William C.C. Chen
I was born in Chekiang province, China, in 1935. Shortly after World War II, I moved to Taiwan with my family. As a teenager, I was very fascinated by all those imaginative martial arts novels, movies, and kung-fu handbooks popular with my generation. My most ambitious dream was to learn martial arts from a great master. One day, my father took me to see his old-time playmate, Professor Cheng Man-Ching, who was the best-known Tai Chi Chuan master. Very pleased to meet the son of his childhood friend, he asked if I would be interested in learning Tai Chi Chuan. I answered yes, with great delight. A week later I became the youngest of Prof. Cheng's students. After a while I became deeply involved with Tai Chi Chuan. Besides relaxing my mind and body, it made me feel as if my inner energy were flowing throughout my entire body. My palms and fingertips were swollen with sensation, in harmony with my heartbeat. Such a wonderful feeling was beyond what any words could express. Soon, I fell deeply in love with this so-called "Supreme Ultimate Martial Art," and my progress sharply improved. Prof. Cheng was very proud of me and I became one of his favorite disciples. For about a year I was assigned to the special internal training which is the most advanced part of training for Tai Chi Chuan. This was carried out three times a day--early morning, noon and late in the evening. Each day I arrived at his house early in the morning and did not leave until late at night. This full schedule gave me a great opportunity to understand his life style and martial arts skill. Every day I listened to his lectures and answers to questions about Tai Chi Chuan asked by students and visitors who streamed to his house. I realized the great advantage of staying in the master's house. A few months after the special internal training, the brick fence of his house collapsed due to a combination of earthquake and typhoon. He asked if I would sleep over in a small training room at the back of his house to guard against the breaking-in of thieves. So I stayed in this small room for almost three years. This started my career in teaching Tai Chi Chuan. During the first year I stayed in his house, I was asked to teach beginners in their homes, thus getting pocket money as my remuneration. During the second year, in 1953, I was assigned to teach Tai Chi Chuan to the staff of the Postal and Telecommunications Administrative Agency of the government. A few months later I started another class in a branch of the Telecommunications Bureau. Soon after, I was also teaching at China Petroleum Company and Central Trust Bureau. This really kept me busy and earned me the title "Baby Master," since all those I taught were older than myself.