2003 Memorial for Master Kuo Lien-Ying
2003 Memorial for Master Kuo Lien-Ying
Walla Walla Wen Wu School of T'ai Chi
Walla Walla Wen Wu School of T'ai Chi
A Short History By Grandmaster Henry Look
(used by permission)
Guang Ping Yang Style Taijiquan was originated by the great Taiji Master Yang Lu-Chan and his second son, Yang Ban-Hou (1st and 2nd Generations). It is a precious, older form of Yang Style Taijiquan as it was practiced before the Yangs were "drafted" as instructors for the Manchu Imperial Court. From Yang Ban-Hou this lineage was passed down to only three disciples. One of the three was Wang Jiao-Yu (3rd Generation). Wang in turn passed this style down to only four disciples. One of the four was Kuo Lien Ying, another was Wang Zi-Chen (both 4th Generation). It was Kuo Lien Ying who brought this style to the United States in 1965. All the students who studied directly from Kuo are considered 5th Generation.
As a young boy, Yang Ban Hou was exceptionally talented in martial arts with outstanding natural athletic abilities. However, he hated the tough training that was forced upon him by his proud father, Yang Lu-Chan, and would often run away from home. Each time his father would find him and drag him back home.
Although Ban-Hou hated his daily training, his natural abilities helped him, and his martial arts improved very rapidly. In a few short years when he became a grown man, his martial arts abilities were unequaled. His formidable skills were superior even to his own father's. Thus, he became famous and was known throughout the Country.
In the 17th Century the Manchu from the north invaded China and established the Qing Dynasty. The newly established Emperor put out a command to find the best martial artist to teach his Royal Family and his Imperial Guards. Yang Lu-Chan and Yang Ban-Hou were considered the best at that time and ordered by the Emperor to serve as Royal Coach in the martial arts for the Imperial Court. Ban-Hou and his father did not like the Manchu, but knew that any refusal to the Emperor's command would mean death (He and his family would all be beheaded).
Ban-Hou did not wish to teach the true secrets of Guang Ping forms to the Manchu invaders, so he deliberately altered the movements into softer forms that later known as Beijing Style. The nightly Taiji sessions for the Royal Family were conducted behind high brick garden walls and closed high wooden gates.
One day, Ban-Hou, on his way to the Imperial Court walking past the Royal Horse Stable, observed a young stable boy practicing the same Taiji forms he was teaching nightly in the Royal Garden. He confronted the boy asking how he could know this style of Taiji so well. The stable boy, named Wang Jiao-Yu, confessed that he had learned the forms by spying on his teaching nightly.
Ban-Hou learned the boy was Chinese (Han), not a Manchu, and that they both came fro the same same city of Guang Ping. He asked the boy if he was serious about learning Kung-Fu from him. The boy immediately said yes and dropped to his knees to pay respect and appreciation by bowing to Ban-Hou one hundred times and with each bow hitting his forehead against the hard stone pavement.
When Wang finished bowing, his forehead red and bruised, Ban-Hou said to him, "If you really want to learn real Kung-Fu from me, you have to benddown to touch your chin to toe within100 days." Wang Jiao-Yu practiced very hard daily and succeeded in touching his chin to toe way before the 100 days had passed and thereby became one of only three disciples accepted by Yang Ban-Hou. All were sworn to secrecy, promising not to reveal the true nature of what they were taught while the Manchu continued to rule. For if it were known that what Ban-Hou had been teaching at court was not the true art of the Yangs that too would have meant death to Ban-Hou and his kin.
-50 years later - Tales of Wang Jiao-Yu
"After him! After him!" The town sheriff shouted commands to his group of nine deputized pursuers. "Don't let him get away! Chi-Li was known as the most elusive and clever burglar in the Shantung area. He possessed great talent and was trained to a very high level of skill in Chinese Martial Arts. He could easily leap across a canal over twenty feet wide, or just as easily jump up eight feet to roof tops to escape capture. On many moonlit nights villagers would watch in awe as this agile thief, his dark silhouette accentuated by the giant moon shining high above, skipped from roof top to roof top with a bag of loot tied around his shoulder.
On this particular night, the sheriff and his deputies chased Chi-Li into a dead-end alley which lead to an ancient temple. When the pursuers rounded the corner into the alley leading to the temple they saw Chi-Li lying on the ground, knocked out cold, with no sign of movement. The sheriff and his men were amazed and puzzled as to what had happened to leave this seemingly lifeless figure lying before them. As they looked about for some explanation to this puzzlement, they saw an old man sitting on the granite steps leading to the main entrance of the old temple.
This old man was known to the town's people as "The old man selling tea at the old temple." He dressed in dark blue cotton clothing. He wore loosely fitted trousers with the pant legs tied firmly around his ankles. He wore brown socks with black slippers. His loosely fitted jacket had a straight row of cloth loops around cloth buttons (what the modern age calls "Frog Buttons") up to his neck. He demeanor was calm as he sat cross-legged with palms resting gently on top of his knees. He sat behind a dilapidated make-shift wooden stand, very much worn by the weather. On top of the stand were many varieties of dried tea leaves in dark and light-colored bamboo woven baskets which filled the summer breeze with a variety of fragrant aromas.
As the sheriff questioned the old man, his eyes were slightly closed and his head with short cropped hair rested in a relaxed erect posture. He calmly denied having any knowledge of what had happened to the burglar, Chi-Li.
When the sheriff and his men paraded through town proudly with Chi-Li in tow and bound by ropes, words were buzzing through the town that "The old man selling tea at the old temple" possessed great skill in Kung-Fu. From that day on the townspeople, young and old, went to the temple grounds daily hoping to get a glimpse of the old man practicing kung-fu. Some begged and begged to become his disciple and learn from him. However, the old man always denied that he knew anything about martial arts, but was just an ordinary person selling tea to support his life.
As the days and weeks passed people who had waited from morning to night hoping to see kung-fu gave up and slowly disappeared from the temple grounds. Eventually, everyone had given up, except for one persistent young man. This young man changed his sleeping habit to during the day so that he could observe the old man at night. Night after night, he would go to the temple after dark and wait until dawn before going home to sleep.
After three fruitless nights, half an hour after hearing the town's time keeper bong! bong! bong! bong! the sound of four beats (representing 4 am), which came from a stick banging against a hollowed piece of bamboo, as he was about to doze off, all of a sudden a dark figure appeared amongst a group of young trees waving his arms and hands in total coordination of his body and legs, like a slow dance. Whenever he would push forward with his palms, the nearby tree branches would bend with leaves rustling as though they were being blown by a strong wind. The dark figure moved slowly and smoothly like gentle clouds floating in the sky. With each step, going to and fro, his feet were placed on the ground very gently and precisely. Yet, even with each movement being performed very slowly, he could see and feel the great power projecting out.
When the news of the "Tea Seller" having such great Kung Fu abilities got out, everyone who could walk wanted to study with him. Finally the "Tea Seller", Wang Jiao-Yu. accepted four disciples. One of the four was Kuo Lien Ying, who in 1965 brought the unique style of Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi to San Francisco's Chinatown.

Walla Walla Wen Wu School of T'ai Chi

Mailing Address Only:

  962 Hobson Street
  Walla Walla, WA99362

Phone: 509-529-7501

E-mail: info@wenwuwallawalla.com

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