Part 1 here.
Below are my comments based on what my teacher told me during those years I was learning from him.
Alternative Fact No. 1
…..Imperial Yang Family Tai Chi, a mysterious branch of the most popular style of Tai Chi that originated from the Palace staff during the Qing Dynasty in the early 1900s.
Grandmaster Wei never called the Yang style he learned from Great Grandmaster Wang “Imperial Yang Family Tai Chi”. The name was concocted by some of GM Wei’s disciples.
If indeed the name of GM Wei’s Yang style is Imperial Yang Family Tai Chi then why was this name not used for the title of GGM Wang’s book and GM Wei’s books on their Yang style?
Also, the claims of a mysterious branch is a modern marketing thingy. After seeing the very different form in this style somebody once asked GGM Wang why he did not call the style Wang style Tai Chi. GGM Wang became angry and said that he could not do so because this was the Yang family’s Tai Chi.
Thus, what is written in this blog post about GM Wei’s style as originating from Palace staff is a marketing claim.
Alternative Fact No. 2
Master Yang Jian Hou, son of Yang style founder Yang Lu Chan, was summoned to train the royal family and, along with his son Yang Chengfu, used the palace staff to absorb the blows. No one absorbed blows better than Wang Chonglu and his son Wang Yong Quan. After years of pushing them around, the fearsome Yang Chengfu rewarded their courage with lessons in the Yang family secrets, not shared with others.
It is interesting that the writer of this post had a link to Jarek Szymanski’s translation of some stuff from GM Wei’s book. I wonder whether the writer read through Jarek’s translation because writing his own post because if he did he would notice a glaring mistake in this paragraph.
Hop over to the article of Jarek’s that the writer linked to here.
Read the article and you will see why this paragraph is basically full of alternative facts when compared to Jarek’s translation of what GM Wei wrote about GGM Wang and his father’s learning of Tai Chi from the Yang family.
Alternative Fact No. 3
The Old Six Roads seems distinctly different from the Yang form, with shorter and more compact movements within the larger postures.
“….. seems distinctly different…..” – seriously dude? The form is not “seems distinctly different” but is “distinctly different”. Unless the writer is not comparing apple to apple (I think he is probably comparing GM Wei’s 22 form to the longer Yang Chengfu 108 form) then the form is longer and not shorter than the conventional Yang style form that originated from Yang Chengfu’s lineage.
The postures are also not larger when compared to that of Yang Chengfu’s version of the long form. Unless one is watching someone not competent in the form doing the demonstration the onlooker should not be getting this impression.
Take a look at the conventional 24 form that is based on Yang Chengfu’s 108 form. The arrangement of this form is basically nearly identical to GM Wei’s 22 form.
Next, take a look at GM Wei’s 22 form performed by the master himself :-
Alternative Fact No. 4
For decades, Wei Shu Ren traveled China and South Asia to teach and compete.
I have to say I have only heard of GM Wei travelling to Australia and Taiwan to teach. I have not even heard of GM Wei travelling within China to teach and certainly not to South Asia, in fact not even to Southeast Asia.
As to the claim of GM Wei competing I have to say that apart from that one video of him doing a push hands demo I have not seen more. Nor have I heard from my teacher of GM Wei taking part in competitions.
You would think that if these two claims are true you would see pictures in GM Wei’s books of him with medals and scrolls from competitions, as well as GM Wei teaching seminars or posing with large group of participants in countries that he taught. But no, the only seminar pictures in GM Wei’s books are from the book launch of the 22 form and with participants in Australia and Taiwan.
Alternative Fact No. 5
Today the Imperial Yang Family Tai Chi tradition is carried on by Wei Shu Ren’s three daughters
A reader may get the impression that it is only GM Wei’s daughters who are carrying on the tradition.
The facts that have been left out whether intentional or out of ignorance by the writer is that GM Wei once held a ceremony to officially proclaim his retirement from teaching.
During this ceremony GM Wei did three things – announced the formation of a formal style for his Tai Chi, designate his adopted son as the official custodian of the style, and named two disciples (his adopted son and one senior lady disciple) as being official teachers of the style. None of the other 50 odd disciples nor his daughters were named as official teachers during the ceremony.