Monday, September 22, 2008

Wu (Hao) style tai chi chuan

The Wu or Wu style of t'ai chi ch'uan of Wu Yu-hsiang , is a separate family style from the more popular of . Wu Yu-hsiang's style was third among the five t'ai chi ch'uan families in seniority and is fifth in terms of popularity.

Wu Yu-hsiang was a scholar from a wealthy and influential family who became a senior student of Yang Lu-ch'an. There is a attributed to Wu Yu-hsiang on the subject of t'ai chi theory, writings that are considered influential by many other schools not directly associated with his style. Wu Yu-hsiang also studied for a brief time with a teacher from the , Chen Ch'ing-p'ing, to whom he was introduced by Yang. His most famous student was his nephew, Li I-yü , who also authored several important works on t'ai chi ch'uan. Li I-yü had a younger brother who was also credited as an author of at least one work on the subject of t'ai chi ch'uan, Li Ch'i-hsüan. Li I-yü taught Hao Wei-chen , who taught his son Hao Yüeh-ru who in turn taught ''his'' son Hao Shao-ju Wu Yu-hsiang's style of training, so that it is now sometimes known as Wu/Hao or just Hao style t'ai chi ch'uan. Hao Wei-chen also taught the famous Sun Lu-t'ang. Hao Yüeh-ru was teaching in the 1920s, a time when t'ai chi ch'uan was experiencing an initial degree of popularity, and he is known for having smoothed out and standardized the forms he learned from his father in order to more effectively teach large numbers of beginners. Other famous t'ai chi ch'uan teachers, notably Yang Ch'eng-fu, Wu Chien-ch'üan and Wu Kung-i, made similar modifications to their beginning level forms around the same time.

Wu Yu-hsiang's t'ai chi ch'uan is a distinctive style with small, subtle movements; highly focused on balance, sensitivity and internal development. It is a rare style today, especially compared with the other major styles. While there are direct descendants of Li I-yü and Li Ch'i-hsüan still teaching in China, there are no longer Hao family members teaching the style. The last inheritor to learn under Hao Shao-ju currently living is Liu Jishun, who has many students around the globe but only two disciples in the United Kingdom.

1 comment:

Danilo Marrone said...

Great summary of the Wu/Hao style!
Master Hao Shao Ru did actually pass the Hao style on to his adopted son, Hao Yin Ru, who currently teaches and resides in Shanghai.