Tai Yi Yo Long Gongfu
In 1991 I went to Hunan, China, to teach English and ended up learning what is called an "internal martial art" from a genuine Heritage Master. This was totally unexpected but one of the finest gifts anyone could receive.
My teacher was Master Yü AnRen, the last direct inheritor of a family gongfu called Tai Yi Yo Long Gongfu--Supreme Ultimate Swimming Dragon Gongfu. The story of the night Mr. Yü invited me and a Chinese colleague named Julia to study with him is part of my essay "Empty / Full," included here.
Julia's Chinese name is Zhu Liping, where Zhu is the family name and Liping is her personal name. Her Chinese name is pronounced "Jew Lee-ping," which sounds very much like the English "Julia." Julia has lived for many years in the San Francisco area, where she teaches Chinese movement arts and stays in touch with Mr. Yü. Her website includes excellent information about Yü AnRen and Yo Long Gongfu. Look for "Swimming Dragon" and "Tai Yi You Long Quan" at qidragon.com.
Many Chinese gongfu forms are called "family forms" because they were kept secret in order to give their practitioners an advantage in a fight. You Long Gongfu contains some of these fighting moves, but overall it is a healing practice which cultivates strength and flexibility along with moving qi. In the mid-80s, Mr. Yü made the decision to teach Yo Long Gongfu outside the family so that its potential for health could be more widely available.