YANG LU CHAN ("Yang The Unsurpassed")
1799-1872


As a young man, Yang Lu-ch'an studied Shaolin Kung Fu and sought the teachings of
Chen-style Tai Chi from the Chen family. He managed to get employment in the Chen
Village as a servant. From a distance, Yang studied the Chen Tai Chi students and
practiced at night. Chen Chang-Xing, a master in the Chen Village discovered his
practice and recognized the excellence of his technique. Chen decided to break with
the tradition of secrecy and invited Yang into the school. Yang spent nearly 20 years
with the Chen master. So great was Yang's mastery of the form that Chen dismissed
him and Yang returned to his village to teach martial arts. Later, Yang established
a school of Tai Chi in Beijing. He is credited as the founder of the Yang-style of
Tai Chi
. In time he taught Tai Chi to the Imperial court and became known
as 'Yang the Unsurpassed'.
YANG CHIEN HOU
1839-1917


Unlike his father, Yang Lu-chan, Yang Chien-hou did not have to travel to seek out
a master. He was born into the most famous family in martial arts at that time with
the challenge of growing up in that environment. He was trained very hard by his
father sometimes harshly, and reached an exceptionally high standard of Tai Chi Chuan
becoming famous in his own right. Through his life, Yang Chien-Hou also mastered many
weapons including the saber, spear and sword - his sword skill was renowned for
combining softness and hardness. He could also defend himself effectively against
other weapons with a long paint brush or duster. Yang was gentle in nature, and where
possible he would refuse all challenges, yet his skill in Tai Chi "push hands"
(Tui Shou - similar to Sumo) was second to none. It is said he was an excellent teacher
and had many students. Yang Chien-Hou made some adjustments to the Yang Form in
the corpus of knowledge held by the Yang family. Like his father, he also possessed
the ability to prevent a bird from escaping from his hand once placed there
("Grasping the Sparrows Tail"). He is noted for making the form movements softer,
more fluid and more expansive.
YANG CHENG FU ("Yang The Invincible")
1883-1936


Yang Cheng-fu was the son of Yang Chien-hou and the grandson of Yang Lu Chan. He is also
considered the greatest and most famous master of Tai Chi Chuan in all of the original Yang
family lineage. He was instrumental in taking Tai Chi Chuan outside the realm of the ruling
class and making it available to all the Chinese people. He dedicated the last 30 years of his
life to the transmission of this knowledge, traveling across China. He is credited with having
taught Tai Chi Chuan to over 50,000 people. To do this, he created the "all-slow" moving
form
that the west is accustomed to seeing. He combined the early concepts of self-defense
with the concepts of therapeutic exercise and internal development. In this new form, all the
movements were performed slowly, and at an even pace from beginning to end. All high kicks
and movements requiring excessive exertion of force were deleted. He removed the strength
explosions (Fajing) and replaced them with using the mind to move chi (energy) to extend
the limbs instead. He smoothed out the form to emphasize flow, rootedness and relaxation
which is primary to the art. These changes allowed for many people to become interested in
learning and practicing this form of exercise. Through Yang's own genius and the energy and
prestige of his sons and students, the Yang Style of Tai Chi Chuan established itself as the
dominant system of internal development and self defense in China. Today with billions of
practitioners, the Yang Style of Tai Chi Chuan (and derivatives like our Cheng Man Ching form)
is the most widely practiced form of exercise on the planet, as everyone (men and
women, young and old, healthy and sick) can study it, enjoy it, and participate in its practice.
PROFESSOR CHENG MAN CH'ING
1901-1975


Of all the modern Tai Chi masters, none have had the impact of Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing.
A Prodigy, he grew to become renowned in China as a master of the "Five Excellences" -
painting, poetry, calligraphy, medicine and martial arts. When one considers the vast learning
and diligent study it takes to master even one of these disciplines, Cheng's achievements
are even more remarkable. As an exceptionally skilled physician, Cheng restored the health
of Madame Yang, wife of Yang Cheng-Fu, where no others could. In gratitude, Cheng became
the student of Yang-style Tai Chi and studied daily with Master Yang for many years. By 1946,
he developed a significantly abbreviated 37-posture version of Yang 108-posture form,
taking ten minutes to practice instead of the original thirty. He also shortened the reach and
modified the footwork and other physical expressions of the individual movements in the form.
Cheng's postures are performed in "middle frame" style, which changes the movement of the
feet from the Yang version - the Yin or weightless foot rotates on the heel rather than pivot
the heel out (over-extending the stance) with the ball of the foot. Professor also embraced
the concept of "swing and return" in which the gathering momentum from one movement
powers the next (smoothly, with connection); moving from substantial to insubstantial (yin to
yang) and back again. In this way, no movements and no direction of energy is accomplished
in isolation; the whole body moves as one. These changes allowed him to teach larger
numbers of students, first in China, then Taiwan and later in North America and Europe.
There is still a wide and continued popularity of the Cheng Man Ching form that is
recognized by many T'ai Chi schools to the present day. In 1949, he moved to Taiwan and
established a career as a traditional Chinese medicine physician and teacher of his new Tai
Chi form, as well as painting, poetry, and calligraphy. After an illustrious career as a
physician and martial artist in Taiwan, Professor Cheng emigrated to the U.S. where he ran
a large Tai Chi School (the Shr Jung) in the Chinatown section of New York City. He passed
on March 26th 1975, but his legacy lives on through his poetry, his paintings, those he
healed, and those he taught.
WILLIAM C. PHILLIPS

