Biography of Tai Chi Master Benjamin Lo
Master Benjamin Lo was born in 1927 and died in 2018 at the age of 91. He was a native of Kunshan (near Shanghai), Jiangsu Province, China; and a senior student of grandmaster Cheng Man-Ching. He was the president of the “Universal Tai Chi Studio" in San Francisco, and the fifth generation successor of Yang-Style Tai Chi Chuan.
Master Lo went to Taiwan from Shanghai in 1948. While studying at National Taiwan University in 1949, he became seriously ill and was treated by Cheng Man-Ching who was a renowned doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and a grandmaster of Tai hi Chuan. For further health improvement, he was asked by grandmaster Cheng to practice Tai Chi Chuan thus becoming his first disciple in Taiwan. During his school years as an undergraduate student at National Taiwan University and as a graduate student at National Chengchi University, he spent most of his spare time practicing Tai Chi forms and push hands at grandmaster Cheng’s house. After fully recovering from his illness, he understood the value of Tai Chi Chuan and was inspired to promote the art of Tai Chi Chuan as a lifelong endeavor.
In 1974, at the request of grandmaster Cheng, Master Lo left Taiwan to promote Tai Chi Chuan in United States. He resumed the “Universal Tai Chi Studio" in San Francisco, which was originally established by grandmaster Cheng Man-Ching upon arrival in the United States in 1964, and thus began his full-time teaching career. After grandmaster Cheng’s death, beginning in 1976, he launched annual training workshops all over the United States, Europe, Israel and other countries. For more than 50 years, his commitment to promoting Tai Chi Chuan benefited over ten thousand people worldwide ranging from the point source of Taiwan to many areas of United States and Europe. This is a very remarkable achievement.
Master Lo’s instructions were known for being concise, rational, strict, and practical. His step-by-step lessons were always in line with the requirements of Tai Chi Classics. Those students who carefully followed his instructions and worked hard were able to quickly develop good rooting and sensitivity skills as evidenced in their form practices and push hands. Accordingly, his teaching was well-liked and appreciated by many American and European apprentices. In order to further promote the art of Tai Chi Chuan, Master Lo translated three books into English: “The Essence of Tai Chi Chuan: The Literary Tradition”, “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises of Tai Chi Chuan” authored by Cheng Man-Ching, and “Tai Chi Chuan Ta Wen: Questions and Answers on Tai Chi Chuan” authored by Chen Weiming. These books are popular and influential in America and Europe. He also published many Chinese articles on Tai Chi Chuan, most under such pseudonyms as Lu Zheng, Lu Ong, Su Kunci, Gu Lanren and Gu Wenxuan. Five of his early write-ups on book reviews were assembled and published in a 1986 Chinese book entitled: “Compilation of Reviews and Discussions of Tai Chi Chuan Books” under the pseudonym Lu Ong. In addition to his books, Master Lo produced video presentations on performing the Tai Chi Chuan form and the Tai Chi Sword form, as well as a lecture series on the Tai Chi Classics.
Master Lo had so many good friends in his lifetime. In addition to routinely interfacing with his classmates, he often contacted or visited Tai Chi acquaintances in China. In 1989, he helped Zhang Yijing publish the book “Truthfulness of Tai Chi Principles" in Taiwan. His humility, honesty, and wisdom are highly respected and praised by many in the Tai Chi Chuan community. Master Lo will be truly missed by those who were fortunate enough to have known him or studied under him.
Penned in honor by Julian Chu
羅邦楨大師的著作(Master Ben Lo’s Publications)
A. 羅邦楨大師以他本名的英文著作/翻譯作及錄像光盤 (Books in English Authored or Translated, and DVDs Produced under His Own Name)：
The Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan: The Literary Tradition (太極拳的本質：傳統經典)：Translated by Benjamin P. Lo and his students Martin Inn, Susan Foe, and Robert Amacker
A handbook of the classical Chinese literature on which the art of T’ai Chi is based. First English translation of the classic texts of T’ai Chi Ch’uan. This is a required reading for practitioners of every style.
Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan (鄭子太極拳十三篇): Authored by Cheng Man-Ch’ing, and translated by Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo and his student Martin Inn
In this erudite yet practical book, Professor Cheng shares the secrets of his lineage and takes us to the heart of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, presenting it as a martial art, a medicine, and a means of exercise and self-development. With examples from anatomy and physics, he demonstrates precisely how the postures and moves work, internally as energetic principles, and externally on opponents. Professor Cheng always emphasizes that malady (like an attack from an opponent) is an opportunity for training. The practitioner of T’ai Chi Ch’uan may serve as his (or her) own doctor and, likewise, as the physician (or trainer) of an attacker. This special text includes:
-Thirteen essays on his insights into T’ai Chi Ch’uan
-Oral secrets from his teacher, Yang Cheng-fu
-Questions and answers giving his commentary to the classics
-Descriptions and mechanics of push-hands, San Shou, and Ta Lu
-Prefaces by both Madame Cheng and Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo
T’ai Chi Ch’uan Ta Wen: Questions and Answers on T’ai Chi Ch’uan (太極拳答問 陳微明著): Authored by Chen Wei-Ming, and translated by Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo and Robert W. Smith
“This book, T’ai Chi Ch’uan Ta Wen, was written by Professor Ch’en Wei-ming, who was a famous exponent of the Yang style T’ai Chi Ch’uan and a student of the great master, Yang Cheng-fu. In 1927, he established the Chih Jou School in Shanghai where he taught many students. At that time, he saw how popular T’ai Chi Ch’uan was becoming and he was concerned that if it became a fad it would lose its original spirit. In the process of its being spread, its principles would be forgotten or mixed with other forms, thus leading to the loss of an important part of its essence. Therefore, this book is based only on what Professor Ch’en heard in his teacher’s classes. The questions are his own personal questions."
-Prefaced by Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo, from the Introduction
The Lectures with Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo: 4 DVD Set (太極拳經論要訣: 4 DVD光盤): Authored by Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo
“The Lectures" are commentaries on the T’ai Chi Ch’uan classics as found in revised edition of “The Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan" also published by IRI Press, in 2008. These commentaries (on a 4 DVD set) given by Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo, are based upon his over 65 years of experience and practice. Benjamin Lo is recognized as Prof. Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s first student. “The Lectures" are unique and are the first time, a great practitioner of T’ai Chi Ch’uan has been able to share his knowledge about these seminal/ancient texts. The book “The Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan" and “The Lectures" DVDs form a complete set.
B. 羅邦楨大師以本名或筆名發表的中文著作 (Master Benjamin Lo’s Chinese Publications under his Real Name or Pseudonyms)：
- Chinese Book 中文書:
太極拳書論譚彙編 (Compilation of Reviews and Discussions of Tai Chi Chuan Books) — 魯翁 Lu Ong (Benjamin Lo)
In this 1986 book, Benjamin Lo (using a pseudonym of Lu Ong魯翁) made extensive comments on four Tai Chi books: (1) 吳國忠著「太極拳道幾」Initial Road to Tai Chi Chuan by Wu Guozhong, (2) 郭蓮蔭著「太極拳譜」Tai Chi Chuan Manual by Guo Liangyin, (3) 鄧澤燊著「漫談太極拳養生功能」Rambling Talk about Tai Chi Chuan’s Regimen Function by Deng Zezhen, and (4) 曾昭然著「太極拳全書」Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan by Zeng Zhaoran. Also included in this book is an article, written by Master Lo using the same pseudonym, entitled: “太極拳名家鄭曼青先生的師承問題釋疑Clarification of Tai Chi Lineage of Renowned Master Cheng Man-Ching”.
- Chinese Articles 中文文章:
羅邦楨大師以本名或筆名發表的中文文章(Chinese Tai Chi Articles Published by Master Benjamin Lo under His Real Name or Pseudonyms)
This is a list of 47 Chinese Tai Chi articles published in Taiwan’s Journal of Special Compilations of Tai Chi Research and Tai Chi Chuan Journal, respectively; of which, 19 were under 6 pseudonyms. Individual titles of these Chinese articles are translated into English by Julian Chu.
C. 羅邦楨大師的其他學生寫的紀念文章 (Remembrance Articles from Other Students of Master Benjamin Lo)
紀念羅邦楨大師逝世的特別聚會(Special Gathering in Memory of Grand Master Benjamin Lo, November 10th, 2018. 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Cabin John Regional Park, Tai Chi Court, Maryland)
羅大師的一些朋友和學生為他舉辦特別聚會。共同練習太極拳,劍和推手，羅大師的一些朋友和學生追憶羅大師。(Friends and students of Master Lo were hosting a special gathering in his honor. Practice Tai Chi, swords and push hands together, some of Lo’s friends and students reminiscing Master Lo.)