Our traceable lineage begins in the Ch’en family where Ch’en Ch’ang-hsien passed Tai Chi to his disciple Yang Lu-shan (1799-1872). Yang style Tai Chi was born and was passed within the family to his sons Pan-hou (1837-1892) and Chien-hou (1839-1917). Master Yang Cheng-fu (1883-1936) was the son of Chien-hou.
Grand Master Cheng Man-Ch’ing (1901-1975) is known as master of the “Five Excellences”: painting, poetry, calligraphy, medicine and Tai Chi Chuan. As a physician, Cheng Man-Ch’ing had the opportunity to cure Yang Cheng-fu’s wife of a serious illness, and as a result Yang Cheng-fu accepted Professor Cheng into his inner circle. For several years Professor Cheng studied Tai Chi daily with Yang Cheng-fu, putting in long hours; he came out a master.
In the 1930s, Professor Cheng saw that his nation needed the health benefits of Tai Chi Chuan so, to make it accessible to everyone, he shortened the Tai Chi form and published a description of the movements in book format. He again broke the tradition of secrecy by bringing Tai Chi Chuan to the West in the 1960s. It is his modified Yang Style Short Form that has become the most popular
Tai Chi form in the West.
Patrick Watson (1935-1992) already had a long history with martial arts, Hawaiian swimming, and the theater when he began to study with Cheng Man-Ch’ing in 1966. He studied with him for nine years, becoming one of his eight most senior disciples. In 1975 Patrick founded the School of Tai Chi Chuan (STCC) specifically to train teachers of Tai Chi Chuan. Over the next sixteen years, Patrick guided the STCC in its growth as an international school with branches in seven countries.
Patrick was a master teacher, always teaching, taking every opportunity to illustrate Tai Chi awareness. Patrick realized that in order for this teaching to flourish, it would need to transcend the limitations of his individual personality as well as his genius. He developed the “team-teaching method”. He saw beyond his own ego gratification and actively encouraged us to teach his beginning students in order to build a whole school. Team teaching accelerated our process which was further enriched through the meditative and self-reflective work of mystic-philosopher Oscar Ichazo.
In 1992 Patrick passed away and left the School of Tai Chi Chuan to continue his legacy. We have both struggled and grown while finding our new identity. Now years after his death, we still share a strong sense of continuity. We enjoy working together in a historic league of many teachers instead of one. We are very aware of the responsibility handed to us to uphold our part of this lineage. We seek to embody Tai Chi, to honor the spirit of this exquisite art, nd to share what we know with others.
Oscar Ichazo, founder of the Arica School, was another of Patrick’s teachers. The Arica work provides many spiritual, emotional, mental and physical tools which promote the development of one’s Tai Chi practice. Many of the teachers in our School are also students of the Arica work. This work is the basis of much of our team-teaching method. Learn more about Arica at www.arica.org.