The Lineage Of Tai Chi Chuan

Why do Tai ji Quan practitioners make such a fuss about lineage?

Its all about giants and goes something like this:
Sir Isaac Newton (stay with me now) said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” and who would not take the advise of the man who discovered the laws of gravity.       

A good teacher has spent a lot of time finding that special person to learn from; someone with all the right qualities, as well as skill and expertise in the art. All we have to do is find the teacher who found that special teacher. The trick is making sure that our teacher found the right giants with sound, direct lineage or our commitment and effort might be wasted.

Herman Chen-Pensley Sifu

Herman Chen-Pensley, Sifu of the Taiji Quan Do School. He trained under the supervision of Master Chu and became his disciple. Sifu met Master Chou many years ago; serendipity and food was involved so a good outcome could have been predicted. Sifu founded the Tai Ji Quan Do School assisted by a group of pupils, many of whom are still studying with him over 15 years later. He still supervises and runs the School.
The school has branches as far north as Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland and as far south as London, all run by instructors whose skills and expertise are refined and honed by on-going training from Sifu and that first group of pupils.  .

Chu King Hong Sifu’s Teacher

Chu King Hong; Sifu’s teacher started studying under Grandmaster Yang Shou Chung at the age of 12. This apprenticeship lasted 26 years. Master Chu is one of the true lineage holders under Grandmaster Yang Shou Chung in company with his three daughters & two other disciples. A leading light in the International Tai Chi Chuan Association, he even found a way to teach the Original Yang Style Tai Ji Quan to Western students, so he is clearly a very clever and patient teacher.

Yang  Shou Chung 1909 - 1985

The eldest son of Chengfu, he began to train at the age of eight and wrote the "Practical Use of Taijiquan," He became accomplished in Taiji, Sabre, Spear and Sword, becoming his father's assistant at the age of 14. He taught under his father's guidance and travelled with his father throughout China. As the eldest son he was the heir to his father's title and he has taught many students who later attained world renown.

Yang Cheng Fu 1883 - 1936

 The grandson to Yang Lu Chan; the founder and developer of the Yang Family Style Taijiquan as it is practised today; with more practitioners learning the form than any other it is the most popular style. He showed great talent and absorbed the teaching of his father with admirable alacrity, especially the "middle frame" of Yang style passed on by his grandfather to his father world-wide. He travelled widely and was considered to be the greatest Tai Chi Chuan teacher in China. He was modest, gentle, eager for perfection and loved by all his disciples scattered throughout the country.

Yang Chien Hou  1839 – 1917

Yang Lu Chan's third son had outstanding eye-hand-body coordination, outstanding martial art skills and an agile Taiji Form that merged hard and soft resulting in an amazing flair for issuing internal energy and an extraordinary depth of knowledge of the Taiji straight sword, sabre, and spear. He was loved and respected by his many students and was a gentle and patient teacher.   

Yang Lu Chan 1799 – 1872

Born in Hebei province in northern China, he went to Chen Jia Gou Village and after years of training he was accepted as a disciple of Chen Chang Xing. Under his direct tutelage, Yang Lu-Chan spent the next 18 years studying Chen’s soft style of martial art. He then went to Beijing and became such a proficient Taijiquan practitioner that he defeated all the masters of other kung fu styles throughout all of China. He became known as Yang Wu Di (Yang the Invincible).

Chang San-Feng Taoist Master 960 – 1270

The tradition amongst Wundang Mountain martial artists and Taoists  credit  the development of soft style martial arts to Chang San-Feng and his disciples. However the origins of Taiji Quan are shrouded in mystery. Other authors believe that the aspects of the Art we recognise today  (the  principles, the forms, push hands, weapons forms, Qi Gung etc) were  all  developments of the system invented by Chen Wangting, a military leader and martial artist who lived in Henan Province (1600-1680).