Lineage

History and Lineage of Our School

Yang Lu-chan (the founder of modern Tai Chi)
     Yang Chien-hou
        Yang Cheng-fu
             Cheng Man-ch’ing
                 Robert W. Smith
                     Warren D. Conner

I attended classes in Tai Chi Ch’uan, Pa-kua Ch’uan and Hsing-i Ch’uan
with Robert W. Smith from 1973 until Mr. Smith’s retirement from formal teaching at the end of 1988.

Robert W. Smith began studying Tai Chi Ch’uan in Taiwan in 1959 and was the first Western student accepted by Prof. Cheng Man-ch’ing. He was chosen by Cheng to coauthor the book “T’ai Chi Ch’uan, the Supreme Ultimate” which was published in 1966 especially for Western students. An early pioneer of Asian martial arts in America, Mr. Smith produced fourteen books, including the first books in English on Pa-kua and Hsing-i and Shaolin Temple Boxing, respectively.

Cheng Man-ch’ing was a student of Yang Cheng-fu and was known as the Master of Five Excellences: Medicine; Painting; Calligraphy; Poetry; and Tai Chi. He served as founding president of the Chinese Medical Association in 1946 and his paintings are preserved in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. The importance of Prof. Cheng’s medical skill and leadership to modern tai chi cannot be overstated. He emphasized the health and ch’i kung (qigong) aspects of the practice and clearly elucidated how to use tai chi principles to transform daily life. All this along with his exceptional martial insights and skill.

Yang Cheng-fu was the son of Yang Chien-hou whose father, the famous Yang Lu-chan, founded modern Tai Chi Ch’uan and the Yang family style of Tai Chi Ch’uan. The Yang family taught the Imperial Family in Beijing and later other places and, thus, they brought forth Tai Chi Ch’uan to China and, hence, to the world.

As a result of Mr. Smith’s many friends in the martial arts community around the world, it has been my good fortune to study with a number of excellent teachers.

I have studied Tai Chi Ch’uan with Lo Pang Jeng (Benjamin Lo), a senior student of Cheng Man-ch’ing, beginning in 1975 during Mr. Lo’s regular visits to Mr. Smith and I accompanied Mr. Lo during his visit to mainland China in 1992 (and there I took Tai Chi Ch’uan classes in Yang long form with Yang Zhen-duo, the son of Yang Cheng-fu).

Study with Liu Hsi-heng, a senior student of Cheng Man-ch’ing, occurred during his visits to the United States and during my visits to Taiwan.

While the above are the teachers to whom I owe the greatest debt, I have also received instruction from a number of other wonderful teachers who visited Mr. Smith’s school. A partial list includes:  Ed Young; Tam Gibbs; Herman Kauz; William C. C. Chen; Maggie Newman (all senior students of Cheng Man-ch’ing), as well as Wang Yen-nien and Rose Li. While my time with these teachers has been brief, my memory of their teaching and their art is strong.

A great debt is owed to all the above teachers, especially Mr. Smith.

I began teaching Tai Chi Ch’uan in 1975
at Mr. Smith’s suggestion and with his assistance
while continuing to attend his classes several times a week.

Tai Chi Ch’uan “flows like a great river”;
it is a never-ending study and truly a joyous journey.

 

Tai Chi Courses
A Partial List of Courses Taught
Since 1975
by the Tai Chi Study Center

Foreign Service Institute
Federal Trade Commission
Peace Corps Headquarters
Department of Labor
Department of Agriculture
Department of Transportation
National Park Service Headquarters
Housing and Urban Development
Federal Communications Commission

School of Theatrical Dance
M. Spaulding Movement Arts
Loudoun School of Ballet

Yes Educational Society
National Association for Home Care
Lewinsville Retirement Center
Potomac Valley Dressage Association
Center for Environmental Education

Holy Cross Hospital
Smithsonian Resident Associates
American University
National Cathedral School
Battelle
Time-Life Books, Inc.
U.S. News & World Report
V-M Software, Inc.
Unisys Corporation
Planning Research Corporation

Reston Athletic Club
Body Bank Fitness Studio
Techworld Swim and Fitness Club

Christ Church-Capitol Hill
Fairfax Unitarian Church
Washington Ethical Society

Tai Chi Workshops
A Partial List of Workshops Taught
Since 1975
by the Tai Chi Study Center

Arlington Hospital
Mt. Vernon Hospital
National Institutes of Health
National Rehabilitation Hospital
National Naval Medical Center
Walter Reed Army Hospital Center
Northern Virginia Doctors’ Hospital
Montgomery County Health & Human Services

SAIC
AARP
Datatel, Inc.
Skadden Arps Law Firm
National Geographic Society
National Cooperative Bank
Booz, Allen and Hamilton
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation

U.S. State Department
Defense Mapping Agency
Department of Commerce
Department of Agriculture
Social Security Administration

Taipei (Taiwan) Language Institute
London Business School
NBC4 TV
Alzheimer’s Association
Presbyterian Home for the Aged
National Federation of the Blind
Martin Luther King Jr. Library
Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Program
Association of American Medical Colleges

Madeira School
Howard University
Mount Vernon College
University of Maryland
George Mason University
George Washington University
Georgetown University Law School

 

 

Warren@TaiChiCenter.com                                       703-759-9141

 

Photo:  Sunrise at the Gulf of California.
Photo by Warren D. Conner, copyright, 2017, all rights reserved.