|Born||董文科 (Pinyin: Dǒng Wénkē)|
November 8, 1897
Ren County, Hebei, China
|Died||1961 (aged 63–64)|
|Other names||Tung Ying Kit|
Wu (Hao)-style taijiquan
|Notable students||Tung Hu Ling|
Tung Ying-chieh (Chinese: 董英傑, Pinyin: Dǒng Yīngjié) (1897 - 1961) was a leading master of t'ai chi ch'uan, and a top disciple of Yang Ch'eng-fu. Born in Ren County, Hebei, China, his given name was Wen-k'e (文科, Pinyin: Wénkē). Famous in his time for defeating a foreign boxer in a public challenge match, he dedicated his life to the martial arts, training intensively in multiple styles, serving as chief assistant instructor for Yang Ch'eng-fu, and going on to found his own thriving t'ai chi legacy.
He was born to a prosperous farming family, and as a child was very studious but his health was weak. Avidly interested in martial arts even then, at age 12 he convinced his father to send him away to learn from security professional and martial arts master Liu Ying-chou (劉瀛洲, Pinyin: Liú Yíngzhōu), also known as Liu Lao-ying (劉老瀛, Pinyin: Liú Lǎoyíng). There he trained in San Huang P'ao Ch'ui and other Shaolin styles. Liu also taught him some t'ai chi ch'uan.
After five years he returned home to marry and join the family business, but soon sought out Liu Lao-ying again to resume training. Liu recommended deeper study of t'ai chi ch'uan, and through Liu's relationship with Yang Chao-lin (楊兆林, Pinyin: Yáng Zhàolín, 1884-1922), the eldest grandson of Yang Lu-ch'an, Tung studied Yang-style t'ai chi ch'uan under Li Tseng-kwei (李增魁, Pinyin: Lǐ Zēngkuí). Tung was impressed with Li's pushing hands skills, but at that time Tung's expertise in external martial arts — on which he relied in those years to deal with bandits and other conflicts — remained better than his understanding of t'ai chi ch'uan.[note 1]
Tung achieved a high level of skill in t'ai chi ch'uan after Liu introduced him to Li Bao-yü (李寶玉, Pinyin: Lǐ Bǎoyù, 1889-1961), who was known by the courtesy name Li Hsiang-yüan (李香遠, Pinyin: Lǐ Xiāngyuǎn;). Li had mastered Wu (Hao)-style t'ai chi ch'uan under Hao Wei-chen, and was famous for defeating all challengers in and out of the ring, including some local gangsters. For three years Tung lived with Li, worked for him in his business, and trained intensively in Wu (Hao) style. From that time on Li became a lifelong coach, mentor, and friend.[note 2]
In 1926, Tung moved to Beijing seeking instruction from Grandmaster Yang Ch'eng-fu in Yang style t'ai-chi ch'uan. He quickly mastered Yang Ch'eng-fu's "large frame" techniques, and served as chief assistant instructor for much of the last 10 years of Yang's life.
While in Beijing he also trained under Yang's older brother Yang Shao-hou in "small frame" Yang t'ai chi, and practiced push hands with Chen style master Ch'en Fa-k'e. Also training with Yang Shao-hou were Tung's future lifelong colleagues, the Wu-style masters Wu Kung-i and Wu Kung-tsao.
In 1928 Tung moved south with a group led by Yang Ch'eng-fu to establish t'ai chi ch'uan schools in other cities. Later that year he established his prowess and the reputations of his teachers by defeating nine push hands challengers at the Hangzhou National Martial Arts Arena Competition (杭州國術擂台賽, Pinyin: Hángzhōu Guóshù Lèitáisài).
He was the principal contributor to Yang's 1931 book Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing (太極拳使用法), and helped establish Yang t'ai chi schools and classes in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, and other cities, including Suzhou which he ran by himself, and Guangzhou where he assisted and then took over when Yang returned to Shanghai in 1935.
He earned the name Ying-chieh, which can be translated as "heroic figure", in his early thirties by defeating a British strongman in a brutal public boxing match in Nanjing. Tung defended the honor of t'ai chi ch'uan and Chinese martial arts, and bolstered Chinese national pride after the foreigner had issued insulting racial taunts and had already defeated several other Chinese martial artists.
Li Bao-yü coached Tung for that competition and was there to witness his victory. After the fight, Tung threw his winner's jackpot of silver coins into the crowd, asking the audience to cover transportation home for other Chinese martial artists who had competed.
Nationalism had been stoked on both sides in no small part because his opponent was sponsored by the British Deputy Consul. As word of Tung's win and generosity spread across the country, he was hailed as a hero of the Chinese people. And so from that time on, Tung Wen-k'e was known only as Tung Ying-chieh.
In 1936 after Yang Ch'eng-fu passed away, Tung Ying-chieh was invited to teach in Hong Kong, where he founded the Tung Ying Kit Tai Chi Chuan Gymnasium — "Kit" (Jyutping: git6) is the Cantonese pronunciation of chieh (傑, Pinyin: jié) — and became the first to teach Yang style t'ai chi ch'uan in the colony. In 1939 he was also invited to teach in Macau, where he established another successful school. From 1941 to 1945 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, he relocated to Macau which as a Portuguese colony was neutral territory.
He then returned to Hong Kong, enlisting his children in growing both t'ai chi schools, and in 1948 with the help of eldest son Tung Hu Ling (董虎嶺, Pinyin: Dǒng Hǔlǐng) he published 太極拳釋義 (The Meaning and Significance of T'ai Chi Ch'uan Practice) which illustrated and explained the Yang style curriculum and introduced his Ying Jie Fast Form (英傑快拳, Pinyin: Yīngjié Kuàiquán — see the section on the Tung family forms below). Also known as the "Red Book" due to the cover of the Hong Kong edition, it has been reprinted many times.[note 3]
In the 1950s his network of schools and students expanded to Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia under the management of Tung Hu Ling, their success in Southeast Asia ensured after a few Muay Thai boxers famously challenged and failed to defeat their t'ai chi. Tung Ying-chieh also led efforts to coordinate with leading Yang and Wu (吳, Pinyin: Wú) stylists for the promotion of t'ai chi, organizing a large gathering of practitioners in Hong Kong, and serving as a judge for a wildly popular public match in Macau between his longtime colleague, Wu style t'ai chi master Wu Kung-i, and a master of Tibetan White Crane. At that 1954 fight, Tung was filmed demonstrating techniques with an Eagle Claw master, and performing his Ying Jie Fast Form.
In his final years Tung Ying-chieh lost weight and strength, but it is clear in films of him performing t'ai chi that he retained his balance, grace, and martial skills longer than most. He continued his teaching and practice as long as he was able, as well as the calligraphy and painting he had mastered in Macau during World War II, and in his last days took the time to tell stories of his past to his family, especially his youngest child Jasmine, who was then 21. One night in 1961, in Hong Kong, he died peacefully in his sleep at home.
After Tung Ying-chieh's death in 1961, his daughter and youngest child Jasmine Mood-lay Tung (董茉莉, Pinyin: Dǒng Mòlì, Jyutping: dung2 mut6 lei6, 1940-2009) continued teaching at the Tung Ying Kit Tai Chi Chuan Gymnasium in Hong Kong, taking over as head of the school in 1966. She also taught in the UK, founded a school in Australia, and served as instructor and advisor to the Taiji Society of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was the first Hong Kong martial artist to become an International Wu Shu Federation referee, serving as referee and referee director for events in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Japan, including the 11th Asian Games in Beijing. She also served as president of the Hong Kong Wushu Federation and the Hong Kong Jingwu Athletic Association, and played a prominent role in promoting t'ai chi in Hong Kong and abroad.
Tung Ying-chieh's son Dong Junling (董俊嶺, Pinyin: Dǒng Jùnlǐng, born 董俊彪, Pinyin: Dǒng Jùnbiāo, 1923-1983) worked closely with the family in Hong Kong for several years, where among other things he posed with his brother Tung Hu Ling for photographs of t'ai chi applications to be used in Tung Hu Ling's book, 太極拳使用法 (Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing). But in the early 1950s he returned home to Ren County in Hebei for good, where he continued to teach t'ai chi to a select group of students for many years, including his nephew, Tung Hu Ling's son Dong Zeng Chen.
Tung Ying-chieh's eldest son Tung Hu Ling (董虎嶺, Pinyin: Dǒng Hǔlǐng, Jyutping: dung2 fu2 ling1, 1917-1992), who had played a prominent role in opening and growing Tung family schools in Hong Kong, Macau, and Southeast Asia, continued to lead classes there for about five years after his father's death. But in 1966 he was invited to promote t'ai chi on a tour of North America which he completed in 1967, after which he moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to establish a new school and home base in the USA.
Tung Hu Ling's son Tung Kai Ying (董繼英, Jyutping: dung2 gai3 ying1; Pinyin: Dǒng Jìyīng, 1941-) also led classes at the Southeast Asia locations, taking over in 1962 before joining him in Hawaii in 1969, and then founding a Los Angeles school in 1971. Tung Hu Ling's other son Dong Zeng Chen (董增辰, Pinyin: Dǒng Zēngchén, 1947-) taught in mainland China for many years before moving from Hebei to take over the Hawaii school after Tung Hu Ling's retirement in 1983, accompanied by his son Da De "Alex" Dong.
In 2003 Alex Dong (董大德, Pinyin: Dǒng Dàdé, 1971-), Dong Zeng Chen's son and great grandson of Tung Ying-chieh, established a school in New York City, while Tung Kai Ying's son Tung Chen-Wei David (董振威 Pinyin, Dǒng Zhènwēi, 1977-) — another great grandson of Tung Ying-chieh — is also a master instructor, based at the Los Angeles school. All regularly travel to teach classes and workshops as well, resulting in many additional schools and practice groups around the world.
Tung Ying-chieh's granddaughter-in-law Tung Cheng Hsiao-fen (董鄭小芬, Jyutping: dung2 zeng6 siu2 fan1; Pinyin: Dǒng Zhèng Xiǎofēn, 1956-) in Hong Kong and a long list of disciples worldwide also continue the Tung family t'ai chi tradition.
Tung Family T'ai Chi
Tung family t'ai chi training offers a strong foundation in Yang style t'ai chi ch'uan, and advanced training in Wu (Hao) and Tung styles. This Yang style is the classic traditional Yang Ch'eng-fu form as he taught it in the latter half of his career, and as Yang Ch'eng-fu, Tung Ying-chieh, and T'ien Chao-lin (田兆林, Pinyin: Tián Zhàolín; 1891-1960) demonstrated in photos for the 1931 and 1934 books published under Yang's name.
Each posture is taught with great attention to detail, and with an explanation of potential applications. Many students remain focused on the Yang slow form, while some also progress to the classic Yang style straight sword (劍, Pinyin: jiàn) and saber (刀, Pinyin: dāo, also translated as "falchion" or "broadsword"), and Yang style push hands (stationary, stepping, and four corners). When sufficient training space is available, advanced students may also learn the Yang style spear (槍 Pinyin: qiāng, or often simply 桿, gān, "pole", because the Yang "spear" is actually a very long sturdy pole with one tapered end but no spear point; based on the shape Tung Kai Ying calls it a "lance").
Advanced students may also learn two Tung style fast forms, a Wu (Hao) style form, and two additional saber/stick forms. Tung Ying-chieh collaborated with Yang Ch'eng-fu on development of what is now called the Tung style Fa Jin Fast Form (發勁快拳, Pinyin: Fājìn Kuàiquán), completing it after Yang passed away. It includes some postures based on Wu (Hao) style, however it mostly follows the Yang Ch'eng-fu slow form sequence. Tung then developed his Ying Chieh Fast Form (英傑快拳, Pinyin: Yīngjié Kuàiquán), which is based on Yang small frame and Wu (Hao) middle frame techniques. Both of these "fast forms" vary in speed throughout, and may also be considered "application frame" (用架, Pinyin: yòngjià) forms.
