杨露禅 – 现代太极之父
Father of modern Taiji – Yang Lu-Chan
Yang Lu-Chan of Guangping, is remembered as the father of Taiji. The art passed on by him was called Yang family (Yangjia) Taiji. From this sprang Wu Taiji, Sun Taiji and most other minor modern styles.
As a child, Yang liked martial arts and studied Changquan. At an early age Yang Lu-Chan also studied the art originating in the Qianzai Temple 千載寺 of Tang Village 唐村 in Boai County 博愛縣, about 30 miles from the present Chen Village. Qianzai Temple 千載寺 taught an intelligent synthesis of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. Yang studied with Ch'en Chang-hsing of Chen village. Later Yang became famous for never losing a match and never seriously injuring his opponents. Having refined his martial skill to an extremely high level, Yang Lu-ch'an came to be known as Yang Wudi (楊無敵, Yang the Invincible). In 1850, Yang was hired by the Imperial family to teach Taijiquan to them and several of their élite Manchu Imperial Guards Brigade units in Beijing's Forbidden City.
It is said that before moving to Beijing Yang Lu-Chan's art was referred to as Mian Quan (Cotton Fist) or Hua Quan (Neutralising Fist). While teaching at the Imperial Court, Yang met many challenges, some friendly some not, but invariably his soft techniques prevailed so convincingly that he gained a great reputation. Many who frequented the imperial households would come to view his matches. At one such gathering in which Yang won against several reputable opponents, the scholar Ong TongHe was present. Inspired by the way Yang executed his techniques Ong felt that Yang's movements were a physical expression of the philosophy of Taiji. Ong wrote for him this verse: "Hands Holding Taiji shakes the whole world, a chest containing ultimate skill defeats a gathering of heroes." This was the birth of the art of Taiji. Thereafter, Yang Lu-Chan's art and the styles that sprang from his teaching and by association with him, were referred to as Taijiquan.