Great River
T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Minneapolis, MN
(612) 822-5760

Since 1979!

Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing

Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing

At Great River T'ai Chi Ch'uan, we study and teach within the Cheng Man-ch'ing Yang-style lineage of t'ai chi ch'uan.Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing(Zheng Manqing) was born in 1902 in Yung-chia (Yongjia, present-day Wenzhou) in Chekiang (Zhejiang) Province. He was a precocious child, and by his early twenties was a professor of poetry in a Beijing university and an exhibiting artist.

Professor Cheng was accomplished in a number of fields: painting, poetry, calligraphy, Chinese medicine, and t'ai chi ch'uan, earning him the title "Master of Five Excellences." He was a philosopher, artist, teacher, and healer who has left us with a rich t'ai chi tradition. He wrote four t'ai chi ch'uan books, and over a dozen other books on the I Ching, Analects, Daodejing, medicine, art, and poetry. His Cheng-tzu's Thirteen Treatises on T'ai Chi Ch'uan remains after more than five decades, one of the most important theoretical works on the subject.

Professor Cheng became a student of the famous Yang Chengfu and learned the Yang family's traditional form (now called the long form). In the 1930s, Professor Cheng shortened that form by eliminating repetitions in order to teach it more efficiently under wartime pressures. The form he developed is now called "Cheng Man ch'ing's Yang-style Short Form."
In 1949, Professor Cheng moved to Taiwan, where he continued to paint, see patients, and teach t'ai chi ch'uan. In 1964, he moved to the United States and founded the Shr Jung Center in New York City. Professor Cheng was one of the first t'ai chi ch'uan masters to actively teach outside the Chinese community and, as a result, became one of the leaders of the spread of t'ai chi ch'uan to the West.

Great River instructors Barbara Davis and Cheryl Powers have had the good fortune to have studied with a number of Professor Cheng's senior students including their primary teacher, Mr. Liu Hsi heng, and have also worked extensively with Ed Young, Maggie Newman, Jane and Bataan Faigao, and Wolfe Lowenthal, and have attended workshops with many others including Ben Lo, Robert Smith, Ken Van Sickle, Tam Gibbs, James Wong, Judyth Weaver, Peter Kwok Ming, and Abraham Liu, in addition to Sean Valentine Marshall.
For a more complete biography of Cheng Man-ch'ing, see "In Search of a Unified Dao: Zheng Manqing's Life and Contributions to Taijiquan," by Great River director Barbara Davis in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts 5/2, 1996, pp. 36-59. Barbara is currently at work on a full-length biography of Professor Cheng. You can also visit the blog to keep up on the project.



Cheng Man-ch'ing (Zheng Manqing) Chronology
1902 Born in Yongjia (Wenzhou), Zhejiang Province
c. 1912 Head injury: knocked unconscious. Apprenticed to artist Wang Xiangchan to aid recovery.
1915-16 Moves to Hangzhou. Meets artists and poets, makes living selling paintings.
c. 1919-24 Moves to Beijing. Teaches poetry at Yuwen College. Teaches art at Beijing College of Fine Arts. Briefly takes up t'ai chi study.
1926 One-man show in Beijing Park. Lives in Shanghai, teaches at National Zhinan University and Shanghai College of Fine Arts.
1927-1936 In this period, begins to study writing with scholar Qian Mingshan, taijiquan with Yang Chengfu, and medicine with Song You'an. Assists Yang in writing The Complete Book of Substance and Application of Taijiquan.
1937-1949 Lives in Nanjing, then Chongqing. Director of Hunan Martial Arts Academy. Assists in war efforts. Marries Ding Weizhuang.
1949 Moves to Taiwan with Republican Government.
1950-1963 Teaches taijiquan, practices medicine. Helps organize painting and poetry associations. Sets up Shih Chung T'ai Chi Association. Publishes Cheng-tzu's Thirteen Treatises on T'ai Chi Ch'uan.
1962 Publishes T'ai Chi Ch'uan: A Simplified Method of Calisthenics for Health and Self Defence.
1964 One-man show at Musee Cernuschi in Paris. Goes to United States and gives painting exhibitions and taijiquan demonstrations. Begins teaching taijiquan in New York City at the T'ai Chi Association in Chinatown.
1965Publishes Cheng-tzu's New Methods of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.
1968 Wife and children join him in New York City.
1971 Sets up Shr Jung T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association in Chinatown. Has one-man show in Taiwan in summer. Publishes commentary on Laozi's Daodejing, and a commentary on the Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong) and the Daxue (Great Learning).
1973 One-man show at the Hudson Museum in Yonkers, New York. Publishes Jen-wen ch'ien-shuo.
1974Publishes Man-jan's Three Treatises. Finishes writing Complete I-ching.
1975 Passes away in March of cerebral hemmorhage.
1982 Posthumous one-man show at Palace Museum, Taiwan.

GREAT RIVER T'AI CHI CH'UAN 612--822--5760.