What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby GrahamB on Tue May 03, 2022 8:43 am

I'm still partial to the idea that "Taijiquan" - the form and sequence - was invented in Beijing in the royal palace by WYX - who had the political power - and YLC as his martial arts guy as a way to unify the (Manchu) court around something nationalistic and "old" and "Chinese". They needed a history for it, so they linked it back to YLC learning in Chen village (a place with a martial reputation). The form and sequence then got retrofitted into Chen style, when they realised you can make good money from teaching this to people in Beijing which is a lot easier life than than being a bodyguard or local militia commander for the gov. :)

Hey, it's just an idea, but I think it's quite likely.

There are just so many unanswered questions about Yang style, Chen style and their relationship. Why did Yang never invite his beloved teacher to Beijing? Why was there no contact with him again after Yang arrived in Beijing? etc...
Last edited by GrahamB on Tue May 03, 2022 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby salcanzonieri on Tue May 03, 2022 2:58 pm

GrahamB wrote:I'm still partial to the idea that "Taijiquan" - the form and sequence - was invented in Beijing in the royal palace by WYX - who had the political power - and YLC as his martial arts guy as a way to unify the (Manchu) court around something nationalistic and "old" and "Chinese". They needed a history for it, so they linked it back to YLC learning in Chen village (a place with a martial reputation). The form and sequence then got retrofitted into Chen style, when they realised you can make good money from teaching this to people in Beijing which is a lot easier life than than being a bodyguard or local militia commander for the gov. :)

Hey, it's just an idea, but I think it's quite likely.

There are just so many unanswered questions about Yang style, Chen style and their relationship. Why did Yang never invite his beloved teacher to Beijing? Why was there no contact with him again after Yang arrived in Beijing? etc...


But, if you read my response to you in the thread on the other page, I posted an older Tong Bei Rou Quan form that has the same names of the moves and the same sequence of "the form".
So, "the form" already existed. Which is what was taught by Chen to YLC.
Hence, why he didn't teach the family style to YLC, he taught a Tong Bei Rou Quan set, which was already imbued with not only "the form" but what became called "Tai Chi". which in essence, starting in the 1500s already existed as a thing.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:29 pm

cloudz wrote:Or they both changed those parts, because frankly they were taoist leaning.

YLC practiced other types of long fist than the Chens, and before learning Chen fist, as Xiaohong Quan. So sure, it's reasonable that YLC fused his knowledge together.

we know that the 32 posture framework was abandoned and changed to 37.


"37" (Sanshiqi) is a very old name of a Daoist sect, amongst other things, and the 37 postures (Sanshiqi shi) is also a very old name, but on martial arts exercises that is said to be a precursor, or forerunner, to Taijiquan.

the new framework was probably Long-fist.
I think YLC came away with Lao Jia and small frame knowledge and in some way sought to combine that.


I believe that YLC learned a small or medium frame variant, the same as WYX built his form on, and then created his own medium frame 3 part long form. And the Chen style Laojia was modelled much later from the popular Yang form. I can't prove this theory, obviously, but looking at history...

GrahamB wrote:I'm still partial to the idea that "Taijiquan" - the form and sequence - was invented in Beijing in the royal palace by WYX - who had the political power - and YLC as his martial arts guy


It's an interesting idea...

as a way to unify the (Manchu) court around something nationalistic and "old" and "Chinese". They needed a history for it, so they linked it back to YLC learning in Chen village (a place with a martial reputation).


I have no idea why they needed something "old" and "Chinese" in 1850. YLC was a trained security person and bodyguard. He was invited to the court to train the imperial guard. He taught combat and body guard stuff. 1850 was the year when the The Taiping Rebellion broke out. They needed lots of support and reinforcements to protect the imperial palace and took what they could get. To be frank - Yang Luchan was just the person they managed to find at that time. And I have no clue why they would have time or interest to think about old Chinese stuff when they needed all time they had to reinforce and strengthen the soldiers and the guard. Yeah, sure, Wu Yuxiang did that. But he was more of a scholar and did his own thing. But the rest of YLC's students learned from him solely to become better fighters and to learn how to better protect the palace.

The form and sequence then got retrofitted into Chen style, when they realised you can make good money from teaching this to people in Beijing which is a lot easier life than than being a bodyguard or local militia commander for the gov. :)


On this I am with you 100%.

Why did Yang never invite his beloved teacher to Beijing? Why was there no contact with him again after Yang arrived in Beijing? etc...


