Yongnian Taijiquan interview: Fu Sheng Yuan, James Fu, Paul Brown, and Damon Bramich

1994 I was in Shanghai China to visit the 50th anniversary of the Yongnian Taijiquan Association founded by Fu Zhong Wen (FZW). I have recently caught up with Paul Brown and Damon Bramich online and re-unite with the Yongnian Association head by FZW’s son Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan and grandson Master James Fu.

Image: Fu Sheng yuan teaching the finer points of push hands to Dr. Jonathan Shear and Matt Stampe in Shanghai China April 1994.
Image: Fu Zhong Wen and James Fu in USA July 1994

Name: Paul Brown

Where are you currently residing?
• Perth, Western Australia.

When did you start Yang Taijiquan?
• 1989

List any other styles you train and whom under?
• I have only trained under Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan.

Awards, certifications, titles, competition experience, etc.?
• Disciple of Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan since 1993, 6th Dan Chinese Wushu Federation, 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal in Tai Chi competitions in China, i.e., Shanghai, Yongnian and Xian.

Currently training under and how long?
• Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan for 25 years.

What do you see as the future of the Yongnian Association?
• The Yongnian Association was created by Grandmaster Fu Zhongwen in Shanghai, China in 1944 and has been synonymous with promoting the authentic Yang Style Tai Chi, as was taught to Fu Zhongwen by Yang Cheng Fu. Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan and Master Fu Qing Quan, plus their disciples, are all committed to preserving the Yongnian Association.

Any words of encouragement to fellow practitioners?
• Find out the history of your instructor, i.e., who they learnt from and for how long. This is to ensure you are receiving the best instruction possible. Tai Chi is very easy to be misinterpreted and altered, which is why we see so many versions of Yang Style Tai Chi today. Practice diligently daily because the more you practice the better you will understand this art yourself. Your instructor is for guidance, i.e., to keep you on the rails. If you want to harness your chi energy and develop jin power, you need to train diligently for many years. It will not come quickly or easily.

Please share your Views on ranking, certifications, teaching, etc.
• Tai Chi Kung Fu comes with time learning from an experienced teacher. It is not something that can be channelled into rankings or certifications. An experienced teacher is required to guide you through the jungle of misconceptions. They are important in fine tuning your movements and keep your mental state on the correct path.

What is your view of the current status of traditional martial art like tai chi with the explosion of MMA fight events?
• I don’t really have an opinion on the rise of MMA. I respect all people that train hard in their chosen martial art. I am appreciative that I have been able to learn the art of Tai Chi from a great master and am happy to concentrate my study on this art. I remember Fu Zhongwen saying to me one day that it was important to focus on one martial art if you want to master it.
Please feel free to share any videos and links. • I think there is a lot of videos of Grandmasters Fu Zhongwen and Fu Sheng Yuan, and Master Fu Qing Quan on YouTube. People can see these online. These are the videos I would recommend for people wanting to learn authentic Yang Style Tai Chi.

Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan answered the following:

How are things going with the Yongnian Association in China and abroad?
• The Yongnian Tai Chi Association in China is going very strong. There are also active memberships of Yongnian Associations in Australia, Malaysia, India, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. Myself and my son Fu Qing Quan have also taught in the USA, Canada, England, Chile, Thailand, Taiwan, Switzerland, Poland and Germany.

How many countries are now in the association? • As above.

What is your view of the current status of traditional martial art like tai chi with the explosion of MMA fight events?
• I enjoy watching the MMA on television. If students trained strongly and diligently in authentic tai chi for many years they could be competitive in an MMA competition.

Any words of encouragement to fellow practitioners?
• Follow my father’s motto, i.e., Diligence, Perseverance, Respect and Sincerity. Your training should be non-stop for many forms, with great effort. This will enable your body to become strong.

When will be the next gathering of all associations?
• Every year in Shanghai, China my son and I run a workshop for practitioners of the Yongnian Tai Chi. This event is usually held in May.

Yongnian county and Guang Ping is the Yang family hometown, can you talk about the memorial of Yang Chen Fu and Fu Zhong Wen there?
• My father and I were both born in Yongnian, China. This is our home village, so it is important that we return here as our final resting place. We built a memorial to my father in Yongnian that befitted his significance to tai chi and the village. My family dedicated a considerable amount of time, and negotiated with the Yongnian government officials, to build this memorial. Today my family, disciples, students and visitors regularly attend the memorial to pay their respects to my father. The memorial site to the Yang family members is also located just outside the town of Yongnian. This site was recently relocated due to industry building up around the former location. The bodies of Yang Lu Chan, Yang Ban Hou, Yang Jian Hou, Yang Cheng Fu, Yang Sao Hou and my mother are all buried at this location. The new Yang family memorial is an improvement on the former memorial, and is more befitting of the masters buried there.

Part 2 with master James Fu and Damon Bramich coming soon.

About Administrator

Coach Matt Stampe is a licensed to practice acupuncture in DC, Virginia, and Maryland USA. Book appointments at www.NovaAcu.com In the world of Bodywork, he has been a Certified Massage Therapist (CNT) licensed with the Virginia Board of Nursing, and has a “Master of Science in Acupuncture” (MSA) at Virginia University of Integrative Medicine (VUIM.edu). He is certified with National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He has taught hundreds of people Authentic Yang Tai Chi Kung Fu for over 25 years. He was President of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Martial arts club, Secretary and Treasurer of USA chapter of Yongnian Association under Sifu He Weiqi. Experience includes: Kung fu schools: Omei Shaolin (Sifu Lu Xiaoling) 3rd degree Black Sash, Chinese Martial Arts Institute (Sifu Clarence Burris), United States Wushu Academy (Coach Christopher Pei), and Qi Elements (Sifu Nancy Bloomfield), Former Head Coach: Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation centers(Adults Tai Chi), Hope Chinese school (kids classes), NOVA MMA gym in Arlington (kids classes). Currently he is faculty at Virginia University of Integrative Medicine (Fairfax) and teaches credit courses in Qigong and Tai Chi. He has positively impacted peoples lives whether for health, sport, strength, combat, and spirit. As a true combat athlete, he teaches methods so people can be confident to defend themselves.
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