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Cheng Man-Ching's Tai Chi Videos

Yang-Style Short Form, Sword Form, fencing, and push hands From: Essential Sports and Fitness Video Channel

This is the largest collection of videos on the web of Cheng Man-Ching in action, including 3 of his rare DVDs. Professor Cheng Man-Ching (1902 - 1975) was one of the most influential figures in the evolution of Tai Chi Chuan. He was trained in Chinese medicine, taught poetry and art at leading colleges, and was a successful artist. In his twenties, he developed lung disease and started studying Tai Chi. Around 1930, he began studying with Yang Chengfu (1883 - 1936), the grandson of Yang Luchan (1799 - 1872), who founded Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan. Through changes he made to the Yang Forms and his training of many world-renowned masters, Professor Cheng played a pivotal role in improving and popularizing Tai Chi.


"Master Tapes" Push Hands Workshop 1

Relaxed, light, and subtle movements are key

Cheng Man Ching showing pushing hands position to his students

Professor Cheng gives detailed push hands instruction while demonstrating correct positioning, the techniques for pushing effectively, and the need for lightess, relaxation, and gradual movements. With some quick and lite strikes he shows how the principles tie into martial arts. Well-known senior Tai Chi instructors participating include Ed Young, Tam Gibbs, Ken Van Sickle, and Lou Kleinsmith.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:13:29)

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"Master Tapes" Push Hands Workshop 2

How to push and how to avoid being open for fast strikes

Cheng Man Ching showing pushing with his shoulder

Professor Cheng explains and shows how to make strong pushes, not by using strength or being heavy, but by being light, following the opponent's center, and preventing escape. He demonstrates how certain positions leave the pusher vulnerable to high speed, martial arts attacks and emphasizes taking care of any threatening hand - without blocking. Senior Tai Chi instructors participating include Maggie Newman, Mort Raphael, Tam Gibbs, and Ed Young.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:17:18)

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"Master Tapes" Push Hands Workshop 3

Relax the chest and body. Stay loose and alive

Cheng Man Ching doing push hands with one of his students

Professor Cheng continues his explanations and demonstrations of correct techniques for pushing and for responding to attacks. The push must be in exactly the right direction and must not be too heavy. Take force to one side. Don't get excited, for example by letting your shoulders come up, or you'll get locked up. Senior students Ed Young, Tam Gibbs, Mort Raphael, Stanley Israel, and Maggie Newman get schooled.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:15:27)

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"Master Tapes" Push Hands with three senior students

Advanced workshop in push hands techniques

Cheng Man Ching pushing hands with Stanley Israel

Professor Cheng pushes hands with some senior students, including Stanley Israel, Maggie Newman, and Lou Kleinsmith, who became well-known Tai Chi instructors themselves. Ed Young translates for Professor Cheng as he gives the class instructions in advanced push hands principles.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:16:03)

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To watch credits for the Master Tapes Push Hands DVD, click here

Push Hands Demo (1969)

Senior students get "bounced away" by the grandmaster

Cheng Man Ching pushing hands with his students

This video shows Professor Cheng pushing with two of his senior students, Tam Gibbs and Ed Young, both of whom went on to become well-known Tai Chi teachers. The videographer and narrator is Ken Van Sickle, who was also a senior student who later founded a Tai Chi and self-defense school.

From: Ken Van Sickle (DVD) (00:02:49)

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Video Clips of Cheng Man Ching from 2004 Forum DVD

Demonstrations of the Tai Chi Short and Sword Forms and push hands

Cheng Man Ching leading Tai Chi Sword class

This sampling of Professor Cheng's skills, with a sitar background, shows his smooth, relaxed style, capable of generating substantial power and speed. This video trailer, with a pleasant sitar background, was shown at the 2004 Cheng Man-Ching Forum that honored his memory and gathered his students from around the world.

From: Nils Klug (DVD) (00:01:32)

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"Master Tapes" Short Form Class 1

Beginner class in Yang Tai Chi Chuan Short Form

Cheng Man Ching showing Yang short Tai Chi form to class

This video starts with a clip of Professor Cheng doing the Tai Chi form "for real" (as opposed to showing students correct positioning). Then, Professor Cheng instructs a beginner's class, with an emphasis on the position of the feet (shoulder-width apart) and shifting of the weight. Ed Young translates and Maggie Newman explains how Professor Cheng successfully communicated mainly through pantomine and by example. The "master tapes" were shot between 1969 and 1971 in New York City.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:07:55)

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To watch introduction to the Master Tapes Form DVD, click here

"Master Tapes" Short Form Class 2

Step-by-step instruction of the Yang Tai Chi Short Form

Cheng Man Ching doing Yang short Tai Chi form with class


Professor Cheng walks an intermediate class through the first half of the Tai Chi Form, occasionally pausing to emphasize certain positions and the softness of the motions.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:05:38)

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"Master Tapes" Short Form Class 3

How the Tai Chi Form exercizes internal organs and promotes health

Cheng Man Ching explaining Tai Chi posture with Tam Gibbs translating

In this class, Professor Cheng explains the connection between how our bodies work and how we should do the Tai Chi Form for maximum health benefits. He begins by showing correct positioning of the knees and hips and the alignment of shoulders and hands. He describes the role of breathing and slow, natural exercize in promoting circulation and helping prevent illness. He emphasizes doing the form at the right speed and with breathing to the "tan tien" (below the belly button). Tam Gibbs translates for the good doctor.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:09:10)

