About T'ai Chi Ch'uan, The Association, Our Teachers
T'ai Chi Ch'uan
T'ai Chi is a martial art, yet its benefits extend far beyond self-defense. T'ai Chi can be a marvelous life enhancer.
It is an exercise, a way of moving, a way of thinking and a mindful practice. It can be
practiced, studied, and enjoyed by anyone at any age. Many students of T'ai Chi Ch'uan
enjoy the benefits of better health, inner calm, improved balance, strength, suppleness, self-defense, and increased energy.
The origins of T'ai Chi are obscured by legends and traditional secrecy. It has certainly
existed for hundreds of years. The style we practice began with Yang Lu-ch'uan, (1799-1872)
who learned T'ai Chi from the Ch'en family in the early nineteenth century. Yang Lu-ch'an
modified the form he learned to create the Yang style, which is probably the most widely
practiced style these days. Yang passed the art to his sons and they to theirs. One of his
grandsons, Yang Cheng-fu, (1883-1936) was known throughout China in the early years of the
20th century as a formidable martial artist.
Cheng Man-ch'ing (1902-1975) learned T'ai Chi from Yang Cheng-fu during the 1920s. The practice of
T'ai Chi helped Cheng overcome serious illness, and he went on to become one of the most widely
respected practitioners of T'ai Chi in modern times. Professor Cheng was known for his extraordinary
accomplishments in the mastery of the five excellences: painting, poetry, calligraphy, Chinese medicine,
and T'ai Chi. His senior student, Mr. Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo (1927-1918), who had his school in San
Francisco, but travelled all over the world to teach, has provided instruction to many members of the
St. Louis T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association via workshops in St. Louis and elsewhere. Mr. Lenzie Williams, a
senior student of Mr. Lo’s carries on the tradition, visiting the Association in St. Louis regularly,
as well as several countries in Europe.
The St. Louis T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association (SLTCCA) was formed
in 1979, and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1981.
From its start, Association members have practiced and taught
Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing’s 37 Postures Yang style short form of t’ai chi.
The Association Board of Directors and Instructors are all volunteers.
Class fees paid by students pay for rental space for our Sunday classes,
the answering service, and advertising,. Most importantly, class
fees help defray the cost of special workshops led by internationally
renowned instructors in Professor Cheng’s lineage, which enhance our training.
For more information about the Professor and the SLTCCA, visit the Association
Our instructors all volunteer their time with the Association, and have a minimum of 10
years experience practicing the T’ai Chi form. Some have practiced 30-40 years and
have had direct instruction from Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo, a senior student of Professor
Cheng. All continue to train in workshops.
Lenzie Williams, a senior student of Benjamin Lo, has continued the relationship with
our group visiting St. Louis regularly to conduct weekend workshops, which include special training for our instructors.
Association teachers are dedicated to their own personal practice and want to share
their experience and knowledge with students because of the personal health benefits
they have derived. In addition to the solo/single hand form, most instructors practice
two-person sensing hands exercises, and some practice a sword form.
Because T’ai Chi Ch’uan is a practice, we all know that there is always more to learn,
that as Mr. Lo used to say, “There’s no limit to T’ai Chi. You can always improve.”