The Yang Style Tai Chi long form that we practice today at Northern Praying Mantis & Tai Chi Martial Arts Center is derived from the teachings passed down by Yang Luchan (1799 – 1872) who learned from Cheng Chang-Hsing who was of the Chen family of Chen Village, Hunan province. He was the first non-Chen family member to master the art and allowed to teach it outside the Chen Village. Scholars generally agree that the Tai Chi teachings were somehow delivered to the Chens and developed by the Chen family. Historical records reveal that Tai Chi Chuan was created during the late Ming/early Ching dynasties, or approximately 350 years ago, however, the Taoist principles it embraces are thousands of years old.
Many assert Tai Chi Chuan originated from a Taoist Immortal named Chang San-Feng. He combined movements of the snake and crane style kung fu along with various boxing styles that were most effective and popular among the people and the army during the Ming period. Added to this was the ancient Chi Gung meditation and breathing techniques, Taoist Yin/Yang theory, and Chinese medical knowledge concerning circulation of the blood and Chi (energy) to form a martial art that trains both the external and the internal.