Yang-style Tai Chi:
Yang Chen-Fu, Cheng Man-Ching and Dr. Lin's legacy

The name Tai Chi Chuan can be roughly translated into English as meaning the 'the big ultimate path' or 'supreme ultimate fist'. The name of Tai Chi is derived from the tai chi symbol t'ai chi t'u or more commonly known as the yin yang symbol. The exact start of Tai Chi is something of anecdotal myth, but it has probably existed in some form or another for a thousand years.

In recent times Tai Chi has become quiet popular, partly due to our world becoming more health conscious. Tai Chi was previously a guarded family secret and only passed on to decedents, it was also most certainly never taught to foreigners (Westerners).

The spread of Tai Chi as a health exercise (to the general public) is largely due to Yang Chen Fu (1883 - 1936) and his student Cheng Man-Ching (1900 - 1975). Yang Chen Fu smoothed out the Tai Chi Forms' more vigorous workout which he inherited from his decedents making it more accessible to non-martial artists. He was among the first teachers to offer Tai Chi Chuan instruction to the general public at the Beijing Physical Culture Research Institute from 1914 until 1928.

Cheng Man-Ching, a well known physician, understood the immense health benefits of Tai Chi to humanity and softened his teachers ‘form’ further to emphasize the health benefits. He also shortened the 'form' to make it easier to learn by the public at large. Professor Cheng moved to the United States in 1964, where he founded a school in New York. This lead to the wide-spread popularisation of Tai Chi in the West by his students. Cheng Man-Ching was often referred to as a "Master of the Five Excellences" namely Chinese medicine, Tai Chi Chuan, poetry, painting and calligraphy. His wonderful paintings can be seen decorating the website. To view more of his work and for further info on Professor Cheng please view his website.

Cape Town residents has been fortunate beyond belief in having one of Cheng Man-Ching's main students residing here since 1992. Dr. Feng-Chao Lin from Taiwan is revered for not only for his exceptional skills in martial arts but also as a physician. All his students and patients will attest to his wisdom, skill and compassion. Thanks to Dr. Lin many Cape Townians have been directly or indirectly been introduced to the life changing art of Tai Chi. Although Dr. Lin no longer teaches to the public he still guides and encourages his students in the proliferation of Tai Chi Chuan.

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