Monday, November 10, 2008
Master T.Y. Pang
Last week I had the great opportunity to visit with Grandmaster T.Y. Pang. Mr. Pang lives in our area, however he has largely retired from teaching. Pang's martial lineage goes directly to some of the most famous masters of the last century. He trained with Taiji masters Dong Yingjie, Wu Tunan and Bagua master Sun Sikun (also spelled Xikun). Mr. Pang is one of their last surviving students.
Pang's teacher, Bagua master Sun Sikun
Lineage: Bagua founder Dong Hai Chuan, to Cheng Ting Hua, to Cheng Yu Long, To Sun Sikun, to T.Y. Pang
Much of my early Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua practice was with two of Pang's senior students Joel Chung and Jack Greene, and I attended a Chi Kung seminar taught by Mr. Pang many years ago. Pang generously accepted me to visit and discuss his Bagua system, which I had many questions about. Pang had just returned from China, which he said is moving and changing unbelievably fast right now. He said everywhere, everything is mechanized, and people are becoming more like machines. However, we are indeed living beings, and we should strive to feel what is going on in our bodies as we move. His example was picking up a coin: if you quickly toss it away, you can't feel what kind of coin it is. But holding it allows you to examine and feel the coin.
It's a simple parable, but one that speaks to me as I approach fifty-years-old. I've done my share of tournament fighting, as well as brick, board and rock breaking.
I'm entering a mindset where I want to explore the dynamics of movement, and Taiji and Bagua are the perfect roadmap for that.
Another thing I began to understand from our conversation was how each master left their mark on the art by emphasizing their best skills. Much like the differences in the Yang Taiji form between masters, Pang's Bagua has it's roots in the Cheng lineage, but it is somewhat different than other versions of the Cheng style that I have seen and read about. In fact, in the December 1991 issue of "The Pa Kua Journal", Seattle-based instructor Andrew Dale stated that "Pang's Pa Kua (Bagua) was the most intricate he has seen... Seeing Pang do Pa Kua was like watching a powerful snake coiling, attacking, twisting, darting, spinning and turning".
-- And that's exactly what it feels like. Meeting and discussing with Mr. Pang again has opened up yet another door of opportunity for me. I now have better understanding of Pang's Bagua system, his lineage and intent, and we discussed the possibility of having him teach another Bagua seminar.
If you are interested in reading more about T.Y. Pang, and purchasing his newly released Bagua DVD video, you can check out his website at THIS LINK.