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Yong Nian Taijiquan

Yong Nian Taijiquan

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Published by Carvalho
In Search of

Yong Nian Taijiquan, Fu family

and

Fu Qing Quan
In Search of

Yong Nian Taijiquan, Fu family

and

Fu Qing Quan

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Published by: Carvalho on Nov 09, 2009
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Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts
Spring 2008
 
The name “Yong Nian” derives from thecounty of his birth and the home of three
generaons of Yang family praconers.Yong Nian also means “always developing,never stopping” , always strengthening yourhealth and developing yourself through thepracce of Taijiquan. During the me of theYong Nian Associaons formaon, the moraleof the Chinese people was very low becauseof the civil war and the Japanese occupaon.Great Grandmaster Fu hoped to strengthenthe individual and thus the country. The nalreason for choosing the name was because theChinese characters for Yong Nian can also beread as “long Life” and this is a testament tothe life enhancing qualies of the exercise.Ten years aer the Yong Nian TaijiquanAssociaons foundaon, Chen Wei Ming,rst disciple of Yang Chen Fu, paid tribute toGrandmaster Fu’s eorts as follows:
“Mr. Fu Zhong Wen of Yong Nian hasreceived the teachings and guidance
 from his relave, Yang Chen Fu Lao Shi.
Mr. Fu has learnt accurately to a very high
standard and has made no alteraons,
which is why people say that it is
authenc…When it comes to connuingthe legacy of Yang Style Taiji, who else
can compare with Fu Zhongwen?” 
.In 1958 Great Grandmaster Fu was appointedthe Coach of the Shanghai Wu Shu team andhis students gained many Wu Shu honoursthroughout the 1950’s and 1960’s. Like manyothers of his generaon, he was not welltreated during the Cultural Revoluon, butthings improved for him from 1979 when hewas appointed vice-chairman of the ShanghaiWu Shu Associaon. From then unl his deathin 1994, he travelled widely with his sonand grandson (Fu Qing Quan) including onememorable trip to the US for an internaonalKuoshu tournament were, at the age of 91,he was seen roaming the hotel corridors inthe early hours of the morning searching for atuishou opponent.Aer Great Grandmaster Fu died, the YongNian tradion passed into the hands of his son,Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan, and grandson,Master Fu Qing Quan. At this point, I shouldexplain the reason why I am so (rudely)
Introducon
In May 2005, I travelled to Shanghai with a U.K.team to compete in the Lian Gong Shi Ba FaConference and to take part in their coachingcourse (See Issue No:22). The following year,I decided to return on my own for a monthfor further coaching and training. While I wasthere, I was also keen to discover more aboutmy own Taijquan hero Great Grandmaster FuZhongwen and his heirs.Great Grandmaster Fu Zhong Wen (1903-1994)was born in the village of Guanfu in the YongNian County of Hebei Province. The provinceis renowned as the birth-place of Yang Lu-Chanand thus the cradle of Taijiquan.From an early age Great GrandmasterFu studied Taijiquan with Yang Lu-Chan’sGrandson, Yang Chen Fu and later became oneof his leading disciples, travelling widely withinChina assisng his master with his teachingand accepng challenges on his behalf. Heeven married into the Yang family and fathereda son, Fu Sheng Yuan, with the great grand-daughter of Yang Jian Hou.Following his masters’ death in 1936, GreatGrandmaster Fu connued to transmit theauthenc Taijiquan and, in order to advancethis mission, he created the Yong Nian TaijiquanAssociaon in 1944.
interested in the grandson rather than thecurrent incumbent of Great Grandmaster Fu’s
heritage, Grand Master Fu Sheng Yuan (8
th
 
Duan Wushu ranking).I rst heard of Fu Qing Quan as a student of The Classical Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Societyin the UK. This society was founded by TonyHenrys who studied with Great GrandmasterFu. During this period, I saw a video of GreatGrandmaster Fu, performing the 85 Formduring which a sixteen- year old Fu Qing Quanperformed the lower postures and the kicksunder his Grandfather’s tutelage.Another reason was that I was aware that theFu’s emigrated to Australia in 1989 and thatGrandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan had establishedhimself in Perth and had students throughoutAustralia and New Zealand. Aer many e-mailsand much begging I eventually found out thatMaster Fu Qing Quan aka Master James Fuwas in China endeavouring to improve Taijito its former glories. Because I was alreadycommied to travelling to Shanghai toconnue my training in Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa,Master James Fu (7
th
Duan Wushu Ranking)was the obvious “target” for me so I travelledto Shanghai to nd out more about him, thelatest in Yong Nian story and, hopefully, a newteacher.
In Search of 
Yong Nian Taijiquan
 
