April 1998, Vol. 22, No. 2
It is sad to report of the death of Ma Yueh-Liang, a unique figure in the Wu style and in the art of Tai Chi Chuan. A man of extraordinary skills, intelligence and humility, he loved push hands and was still going to the park even last year to practice with all comers.
To him, practicing Tai Chi Chuan was the supreme activity and he loved teaching it. He helped to foster the Wu style after the death of Wu Chian Chuan in 1942. He served as Vice-President of the Chian Chuan Taijiquan Association since 1928, when it was founded.
He had his work cut out for him since there was World War II and the Communist Revolution. In the subsequent restrictive periods, such as the Cultural Revolution, the association was shut down for many years.
Even while he was teaching Tai Chi Chuan, he had a career as a medical doctor. After he graduated from medical college, we went to Shanghai and established the first medical examination and testing office in Shanghai. He also worked at the Red Cross and the China-German Hospital as head of examination and testing.
When he retired, it was all Tai Chi Chuan. Though born in 1901, Ma was considered to be 98 years old, because in China a person is considered to be one year old at birth.
Another sad note is the death of Zhou Yuan Long, also of Shanghai. While I never met Ma, I did meet Zhou a couple of times, once in Shanghai in 1983. He came to my room for an interview and was quite willing to talk. I remember the woman who was my interpreter was surprised that someone of his stature would come to see me.
He later was brought to San Francisco and taught for several months. As the article on page 45 indicates, he was well known for his drawings as well as his Tai Chi Chuan.
I would like to mention a third death of a person all our readers know. That is Cen Yuefang. Just a few weeks ago, the editor of China Sports Magazine wrote to inform me of his death from a recent illness.
Cen has written many articles for T'AI CHI Magazine over the years on T'ai Chi and qigong. He was an assistant editor at the famous China Sports Magazine when I met him in 1983 in Beijing.
He was a tall, friendly man who spoke and wrote English very well. We cooperated in the publication of the book, Wonders of Qigong. Later he wrote many articles for the magazine as it expanded. He was very professional and competent.
Peter Wu writes about the life of Hong Jun-Sheng and the experiences that he had with him. It gives insight into the quality of Hong and his skills. In an art form in which force is commonly mistaken for skill, it is very useful to learn about people like Ma and Hong, who had exceptional skills.
The Sun style is a very interesting style that is the “youngest” of the major styles. Faye Yi (Li) gives some valuable information about it.
She teaches in Coseley, West Midlands, U.K. Her great-grandfather, Li Yu Lin was one of the top students of Sun Lu Tang. He ran a martial art school for Sun in Tian Jin. Her granduncle, Li Tian Ji, was a professional martial arts coach and was the first chief coach of the national Wushu team. He was a major figure in contemporary Tai Chi Chuan. Her father was honored as one of the greatest living martial arts treasures in China.
Leonard Shear, who teaches Tai Chi Chuan in Richmond, VA, tells of his serendipitous meeting with Li Liqun of Shanghai. He describes some of the ideas of Li, who is an important figure in the Wu style community in Shanghai and was close to Ma. Li spent time with Shear and his group last summer and is planning to return this summer.
There are a number of other interesting articles in this issue, more so than usual, but the most important certainly is the sad report of Ma Yueh-Liang's death. It is regrettable that more people were not able to experience his teaching. But his legacy will go on.·