A special transmission outside the scriptures; not dependent on words or letters; by direct pointing to the mind of man, seeing into one’s true nature and attaining Buddhahood – Bodhidharma on Zen
There are many lineages of the popular Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. Most of these lineages trace their transmission back to the third generation inheritor, Yang Chengfu.
I have learned different lineages of Yang Tai Chi beginning with the well known style of Cheng Manching before moving on to the styles passed down through the lineages of respectively Nip Chee Fei, Yang Shouchung and Dong Yingjie.
However, the style that made the biggest impact on me in terms of mastery, the one that I continue to practice today is the style that was first made accessible to the public by Grandmaster Wei Shuren.
The style of GM Wei goes beyond just mere training of the physical. To discover the essence of this unique method of Tai Chi we have to detach ourselves from that which enslaves our body and mind with the mundane.
Mastery of this particular Tai Chi as dictated by the principles of the Tai Chi Classics requires that we seek that which utilizes the mind to train the body to optimize its own movements with minimal outer motions.
The story of GM Wei’s style began when Yang Jianhou transmitted his family’s art to the Wang family (father Wang Conglu, son Wang Yongquan) in the residence of Pu Lun Bei Zi, a Manchurian Prince for whom the elder Wang worked to run the operations of the household.
In later years, Wang Yongquan taught Yang Tai Chi publicly in Beijing. He taught the popular Yang Chengfu version to the disciples that he accepted early in his teaching career. He did not teach the secret art to them.
It was towards the end of his teaching career that old master Wang finally revealed the art that he had learned from Yang Jianhou. It was during this period that a number of new students joined to learn this fascinating art. One of these new students was GM Wei who had been learning Chen style Tai Chi for a long time.
At the time of this writing GM Wei would have passed away for nearly nine years (11 June 2013). He had been instrumental in transmitting the art to 50+ disciples. At the time of his retirement GM Wei formally designated two disciples to transmit the art. Since then, the number of practitioners of this style has grown but remain low by comparison to other Yang styles.
My teacher said that learning this art is easy, but practicing it is challenging. To succeed in the learning you must really want to learn it, want to master it and is prepared to keep practicing it, gnawing away at the learning difficulties until you get through them. There’s a saying, one in a thousand, which means that out of a thousand students learning this art only one will master it.
The information I have written here is to give a better idea of what the art is about. It is not meant to be instructional because there are many subtleties to the art, subtleties that you will only realize when you have put in enough practice to get the basics correct enabling you to go beyond them.