Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872) was the founder of the Tai Ji Quan school that took his name over the centuries. He has also been one of the greatest fighters and masters of all time, so that he was called “Wu Ti”, literally meaning “the one without rivals”, and then “the invincible”. In fact the legend tells that, after having perfected his style, he faced innumerable opponents coming from all the China and he did never lose a fight, yet avoiding to kill or seriously hurt any of his challengers, thanks to his superior technique.
His master was Chen Chan Xin ( a famous contemporary master of the Chen family) but, by the years, and thanks to his acquaintance of many martial arts experts, he perfected his own style, much softer and deeply different from the Chen one, while keeping the same sudden explosive movements (Fa Jin or Fa Li, literally “sending strength or power”, clearly against a target).
The style he had founded was handed down and popularized especially by his nephew Chen Fu (the very famous Yang Chen Fu). He didn't particularly like Tai Ji Quan, nor did really understand its secrets while his father was still alive. Only after his father’s death (1917) he began to practise hard. He had good grounds though, and he could learn by himself, but he made changes to his family style, making it simpler and suitable for the common people’s needs. In fact he eliminated the explosive and more complicate movements, while he underlined the wider positions, aiming to create an art that could be excellent for the health and within everybody’s reach: young, old and sick people.
The Tai Ji Yang, as it has been changed by Yang Chen Fu, is mainly based on wide circles of arms and legs, on extremely flowing and harmonious movements that are always made at the same speed and have to be executed with great lightness, opening the body as much as possible without contractures. For this reason this style is very useful to increase and maintain the physical, psychic and energetic health, and is also recommended for elder people.