Introducing Grandmaster He Youlu and He Style Tai Chi Chuan

On Sunday July 6, 2014 before the formal opening ceremonies, the International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium will feature two 2-hour Pre-Symposium workshops with Grandmaster He Youlu. Grandmaster He (pronounced with a soft “e” as in “her”) was born in 1963 in the town of Zhaobao, Wen County, Henan Province. He is the lineal descendant of He Zhaoyuan, the founder of He Style (also referred to as “Zhaobao He Style”) Tai Chi Chuan. A 7th Duan Chinese martial artist, Grandmaster He is the President of the He Style Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Wen County and is the representative successor of  the He Style’s cultural heritage. He is also the Chairman of the He Style Tai Chi Chuan Association in Jiaozuo, Henan Province.

For many years, Grandmaster He Youlu has devoted himself to the study, popularization and teaching of Tai Chi Chuan. In order to spread Tai Chi culture, he has travelled to many places, both in China and abroad. He has acquired mastery of both Tai Chi practice and theory, and compiled three monographs: He Style Taiji Spectrum, Thirteen Forms of He Style Taiji, and One Hundred and Eight Forms of He Style Taiji (Chinese editions with English Translation). He has also made various teaching DVDs and VCDs including He Style Taijiquan, Taiji Sword, Taiji Broadsword, Taiji Spear, and Push Hands. These were published by the People’s Sports Press and Haiyan Press. Grandmaster He also gave a series of lectures about the learning of He Style Tai Chi Chuan in Treasures of Chinese Martial Arts, a full-length documentary made in 2008 which was approved by the Chinese Wushu Association and supervised by the Martial Arts Institute of China State General Administration of Sports. Also in 2008, he became the chief editor of the Textbook Series of Chinese Wushu Duanwei System: He Style Taijiquan, a book approved by the Chinese Chinese Wushu Association and published by Higher Education Press.

History and Characteristics of He Style Tai Chi Chuan

He Style Tai Chi Chuan (sometimes referred to as Zhaobao style, named after the original town of Zhaobao) was founded by He Zhaoyuan (1810-1890) in the late Qing dynasty. He Zhaoyuan was a native of the town of Zhaobao, Wen County, Henan Province. He came from a family that studied Chinese medicine and began to learn Tai Chi Chuan from Chen Qingping in his hometown. Later he worked in Beijing and because of his great skill was appointed to the military post of Wuxinlang. Under the influence of Li Tangjie, he reformed his Tai Chi and developed an original style that would be called He Style Tai Chi Chuan. He Zhaoyuan taught his sons He Jingzhi and He Renzhi as well as his grandson He Qingxi. He Qingxi (1857-1936) passed his teachings to his son He Xuexin. He Xuexin passed his knowledge to his grandson He Youlu who is the current representative of He Style Tai Chi Chuan and the Director of the He Style Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Wen County.

There are 72 postures in traditional He Style Tai Chi Chuan. The philosophy of Yi (changes), Yin and Yang, the five elements, the eight trigrams, Confucianism, and theories of Chinese medicine have influenced the development of this style. The circular movement and the pursuit of hardness in gentleness enable the coordination of the body and the footwork. The frequent changes of Yin and Yang guarantee a  myriad of skills and techniques, achieving the effects of being slippery as fish, sticky as glue, soft as cotton, and hard as steel. He Style Tai Chi Chuan requires internal and external coordination, which promotes the circulation of chi and blood, and the balance of internal organs and energy channels to enhance health, cure illnesses,  and prolong life.

The playing principle of He Style is gentle, circular, and natural. The playing rhythm may be either quick or slow and the frame may be either large or small.

It is an honor to have Grandmaster He join us for the 2014 International Tai Chi
Chuan Symposium in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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