Profile: Professor Li Deyin
Creator of 42-Form Taijiquan
by Siu-Fong Evans
Prior to the 1990, there had been no standard for taijiquan. Taiji was passed on master-to-student, changing and evolving with time and generation. Everybody practiced taiji differently. In competition, this created a dilemma for judges. How were judges to score taiji routines that could be as different as pineapples and bananas? A standard was needed.
42-Form Taijiquan was created to be that standard. It is a combination-routine of the best of four traditional taiji styles - the "silk reeling power" of the Chen, the graceful strength of the Yang, the exquisite subtleties of the Wu, and the flexible agility of the Sun - plus the eight-hand and five-foot techniques of Push Hands. It was choreographed with harmony and beauty in mind, and a high degree of technical difficulty. It requires a high standard of performance and aesthetics. 42-Form is like a symphony of motion.
A committee of many great taiji masters created this form. Foremost among those masters was my master, Professor Li Deyin. He was the primary designer and the author of the first ever universally standardized taijiquan competition routine.
Li Deyin was born in 1938 in Hebei province. He was raised in the culture of wushu and began training when he was eight. His grandfather Li Yulin formally acknowledged Sun Lutang, Hao Enguang, Li Cunyi and Li Jinglin as masters. His father was a doctor who treated his patients with qigong, taiji and massage. His uncle Li Tianji created the first standardized simplified 24-form taijiquan and 32-form taiji sword. Due to his uncle Li Tianji's excellent achievement and contribution, China awarded him the title "Father of Contemporary Taijiquan." Li Deyin went to school in the morning and trained in the evening. He was trained all year round, despite a bitter cold winter or a scorching hot summer. It was in this intensive training under his patriarchal masters that Li Deyin was trained for twelve consecutive years.
Right after Li Deyin graduated from Beijing People's University in 1957, the University hired him to be a taiji master due to his excellent achievement in internal martial arts. Professor Li Deyin has trained the world's top professionals, such as Gao Jiamin, Chen Sitan and Huo Dongli, who have won gold in All-China National Tournaments and Asian Games. Professor Li has been awarded with numerous honorary titles, such as one of China's "100 Best Wushu Masters " (Wulin Bai Jie), "Best Judge." Many professional taiji people from China and the outside world, even grand champions, have come to Beijing to be trained by him. Former Japanese Prime Minister Mitsubishi and high ranking government officials from other countries have made special schedules to fly to Beijing and learn from him. I am very proud to have one of the foremost taiji masters of the world to be my teacher.
Master Nick Scrima, promoter of the 2001 International Chinese Martial Arts Championship, invited Professor Li Deyin to conduct seminars in March and April 2001 in Florida. For further information, please contact Nick Scrima at (727) 734-8222.
About Siu-Fong Evans:
Siu-Fong Evans, founder of San Diego Taiji And Qigong Association, has won numerous medals in the USA and China. USAWKF awarded Siu-Fong "Internal Athlete of the Year." Her website is: www.geocities.com/sd_taichi. Look for her full feature on Professor Li Deyin in an upcoming issue of Kungfu Qigong magazine.