When YLC was in Beijing, there was the:
Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) Directly against the reigning dynasty
Nian Rebellion (1851-1868) in Northern China
Miao Rebellion (1854–73) in Guizhou province
Red Turban Rebellion (1854–1856) in the Guangdong province

In other words - There was a lot of turmoil in all of China and probably not a time when you wanted to travel around too much or invite friends to Beijing.

Well, WYX tried to visit YLC's teacher, but he was already very old at thet time and ill, mostly lying in bed. YLC was already about 52-53 years old when he went to Beijing.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:36 pm

salcanzonieri wrote: I posted an older Tong Bei Rou Quan form that has the same names of the moves and the same sequence of "the form".
So, "the form" already existed. Which is what was taught by Chen to YLC.
Hence, why he didn't teach the family style to YLC, he taught a Tong Bei Rou Quan set, which was already imbued with not only "the form" but what became called "Tai Chi". which in essence, starting in the 1500s already existed as a thing.


But maybe it was YLC who created his style from the tongbei together with Chen fist? How do you know that YLC learned the tongbei in Chen village?

I only saw the written sequence, did you post a video as well?
Last edited by Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby everything on Tue May 03, 2022 3:38 pm

I guess I add this “uncertainty” to the list of reasons that Sun style seems more interesting to me.

By and large we seem to know where he got his “Big Three” instructions.

AFAIK, none of that is shrouded in any mystery or controversy.

His art is “mixed martial art” from three interesting “internal” arts.

Although people seem to have a gigantic problem with the “energy” stuff he heavily writes about, they don’t seem to have issue with his “martial” aspects.

Even the most superficial outer layer of his art(s) seems interesting.

We don’t need to care if some “previous” version had x or y.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby Bhassler on Tue May 03, 2022 3:40 pm

Chen Chang Xing died in 1853. YLC was born in 1799, so if he was 52-53 by the time he went to Beijing, that means CCX was already dead. The story I heard was that CCX's wife was younger, and after CCX died, the local village fellas didn't like YLC living in the house with CCX's widow, so got together and politely told YLC to fuck off and not come back. Which also explains why YLC felt he had to change the art to something reflecting his own understanding that wouldn't immediately be tied back to Chen village.

I'm not into the pseudo-history aspect of gongfu and the constant Batman-esque movie reboot style of competing origin stories that seem so prevalent these days, so I haven't researched it. It could be total nonsense, and I wouldn't care if it was. It's still just as plausible as most of the other theories that are bandied about lately.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:47 pm

everything wrote:Although people seem to have a gigantic problem with the “energy” stuff he heavily writes about, they don’t seem to have issue with his “martial” aspects.


I have no problem with that.

We don’t need to care if some “previous” version had x or y.


I don't care about shallow things as missing movements and so. The thing I care about is if the performer of an art has a good "engine". There are very specific principles of body movement that needs to be utilized in order to have a certain "engine".

Just as I can see problems amongst Wu and Yang stylists, I have a big problem with how a lot of the common Sun style is performed and taught today. I see that theer are a lot of things missing. But you can at least get a sense of what has been lost if you study older masters and older ways to perform these arts.
Last edited by Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:55 pm

Bhassler wrote:Chen Chang Xing died in 1853. YLC was born in 1799, so if he was 52-53 by the time he went to Beijing, that means CCX was already dead.


YLC came to Beijing in 1950. He should have been somewhere around 50-51. My mistake. Wu Yuxiang tried to visit CCX, it should have been the same year as he died.

I am a bit puzzled though that WYX had only studied 2-3 years with YLC before turning to his teacher.

The story I heard was that CCX's wife was younger, and after CCX died, the local village fellas didn't like YLC living in the house with CCX's widow, so got together and politely told YLC to fuck off and not come back. Which also explains why YLC felt he had to change the art to something reflecting his own understanding that wouldn't immediately be tied back to Chen village.


