following the 2009 Tai Chi Chuan Symposium
Master Chen Zhenglei
I feel this event was very comprehensive, systematic and cooperative. First, it was comprehensive because first, the Grandmasters from all five styles were here, also with their families, disciples and students. It gave the Tai Chi Chuan enthusiasts from all around world an opportunity to learn the unique characteristics and features of each style. Second, lots of researchers, scholars and scientists were also invited to attend this symposium. Together, we discussed the intention and core value of Tai Chi Chuan and how/why Tai Chi Chuan benefits our health. This symposium covered all aspects of Tai Chi Chuan.
Second it was systematic because we had speeches talking about the Tai Chi Chuan theory, principle and concepts, classes to learn and practice the Tai Chi Chuan techniques, seminars to report the research status, results and directions. There were demonstrations and social parties. It provided not only the opportunities to learn the Tai Chi Chuan theory and practice Tai Chi Chuan techniques, but also the opportunities to exchange ideas, understandings and experiences. So it was very systematic.
Third, the schedules and arrangements of our daily activities were very detailed and thoughtful. We had enough time to move from one activity to next. That was very thoughtful, especially for the elderly. It was very important for us to have time to adjust the jet leg. There also were very good example that all Tai Chi Chuan styles are one big family. This is my overall feeling of this symposium.
I also like to talk a little bit about the difference between this symposium and other events. In China, many events I attended invited the researchers, scholars and scientists and gave everyone twenty to thirty minutes to present their research paper. At the end, the masters did some demonstration. The event was over. This time we not only had keynote speeches, seminars and demonstrations, but also discussions. The attendees had opportunity to exchange their ideas with researchers, scholars and scientists, even masters. That was first time, it did not happen before. I hope, in the future, we can keep this format going. The masters and researchers, scholars and scientist would have broader and deeper discussion about physical and mental benefit of Tai Chi Chuan. More importantly, we need to help each other to push Tai Chi Chuan research to a new height.
Finally, I want to thank the symposium staff and volunteers. Their dedication and hard work made the symposium a big success. We had time to tour, sight-seeing and shopping. That was also very thoughtful. In my experience of many similar events, this time was much more detailed and thoughtful. Some small details, such as wakeup calls and schedule reminders, were well taken care of. I was very satisfied.
Fourth, it was very cooperative and unified. This is very important. From start to end, we all stayed in a cooperative and unified atmosphere and environment. The masters were very respectful to each other. The attendants were very cooperative. They learned all five styles, also from each other.
Master Ma Hailong
I felt this symposium was a very successful one. I say it was successful first because of the united and cooperative atmosphere. There was a similar event held in South China Normal University several years ago. That event was not as same as this time. This symposium was primary organized by the International Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association. That was very impressive. Second there was the deep and strong academic and research involvement. The open conversation between the masters and researchers and scientists we had in the symposium was the first time in my experience. Third the attendants were from many different countries. They all paid very close attention and worked very hard throughout the whole event. For example, in one of my class, I asked if you only studied Tai Chi Chuan for 6 month please raise your hands. No one raised hand. I asked again for five years. No one raised hand. Most attendants had 10 or more years of Tai Chi Chuan experience. They had very good understanding and strong foundation of Tai Chi Chuan. Although they need to learn the sixteen-movement forms form of five different styles in a short period of time, they all did very well. It was very impressive. This symposium was very well organized. The staff and volunteers worked very hard. I was very moved by this. They are the heroes. Finally, I want to congratulate the success of this symposium.
Master Sun Yongtian
I feel this symposium was very well organized. Everything was ready for us at the time we arrived. The classes were well schedule and arranged. For example, all five styles had classes scheduled for the attendances taking turn to learn each style. The 16- movement form gives people an opportunity to feel and understand the unique characters and features of each style. I could tell the attendances were very enthused. Although they worked very hard and were tired at the end of each class, my observation told me they were very pleased and happy. So, this symposium gives all the attendants who love or are interested in Chinese culture and Tai Chi a worthy event.
Tai Chi Chuan will not only give them direct physical and mental health benefit, but also add fun to their life. I hope by practicing Tai Chi Chuan, it will improve people’s physical and mental health, and help their work, advance their career and expand their business.
One more important thing that occurred during this symposium, Grandmaster Yang Zhenduo made an important decision. He accepted Yang Jun and Yang Bing as his inner disciples. They were grandfather and grandsons. Now they are also master and disciples. This is a big event well worth to congratulate. Yang Jun was also named the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan fifth generation lineage holder (in Chinese, it is called Zhang Men Ren, the person holds the organization). The acceptance and announcement ceremony was presided by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei and witnessed by the grandmasters of all five Tai Chi Chuan styles. From the success of this symposium, I believe grandmaster Yang Zhenduo made a correct decision. Yang Jun is well qualified for this position. We, representatives of other styles, were honored to witness the ceremony and very happy to congratulate Yang Jun for his achievement.
Master Yang Zhenduo
There was a similar event in Sichuan in 1982. I attended that event as the representatives of Yang style. There were many grandmasters, such as Chen Xiaowang, Fen Zhiqiang, Hong Junshen, Gu Liuxin from Chen style), Fu Zhongwen, myself and Wu Tunan from Yang style, Yao Jizhu from Wu-Hao style, Sun Jianyun from Sun style, Ma Yueliang and Wu Yinghua from Wu style, attended that events. This is the first thing in my memory. That event was the first time ever in China’s modern history. It was the first international Tai Chi Chuan event since 1949. All the participants were very excited and also were very encouraged by that event. Mr. Chen Xianglin, the head coach of the Wuhan city Martial Arts Team, was the primary organizer of that event. Unfortunately, Mr. Chen Xiangling is no longer with us.
Many of the grandmasters I mentioned before were no longer with us as well. Only Fen Zhiqiang, Chen Xiaowang and I are still alive. That was sad. It is very hard for me to look back. I am 84 years old now. A few of the masters in my generation are still alive. Although the old generation is moving away, Tai Chi Chuan has passed on to the new generation. These newcomers are carrying on Tai Chi Chuan and move it to a new height.
Looking back and forth, Tai Chi Chuan has been recognized by more and more people. Tai Chi Chuan is getting more and more popular in China, as well as internationally. This trend is very exciting and encouraging. I am over 80 years old. As Grandmaster Sun said, I took Yang Jun as my student and disciple, and appointed him as the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan fifth generation lineage holder and leader. Although Yang Jun is quite young, from his past activities, I am very confident in his ability to develop and promote Yang style Tai Chi Chuan.
All the achievements Yang Jun made are also from the big help given by the friends all over the world. I hope the Tai Chi Chuan will be more and more popular in the future. From the conversation with the researchers and scientists, I think that the 16- movement or 13-movement form we developed, the goal is to promote Tai Chi Chuan. Many people are in their best time of their career but passed away suddenly. That is very sad. For the busy people, if you don’t have time for 16 movements or 13 movements, you can do one movement such as cloud hands and still get benefit from Tai Chi Chuan.
The last thing I want to say is this. This symposium was very successful. During the symposium, there were some interviews by reporters. I hope the symposium organizer can make those interviews, as well as the symposium news, available for Chinese media such as CCTV.