It is true that all Taichi forms are martial arts and contain real fighting principles and movements, it is also true that fighting is consistently not taught as the main focus of Taichi.
YMT, Yangia Michuan Taijiquan is self-described as the Yang Family Secret Fighting form, its purpose was to fight. Its effectiveness as a fighting form was so unique that it was kept secret (to some degree even within the Yang family) in order to ensure the dominance and safety of the whole Yang family.
As war and cultural revolution unfolded in China, the two holders of this secret form left China, one in a war related death and the other, Master Wang Yen-nien, who took refuge in Taiwan with many other Chinese artists and scholars.
Master Wang was given permission to share the form in Taiwan, due to the belief that it was too far from the Yang family home to pose any threat. But as modern warfare and threat began to be weapons based, Master Wang was allowed and in fact, encouraged, to spread YMT to the world.
YMT, due to its tactical focus, is a form revealed in small steps, in all directions, both hands, with small circumference spiral movements. This character allows the form to easily teach the one of the most important principles of Taichi movement, relaxed upright spirals, making the health and longevity benefits of Taichi more available.
Master Junming Zhao once told me that fighting is the lowest form of Taichi application, not meaning it was a “bad” application, just that in the priority of benefits one derives from Taichi, fighting is a lower purpose.
I am a long time student of the Great NHB, MMA fighter Don Hinzman so I am a believer of Dons words, but I am also a student of Master Zhaos and their words seemed to have conflict. Then add YMT and Master Lin and my conflicts were a little more diverse. Truth is truth, and if all my teachers were speaking the truth to me it was up to me to find the meeting point.
Then I experienced push hands practice with Master George Lin, a long time student of Master Wang and a 5th generation Master of YMT.
YMT is a fighting form, and it still places ENGAGEMENT as its lowest form of application and you feel this in Master Lins push hands.
Master Wangs teaching was very clear, you never meet force with force, even if you have the advantage. His way was simply to invite the incoming force away from himself. Due to the tight, upright spiral motions, of YMT your dantian is easily kept away from your opponent therefore any force the opponent exerts is easily redirected.
YMT creates a fighter who lacks an opponent.
YMT is a fighting plan that involves no conflict, no intentional destruction.
So perhaps Master Zhaos teaching is better translated to mean, intentional destruction is the lowest form of Taichi, that the intention of the fight is what elevates or lowers purpose.
2 thoughts on “YMT Taichi a Fighting Form of Taichi?”
Master Wang Yen-nien was one of Taiji’s great masters of Yang School, recognized and respected by all. He was a pupil of Zhang Qinlin who passed on Yangjia Michuan Taiji quan style.
Born in Taiyuan , Shanxi in 1914 , he learned early martial arts by learning Xingyi Quan and Chang Quan (long boxing). His aptitude naturally led him to a military career. A graduate of the Shanxi Military Academy, he passed on his skills as well as his great knowledge of the use of weapons as an instructor during the conflict between China and Japan.
It was after the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) that Master Wang met Zhang Qinlin, whose education he taught from 1945 to 1949. He remained faithful to it until the end of his life.
In 1949 , after the defeat of the nationalists he fought against the communists, Wang Yen-nien followed Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) leader of Guomingdang to take refuge in Taiwan where he practiced at the Ministry of Defense with the rank of colonel . He lost all contact with his Master and never saw him again.
Master Wang used to train every morning in Yuanshan Park, next to the current Grand Hotel. Soon, people asked him to teach them his art. Then, in 1950 , at the request of his students who offered to pay him if he left his profession to devote himself to teaching Taiji quan, and to respect his commitment to Zhang Qinlin, he began to reorient his career and to transmit the Yangjia Michuan Taijiquan to as many people as possible.
“The responsibility for passing on the secrets of Yang School is my responsibility. To prevent this teaching from being lost in time and being accused of being a heretic, I will do my best to satisfy those who come to see me to learn, whatever their source. ”
From then on, Master Wang participated in the creation of numerous associations for the development of Taiji quan. First vice-president of the National T’ai Ch’uan Association, he became president from 1986 to 1989. When he left office in 1989, he was named Honorary President and Chief Instructor for life.
From a few students who joined him daily at the Yuanshan Martyrs Memorial, his students became more and more numerous. Others, coming from all continents, added to follow his teaching.
On April 16, 2005 , he made one of his most cherished wishes by founding the Yangjia Michuan Taiji quan Association in Taiwan (Republic of China), of which he was President until the end of his life.
On July 14, 2006 , 92-year-old Wang Yen-nien was decorated by the French Minister of Youth and Sports with the Gold Medal of Youth and Sports in recognition for his wide contribution to the spread of Taiji quan in West.
Master Wang published two major works on Yangjia Michaun Taiji quan and a book on fan-shaped taiji in 2008.
Master Wang Yen-nien Laoshi died in his home in Taipei on the night of May 3-4, 2008 at 2:45 am (8:45 pm, May 3, Paris time).
This was taken from the AMICALE site which is the umbrella organization for YMT in Europe.
Hope the information is useful…
Mark A. Linett
Thank you for providing this and increasing the connection of our family to the French YMT community!!!! I recently attended a conference with Christian and Cloudy, from AMICALE, and Master Lin in Taiwan, and throughly enjoyed the time and learning shared. The version I present of Master Wang is the informal way in which Master George Lin, one of Master Wongs longest disciples, explains the reason YMT was initially a secret and now is transmitted freely. We will be having on line classes with Master Lin as he teaches YMT 13 postures and works with students to translate what he calls the “taichi bible”. A work not available in english but containing all the rules of taichi that teachers translate through time. This will be a live two way feed that you can attend from your home providing you have internet, computer, webcam and zoom application. Hope to meet you in the classroom some day!