Wang Yen-nien ‘Famous Yang Style TaijiQuan Martial Artist’

by Zeng Huiping
Great Sports Daily, Taibei, Taiwan, December 7, 1999

Master Wang uses qi to overcome li (muscle strength) and has disciples all over the world. To preserve the best part of the art he wrote and distributed books to preserve the real teaching.

At first Wang thought to practice to stay healthy. Unexpectedly, he became a Wulin Gao Shou – Highly Skilled Martial Artist. At 87, Wang Yen-nien has for 45 years used Yang Style TaijiQuan to defeat challengers all over the world. He has disciples all over the world. Once four highly skilled XingYi Quan practitioners challenged Wang. One was a very large man weighing over 100 kilos (220 pounds). Wang Yen-nien used his qi to deflect their muscle strength (li). So he conquered those who looked down on TaijiQuan. Two years ago (’97) Wang Yen-nien was awarded Xin Chuan Jian (Spreading Teaching Award). for his devotion to spreading TaijiQuan in Taiwan.

Wang is from Taiyuan, Shanxi province (in Mainland China). He was not health as a little boy. So at eight he started learning Shaolin and XingYi Quan to make himself stronger. Wang says “These styles use to much muscle strength.” At the age of 32 he kowtowed to Zhang Qinglin and started learning the YangJia MiChuan TaijiQuan. “In the beginning, teacher (Zhang) saw I was very young and so unfit to practice TaijiQuan”. Surprisingly Zhang found Wang could follow orders and was serious about learning. So Zhang decided to teach him the YangJia MiChuan TaijiQuan. He said to Wang, “YangJia MiChuan TaijiQuan is only passed to you. You are the only one I taught (the entire systems)”.

The founder of Yang Style TaijiQuan, Yang Luchan, changed TaijiQuan into Yang Shen Quan (Raising Life Boxing). This is the most popular TaijiQuan today. Wang Yen-nien said at the time Zhang Qinglin trained with the Yang family, he could only practice the MiChuan TaijiQuan after midnight because it was so secret. One could not freely teach it to outsiders.

In 1949, Master Wang moved to Taiwan. In order to preserve the YangJia MiChuan TaijiQuan Zhen Shui (real most important part), he printed books on the Form and Martial Applications and taught inside and outside Taiwan.

When he first taught in Taiwan, many people looked down on TaijiQuan. They thought it was soft and without strength. Some people tested Wang and one by one they all admitted Wang was better than them. Not only did they learn TaijiQuan from Wang, but they also became good friends.

Master Wang smiles and says, TaijiQuan uses qi and not li. It’s more inside than outside. It looks graceful, but draws strength from the opponent to hit with strength. There are many different Martial Arts in Taiwan, but from very, very few can you learn real gongfu (skill).

Today Wang has more than 10,000 students all over the world. Now there are more than 20 countries that have TaijiQuan Associations and Institutes. So YangJia MiChuan TaijiQuan can spread around the world.

translated by Meilu Chen Rodell