The Tradition of the Masters

The history of Chi Kung, especially its foundation Zhan Zhuang, dates back several thousand years to the time of the Yellow Emperor, who lived around 2000 BC.

A personal connection to this living tradition is an important aspect of studying and practicing Chi Kung.

Professor Yu with Master Lam's students
Professor Yu with Master Lam’s students in Beijing

Students of Chi Kung in the Tradition of the Masters are part of an ancient lineage of transmission from master to student.

A tradition that was brought to the West by Master Lam only a few decades ago.

Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai

Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai

The foundation of the Zhan Zhuang system as we know it today has been established by Grand­master Wang Xiang Zhai. He is recognized as one of the most famous martial artists of the last centuries, celebrated for his unsurpassed mastery of fighting skills.

In addition to his martial arts prowess, culminating in his development of Da Cheng Chuan, The Great Achievement, Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai is also known for his application of Zhan Zhuang to health preservation and healing. He is the founder of the first Chi Kung hospitals in China.

Professor Yu Yong Nian

Professor Yu Yong Nian

Professor Yu Yong Nian was one of the main students of Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai and began his training with him in 1944.

For many years, Professor Yu was the head of the Da Chuan style of Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung.

He received many honorary awards and was an advisor to the American Chinese Chi Kung Association and an honorary member of the Council of the Association of Chi Kung Science of the People’s Republic of China.

In 1953, Professor Yu introduced Zhan Zhuang as a method for treating chronic diseases in several hospitals in China.

After the great success of using Zhan Zhuang for therapy, he was asked to write the first treatise on Zhan Zhuang for hospitals in China.

His first book was published in 1982 and has sold over 500,000 copies.

Master Lam Kam Chuen

Master Lam on the cover of his book "The Way of Power"

Master Lam is a direct student of Professor Yu and introduced Zhan Zhuang to the Western world in 1987.

In 1991, his groundbreaking book “The Way of Energy”, the first in a series of books by Master Lam, was published and became the publisher’s bestselling title.

In 1995, Master Lam’s video “Stand Still – Be Fit!”, the very first video on Zhan Zhuang, was shown on Channel4 in the UK. Since then it has been aired repeatedly on TV due to its overwhelming success.

Madame Wang Yuk Fong, daughter and spiritual heir of Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai, passed the responsibility of carrying on the tradition to Master Lam.

The Next Generation

Three generations of Zhan Zhuang practitioners

The profound art of Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung has been passed down from master to master in an unbroken succession over the centuries.

Each lineage holder has ensured that the art is taught to a new generation of students.

Master Lam Kam Chuen has authorized a number of his senior students to teach the art under his guidance and to bear the title “Sifu”.

Sifu Thomas is one of them.

Sifu Thomas Apfel

Sifu Thomas Apfel in La Mairena

Sifu Thomas Apfel has been a student of Master Lam since the early 1990s. He brought Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung to Germany and is the founder of the Chi Kung Academy.

As a “Disciple” he belongs to the inner circle of Master Lam’s students and trains and qualifies Chi Kung teachers in the traditional way in consultation with Master Lam.

Over many years, Sifu Thomas has traveled extensively in China, gaining deep insights into the culture and philosophy of this fascinating country.

He has been teaching Chi Kung and organizing workshops with Master Lam since 1997.

Sifu Thomas is the author of several articles published in the Taijiquan & Qigong Journal, the leading German-language publication for these arts.

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in the Tradition of the Masters