Wu Chien-ch'uan


Wu Chien-ch'uan

Wu Chien-ch'uan (吳鑑泉, 1870-1942), was a famous teacher of the soft style martial art of t'ai chi ch'uan in late Imperial and early Republican China.cite book|last=Wile|first=Douglas|title=Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty (Chinese Philosophy and Culture)|publisher=State University of New York Press|date=1995|isbn=978-0791426548]

Wu Chien-ch'uan was taught martial arts by his father, Wu Ch'uan-yu, a senior student of Yang Lu-ch'an and Yang Pan-hou.cite book|last=Wile|first=Douglas|title=Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty (Chinese Philosophy and Culture)|publisher=State University of New York Press|date=1995|isbn=978-0791426548] Both Wu Chien-ch'uan and his father were hereditary Manchu cavalry officers of the Yellow Banner as well as the Imperial Guards Brigade, yet the Wu family were to become patriotic supporters of Sun Yat-sen. [cite magazine|last=Yip|first=Y. L.|title=Pivot – Qi, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness Vol. 12 No. 3|publisher= Insight Graphics Publishers |date=Autumn 2002|issn=1056-4004]

At the time of the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912, China was in turmoil, besieged for many years economically and even militarily by several foreign powers, so Wu Chien-ch'uan and his colleagues Yang Shao-hou, Yang Ch'eng-fu and Sun Lu-t'ang promoted the benefits of t'ai chi ch'uan training on a national scale. They subsequently offered classes at the Beijing Physical Culture Research Institute to as many people as possible, starting in 1914. It was the first school to provide instruction in the art to the general public. Wu Chien-ch'uan was also asked to teach the Eleventh Corps of the new Presidential Bodyguard as well as at the nationally famous Ching Wu martial arts school.

As the focus of t'ai chi ch'uan teaching in his time changed from a strictly military art to a discipline made available to the general public, Wu Chien-ch'uan modified the teaching forms he learned from his father somewhat. [cite magazine|last=Philip-Simpson|first=Margaret|title= A Look at Wu Style Teaching Methods - T’AI CHI The International Magazine of T’ai Chi Vol. 19 No. 3 |publisher= Wayfarer Publications|date=June 1995|issn=0730-1049] Wu Chien-ch'uan's changes to the initial forms shown to his students included smoothing overt expressions of fa chin, jumps and other abrupt time changes in the training routines in order to make those forms easier for the general public to learn. [cite magazine|last=Philip-Simpson|first=Margaret|title= A Look at Wu Style Teaching Methods - T’AI CHI The International Magazine of T’ai Chi Vol. 19 No. 3 |publisher= Wayfarer Publications|date=June 1995|issn=0730-1049] These modified elements were preserved and taught in various advanced forms and pushing hands, however.

Wu Chien-ch'uan moved his family to Shanghai in 1928. In 1935, he established the "Chien-ch'uan T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association" (鑑泉太極拳社) on the ninth floor of the Shanghai YMCA to promote and teach t'ai chi ch'uan. [cite magazine|last=Li|first=Liqun|title=A Remembrance of Ma Yueh-liang – T’AI CHI The International Magazine of T’ai Chi Ch’uan Vol. 22 No. 5|publisher=Wayfarer Publications|date=October 1998|issn=0730-1049] What he taught has since become known as Wu style T'ai Chi Ch'uan and is one of the five primary styles practised around the world, the others being Ch'en style T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Yang style T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Wu/Hao style T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Sun style T'ai Chi Ch'uan. [cite magazine|last=Yip|first=Y. L.|title=A Perspective on the Development of Taijiquan – Qi, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness Vol. 8 No. 3|publisher= Insight Graphics Publishers |date=Autumn 1998|issn=1056-4004]

The "Chien-ch'uan T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association" schools have subsequently been maintained by Wu Chien-ch'uan's descendants. He was succeeded as head of the Wu family system by his oldest son, Wu Kung-i, in 1942. [cite magazine|last=Yip|first=Y. L.|title=Pivot – Qi, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness Vol. 12 No. 3|publisher= Insight Graphics Publishers |date=Autumn 2002|issn=1056-4004] Wu Kung-i moved the family headquarters to Hong Kong in 1949. [cite magazine|last=Yip|first=Y. L.|title=Pivot – Qi, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness Vol. 12 No. 3|publisher= Insight Graphics Publishers |date=Autumn 2002|issn=1056-4004] Today the Association still has its international headquarters in Hong Kong and is currently managed by Wu Chien-ch'uan's great-grandson, Wu Kuang-yu, with branches in Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and France. [cite magazine|last=Yip|first=Y. L.|title=Pivot – Qi, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness Vol. 12 No. 3|publisher= Insight Graphics Publishers |date=Autumn 2002|issn=1056-4004]

Several of Wu's disciples also became well known T'ai Chi teachers. Prominent in that number were the senior disciple, Ma Yueh-liang, Wu T'u-nan and Cheng Wing-kwong. [cite magazine|last=Li|first=Liqun|title=A Remembrance of Ma Yueh-liang – T’AI CHI The International Magazine of T’ai Chi Ch’uan Vol. 22 No. 5|publisher=Wayfarer Publications|date=October 1998|issn=0730-1049] His daughter Wu Yinghua and her husband Ma Yueh-liang continued running the Shanghai "Chien-ch'uan T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association" until their deaths in the mid 1990s.

Family tree

This family tree is not comprehensive.

LEGENDARY FIGURES
Zhang Sanfeng* circa 12th century NEI CHIA
Wang Zongyue* T'AI CHI CH'ÜAN
THE 5 MAJOR CLASSICAL FAMILY STYLES
Chen Wangting 1600-1680 9th generation Chen CHEN STYLE
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+

Chen Changxing Chen Youben 1771-1853 14th generation Chen circa 1800s 14th generation Chen Chen Old Frame Chen New Frame

Yang Lu-ch'an Chen Qingping 1799-1872 1795-1868 YANG STYLE Chen Small Frame, Zhao Bao Frame

+---------------------------------+-----------------------------+
| |
Yang Pan-hou Yang Chien-hou Wu Yu-hsiang 1837-1892 1839-1917 1812-1880 Yang Small Frame | WU/HAO STYLE
+-----------------+
| |
Wu Ch'uan-yü Yang Shao-hou Yang Ch'eng-fu Li I-yü 1834-1902 1862-1930 1883-1936 1832-1892
Yang Small Frame Yang Big Frame
Wu Chien-ch'üan | Hao Wei-chen 1870-1942 Yang Shou-chung 1849-1920 WU STYLE 1910-1985
108 Form
Sun Lu-t'ang Wu Kung-i 1861-1932 1900-1970 SUN STYLE

Wu Ta-kuei Sun Hsing-i 1923-1972 1891-1929

Note to Family tree table

Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semilegendary figures in the lineage, which means their involvement in the lineage, while accepted by most of the major schools, isn't independently verifiable from known historical records.

References

External links

* [http://www.wustyle.com/ International Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan Federation website]
* [http://www.wustyledetroit.com/ Detroit, Michigan Wu style website]
* [http://www.wu-taichi.com/ European Association for Traditional Wu Tai Chi Chuan website]


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