and
 
Fu Qing Quan
Shanghai, April 2007
Unfortunately, a case of “Chinese Whispers”rudely intervened. As I travelled to Shanghai,Master James and his father were on theirway to Spain. Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan hastaught there for the last nine or ten years andMaster James was joining him for the rst me.His father is now 78 years old and values hissons’ assistance.Fortunately, Master James now has a base inShanghai and runs some classes and his ownschool in the city as well as travelling widelywithin China to pass on his Grandfathersteachings. Before he le Shanghai, Jamesarranged for me to train with his studentsincluding two very helpful Kiwis living inShanghai – Aaran Church and Stuart Laurance -I received excellent tuion from one of MasterJames’ lead instructors whose name translatedas “Dragon” – dragon by name……One of the things I noced was that the formwork was very much more open and expansive
than I had been used to during my training in
the U.K.. The reasons for this would becomeevident later.I spent a month in Shanghai training withMaster James’ students, trying to nd otherevidence of Yong Nian Taiji in the parks (Fuxingpark has a “master” on every corner – and aspreviously menoned in this magazine – noneof any quality. I also connued with my LianGong Shi Ba Fa training with Sifu Zhuang JianShen.Fortunately for me, Master James returned toShanghai whilst I was sll there. The day beforeI le, I was invited to his home where I was tomeet James, his father, mother and wife. Thiswas a completely unexpected bonus.Master James was not there when I arrived.I did not have to wait long before he literallyexploded into the room in a wave of energy andenthusiasm. I had a lot of quesons to ask, hehad a lot of statements / claricaons to makeabout his art. He speaks with great passionand energy parcularly when discussing hisGrandfather for whom, understandably, heretains a massive aecon. In parcular, andbefore long, he recounted how angry hisGrandfather had been when he discoveredwhat had happened to Taijiquan aer it hadbeen introduced to the West by, in parcular,Chen Man Ching who, as far as the Fu’s areconcerned was a person who could writeand was allowed to transcribe Yang Chen Fu’steachings but was never a close student of his.Meanwhile Grandmaster Fu had to accept thathe was secluded in China during this periodand had kept quiet about his feelings because,at the very least, Taijiquan had been promoted.Later, I was to learn that Great GrandmasterFu was at the border with Hong Kong when itwas closed in 1949 – who knows what wouldhave happened to Taijiquan in the west if hehad managed to cross. With these insights, it isnot dicult to see the source of Master James’passion and enthusiasm.During my stay in their home, we watcheda DVD together of the Canadian 7 Mastersevent which was accompanied by muchhilarity on behalf of the Fu’s – Master Jameshimself aended and performed a sabre formon behalf of the Yang family represented byYang Zhendou. In their opinion, the standardof Taijiquan coming out of China and beingpromoted in the West is very poor.Similar honesty and forthrightness wasexhibited by Master James when he discussedthe dierence in styles between Yang Zhendouand himself and he puts this down to the factthat Yang Zhenduo was never taught by hisown father and received limited tuion fromGreat Grandmaster Fu Zhongwen. He agreedthat the end postures where correct but thetransions were problemacal – authencTaijiquan involves moving on the weightedfoot. He accepts that Yang Zhenduo carriesthe family name and is therefore head of thefamily. The Yang bloodline and authenc form,however, will connue through Fu Qing Quan( as previously noted, his Grandfather marriedwithin the Yang family).Master James’ had a lot to say about theorigins of Taijiquan. He quoted one of hisGrandfather’s sayings “Taiji is only one” – bythis he meant that what Yang Lu Chan learnedin Chen Jiagou, from Chen Changxing is thesame form that the Yang family sll pracces,he said that it was not the Chen style that YangLu Chan learned. Before the communists tookover, nobody had heard of the Chen style – itwas only aer 1949 that the Pao Tui form wasresurrected and combined with Taijiquan.Master James insists that the stamping andfa jing movements in the modern Chen formare unhealthy on the joints. He also pointedout that fa jing was used in the Yang style inthe applicaon of individual postures but notpracsed during the form (he was to return tothis subject later).As regards the dierent styles of performing“Yang” Taijiquan, Master James explainedthat, because Yang Chen Fu was a large man,his movements were larger. Because YangShou Hou was smaller, his movements weresmaller but this does not make it “small frame”.In Great Grandmaster Fu Zhongwens lastinterview, James translated his Grandfather insimilar terms: “You can do low movements orwith arms wider or with small steps and armssmaller. It depends on what level you are at. But
Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental ArtsSpring 2008
by Kevin McQuaid

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