Historical Series Notes

1. The Ten Important Points of Chen Chang Xin were first published by Chen Ji Pu also known as Chen Zhao Pi in his book in 1935. Chen Xin's book which was published earlier has no record of these ten discourses. These Ten Discourses are not present in the Yang writings or the commonly accepted classic writings. We are unable to ascertain the authenticity of these writings.

2. Chang San Feng was supposed to have studied at the Shaolin Temple and was proficient in Shaolin martial arts. Later, he became interested in Taoism and incorporated its principles and Dao Yin practices into his art, utilising very different principles from the Shaolin school. His art was very different and was not as demonstrative as the Shaolin school but could be effective against it. To differentiate this new art from the existing Shaolin school and other schools of martial arts that utilised similar principles, people started calling Chang San Feng's art Internal Boxing since it was based on non-aggressive, non-vigorous principles as opposed to the aggressive and vigorous forms of martial arts which were termed External Boxing.

3. Chen Xin did write a book on the art of Tai Ch'i Chuan called `Chen Shi Tai Ch'i Chuan' which does not mention this story but attributes the creation of the art to Chen Pu, the patriarch of the Chen family. We need to note, however, that the book was published four years after his death and that he had three collaborators. It was they that published the book and in the four years after Chen Xin's death, it is very possible that substantial editing took place. How much of the book is Chen Xin's work and how much of it was edited after his death is uncertain. So there may not be an actual contradiction in Wu Tu Nan's material and Chen Xin's book.

4. An examination of Old Yang Form reveals similar postures to Gan Feng Chi's boxing. Gan was a noted Internal Boxing expert. Postures like `Playing the Lute', `Cross Hands', `Double Fist To Ears' (including the characteristic head to knee smash) and `Carry Tiger Back To Mountain' are present in both forms. These postures are absent from the current Chen style of Tai Ch'i Chuan but some are present in the Zhao Bao form. Zhao Bao style Tai Ch'i Chuan also traces their art back to Jiang Fa.

5. This theory was first published by Fu Zhong Wen who did extensive research into it. It has since been accepted by the majority of Yang style exponents.

6. This is not to be confused with the Southern Shaolin Hung Gar Boxing which was created by Hung Xi Guan. Shaolin Hung Quan is an old form consisting of two routines, the small Hung Quan and the large Hung Quan. Shaolin Hung Quan is still taught and practiced at the Shaolin Temple to this day. Because of the similar phonetics, this should also not be confused with the Shaolin Red Fist which was one of the types of boxing practiced in the Chen Villiage and probably had some influence on the Chen style of Tai Ch'i Chuan.

7. The story goes that Yang was invited to the abode of a rich man in Beijing called Chang who had heard of Yang's great skills to demonstrate his art. Yang Lu Chan was small of build and did not look like a boxer, when Chang saw him, he thought little of his ability and so served him a very simple dinner. Yang Lu Chan was fully aware of his host's thoughts but continued to behave like an honoured guest. Chang later questioned if Yang's Tai Ch'i, being so soft, could defeat people. Given that he invited Yang on the basis of his reputation as a great fighter, this question was clearly a veiled insult. Yang replied that there were only three kinds of people he could not defeat: men of brass, men of iron and men of wood. Chang invited out his best bodyguard by the name of Liu to test Yang's skill. Liu entered aggressively and attacked Yang. Yang used only a simple yielding and threw Liu across the yard. Chang was very impressed and immediately ordered a sumptuous dinner to be prepared for Yang. He later asked Yang to work for him, offerring him a large sum of money. Yang, knowing the character of Chang, courteously refused the offer.

8. An interesting story comes down to us concerning the quality of Yang's teaching in the Imperial Court. The princes of the Manchu court were very often skilled in martial arts. Emperors like Chien Long were skilled martial artists. Among Yang's students at the Imperial Court were several princes. One day one of them went to visit his brother to practice with him, as his brother prince was not at home, he practiced instead with his brother prince's three bodyguards who were also students of Yang Lu Chan. This prince easily defeated them and when his brother prince returned, he berated him saying:"Who is protecting who brother? Your bodyguards you or you your bodyguards?" Yang Lu Chan and the three bodyguards were summoned and they were questioned on why the skills of the the three bodyguards (they were highly skilled martial artists already having studied other arts) were below that of the princes. The reason was revealed that the bodyguards had many duties in the imperial household and they could not spare the time to train diligently as the princes had. Discovering this reason, the prince lightened the workload of the three bodyguards and asked Yang Lu Chan to train them harder. These three bodyguards eventually became Yang Lu Chan's top three disciples, one of them Quan Yu went on to found the Wu form of Tai Ch'i Chuan.

9. Quan Yu was actually a disciple of Yang Lu Chan but because it was unseeming that non-royalty were boxing brothers of the royal princes, in some cases, senior boxing brothers. Under Yang Lu Chan's order, all the non-royal disciples bowed down to Yang Lu Chan's son Yang Ban Hou as master. This way the princes were a generation above their staff.

10. Yang Shao Hou's Small Frame, however, retains this old sequence of techniques. This supports the attribution that his Small Frame was the work of Yang Lu Chan.

11. Apparently Tang Yan Kai, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of China was cured of his serious illness after taking up the art. Hence forth Tai Ch'i Chuan has always been viewed as an art that had great curative powers.

12. There are actually three books that are directly related to Yang Cheng Fu. Chen Wei Ming's book "Tai Ch'i Chuan Shu" was written on request of Yang Cheng Fu to record down his oral teachings, it was published in 1925. The second book "Tai Ch'i Chuan Shi Yung Fa" was authored by himself but its language was not so refined so it was quickly taken out of circulation, it was published in 1931. The third "Tai Ch'i Chuan Ti Yung Quan Shu" was written for him by Cheng Man Ching (confirmed by Yang Cheng Fu's son Yang Zheng Ji) based on his teachings, it was published in 1934. He was to have written a second companion volume to document the sword, broadsword, spear, halberd and other weapons. He died before this second volume was completed. We do not know if he began writing it at all and if he did, what happened to the manuscripts if any existed.

13. There is an interesting anecdote attached to this activity. It seems that Yang Lu Chan once inquired about how Yang Ban Hou, his second son, was doing at his studies. Wu Yu Xiang told him that Ban Hou was not good at his studies but very good at studying martial arts. Where upon Yang asked Wu Yu Xiang to let Ban Hou concentrate more on his martial arts.

14. There is an interesting story on how this weapon came about. Yang Lu Chan was famous for his skill with the spear as was his oldest son, Fung Hou. Yang Feng Hou was good natured but his younger brother Yang Ban Hou was bellicos and prone to fights. Because Yang Pan Hou's mother feared that her son might harm somebody seriously in practice and teaching, she removed the spear head from the weapon. The Long Staff is therefore the spear techniques of Yang Taijiquan.

15. According to Mah Yueh Liang, Quan Yu synthesized the Old Yang Form and the Yang Small Frame, forming a new set. The Yang Small Frame set that comes down from Gong Tian Ren who was a student of Yang Lu Chan/Yang Ban Hou is almost identical so this probably didn't occur. But it is entirely possible that Quan Yu knew both sets.

16. Another reason given for Yang Lu Chan's retirement was the early death of one of his most favoured students from small pox. Yang was heart broken and retired from service from the Imperial Court and returned to Yung Nien.

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