, was born in 1837 and died in 1892. From an early age he and Jian Hou followed their father studying Tai Chi Chuan. All day long Ban Hou would practice hard, undeterred by winter's cold or summer's heat. Yang Ban Hou had a hard and fierce disposition. He was skilled at sparring, and especially adept in using the staff (made of bai la wood, over three meters long, and used in the same way as the spear). One day in Yongnian City, inside the stalls located at the East Gate, a fire started due to carelessness. Water surrounded all of Yongnian City and it teemed with reeds. It was late fall, after the harvest, and inside the stall bundles of reeds were piled up into a small mountain. Once one of the stalls caught fire, if it was not put out quickly it would turn into an inferno. At this time, Yang Ban Hou rushed to the scene wielding a spear, lifting and throwing the fiery bundles of reeds. The burning bundles flew through the air like a string of fish, and almost instantly they were all in the water. With the fire extinguished and conflagration avoided, the word of his deed spread quickly through the city.
Yang Ban Hou had one daughter, and a son called Zhao Peng. Zhao Peng studied with Yang Cheng Fu and then opened a school in Guangxi, where he later passed away.

Yang Jianhou

Yang Jianhou

Yang Jian, called Yang Jianhou (楊健侯), was nicknamed Jian Hu and called "3rd Son" until his later years when he was referred to as just "old man". Born in 1842, he started studying Tai Chi Chuan with his father at a young age. Under the strict requirements of his father he would practice hard all day. Frequently feeling that he could not endure it any longer, he tried several times to run away. It was clear that working hard daily at practicing gongfu under his father's watchful eye caused his skill to greatly improve. Finally he became a man of great talent. Jian Hou took his father's old frame and revised it into the medium frame. He also mastered the saber, spear, sword and other weapons. His sword skill was renowned for combining softness and hardness. Jian Hou even mastered using pellets (dan4). He would hold three or four in his hand at one time and when thrown simultaneously each would strike a different bird in flight. He earned the fame of not wasting one pellet when thrown.
He had three sons: the elder called Zhaoxiong (Shaohou); the second Zhaoyuan, dead at young age; and the youngest called Zhaoqing, nicknamed Yang Chengfu.

Third generation

Yang Shaohou

Yang Shaohou

Yang Zhao Xiong was born in 1862 and died in 1930. Also named Meng Xiang, and later called Shao Hou (楊少侯), 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 Chengfu

Yang Chengfu

Yang Zhaoqing, called Yang Chengfu (楊橙甫), or just "3rd Son", was born in 1883 and died in 1936. He started receiving his father's teachings at an early age. During his youth he worked hard at making a careful study of Tai Chi, practicing hard through both summer and winter with his skill increasing daily. Eventually he became a celebrated martial artist. In order to adapt to the changing needs of society, Yang Cheng Fu began with his father's revised middle frame, and made further revisions. He gradually established the Yang family large frame, becoming the most widespread of today's Yang styles. The large frame postures established by Yang Cheng Fu in his older years are open and extended, simple and direct. The structure is compact and precise, with body alignment maintained in movement. The movements are gentle and flowing, and performed at an even speed. There is combined hardness and softness, lightness and heaviness. All of these characteristics make it the representative standard form for Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, serving as the pattern for all those who would follow in its study. The form established by Yang Cheng Fu can be performed in a high, medium, or low stance. Thus, the degree of difficulty can be adjusted according to the one's requirements and condition. The form retains the martial arts aspects of attack and defense, and is suitable for strengthening the body, improving health, and curing illness. Because of this, it has deeply received the love of the vast Tai Chi Chuan practitioners.
Yang Chengfu had four sons: Zhenming (Shouzhong), Zhenji, Zhenduo and Zhenguo.

Fourth generation

Yang Shouzhong

Yang Zhenming, called Yang Shouzhong (楊守中), was born in 1911 and died in 1986. From a young age on he followed his father in studying the art of Tai Chi Chuan. By age 14 he had comprehended the Tai Chi Chuan energies and was thoroughly proficient in the techniques of the saber, sword and spear and had become the assistant of his father, Yang Cheng Fu. Shou Zhong at age 19 went to Anhui Province and later taught Tai Chi in Nanjing. After that he traveled with his father, passing through Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong Provinces. After Yang Cheng Fu passed away, Shou Zhong stayed in Guangzhou (Canton) to teach. In 1949 he moved to Hong Kong and opened a martial arts school where he taught.