The Wu (Hao) form is the K'ai-Ho (開合, Pinyin: kāihé) Old Form of Hao Weizhen as taught by Tung Ying-chieh's teacher Li Bao-yü. It is most visibly distinct from other Wu (Hao) forms in its many slightly forward-inclined postures and the internal strength projected through the hands, and it has been refined in small but significant ways by the Tung family. Because of this form's emphasis on "nei jin" — internal strength and structure — the Tung family also call it the "Hard Form" to contrast it with the Yang Cheng-fu "soft" form.
Tung Hu-ling contributed to the advanced curriculum a t'ai chi saber form originally taught by Yang Ch'eng-fu's older brother, Yang Shao-hou. It is a vigorous routine that includes long leaps, jump kicks, reverse spins, and challenging circles. Based on that form, Tung Hu-ling then developed a double saber form as well as variants of both forms using sticks rather than swords, as sticks were easier to carry and practice with under the laws of British Hong Kong. He also created unique two-person push hands sets in Thailand, because many students there have a very martial orientation.
Tung Ying-chieh taught that there are in fact not three separate large, medium, and small "frames" of Yang style, that mastery of one will allow a student to understand the others and move freely between them, that all t'ai chi lineages including Wu (Hao) have a deep relationship, and that the Yang Ch'eng-fu "large frame" is simply the best place for beginners to start. And so Tung Ying-chieh and Tung Hu Ling were modest about their contributions to the art, and were never known to criticize other styles or masters.
Tung Family Legacy
The Tung family now has t'ai chi ch'uan students in over 20 countries and territories around the world, while maintaining warm connections to China including their ancestral home Renxian. Although Tung Ying-chieh is perhaps not as well-known in the West as some other masters, many seeking to learn t'ai chi for health or martial arts training have long found their way to him and his successors.[note 4] For he was a champion, he was a master of multiple styles with his own unique synthesis, and he established a lasting legacy that has continued to thrive, with many affiliated schools in North America, Europe, and Asia.
- Yang Chao-lin demonstrated a Yang Pan-hou form for Tung, but at the time was too ill with tuberculosis to teach. Li Tseng-kwei was Yang Chao-lin's disciple but apparently taught a next-generation form, because in an interview discussing the Yang style "frames" Tung was familiar with, Tung said only that he "had seen Yang Chao-lin perform a Yang Pan-hou form" and did not say that he learned it.
- Li Bao-yü had also been a disciple of Liu Ying-chou, training in San Huang P'ao Ch'ui from age 14. Later Liu also introduced him to Yang Chao-lin for training in Yang Pan-hou t'ai chi ch'uan. He then became a disciple of another friend of Liu's, Wu (Hao) master Hao Wei-chen. When Tung first trained with him in Hebei, Li had a business there unrelated to martial arts. But after Li visited Tung in Suzhou and coached Tung through the famous Nanjing match, he began teaching Wu (Hao) style in Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Hebei, and elsewhere, earning the nickname "Spirit Hand" (神手) Li. In 1977 Li's disciple Ou-Yang Fang (歐陽方) represented the Wu (Hao) style in an official government film of the major t'ai chi styles, performing the Old Form of Hao Weizhen that the Tung family still teaches today.
- The "Red Book" nickname is not unusual. Prominent Wu style masters of the same era produced important works often referred to by their cover colors: the "Orange Book" by Wu Ying-hua and Ma Yueh-liang, and the "Gold Book" by Wu Kung-tsao. (Other than this broad cultural context, these names have nothing to do with Mao Tse-tung's "Little Red Book", which was published many years later in 1964.)