That story is new to me. Interesting.
Last edited by Bao on Tue May 03, 2022 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby everything on Tue May 03, 2022 4:00 pm

if some people have lost certain things, that seems sad as well as a bit inevitable. how one person could learn xingyi, bagua, and taiji, especially from key figures, seems to be too much and not historically repeatable. to make a bad analogy, to me, this would be something like learning sambo-based mma from fedor, bjj from helio gracie, judo from jigoro kano (if they all lived at the same time). it's not possible for "this accident to happen" again so easily. perhaps a very well-connected professional fighter can come close in certain modern mma disciplines.

if the "engine" and "inner principles" are one as Sun said, at least there is some hope that people can grasp the principles from the outside-in, starting from different outsides. then from the inside-out again, it seems, say, going from taiji to xingyi, or xingyi to baguazhang, should make some sense and some of it can be "grasped" more easily.
Last edited by everything on Tue May 03, 2022 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby salcanzonieri on Tue May 03, 2022 8:33 pm

Bhassler wrote:Chen Chang Xing died in 1853. YLC was born in 1799, so if he was 52-53 by the time he went to Beijing, that means CCX was already dead. The story I heard was that CCX's wife was younger, and after CCX died, the local village fellas didn't like YLC living in the house with CCX's widow, so got together and politely told YLC to fuck off and not come back. Which also explains why YLC felt he had to change the art to something reflecting his own understanding that wouldn't immediately be tied back to Chen village.

I'm not into the pseudo-history aspect of gongfu and the constant Batman-esque movie reboot style of competing origin stories that seem so prevalent these days, so I haven't researched it. It could be total nonsense, and I wouldn't care if it was. It's still just as plausible as most of the other theories that are bandied about lately.


Note: most of the "story" about YLC being in Chen village comes from a novel, including the story of being a servant and he had to leave because the widow, etc etc.
His age doesn't jive with this popular novel story. There are no, so far, know fact about YLC being at Chen village, etc etc
But yet, he learned something that became TJQ.

Okay, so what was Yang style first called? It was called ROU QUAN.

And, as reported by myself and other people, both the Yang Lao Jia and the Chen Yi Lu Lao Jia follow the Tong Bei Rou Quan form, both in movements and in posture names.
Tong Bei founder, Dong Cheng learned Shaolin Rou Quan (Rou means flexible, and includes the Chan Yuan Gong (Which is same as silk reeling) and Luohan 13 Postures (which is same as well the 13 Postures) and Shaolin Hong Quan, Pao Chui, TZ Chang Quan from 2 Shaolin teachers and he learned Taoist 6 Harmony spear (the same one as in XYQ from Ji LongFeng) AND
Taoist Shanxi Qigong (also named 13 Postures) from Song Xi Nei Jia Quan style (from Shanxi/Shaanxi, where it still exists today, and they practice TZ Chang Quan forms too, even Shanxi Hong Quan style does the TZ Chang Quan set) and mixed it all together to make Tong Bei in the 1500s. So from Chen Wangting's time to the 1700s, Chen ChangXing's time.

And aren't all these things the roots of Chen (and Yang) in the first place? they were all mentioned in the various Chen Family papers from hundreds of years ago.

This Tong Bei Rou Quan was obviously passed over time in Chen village to Chen ChangXing, and it is what supposedly Jiang Fa taught (fake story? Since Chen Wangting knew Dong Cheng and traded info with him. Jiang Fa and Li JiYu, his boss, practiced MoGou Shaolin Hong Quan and other Shaolin material from the 1500s).
This Tong Bei Rou Quan form was taught to YLC with some Chen stuff mixed in (small frame? Big frame? mixture?)
Maybe later Chen FaKe Chen style used the Yang form as a frame?

egardless, everyone doing TJQ is really doing Tong Bei Rou Quan, which ties everything together, since it first used what is now called soft (flexible) TJQ principles.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby Tom on Tue May 03, 2022 8:45 pm

GrahamB wrote:Thete are just so many unanswered questions about Yang style, Chen style and their relationship. Why did Yang never invite his beloved teacher to Beijing? Why was there no contact with him again after Yang arrived in Beijing? etc...


Possibly because Chen Changxing (born 1771) was already 79-80 years old when Yang Luchan began to be known in Beijing ca. 1850, and died in 1853. Travel was hard on old folks in those times.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby salcanzonieri on Tue May 03, 2022 9:23 pm

Read this off the cuff description of Tong Bei and see how much overlaps with TJQ, the energetics:

https://doubledragonalliance.org/the-art-of-tong-bei-quan/
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby GrahamB on Wed May 04, 2022 2:04 am

salcanzonieri wrote:
GrahamB wrote:I'm still partial to the idea that "Taijiquan" - the form and sequence - was invented in Beijing in the royal palace by WYX - who had the political power - and YLC as his martial arts guy as a way to unify the (Manchu) court around something nationalistic and "old" and "Chinese". They needed a history for it, so they linked it back to YLC learning in Chen village (a place with a martial reputation). The form and sequence then got retrofitted into Chen style, when they realised you can make good money from teaching this to people in Beijing which is a lot easier life than than being a bodyguard or local militia commander for the gov. :)

Hey, it's just an idea, but I think it's quite likely.

