吳氏 WU STYLE TAI CHI OF WU JIANQUAN
The Wu family were students of the Yang family, and there are many similarities between the routines of these two styles.
Wu Jianquan learned from his father, Wu Quanyuo (吳全佑) (1834-1902), who was a student of Yang Lu-ch’an, (楊露禪) (1799-1872) and Yang Banhou (楊班侯) (1837-1890).
Quanyou and Jianquan were hereditary officers of the Manchu cavalry as well as the Imperial Guards Brigade who later converted to become patriotic supporters of Sun Yatsen.
With the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, Wu Jianquan, along with Yang style masters Yang Chengfu (楊澄甫)(1883-1936) and Yang Shao-hou (楊少侯) (1862-1930), as well as Sun Lutang (孫祿堂)(1861-1932) joined together to promote taijiquan and its benefits on a national scale. They began teaching together in 1914 at the Beijing Physical Culture Research Institute and offering classes to the general public. In addition, Wu Jianquan also taught at the Jingwu Tiyuhui (Elite Martial Athletic Association) and to the new republic’s Presidential Bodyguard. Due in part to this high profile, Wu Style is now second in popularity only to Yang Style. This popularity is due, not only to its history, but also to the balance between suitability for varying ages and fitness level, health benefits, and martial art effectiveness.
Although Wu Quanyou had already made changes to the style that he had learned from Yang Luchan, Wu Jianquan made further changes to the form and the teaching method, in order to suit the new demographic of his student base. He took out the fajing (explosive expressions of power, the jumps, and complicated or difficult movements, partly to make the forms easier for the the general public to learn, and to make it easier to teach it safely to large numbers of people.
These elements were not lost, however. They continue to exist in other forms, such as the Wu style fast form, the Dalu form, and in separate two-person exercises like tuishou.
The core of Wu style taijiquan is still the “long form” similar to the 108 movement routine of Yang Style. Wu style has two main methods of practising the routines. The first is called the “square form” and is taught mostly to beginners to ensure precision. The second, called the “round form”, follows more natural movement patterns and is taught after the student has learned the correct details in the square form.
Here is a demonstration of the square form by Edward Mak.
and here is the round form from the same series.
Two of the greatest Wu style masters of the twentieth century were Ma Yuehliang (馬岳樑) (1901-1998) and his wife, Wu Yinghwa (吳英華) (1907-1996).
Ma was a disciple of Wu style founder, Wu Jianquan (吳鑑泉) (1870-1942).
Wu Yinghwa (吳英華) (1907-1996) was the founder’s daughter.
Here is a short clip from a video of them when they were in New Zealand to visit their adopted daughter Shi Mei Lin (Wu Yan Tang)
An older version of Wu Jiangquan style “passed down through the Gao family”
The difficult elements that were taken out of the Wu style long form by Wu Jianquan are still found in other routines, like this Wu Style Fast form performed by Wang Haoda…….
….and this Dalu (Large pull back) routine performed by Wang Peisheng (1919-2004)
This video, posted on youtube by www.insidewudang.info shows the famous grandmaster, Ma Yuehliang, demonstrating Wu style taiji spear
and here is a rare video of Wu style master Wang Peisheng teaching spear binding.