Push Hands taught by Cheng Man Ching

By on 02/25/2014
Cheng Man Ching teaches Push Hands

 Cheng Man Ching teaches Push Hands

Cheng’s father died when Cheng was very young.   Around the age of nine, Cheng was struck on the head by a falling brick or roof tile, and was in a coma for a short while. He recuperated slowly, and was apprenticed to a well-known artist, Wang Xiangchan, in hopes that simple jobs like grinding ink would help his health. Within a few years, his teacher sent him out to earn his living at painting. Cheng’s aunt Chang Kuang, also known by her artist’s name of Hongwei Laoren, was a well-known painter. During Cheng’s childhood, his mother took him out to find medicinal plants and taught him the fundamentals of traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

Cheng taught poetry and art in several leading colleges in Beijing and Shanghai and was a successful artist. At the age of nineteen, he was a professor of poetry at an esteemed art school in Beijing. Later in Shanghai, he became acquainted with influential figures including Wu Changshi, Cai Yuanpei, Zheng Xiaoxu, Xu Beihong, and Zhang Daqian.

In his twenties, he developed lung disease to the point of coughing up blood, he began to practice t’ai chi ch’uan more diligently to aid his recovery. Cheng retired from teaching and devoted himself for several years to the study of t’ai chi ch’uan, traditional Chinese medicine, and literature.

Around 1930 Cheng met the well-known master Yang Chengfu (1883–1936), with whom he began to study Yang-style t’ai chi ch’uan, until Yang died. While the exact dates of Cheng’s study with Yang are not clear, one of Yang’s top students, scholar Chen Weiming wrote that Cheng studied six years with Yang.  Cheng, according to Yang’s son Zhenji, ghostwrote Yang’s second book Essence and Applications of Taijiquan or The Substance and Application of T’ai Chi Ch’uan (Taijiquan tiyong quanshu, 1934), for which Cheng also wrote a preface and most likely arranged for the calligraphic dedications.

Cheng taught t’ai chi ch’uan, practiced medicine, and continued his art practice in Sichuan Province during the Sino-Japanese war years. In this period he taught Abraham Liu while at the Central Military Academy, China’s equivalent of West Point.   At age 32 he taught t’ai-‘chi ch’uan at the Central Military Academy (formerly the Huang-po Military Academy -equivalent to West Point in the United States.)”]  By 1946, he had developed a significantly abbreviated 37-move version of Yang’s traditional form. He wrote the manuscript for his Thirteen Chapters during this period, and showed them to his elder classmate Chen Weiming, who gave it his imprimatur.    –from Wikipedia


I welcome your thoughts, insights or questions

%d bloggers like this: