All living entities move in cycles and Tai Chi Chuan as a living, breathing Tao (or the “way”) is not indifferent to these effects. It is sad to say that in 2004, one of the greatest ambassadors of Tai Chi Chuan passed away.

Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak, fifth generation of the Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan and first disciple of Grandmaster Yang Sau Chung passed away on 25 April 2004. An extraordinary man, he dedicated his life to the study, practice, and development of Tai Chi Chuan. The impact of his unexpected passing not only deeply affected me, my son, the members of the TCAH and the academy, but also moved the larger Tai Chi community and beyond.

Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak was more than just my Sifu. He was a guide and mentor, not only to me, but also to my son. Years after being named his disciple, the importance of representing the sixth generation of Yang style Tai Chi Chuan was secondary to the relationship I had established with my Sifu. The bond is indescribable. It encompassed trust, humility, honesty and mutual respect and went well beyond duty, dedication and admiration. I miss him deeply.

Sifu Ding and family

P.S. I would like to thank all of you who shared their thoughts and memories of Grandmaster Ip. I would now like to share one of the tributes written by Bryan Nuttal, JDIATCC instructor. Other tributes were published in issue 40 of Tai Chi and Alternative Health magazine.

“Being part of a Tai Chi school brings a strong sense of certainty and belonging to a tradition that goes all the way back to the original founder, Yang Lu Chan and beyond. With the recent passing of Grandmaster Ip, it seemed as if the ground on which we walked so surely and confidently quaked, shaking everyone to their core. There was a real sense of loss and that our link to the past had been broken. The loss of such an inspiring master was, and I am sure still is, shrouded in sadness and remorse.

The stability of Tai Chi is its constant ability to change, evolve and move forward. Tai Chi grows stronger from each previous generation to the next. The foundation of Tai Chi is not built on ephemeral skills but on a set of concepts and principles that can be discovered by those willing to dedicate their lives to the task. Master Ip’s legacy is represented both in the spirit of Tai Chi and in the principles themselves. What distinguishes true masters from the ordinary is the ability and courage to continue to observe and evolve. Master Ip’s spirit and teaching has influenced all of us whether we have had the privilege of working with him or not. Having certainly passed into the pleasure, enthusiasm and dedication of his disciple, Master Ding, Master Ip’s spirit is evident.

His guidance, experience and knowledge will be sorely missed. His spirit is irreversibly connected within the teachings of those who preceded him, and his legacy will be carried on by the disciples who will be following in his footsteps. Despite this sad moment, all is well”.


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