Wang Xiang Zhai (1886 - 1963)
Suffering from chronic poor health, the young Wang Xiang Zhai began studying Zhan Zhuang ('standing like a pillar', i.e. standing still) under his uncle, Guo Yun Shan. With practice, Wang Xiang Zhai developed robust good health and formidable skills in martial arts.
Yun Shan's death, Wang Xiang Zhai travelled throughout China, meeting and studying with the other great martial arts masters of his day.
By the mid-1940's, Wang Xiang Zhai had developed a new style of boxing, widely hailed as supremely effective for both health and self-defense. The
foundation practice of this boxing was Zhan Zhuang, the practice of simply standing still.
Wang Xiang Zhai's system is known by two names today: Yi Chuan ('Mind Boxing'), and Da Cheng Chuan ('The Great Achievement Boxing').
Professor Yu Yong Nian
Born near Beijing
in February 1920, after completing his initial schooling, Professor Yu was sent for
specialist medical education in Japan.
Fully trained in contemporary Western
medicine, and having qualified as a dentist, he returned to China, and began work
at the Beijing Railway General Hospital.
Three years later,
finding himself exhausted from the constant long hours of dental practice, he
began training under Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai.
After nine years of
training, Professor Yu introduced aspects of Zhan Zhuang as treatment
for internal disease at the hospital. His initial successes led to a major medical conference in 1956, at the
Beijing Shoudong San Hospital, that introduced the Zhan Zhuang system to hospitals
Professor Yu then began teaching Zhan Zhuang publicly, in the mornings
in Yun Tan Park, Beijing. Ever since, he has continually
promoted Zhan Zhuang for health inside and outside of
Professor Yu has written numerous books, and
been a member of China's National Chi Kung Research
Council, and consultant to the American-Chinese Chi Kung Research Group and to
the Da Cheng Chuan Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung Research Groups (Europe).
In April 2009, at his 90th birthday party in Beijing, Professor Yu said:
"I practice Zhan
Zhuang, I am healthy. I practice Zhan Zhuang,
I am happy. I practice Zhan Zhuang,
I have a long life."
Lam Kam Chuen
Born in Hong Kong shortly after the second world war, Master Lam began his training in the martial and healing arts at
the age of 11.
He went on to open his
own martial arts school and clinic, specializing in herbalism and
bone-setting. He also studied other classic Chinese
Arts including Feng Shui, Astrology and the I Ching.
Master Lam's meeting, and subsequent training, with Professor Yu had a profound effect. He recalls: 'After this I changed everything,
using the forms I already knew, but with a new power that gave my martial arts
new life.' (from: The Way Of Power, by Master Lam Kam Chuen).
In 1976, Master Lam moved to London, and became the
first teacher of Tai Chi for the Inner London Education Authority.
In 1987, Master Lam gave the first public
demonstration of Da Cheng Chuan in the West, and has progressively and gently
introduced this art to the West.
Master Lam has
written books on Zhan Zhuang, Tai Chi, Feng Shui and on Chinese tea
Master Lam continues to research and teach his arts across the world.
Further information can be found on his
Sifu Tony Dove
Tony has had the privilege of being a student of Master Lam's for 20 years, and has taught Tai Chi for 15 years.
Before committing full-time to teaching Tai Chi and Zhan Zhuang, Tony's career in Special Needs Education culminated in his appointment as Operations Manager of Include Bristol, providing educational opportunities to young people excluded from mainstream schools.
In 2000, Tony was asked to develop Falls Prevention classes of Tai Chi and Zhan Zhuang for a Primary Care Trust and Social Services, to over 50's. The benefits were scientifically measured, and the group as a whole improved out of the 'at risk of falling' category within a few months. The full report is here.
Since moving to the West Country, Tony has developed regular classes for the community, regardless of age or ability. He continues to develop his speciality in teaching classes for the over 50's; and for those with chronic & acute medical conditions.
Journey Into China, 2009
In spring 2009, Tony and a group of his students were delighted to participate in the Lam Association's China trip.
The objective of this journey was to celebrate Professor Yu Yong Nian's 90th birthday, in Beijing. This extraordinary and festive event included five generations of teachers and practitioners from around the world.
In the spirit of sharing cultural and inter-personal understanding, the Lam Association organises regular trips to China.
On this occasion, participants had the honour of being personally guided by Master Lam and his family across Yunan Provence in South West China. The group was welcomed in places of authentic historical and cultural significance, as well as markets, villages, feasts, towns and temples.