Fu Zhongwen (1903-1994) was a respected Tai Chi Chuan teacher and author. From an early age, he had been a disciple of Yang Ch’eng-fu, and later a family member as he married Zou Kuei Cheng, the great-granddaughter of Yang Chien Hou.
Fu Zhongwen was born in Yongnian, Hebei province. As a child, he would watch people practise Tai Chi and imitate their moves before beginning his training with Master Yang Chengfu at the young age of 9. Zhongwen’s personal diligence and application in learning Tai Chi Chuan saw him advance rapidly in the knowledge and expertise of Tai Chi.
As Zhongwen matured, he accompanied Yang in his travels around China from Wuhan to Guangzhou, demonstrating Tai Chi and helping to teach along the way. Yang Chengfu would teach and Zhongwen would demonstrate. Fu Zhongwen would often accept challenges from other martial artists, not once failing to uphold his master’s honour.
Fu Zhongwen was often called upon by his master to represent him in push hands competitions and he earned the reputation of being an undefeatable opponent.So highly regarded was he by his peers, that Yang’s first disciple Chen Wei Ming wrote a letter to him after Chengfu’s death, acknowledging the excellence of Zhongwen’s accomplishment and the accuracy with which he reflected their master’s art.
In 1944, Fu Zhongwen founded the Yongnian Tai Chi Association in order to carry on the work of his master in spreading Tai Chi Chuan to all people. When he founded the Yongnian Association, he selected diligence, perseverance, respect, and sincerity as their motto. Fu Zhongwen lived his life according to the above motto. The reason he chose Yongnian as the name was because Yong Nian in Chinese means longevity – the main purpose of establishing the association was to teach Tai Chi, allowing the people to benefit from practicing Tai Chi to live longer.
In 1959, the PRC featured Fu Zhongwen’s Tai Chi sabre in its international sports publication. The PRC also published his book, entitled “Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan” in 1963.
In 1972, the Tongji University in Shanghai carried out a scientific research on the therapeutic value of Tai Chi on patients with Fu Zhongwen and his son Fu Sheng Yuan as instructors. After 3 months, the results achieved with some medical conditions including heart diseases, spleen dysfunction, arthritis and insomnia. This propelled the Ministry of Sports to officially recognize the therapeutic value of Tai Chi.
Fu Zhongwen was the type of man who was willing to teach Tai Chi to whom ever wanted to learn for free; the only benefit to him was the knowledge that people were doing Tai Chi and gaining health from it. Fu Zhongwen is a true legacy in the Tai Chi world.
Fu Zhongwen had dedicated his life to practicing and teaching Tai Chi. He was voted as one of the One Hundred Living Treasures of China and it was a great loss to the martial arts world and a greater loss to his family when he died in Shanghai at an age of 92.
Fu Sheng Yuan continues his father’s quest in spreading Yang Taichi to the world.