Reanimating legendary taichi master, Yang Chengfu

Yang Chengfu (1883-1936)

A friend sent me a video made by the German artist and taichi writer Matthias Wagner which has haunted me for days now. Herr Wagner has made pencil drawings of old photographs of one of China’s legendary taichi masters Yang Chengfu (1883-1936) who was famous enough to have a style named after him, the so-called Yang-style. I don’t practise this particular style and my  66 movement White Crane form, Suang-Yang is far from identical to the Yang-style but it was still inspirational to see the old master almost “in action.” It has inspired me in my regular morning martial arts practice – it’s shown me how little I know too.

Yang Chengfu in 1918

Matthias Wagner uses the photographed published in Yang Chengfu’s book Essence and Applications of Taichiquan (1934) and has rather beautifully caught the spirit of the man and the style. All taichi enthusiasts are in your debt, Herr Wagner.

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