Yang Zhenji

Yang Zhenji (楊振基), born in 1921, started studying with his father and elder brother at age 6. He studied very hard, grasping the essence of Tai Chi Chuan. In the late 1940's he began teaching Tai Chi Chuan. He traveled from Guangzhou (Canton) to Beijing, to Tianjin, to Guangxi, and to Handan to teach. Because he teaches very earnestly, his students are quite numerous and he once visited the United States. Zhen Ji, after several decades of practice and teaching, has gained a deep understanding of the skill passed on by his father.

Yang Zhenduo

Yang Zhenduo

Yang Zhenduo (traditional 楊振鐸, simplified 杨振铎), born in 1926, began studying the art of Tai Chi Chuan at age 6 with his father and elder brothers. He studied assiduously and was good at research, and was able to grasp the essence of Tai Chi. His Tai Chi skill is consummate and demonstrated with a natural poise. Yang Zhen Duo's disposition is tolerant and kind, simple hearted and honest. He teaches patiently, carefully and meticulously. Modest and unassuming as was his father, he has come to receive the deep admiration and esteem of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan enthusiasts. Zhen Duo carries on the aspirations of his ancestors, dedicating himself to the popularization and spread of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. Since the early 1960's on, he has lived in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, teaching Tai Chi Chuan. In 1982 he founded the Shanxi Province Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Association, now with students in Shanxi Province alone numbering in the tens of thousands. Many times he has been invited and traveled to America, France, Italy, Germany, England, Sweden, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and other countries to hold seminars. Making an impression at home and abroad, Yang Zhen Duo has helped allow Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan to promote the ties of friendship between the citizens of China and the rest of the world.
Yang Zhenduo has two sons, Yang Daofang the first and Yang Defang the second son.

Yang Zhenguo

Yang Zhenguo (楊振國), born in 1928, started studying at an early age the Tai Chi passed on by his family. He lives in Hebei Province, Handan City, and for many years looked after his mother. He has ceaselessly taught Tai Chi Chuan all around the local area. He once visited Taiwan, and has made a fairly significant contribution towards the development of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. Zhen Guo has three daughters and two sons, Yong Fang being the first and Zhi Fang the second son.

Sixth generation

Yang Jun

Yang Jun

Born in 1968 in Taiyuan, Master Yang Jun (traditional 楊軍, simplified 杨军) is the 6th Generation descendant of the creator of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. Son of Yang Dao Fang and grandson of Master Yang Zhen Duo, Yang Jun is the fifth bearer of the Yang Family heritage.
Master Yang Jun began his training with Master Yang Zhen Duo when he was only 5 years old. He is proficient in Tai Chi Chuan, Sword, Saber, Push Hands, and many other forms of Tai Chi. Beginning in 1982 when they went to Singapore, Master Yang Zhen Duo has taken Yang Jun with him whenever he traveled abroad to teach. Now, after nearly twenty years and dozens of seminars around the world, Yang Jun has become a teacher in his own right. His skill is unquestioned. His forms seamlessly combine softness with hardness, finesse with flair, and restraint with expression.
Since 1995, Yang Jun has served as the Vice President of Operations and Training of the Shanxi Province Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Association with over 30,000 members in his hometown province of Shanxi. In October 1998 Yang Jun created the International Association and has served as President since. In August of 1999 Yang Jun moved to Seattle with his wife Fang Hong to formally begin working for the International Association and to establish a school in Seattle. Yang Jun represents the first member of the Yang Family to live outside of China.
Master Yang Jun graduated from Shanxi University in 1989 with a degree in physical education. In 1995 the Chinese WuShu Academy recognized him as a famous WuShu master in Shanxi Province. In 1996 he was certified as the highest level national judge and served as the head judge at the 1998 National Tai Chi Chuan Competition in China.
In July 2009, at the First International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium, current lineage holder, Grandmaster Yang Zhenduo, announced that Yang Jun is the fifth lineage-holder of the Traditional Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.