Tai Chi Movements: Fu Zhongwen's Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan

Fu Zhongwen (1903-1994) is one of the most renowned, accomplished, and important figures for today’s Yang style taijiquan (and for the world tai chi community in general).

Fu ZhongwenFu Zhongwen Yang Style Taijiquan

Zhongwen was born in the village of Guanfu in Yong Nian County, Hebei Province … the birthplace of Yang Lu Chan & the cradle of Yang style taijiquan. Grandmaster Fu was apprenticed to Yang Lu Chan’s most famous grandson, Yang Chengfu, at the tender age of 9 (in 1913). It was with Great Grandmaster Yang Chengfu that Zhongwen travelled around china, to Hong Kong, Tianjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Beijing, and more. During these travels, Yang Chengfu would teach & Fu Zhongwen would demonstrate. Fu Zhongwen would also often accept challenges on his Master’s behalf … never once failing to prove the effectiveness of Yang style Taijiquan.

Part of the Family: Yang Style T’ai Chi Chuan Lineage

Fu’s discipleship to Master Yang Chengfu & his dedication to Yang style taijiquan ultimately led him to become family … both figuratively & literally.

Fu Zhongwen & Zhao Bin (Yang Chengfu’s nephew, b. 1906) both lived in Chengfu’s household for years in the early 1920′s, receiving the full taijiquan family transmission without reservation. Over time, it was clear that Zhongwen was Chengfu’s favored disciple, as when Zhao Bin went away to military academy, Zhongwen was “even taught aspects of the art not given to other disciples, even closer family members. This was partially because of his unswerving self-discipline and dedication to the family art; it was also because Yang was so touched with Fu’s moral character.”1

Not only was Fu Zhongwen a member of the Yang family when it came to taijiquan … in 1929 he became Chengfu’s nephew-in-law when he married Zhao Kuei Cheng (Zhao Bin’s sister, and great-granddaughter of Yang Chien Hou {Yang Jianhou}). It is with Zhao Kuei Cheng that Fu Zhongwen conceived his son, Fu Shengyuan (b.1936) … who — with Fu Zhongwen for a father, and Yang Chengfu for a grandfather — may be considered the 5th generation heir apparent to authentic Yang family style tai chi.

Fu Zhongwen & The Traditional Yang Family Style Taijiquan

Fu Zhongwen Push Hands (Tui Shou)

Fu Zhongwen Fajin (Fajing)

Fu Zhongwen Words of Wisdom

On his version of the Yang tai chi sets — preserving the exact taijiquan of his teacher Yang Chengfu:

“Lots of people changed the form. I am the only one that did not change the form. I still haven’t studied everything. How can I change it? TheĀ  ancients were so good, how can you change something that they developed with their high skills.”

On differentiating Substantial & Insubstantial … never being Double-Weighted:

“When you do the Brush Knee posture, it is not the arm that blocks or pushes. You use the waist.
The waist is the main thing. If you use the waist, then you can relax. You incorporate the entire body and the entire body will relax naturally. The waist is the controller. Relax the shoulder and the elbows. This comes from practice, not from talking.”

On his teacher, the “Invincible” Yang Chengfu:

“Fu said that when Yang Cheng-fu did push hands with people, you couldn’t see the movement come out. He just sent people flying away. ‘This is because he had a lot of jing in his dantian.’

Fu Zhongwen told of a time when Yang Cheng-fu was in Shanghai sitting on a bed. He touched one hand of Yang Cheng-fu, who turned his wrist and threw Fu two meters back with his peng energy, bringing it up from the dantian. ‘He just used his internal energy without moving while sitting on the edge of the bed.’”

A story from Fu Zhongwen about his late teacher Yang Chengfu’s first travel to the city of Wuhan:

“When Yang Cheng-fu initially went to the city of Wuhan, a large landlord named Uu invited him to his house. When Yang arrived, there was a line of people half a kilometer long waiting for him to come in. Some were beating drums in his honor.

Inside there was a kung-fu man who challenged Yang three times. Each time Yang declined, saying, ‘It is not worth it. We should have friendship. There is no reason we should have to fight.’ But after the third time, the man told the landlord that Yang Cheng-fu was useless and afraid of him.

So Yang said he would fight him with a straight sword. The next day, the two went out to the courtyard for the challenge in front of the people. TheĀ  challenger used a real sword, while Yang used a wooden sword. The man tried to pierce Yang and Yang with the flick of the wrist cut the man’s wrist, knocking his sword away and disabling him.

Yang said, ‘I told you not to do this and now you lose.’ The man couldn’t say anything and could not use his arm any more. The internal energy from the wooden sword went through the arm like a laser.”

Fu Zhongwen speaking about Yang taijiquan founder Yang Luchan (Yang Lu-Ch’an) in a story about Yang’s visit to Zhang’s banquet:

“Before the banquet, one of the martial artists asked Yang, ‘Master Yang, what martial art are you doing?’ Yang responded, ‘I do soft, sticky fist.’ At that time, it was not called T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

Yang Lu-ch’an was a small, skinny man from the country and didn’t look like much. The martial artist continued to ask, ‘Can you fight with this martial art,’ Yang said, ‘Of course.’ The dialogue continued and Yang finally asked,

‘Do you look down upon me? There are only three kinds of people I can’t defeat: the brass man, the rock man, and the iron man. Anyone with a human body I can defeat.’”

Fu Zhongwen Offsite Resources & References

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