Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kung Fu Bad Ass - Yang Ban Hou

Translated by Marcus Brinkman OMD

Yang Ban-hou, also named Yang Wu-di, was born in 1837, as the second son of the famed founder of the Yang family Taiji, Yang Lu-chan. Ban-hou was an aggressive child who studied martial practices with great enthusiasm. His temper aggravated at an early age, by whippings from his father, interfered with his Taiji practice. He also received strict punishment after having run away from home many times, further exacerbating Ban-hou’s growing temper.

As the years passed he grew into a young man with two distinct skills: 1) His Taiji ability in combat was among the best in the Yang clan, and his temper was so quick that he scared challengers. Ban-hou had a rather colorful life as a bodyguard and teacher to the royal Manchu court. As he was Chinese and not Manchu, he did not want to teach the Manchu any of the Yang family boxing secrets. He therefore simplified movements and made them soft, lacking issuance of jin (fa-jin). This style was later termed as Peiping (Beijing) style Taiji.

Ban-hou’s temper was said to be as great as his Taiji boxing skills. For this reason he had but a few students, though all became famous for outstanding Taiji abilities. He demanded excellence, and his students were said to be highly disciplined in attaining excellence in stretching, fajin, and precision in movement. In 1890 (at the age of 53), Ban-hou passed away, leaving a legacy of the hardships one must overcome to become a Taiji master. He left behind a son, Yang Jou-peng, who taught only small groups of students the methods left behind by his father. Today, we can still find direct lineage students in China of both Yang Ban-hou and Jou-ping.

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