Master Yang Pan-hou’s Tai Chi Chuan was separated into two divisions Big Circles and Small Circles.
The Big Circles were used to promote health. This is what he taught to the Manchu princes in the capital.
The Small Circles, however, were used for fighting applications, and this he would not teach frivolously.
Master Wu Chuan Yau naturally studied only the Big Circles with Master Yang Pan-hou. However,
studying the Big Circles with Master Yang Pan-hou was not easy, and he had to undergo great
When Master Yang Pan-hou taught people, he held to the principle of "no pain, no gain". Every time he
would Push Hands with his disciples, they would fall so often that they injured their arms and legs. Many
Manchu princes and royal guards suffered so much that they stopped studying. At that time, among the
royal guards, there were only three who had not quit, and Master Wu Chuan Yau was one of them.
However, Master Wu Chuan Yau suffered so much from Master Yang Pan-hou’s brutal treatment that his
left leg had become slightly lame.
What the Son didnt teach, the Father taught.
Master Wu Chuan Yau studied in this arduous way till he mastered the skills of the Big Circles; but he
still knew nothing about the Small Circles. One day Master Yang Pan-hou wanted to leave Beijing and
return to this old home in the district of Huang-ping. For this reason, his father took over his duties
teaching the Manchu princes and the three hardy, but barely surviving royal guards. Master Yang Lu-
chan noticed that Master Wu Chuan Yau’s left leg was slightly lame and asked him the reason. Master
Wu Chuan Yau answered truthfully. However, he stressed that although this was the case, he still wished
to continue training.
Impressed by these words, Master Master Yang Lu-chan felt that this kind of young man who was willing
to undergo such hardships, after having been so knocked down, was rare. In addition, he could tell from
this that Master Yang Pan-hou had only taught Master Wu Chuan Yau the Big Circles skills and had not
taught any of the Small Circles skills to this long-suffering lad-in-training. Otherwise, he would not have
become crippled, as a result of falling back on his leg so often during Push Hands, because he was
unable to push Master Yang Pan-hou back.
After watching him carefully for several days, he felt that the lad was worth teaching. Then he threw out
entirely the Big Circles that Master Wu Chuan Yau had previously learned from Master Yang Pan-hou
and started from the beginning with the Small Circles method. This continued for three years, and during
that time Master Wu Chuan Yau was learning everything without even realizing it.
When the Teacher left, his Disciple followed
After three years had passed, Master Yang Pan-hou returned to the capital from Huang-ping district.
Naturally Master Yang Lu-chan surrendered his teaching position to his son. Master Yang Pan-hou
continued to teach the Big Circles, just as before, using his principles of "no pain, no gain". While
Pushing Hands with Master Wu Chuan Yau, several times he attempted to discharge energy to topple
Master Wu Chuan Yau, but Master Wu Chuan Yau always neutralized it. Master Yang Pan-hou
immediately realized that his father had taught the Small Circles to Master Wu Chuan Yau. He brought
Pushing Hands to a halt and went to Master Yang Lu-chan and said simply, "Henceforth, the Yang
Family’s Tai Chi Chuan would no longer be transmitted from father to son."
Master Yang Lu-chan immediately admonished him, replying, "The Ching Dynasty Manchu princes are
foreigners. If you hadn’t taught them, then you could say that. Master Wu Chuan Yau is of the same
tribe. His dedication and tenacity are rare. Why can you not teach him the same skill?" At this Master
Yang Pang-hou was at a loss for words and had no comeback. From then on he joined him in teaching
Master Wu Chuan Yau the Small Circles skill.