Yang Fukui (1799-1872) styled himself Luchan, a native of Yongnian, Hebei, is the founder of Yang Style Taijiquan. When he was ten, he went to Chen Jia Gou (Chen Family Village), Henan, to be a servant in Chen Dehu's home. At that time, Chen Changxing, an important descendant of Chen Style Taijiquan, was teaching Chen family members at Chen Dehu's home every evening. For reasons lost in history, he accepted Yang Luchan as a student. This decision broke with the tradition of never teaching non-family members. In 1850, Yang Luchan returned to Yongnian. A few years later, he moved to Beijing. He became very well known for his taijiquan and was often referred to as "Yang, The Unbeatable." Members of the Imperial Family invited him to teach them taiji. Honoring the traditions, he did not teach Chen Style Taijiquan. He created his own style, based on the Chen Style. The sets of taiji he created have been continuously developed by his sons, grandsons, and disciples into today's well-known Yang Style Taijiquan.
Yang Banhou (1837-1892), styled himself Yang Yu, was one of Yang Luchan's sons. He was born in Yongnian, Hebei. Although he is not a direct person in Master Cui's lineage, he is very important in taiji history. He began learning taijiquan from his father at an early age and became very skilled. Then he learned Wu Style Taijiquan from Wu Yuxiang. He read "Taijiquan Manual," written by Wang Zongyue. When he was nineteen, he moved to Beijing and chose a place in Xianger Lane where he taught taiji. Later Yang Luchan joined him in Beijing.
Yang Jianhou (1839-1917), also known as Yang Jian, was born in Yongnian, Hebei, and was a son of Yang Luchan's. Like his older brother, he studied taijiquan with his father from an early age and was very skillful. He went to Beijing with his father to teach. During that period, he followed his father's teachings closely. He had many students. In order to meet the needs of practitioners, he developed middle frame Yang Style Taijiquan. This helped promote the popularity of Yang Style in Beijing and throughout China.
Yang Chengfu (1883-1936), also known as Yang Zhaoqing, was a native of Yongnian, Hebei. He was Yang Jianhou's son, Yang Luchan's grandson. Building on the taijiquan sets that he learned from his family, he developed large frame Yang Style Taijiquan. During his early days of teaching, his classes were at the Beijing Sporting Research Society. In 1928, he made a circuit of Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Hankou, and other places. Several of his disciples, including Cui Yishi and Wu Huichuan, joined him for this trip. Yang Chengfu had many disciples, some very famous, including Cui Yishi, Li Yaxuan, Wu Huichuan, Fu Zhongwen, Dong Yingjie, Niu Chunming, and his sons, Yang Zhenming, Yang Zhenji, Yang Zhenguo, and Yang Zhenduo. He wrote two books, "Taijiquan Usage" and "Taijiquan Physical Movement Manual."
Cui Yishi (1892-1970), named Cui Lizhi, he styled himself Yishi. Born in Renxian, Hebei, he began training with Yang Chengfu in 1909 and remained with him, becoming a disciple and 4th generation lineage holder of Yang Style Taijiquan. In 1928, he joined Yang Chengfu on his trip through China, assisting as a teacher. From Yang Chengfu's death in 1936 through 1945, he traveled alone, teaching taijiquan in many places including Nanjing, Wuhan, Xian, Lanzhou, Bangbu, Wanxian, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and other places. His training brother, Fu Zhongwen also developed a reputation as a teacher. The two were often referred to as "Cui of the North, Fu of the South." After liberation, Cui Yishi was the Commissioner of The Beijing Wushu Association. He was also head of the Yongnian Taijiquan Society, which he established in Beijing just after liberation. He taught taijiquan in Zhongshan Park, where he had many students. Cui Yishi practiced and researched Yang Style Taijiquan throughout his life. He was well known for his skill, especially pushing hands. Because he taught taijiquan with his own characteristics, it was often known as Cui Taijiquan. In 1964, he created new sets of taijiquan. He wrote "Simplified 42 Movements of Yang Style Taijiquan" and "Yang Style Taiji Stick," further developing Yang Style Taijiquan. By the time of his death in 1970, he had become well known as an important representative of Yang Style Taijiquan.
Cui Zhong San. My master. Born in Beijing in 1948, Master Cui began training taijiquan at the age of four under the discerning eye of his grandfather, Master Cui Yishi, a close, indoor disciple of Master Yang Chengfu. Since many members of the Cui family practiced taijiquan, young Cui Zhongsan received much encouragement and support in learning taijiquan.
With Grandfather Cui Yishi as his coach, Cui Zhongsan began entering taiji competitions very early and won his first championship at the age of nine. At the age of twelve, because of his skills, he was selected to study at the Beijing Amateur Wushu School. In 1960 and 1961 he was the taijiquan champion of the Beijing Wushu matches. From the early 60's into the mid-80's, Master Cui won many competitions.
By the mid-80's Master Cui's reputation as a teacher and coach was growing rapidly. Because of his skills, he received many official assignments, such as coaching the China-Japan taijiquan performance for the Opening Ceremonies of the 11th Asian Games, during which 3,000 taiji players performed the 24-Step Form simultaneously. For the 7th and 8th National Games, he was a member of the Rules and Regulations Committee for Taijiquan and Pushing Hands, as well as serving as a referee. He was also Yang Style Coach for the 1995, 1996, and 1997 World Taijiquan Conferences in Beijing. (It was during the 1995 conference that Mei Zhong's founder and head instructor, Miriam Holland, first studied with Master Cui.)