- For example, American Kenpo karate master Will Tracy learned the slow form from him in 1956-57. See YangChengFu.org retrieved January 10, 2021
- Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 50; Yu, p. 118
- Yu, pp. 118-120; Dong, Zeng Cheng, p. 1, p. 50; Tung, Ying-chieh, p. 27 (biography by Li Ch'i-chia); Dong, Alex, chapter 1-2
- Yu, pp. 120-123, 155-156; Dong, Zeng Cheng, pp. 1-2, p. 50; Dong, Alex, chapter 3
- Yu, p. 156; Dong, Alex, pp. 29-31
- Yu, ibid
- Yu, pp. 124-129; Tung, Kai Ying, p. 51; Dong, Zeng Cheng, ibid; Dong, Alex, chapt. 3-4, chapt. 8-13
- Li, p. 537; for the film of Ou-Yang Fang, see "Other Videos" in the External links section.
- Yu, pp. 134-135; Dong, Zeng Cheng, ibid
- Yu, p. 176; Dong, Zeng chen, p. 2; Dong, Alex, p. 63
- Yip, 1998
- Yu, 140-141; Dong, Alex, chapt. 8
- Tung Kai Ying, p. 49
- Yu, p.140; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 50; Dong, Alex, p. 54
- Yu, p. 137; Qu, chapt. 9
- Wu, Feb 1993, paragraph 4; Yu, pp. 138-139; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 50; Yang, Chengfu (1934), Translators Introduction, paragraphs 6-11
- Hangzhou: Qu, Chapt. 2, Sec. 2, and chapt. 9; Suzhou: Yu, p. 140, and Dong, Alex, chapters 6-8; other locations: Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 50, and Qu, Chapt. 4
- Yu, p. 141-144; Dong, Alex, Introduction paragraph 8, and chapters 9-13
- Yu, pp.149-154; Dong, Kai Ying, p. 52; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 51
- Tung, Yingjie (1948); Yu, pp. 154-156; Dong, Kai Ying, p. 52; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 51
- Qu, chapt. 5; Yu, p. 162-165; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 51
- Yu, pp. 156-161; Video: Wu vs. Chan 1954 (Tai Chi vs. White Crane) retrieved July 29, 2020; for more on the background and significance of the Macau event, see Yip, 2002
- Yu, p. 179; see also the External Links section for videos
- Yu, p. 179, p. 180-200; Li, p. 508; taijiren.cn: 董茉莉 retrieved August 18, 2020
- Yu, p. 162, p. 201; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 56, p. 76-81; Tung, Hu Ling (1956)
- Yu, pp. 168-169; Li, p. 507; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 51; DeLeonardis, p. 19; Shirota, p. 16-18. See also the Tung Hu Ling Wikipedia biography page.
- Tung, Kai-ying, p. 55-56; Dong, Zeng Chen, p. 51-61; Dong, Kai Ying p. 53-54; Shirota, p. 19; Yu, p. 201-205
- Yu, p. 203-214
- Wu, Feb 1993, paragraph 7; Wu, Apr 1993; Yang (1931); Yang (1934)
- Tung Kai Ying curriculum, retrieved July 28, 2020; Alex Dong Tai Chi Online, retrieved July 28, 2020; Smallheiser, August 1988
- ibid; Yu, pp. 176-177
- ibid; for what may be the earliest surviving film of this form, see the demonstration by Ou-Yang Fang in the External links section under "Other Videos"
- Yang Shao-hou saber form: Wu, Ta-yeh, unpublished manuscript draft dated Sept. 1993, Chapter VII, paragraph 8; double saber form: Yu, DVD: 2005 21bowu.com (博武国际武术网) interview with Jasmine Tung; stick forms, Thailand sets: Ellis, Chip, self-published essay
- Yu, p. 155-156; pp. 176-177; Wu (Feb. 1993), p. 6, (7) Postscript
- Dong Kai Ying, p. 17; Dong Zeng Chen pp. 29, 31, 35, 37, 39; Yu, p. 194, footnote p. 216, photo p. 222; 董增辰来我市举办太极拳公益讲座 (Dong Zeng Chen Arrives to Conduct Public Lectures on Taijiquan), 邢台日报 (Xingtai Daily), July 6, 2018; see also lists of affiliated schools in External Links
- See External Links
DeLeonardis, Anthony, "The 'Grand Ultimate Fist' of Tai Chi Chuan", Black Belt Magazine, July 1967.