William Phillips began his study of martial arts in Karate, Jiu-jitsu, and Judo. He began his
study of Tai Chi after seeking out the teachings of Professor Cheng Man Ching during the
1960's in the Chinatown section of New York City. From Professor Cheng Man Ching,
Phillips refined his form, and also learned push hands and CMC sword form. After Professor
Cheng's death in 1975, Phillips further developed his form and push hands skills with Mort
Raphael, another of Professor's senior students, for a couple of years but after that was
largely on his own. In 1970, Phillips founded the Patience T'ai Chi Association in Brooklyn.
The Association has flourished over the years, and Phillips has taught hundreds of students
Tai Chi, Karate, and Jiu-jitsu. Today, Phillips, who also holds the rank of Godan (fifth
degree black belt) in Karate and Jiu-Jitsu, focuses mainly on teaching Tai Chi form and
push hands. He has served as a judge at numerous tournaments, and has traveled the
country teaching seminars, including at the Tai Chi farm of Master Jou Tsung Hwa. Phillips
has made a number of television appearances on programs such as The O'Reilly Report on
Fox Cable and Brent Garber's Health Update, and has been featured in many publications
including USA Today, Inside Kung Fu and Men's Health. William Phillips also holds an
appointment to the Advisory Board of the American Society of Internal Arts (ASIA).
JAMES LEPORATI

James Leporati has been practicing and teaching Tai Chi Chuan for over 25 years.
He is a certified instructor of Patience T'ai Chi Association and a senior student
of William C. Phillips. He began his studies with Phillips in 1981, and has won
numerous medals in tournament. A licensed NYS acupuncturist with a private
practice in New York, James has also done extensive research on the health benefits
of Tai Chi. As a film producer, Sifu Jim has co- produced a feature-length film as well
as several short subjects, documentaries and countless videos surrounding topics
involving the martial arts. James (and brother John) have been involved in film
production for many years. They currently produce Martial Arts View, an
anthology television series that showcases the best New York metro area martial
artists with an eye towards preserving the vital legacy of the fighting arts as
transmitted through these great teachers. As stated, "Today, we still have martial
arts events and movies, but the martial culture has changed. People have more
access to information about martial arts, but less access to the expertise of truly
great practitioners." Martial Arts View brings the thoughts and discussions of
martial arts experts to the people in a thoughtful scholarly way. From these insights,
martial artists can further practice, discuss and refine their training.
MICHAEL S. PEKOR

Michael Pekor has been studying martial arts since 1982. He holds instructor's certification
in Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi Chuan under the Patience T'ai Chi Association and Master
William Phillips, instructor's certification in Shotokan Karate under the Long Island University
Division of Sports Science and a second degree black belt under the American-Japanese
Karate Association. Pekor is also an advanced practitioner of Wing Chun Kung Fu under
Sifu John Crescione. Pekor has been a national Tai Chi form and push hands gold medalist
for many years. Pekor has also been named Tai Chi Push Hands National Grand Champion
and Cheng Man Ching Advanced Form Gold Medalist by the United States Kuo Shu
Federation. His accomplishments led to the opening of Caring Hands Tai Chi school in
Westbury, NY. Today the school is named Tai Chi Kung Fu of Long Island and is located in
East Meadow, NY.
JOHN J. MORGA

John Morga has been studying martial arts since 1986. He refined his focus to
the Chinese martial arts in 2001. John is a senior student of Michael S. Pekor for
Cheng Man Ching style Tai Chi Form and Push Hands. He is also a student of James
Leporati for Cheng Man Ching style Sword Form. Morga has won several medals in
tournament and has been named Cheng Man Ching Advanced Form Gold Medalist
by the United States Kuo Shu Federation. Morga holds instructor's certification in
Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi Chuan with the Tai Chi Kung Fu of Long Island School
under Sifu Michael S. Pekor and assistant instructor's certification with Patience T'ai
Chi Association under Master William C. Phillips.
 












Bowing In
U.S.K.S.F. International Tournament
 


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