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"Master Tapes" Short Form Class 4

Four Corners and Lotus Sweep of Yang Tai Chi Chuan Form

Cheng Man Ching showing Yang short form position

Professor Cheng reviews two sections of the Tai Chi Form where the detail movements sometimes cause confusion: "Four Corners" ("Fair Lady Works at Shuttles") and the "Lotus Sweep" and the kick and movement that follow. (Notice that the foot movement of Four Corners in Professor Cheng's form has been simplified somewhat by Grandmaster William C. C. Chen.) In the Lotus Sweep, Professor Cheng instructs that you swing the left foot and pivot on the ball of the right foot.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:03:03)

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"Master Tapes" Short Form Class 5

Internal energy (chi) comes from correct breathing and relaxation

Cheng Man Ching instructing Tai Chi class with Ed Young translating

In this video, Professor Cheng continues his explanation of how to breathe and move the body as a whole to gain the health benefits of Tai Chi. He discusses developing chi (internal energy) and its relationship to sinking the breath down into the tan tien (below the navel). Ed Young narrates, and he and Maggie Newman recount their observations.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:13:14)

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"Master Tapes" Short Form Class 6

Another movement-by-movement class on the Yang Tai Chi Short Form

Cheng Man Ching showing position in Yang Tai Chi short form


Professor Cheng leads an intermediate class step-by-step throught the Tai Chi Short Form. He goes out of his way to clarify the positions of the feet, knees, waist, and hands, and proper shifting of the weight. The slow, precise, and relaxed way he goes through the form makes this video an excellent review of the basics.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:07:42)

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Yang Short Form (1969)

37 Postures of Tai Chi Chuan

Cheng Man Ching doing Yang Tai Chi Form

Professor Cheng is responsible for creating the popular Yang Short Form out of the traditional Yang Long Form, reducing its length from about 20 minutes to about 8 minutes. He changed the position of the hands, the size of the moves, and the stance to make a more relaxed and natural exercize that retains martial arts effectiveness and offers major health benefits. Grandmaster William C. C. Chen, who was also trained by Professor Cheng, further refined this "37 Postures" Form to create his popular (and similar) "60 Movement" Form (which also takes about 8 minutes.) The video was taken by one of his senior students, Ken Van Sickle, who makes some initial comments.

From: Ken Van Sickle (DVD) (00:08:05)

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"Master Tapes" Sword Form Class 1

The Yang Tai Chi Sword Form

Cheng Man Ching doing Yang Tai Chi Sword Form with class

Professor Cheng leads his advanced students through the sword form, and this video offers a superb, clear version for study. Ken Van Sickle talks about the role of the Sword Form and fencing in advanced Tai Chi.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:03:47)

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"Master Tapes" Fencing Class 1

The Professor fences with advanced Tai Chi Sword students

Cheng Man Ching fencing with Tam Gibbs

The double-edged Chinese sword is used to deflect, avoid, and redirect blows - before delivering a slash or stab of its own. Maintaining light contact, getting out of the way, and slicing are encouraged, as opposed to blocking or chopping. Maggie Newman, Ken Van Sickle, and Ed Young explain that Professor Cheng left them no way out.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:08:17)

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"Master Tapes" Fencing Class 2

More fencing with advanced Tai Chi Sword students

Cheng Man Ching fencing with student

Professor Cheng continues free-style fencing, exhausting one senior student after another. Ken Van Sickle explains that his amazing skill confounded all of them, while his natural footwork and forward and circling motion made it "look like a walk in the park". No one even comes close to scoring a touch.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:10:50)

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"Master Tapes" Sword Form Class 2

Yang Tai Chi Sword Form after fencing workout

Cheng Man Ching doing Yang Tai Chi Sword Form with class


Professor Cheng leads his advanced students again through a smooth, relaxed version of the Sword Form after a vigorous fencing class.

From: Cheng Man-Ching and Don Ethan Miller (Master Tapes DVD) (00:02:45)

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Yang Sword Form

Advanced Tai Chi exercize for extending energy outward

Cheng Man Ching doing Yang Tai Chi Sword Form

Professor Cheng was a master of the double-edged Chinese sword, which he learned from Yang Chengfu, who was known for his skill. This sword has played an important role in training because it lends itself naturally to the principles of Tai Chi Chuan. It requires sensitivity to the opponents weapon and is not designed to meet force with force.

From: Ken Van Sickle and Joseph Zeisky (Feather Sword DVD) (00:02:50)

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Sword Class with Fencing

Tai Chi fencing by a renowned master

Cheng Man Ching fencing with young woman

Professor Cheng fences with advanced students in this entertaining and revealing sword class from the late 1960's or early 1970's. Everyone is having a good time, and his mastery of the sword is clear. Like push hands, Tai Chi fencing is an exercize that emphasizes sensitive sticking and finding the openings created by the opponent's intentions.

From: Cheng Man-Ching (00:02:21)

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More great videos from Cheng Man Ching to come!