武氏太极拳
Wu Style Tai Chi Quan

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Wu Yu-xiang (Wu Yu-hsiang, 武禹襄, 1812-1880),founder of Wŭ-Style Taijiquan. He was a scholar from a wealthy and influential family at the town of Guang Fu, Yong Nian County, Hebei Province.  Wu Cheng-qing, his first older brother, was the magistrate of Wu-yang County, Henan Province; Wu Ru-qing, his second older brother, held a post in Sichuan Province. Wu family had a tradition of practicing martial arts. After Yang Lu-chan came back to Yong Nian from Chenjiagou, Wu Yu-xiang learned the Old-frame of Chen-Style Taijiquan from him for a while.In 1852, he went to visit his older brother Cheng-qing at Wu-yang County. On the way he paid a visit to Chen Chang-xing, only to find he was too old to teach any longer. Chen Chang-xing introduced Wu Yu-xiang to Chen Qing-ping, who was teaching the new frame of Chen-Style Taijiquan at the town of Zhao Bao. He studied with Chen Qing-ping for over one month and mastered the theory of Chen-Style Taijiquan. When he arrived in Wu-Yang County, he got “The Theory of Taiji” by Wang Zong-yue from his brother. Then giving up the thought of an official career, he devoted himself to Taijiquan and finally created his own style.

As a scholar, Wu Yu-xiang had a deep understanding of traditional Chinese culture, and he was especially enlightened by “The Theory of Taiji”. What is more important is that he united his theory with practice. He often invited strong practitioners of martial arts to test his skills. At the same time, he took notes about what he had gained from practice, tested again, and made corrections to improve. At last, his writings became the classical essays about Taijiquan for all the practitioners. His essays include “Exposition of Insights

into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures” , “Exposition of Taijiquan” , “Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures” ,“Four Character Secret”, “Hitting Hands Sparring Releasing”,“Eight Essentials of the Body Posture”,etc.

Born in a wealthy family, Wu Yu-xiang didn’t need to support his life by teaching Taijiquan. And in his time, the intellectuals didn’t want to be martial arts teachers. That’s why Wu-Style Taijiquan has not been widespread. His most famous student was his nephew, Li I-yü (李亦畬, 1832-1892)

Li I-yü (李亦畬, 1832-1892), nephew of Wu _Yuxiang. He was born in a wealthy family at the Town of Guangfu. He was well-known for his profound learning and versatility as a young boy. In 1853, he started to learn Taijiquan from Wu-Yuxiang. Following Wu Yu-xiang’s tradition of experiment, he invited strong practitioners of martial arts to test his skills, took notes and put them on the wall, tested again and corrected his summaries constantly, and at last summarized what he had gained for his whole life in several essays, such as “Five Character Secret”,“Sparring Releasing Secret Formula”, ”Essentials of the Practice of the Form and Push-Hands”,“Thirteen Posture Song”, “On Open, Close, Substantial and Insubstantial”, etc. During 1881 and 1882, he wrote three copies by hand of “The Theory of Taijiquan” by Wang Song-yue, the essays by Wu Yu-xiang and his own essays about Taijiquan. He kept one copy for himself, gave one copy to Li Qi-xuan (his younger brother) and one copy to Hao Wei-zhen. These essays have been taken as classics by Taijiquan practitioners in modern time.

Li Yi-yu passed on his skills to Hao Wei-zhen of Yongnian, Ge Fu-lai of Qinghe, and his two sons, Li Shiquan and Li Xunzhi.

Li Xun-zhi (李逊之,1882-1944),the second son of Li Yi-yu. He started to learn Taijiquan from his father at the age of six. In his lifetime, he constantly tried new practicing methods and explored the secret of Taijiquan. For example, he tied his two hands to the neck in order to practice to release power with the whole body. His writings include “The Body Posture Essentials for the Beginners” , “A Simple Explanation of No Letting Go and No Resistance” “Essential Ideas for Passing on the Skill”, etc. Among his deciples, Yao Ji-zu and Wei Pei-lin are the most well-known.

Yao Ji-zu (姚继祖,1917-1998). He started to learn Taijiquan from his grandfather at the age of eight, then learned push-hand and weapons from Han Qinxian at Yongnian School of Traditional Martial Arts. Later he became a formal desciple of Li Xun-zhi. Since 1960s, he had been constantly published some articles about Taijiquan. In 1981, he received the guests from the Taijiquan Association of Japan. His consummate skill and profound knowledge was greatly admired by the Japanese guests. In 1984, he was named as one of the thirteen great Taijiquan masters of China.

In his late year, he devoted himself to summarizing his understanding and experience about Taijiquan. His work, “The Complete Book of Wu-Style Taijiquan” was published in 1999.

Yao Ji-zu played a very important role in carrying forward Wu-Style Taijiquan. He had quite a few desciples in China and abroad. Among them, Zhai Wei-chuan and Zhong Zhen-shan are the most well-known.

Zhong Zhen-shan (钟振山,1948-). He was born in the Town of Guangfu and became a formal desciple to Yao Ji-zu at the age of 13. Strictly following the Taiji principles, his performance is relaxed and natural, and full of the beauty of tranquility; his push hands is upright and exquisite. He has great attainments in both Taiji theory and practice.
Zhong Zhen-shan won Gold metals in Taijiquan contests many times. He had successively held the post of general instructor for one thousand people Taijiquan performance of Yongnian International Taijiquan Conference. He was named great Taijiquan master in 1998 and did demonstrations for various Taijiquan conferences.

Zhong Zhen-shan has published more than 20 essays about Taijiquan, such as “On Listening Jin and Understanding Jin”,  “The Softness and Hardness of Taijiquan”, “On Adhering, Connecting, Sticking and Following”, “The Mechanical Tenets of Listening Jin and Understanding Jin”,  “A Brief Talk on Life Cultivation and Fighting of Wu-Style Taijiquan”, etc.  In 1996, He was one of the compilers for “The Contest Form of Wu-Style Taijiquan”; In 1998, He helped Yao Ji-zu compile “The Complete Book of Wu-Style Taijiquan”; In 2006,his “Wu-Style Taijiquan” became one part of “The Treasures of Chinese Martial Arts”; In 2009, he published “The Course of Wu-Style Taijiquan Duanwei”.  

Zhong Zhen-shan has many students in China and abroad. In recent years, he has mainly been teaching Wu-Style Taijiquan in Beijing.                                                                         

(Sunny)Xu Zhi-jun (徐志军, 1966-)(Sunny) Zhijun Xu became a formal desciple of Zhong Zhen-shan in 1996. He was once associate professor of comparative literature at Hebei University of science & Technology, vice-president of Yongnian Wu-Style Taijiquan Association, senior Tai Chi Chuan instructor of Beijing Yi-Ri Association for Eastern-Western Cultural Exchange. He also taught Wu-Style Taijiquan in Shijiazhuang and Tianjin. In 2007, he came to Des Moines, Iowa and started to teach Wu-Style Taijiquan.

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Wu Style Tai Ji Quan Lineage
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