As you probably know if you’ve visited this blog before, I first practised Taiji Quan in a group when I was a student at Edinburgh University in the early nineties. The classes I attended where organised by the local branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society, a world-wide network of instructors and practitioners founded by Master Moy Lin-shin.
It is while practising with the TTCS that I learned the second set of “warm-up exercises” that I now teach in my own Taiji Quan classes.
My favourite exercises from that set were always the don yu and the tor yu. I could feel that they were doing me good, but I knew nothing of their origin. It is only recently that I decided to try to find out more.
If you explore these two very informative and well-researched sites
you will learn that these exercises are products of the Xing Yi Quan (= Hsing-I Chuan) and/or Yiquan tradition.
Xing Yi Quan and Yiquan, together with Baguazhang, Liuhebafa (= Lok Hup Ba Fa) and of course Taiji Quan, constitute the family of the so-called Chinese internal martial arts. Mr Moy Lin-shin learned all these internal martial arts. While in Hong Kong, he studied Yiquan with Master Liang Zi Peng (=Liang Zhi Peng / Leung Tze Pang / 梁子鵬), for whom the don yu and the tor yu, together with zhan zhuang, were “the three treasures of Southern Yiquan”.
There is a great video of Master Liang Zi Peng performing tor yus and don yus at
This was filmed a long time ago, which explains the poor quality, but it is an invaluable historical document.
These exercises were later modified by Mr Moy Lin-shin in the same way as he modified the traditional Yang-style Taiji form.
Conversely, I do not teach the don yu and the tor yu in exactly the same way as I learnt them because I now teach a traditional Yang-style Taiji form – Mr Zhao Youbin’s.
This is the state of my research to date. I do not know if it is Master Liang Zi Peng who “invented” the don yu and tor yu, or if he learnt them from one or more of his own teachers. If I manage to find out more about the history of these great exercises, I’ll update this brief overview.
Meanwhile, let’s keep practising.
Master Liang Zi Peng