The following is taken from Joe's book: Tai Chi For Life.

A Bit of History

Tai Chi was created more than a millennium ago, when it is said that a Taoist monk, Zhang Sangfeng, observed a magpie attacking a snake unsuccessfully. The snake simply wasn't where the bird struck. The art was developed and passed down within families in China. The various forms were considered secret, passed only to sons. One of the main families, hence forms, is the Ch'en family, who actively passed Tai Chi down for several hundred years.  

In the early 19th century, Yang Lu-ch'an (1799-1872), then essentially a servant of the Ch'en family, learned the forms, in secret by observing family members. He was eventually given the opportunity to demonstrate his skill. He had achieved such a high level on his own that he was adopted into the family and became the student of Ch'en Ch'ang Hsing. This was the beginning of Yang style.

Yang's grandson, Yang Ch'eng Fu (1883-1936) rose to a high level and had a large school, having decided to teach outsiders the “secret transmissions.” One of Yang Ch'eng Fu's principal students was Grand Master Tung Ying Chieh (1898-1961) who had previously studied a different form (Hao form) with Li Hsiang Yüan. Yang and Tung travelled extensively in China, teaching Tai Chi. The brothers Master Dong Zeng Chen and Master Tung Kai Ying are grandsons of Tung Ying Chieh. Master Alex Dong is his great-grandson. All are active teachers with thousands of students between them all over the world. Their students carry the art to future generations.

The Tung (Dong) family, from the 1960's, has been instrumental in introducing Tai Chi into the United States, especially in Hawaii, Los Angeles, and New York. Other members of the family over four generations, men and women, have risen to mastery of the forms, including the preservation of the Hao form.

Taiji has other important legacies as well and all are valuable, but this is my own.

Each of the great masters has modified and adapted the forms over time. Yang Ch'eng Fu, for example, took out the jumps and many of the kicks in the form he inherited.

Xing Li – Thank You All


Jane Golden studied with Master Tung Kai Ying for many years and is Martha's original teacher. Bobbi studied with Tom Walters, another principal student of Tung Kai Ying, before studying with Martha. Joe is Martha's student.

We all, occasionally, get to study with Master Tung Kai Ying, Master Alex Dong, and Master Tung Chen Wei, son of Master Tung Kai Ying. Jane Golden sometimes visits us as well.