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(9 pages total)

Page 4 - Taijiquan (T'ai Chi) Basics

The WU YuXiang family style (sometimes referred to as "Hao" family style) was founded by Wu YuXiang (1812-1880). YuXiang was skilled in Shaolin Martial Arts, but began studying Taijiquan with Yang LuChan (of the Yang family style) after seeing a demonstration of his martial skills. Later he studied with Chen QingPing. This Wu style is characterized by compact, rounded movements with relatively high postures, making it easier for those who are sick or elderly to practice. It was based on the Yang sequence of movements, with some quick movements breaking the normal slower rhythms. The Wu YuXiang style was not popular until several of his students (members of the Hao family) made it popular in later years by teaching it to many students. Today's Wu YuXiang form is primarily one that was originally taught by Hao YueRu, a famous martial arts teacher who promoted and taught it openly. It is still relatively unknown outside of mainland China.

The WU JianQuan family style is the 2nd most popular style of Taijiquan in the modern world. Wu JiangQuan's Manchurian father, QuanYu, was one of Yang LuShan's (of the Yang family style) top students and worked as a bodyguard in the Imperial Court. QuanYu taught several disciples, and his art was handled down through three lineages, Yang YuTing (1887-1982), Chang YunTing (1860-1918), and his own son Wu JianQuan (1870-1942) who popularized this style of Taijiquan.

Wu JianQuan reached a very high level of skill in Taijiquan. He remained a close friend of the Yang family and often taught the Yang small frame form as taught by his father QuanYu. In later years, he continued to refine his form, removing some of the quick movements and made it more even in speed. He moved to Shanghai where his family still lives. Current masters of the Wu style include Wang PeiSheng, Wu YingHwa, and the recently deceased Mah YuehLiang.

The SUN family style is often called the "active step" form because of its quick and mobile stance and footwork. It was developed by Sun LuTang, (1861-1932) an amazing martial artist who was also famous for his skill at the other internal martial arts of Baguazhang and Xingyiquan (Neijia) as well as external Shaolin forms. The Sun style is the most recent of the five major schools of Taijiquan.

Sun LuTang learned Taijiquan from Hao WeiChen (Wu YuXiang style), then continued to study and refine it using his knowledge of the other internal styles. Is is said that Taijiquan was his preferred art and he taught his style to many students. The Sun family style retains most of the original Wu YuXiang style postures, with more emphasis on quick footwork and waist methods from his other martial styles.

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