It was Yang Cheng-Fu (1883-1936), grandson to Yang LuChan the founder of the Yang-style taijiquan, who finalized this style into the present-day form that is so popular both at home and abroad.
Learning taijiquan from his father since early childhood, Yang Cheng-Fu showed great talent and was quick to get the hang of it, especially the "middle frame" of Yang style passed on by his grandfather to his father and uncle Yang Banhou, both of whom had taught wushu in the Prince of Duan's mansion and enjoyed a great reputation in Beijing.
As a grownup, Yang Cheng-Fu was invited by the Beijing Sports Society to coach wushu in the city and then went to Wuhan, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shanghia and Hangzhou to teach the Yang-style taijiquan.
Because of his simplicity, modesty, gentleness and eagerness for perfection - which he seemed to have inherited from his grandfather, Yang Cheng-Fu was loved by all his disciples, who were scattered all over the country.
During his stay in Wuhan, he accepted a challenge by a local wushu master versed in swordsmanship. Wielding a mere makeshift sword made of bamboo, Yang defeated his opponent who was armed with a real sword of steel. He apologized profusely for having hurt his wrist unintentionally during the fight.
The Yang-style taijiquan was initiated by Yang Luchan and revised by Yang Banhou in its frame, or amplitude of the movements; but it was Yang Cheng-Fu who brought it to perfection and the pinnacle of fame, by imbuing into the whole set elements of grace, fluency, suppleness, close-knit composition and a combination of softness and hardness - a set of exercises that is easy to learn for the beginners.
In 1925, Yang Cheng-Fu asked one of his disciples, Chen Wei-Ming, to write a book entitled "Taijiquan", with detailed captions to Yang's pictures as illustrations. In 1931, Yang had all the pictures retaken and compiled into "The Methods of Taijiquan", which was revised two years later into "A Complete Book of Taijiquan". These works are now regarded as classics on the Yang-style taijiquan, which has provided the basis for all the taijiquan routines in 24, 88 and 48 forms compiled and promulgated by the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission of the People's Republic of China since the '50's. This fact explains why Yang Cheng-Fu has been universally acclaimed as a most important personage in China's taijiquan movement.
As director of the Wudang School under the Central Wushu Academy in
Nanjing, Yang Cheng-Fu had a large following throughout the country, of
whom mention may be made of such celebrities as Chen Yue-Bo, Yan Zhong-Kui,
Cui Yi-Shi, Wang Shen-Dong, Niu Chun-Ming, Li Chun-Nian, Chen Wei-Ming, Wu Jiang-Chuan, Tian Zhao-Lin, Dong Ying-Jie, Zhu Gui-Ting, Gu Liu-Xin, and
Zheng Man-Qing, as well as his four sons, Yang Zhen-Ming, Yang Zhen-Ji,
Yang Zhen-Dou, and Yang-Guo.