Shirota, Jon, "Tai Chi Chuan -- Art of Passive Resistance", Black Belt Magazine, August 1972.
Smalheiser, Marvin, "T'ai Chi Lance: New Skills From An Ancient Weapon", T'ai Chi, August 1988.
Tung, Hu Ling (1956), 太極拳使用法 (Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing), available in Chinese with English translation free at Brennan Translation, posted January 27, 2017, retrieved July 27, 2020.
Tung, Ying-chieh (1948), 太極拳釋義 (The Meaning and Significance of T'ai Chi Ch'uan Practice), C & C Joint Printing Co., (H.K.) Ltd., no ISBN, distributed worldwide by Alex Dong Tai Chi in Traditional Chinese and partial English translation editions; Taiwan edition published by Dah Jaan Publishing in Traditional Chinese, ISBN 978-986-346-242-2; mainland edition published by Science and Technology Publishing Co. Ltd. in Simplified Chinese (董英杰太极拳释义), ISBN 9787530486351.
Wu, Ta-yeh, "The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Of Tung Huling", T'ai Chi, February 1993.
Wu, Ta-yeh, "Yang Chengfu's Earlier and Latest Taijiquan", T'ai Chi, April 1993.
Yang, Chengfu (1931), 太極拳使用法 (Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing), available in Chinese with English translation free at Brennan Translation, posted November 24, 2011, retrieved July 26, 2020.
Yu, Gongbao (余功保, 2013), 董家太极: 董英杰太极拳传承与精义 (Dong Family Taiji: Dong Yingjie Taijiquan Tradition and Essentials), 当代中国出版社 (Contemporary China Publishing House), ISBN 978-7-5154-0180-5. (Includes documentary video on DVD, in Mandarin and some Cantonese, with no Chinese or foreign subtitles.)
- Affiliated schools, Alex Dong
- Affiliated schools, Tung Kai Ying
- Affiliated schools, Dong Zeng Chen
- Chip Ellis (Dong T'ai Chi resource website)
- Taijiquan Tutelage of Palo Alto (Tung Huling, Wu Ta-yeh lineage)
- Grace Chui Tai Chi Club, Quebec (Tung Ying-chieh, Chui Lap Kan lineage)
- Alex Dong
- Alex Dong Tai Chi
- Tung Kai Ying (search)
- Tai Chip (Chip Ellis, Hawaii)
- Dong Tai Chi Hawaii (Janet Jin)
- Dong Tai Chi (Dong Zeng Chen)
- ShanShui Tai Chi Chuan, France
- Tai Chi Chuan Toum Assn, France
- Tai Chi Chuan ry, Helsinki, Finland
- Nea Smyrni Tai Chi Chuan Assn, Greece
- Dong Style Taijiquan 董式太极拳 (Dong Bai Yan)
- Grace Chui Tai Chi Club (in French and English languages)
Baidu Baike (Chinese):
(The Wikipedia community has deprecated Baidu Baike as a generally unreliable source as of August 2020. Most links to Baidu are now removed. Nevertheless it is important to note that searches there on the following topics may be useful starting points for additional research.)
- 董文科 (Dong Wenke, a.k.a. Dong Yingjie)
- 刘瀛洲 (Liu Yingzhou, a.k.a. Liu Laoying)
- 杨兆林 (Yang Zhaolin, a.k.a. Yang Laozhen)
- 李宝玉 (Li Baoyu, a.k.a. Li Xiangyuan )
- 董氏太极拳 (Dong Style Taijiquan)