A Trip to Guangfu Town – the Birth Place of Yang Style Taichi

It is an unknown town, Guangfu. The nearest big city is Handan, a very historical city, which was the capital of Kingdom Zhao for 158 years (from 386BC to 228BC) and now a industrial centre in the North of China. But Guangfu is just so special. From the moment you step on its land, you can feel it. It is much more than an old town, it is the birth place of Yang Style Taichi.

Nowadays, it is difficult to find such a solemn, peaceful and authentic Chinese town in modern China. Partially reason lies to the long tradition of Taichi practicing here. In the early morning at 5, you can easily find men and women holding swords or fans or with empty hands to perform gorgeous Taichi out of four town gates of Guangfu. The founder of Yang style Taichi Quan, Master Yang Luchan (also named Yang Lu (1799-1872) was born in a poverty family in the village out of south gate of Guangfu Town. As a boy, he was fascinated by Chinese martial arts and studied Changquan ( Long Fist). After his growing up and he got a job in Tai He Tang, a Chinese pharmacy owned by Mr Chen Dehu who actually a martial art master and later referred Yang to Chen Village in Henan Province to seek out his own teacher – the 14th generation of the Chen Family, Master Chen Changxing. Yang Luchan came to Chen Village three times and spent 18 years totally to polish his techniques and eventually became a great Taichi master and moved to Beijing to teach and spread Taichi to the whole country. Some of his next generations and disciples later moved to Hongkong, South East Asian nations and other areas of the world which enabled more and more people to study and practice Taichi. In Guangfu town, visitors and Taichi lovers admire the former house of Master Yang Luchan, former residence of Master Wu Yuxiang, another important role in the development of Taichi. The town is a treasure. Enclosed with city walls, gates and water towers, filled with small shops and local restaurants, the town tells a living history of pre-modern China.

Three kilometers away from the town, I visited Hongji Bridge. It is said the history was firstly built 1400 years ago. The last refurbishment was during Ming Dynasty in 1582. It is a one-hole stone arch bridge, 48.9 metres long, 6.82 metres wide, 31.88 metres main span. It is decorated with exquisite carvings and surprisingly has been used until 2006. When I stand on the bridge, I felt so close to the splendid history of China. Guangfu is such a great place worthy of many repeat visits.