There are just so many unanswered questions about Yang style, Chen style and their relationship. Why did Yang never invite his beloved teacher to Beijing? Why was there no contact with him again after Yang arrived in Beijing? etc...


But, if you read my response to you in the thread on the other page, I posted an older Tong Bei Rou Quan form that has the same names of the moves and the same sequence of "the form".
So, "the form" already existed. Which is what was taught by Chen to YLC.
Hence, why he didn't teach the family style to YLC, he taught a Tong Bei Rou Quan set, which was already imbued with not only "the form" but what became called "Tai Chi". which in essence, starting in the 1500s already existed as a thing.


I don't see how that proves a Chen/Yang connection - maybe that's where YLC got it from or was 'inspired by' when he 'made it up' in Beijing? Impossible to say. But there's no need to add Chen to the equation at that point.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby GrahamB on Wed May 04, 2022 2:07 am

Tom wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Thete are just so many unanswered questions about Yang style, Chen style and their relationship. Why did Yang never invite his beloved teacher to Beijing? Why was there no contact with him again after Yang arrived in Beijing? etc...


Possibly because Chen Changxing (born 1771) was already 79-80 years old when Yang Luchan began to be known in Beijing ca. 1850, and died in 1853. Travel was hard on old folks in those times.


That would make sense.
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Re: What if Yang Lu Chan didn't change the form? Maybe Chen did?

Postby GrahamB on Wed May 04, 2022 2:18 am

Bao wrote:
GrahamB wrote:I'm still partial to the idea that "Taijiquan" - the form and sequence - was invented in Beijing in the royal palace by WYX - who had the political power - and YLC as his martial arts guy


It's an interesting idea...

as a way to unify the (Manchu) court around something nationalistic and "old" and "Chinese". They needed a history for it, so they linked it back to YLC learning in Chen village (a place with a martial reputation).


I have no idea why they needed something "old" and "Chinese" in 1850.



Ok, bear with me here. Just suspend disbelief for a second...

You put one possible answer below - a period of social turmoil and the Royal Court (Manchu - seen as invaders from the north) needed something to unify around and make them seem part of the native Chinese population. Tai Chi, with it's pre-made history of being created by Chang San Feng, an ancient Taoist, fit the bill perfectly.

YLC was a trained security person and bodyguard. He was invited to the court to train the imperial guard. He taught combat and body guard stuff.


But was he really? That's the myth, but I suspect in reality he was there to train the Confucian elites, like Wu WuXiang and higher ups - kind of like an entertainer to the court. My suspicion is that the security guards got in on the act and learned it to, as they thought it was a good gig to get into. Money is a powerful motivator :)

(Wu/Hou/Sun style has that narrow stance because of restrictive court clothing, whereas Wu style (Wu Quanyu) was not wearing court clothing, nor were Yang and Chen families.)

1850 was the year when the The Taiping Rebellion broke out. They needed lots of support and reinforcements to protect the imperial palace and took what they could get. To be frank - Yang Luchan was just the person they managed to find at that time.


Nope - he was a local rube from Hicksville Alabama - a useful pawn in WYX's game of Machiavellian politics :) . They had battle-hardened soldiers to call on if they needed people with blades to do their dirty work. I'm sure YLC was good, and he had a long time to get even better at barehand by training in the Imperial Palace all the time, but he was not a trained soldier.

And I have no clue why they would have time or interest to think about old Chinese stuff when they needed all time they had to reinforce and strengthen the soldiers and the guard. Yeah, sure, Wu Yuxiang did that. But he was more of a scholar and did his own thing. But the rest of YLC's students learned from him solely to become better fighters and to learn how to better protect the palace.


I imagine it's WYX and YLC working together on that, with WYX being the driving force and YLC following orders. And like I said, the other reason for soldiers and bodyguards learning this stuff was that it was also a way to make a living, by teaching the upper classes.

This view of history is less romantic, less inspirational, and I've lost the rose-tinted spectacles that history is usually adorned with, but it feels more realistic to me. Modern day Tai Chi teachers rarely teach people out of the goodness of their heart - it's usually a way to make money. Why would it be different the past?
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed May 04, 2022 2:41 am, edited 11 times in total.
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