Master Cheng Hsiang Yu (1929 - 2010) was perhaps the strongest practitioner of Tai Chi in the New York metropolitan area. He studied Shaolin Chuan with Hou Zheng Chi, and then Tai Chi Chuan with Lee Sou Chi. But when Lee Sou Chi passed away, Master Yu studied with and became a disciple of Chang Manching.
To give a little history, Yang Lou Chan founded Yang Style Tai Chi after studying the Chen Style. His grandson, Yang Chang Fu, changed the form to popularize it throughout China. Chang Manching was a student of Yang Chang Fu. But Lee Sou Chi learned the original style before Yang Chang Fu changed it. So in this way, Master Yu benefitted from the older and newer styles.
When Master Yu began teaching in the U.S. in 1979, he reverted back to a form more closely related to his studies of the original forms with Lee Sou Chi. He then connected this form with his Shaolin Kung Fu studies to focus on proper use of force in martial arts applications. Master Yu taught until his death in 2010, working for his students to develop a deep understanding of Tai Chi, leading to a healthier and happier life.
Steve Kanney began practicing Tai Chi with Master Yu due to health concerns in 1999. He began the practice of Aikido in 1978, but was unable to train as his body was too weak. A Chinese Doctor told him to begin Tai Chi practice. He replied that he only wanted to train in Aikido. The doctor said, “You would like to practice Aikido?” Steve replied, “Yes.” To which the doctor said, “Then practice Tai Chi so that you can practice Aikido.” Steve met Master Yu in June 1999 after 9 months of poor health. Within 2 weeks he returned to work and started Aikido training shortly thereafter.
During his continued training with Master Yu, he also studied an 81 move form from Wutang mountain style of tai chi, whose main focus was health. In addition, he studied Chen style tai chi, including basic forms as well as the older long forms and weapons.
As he found the style of Cheng Hsiang Yu to be the most effective as a martial art and also the best for health, he is only teaching this style. He continues his studies by taking classes with a senior student of Master Yu, and the Westchester class takes periodic trips into Manhattan for exposure to this instruction as well.