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Wu Yu Xiang's Final Form

Wu Yu Xiang modified his form to incorporate the information from both his teachers and the Taijiquan classic writings. His modified later form differed from that of both his teachers and is characterized by compact, rounded, precise, and high standing postures. The basic structure of the form was based on the Yang sequence with a change of name for the posture Grasp Sparrow's Tail to Lazily Arranging Clothes was done later after Wu's death. The postures themselves were modified.

The Thirteen Torso Methods are the keys to power development in Wu Yu Xiang's Taijiquan and there is emphasis on rising, falling, opening and closing. The form's movements are simple and circular with each movement expressing aspects of the 8 basic postures of Taijiquan (peng, lu, chi, an, tsai, lieh, chou, kao), .

Wu Yu Xiang taught few students and we know of only one significant one, his nephew Li I Yu. Li I Yu did not teach widely and only taught a few students, notably Hao Wei Chen who was also a native of Yung Nien County.

Hao Wei Chen and his descendents did the most to promote Wu Yu Xiang's Taijiquan, making it one of the major styles today. Hao taught his son Hao Yue Ru who in turn taught his son Hao Shao Ru who was the recent master of the form. The form itself was not pictorially recorded until Hao Shao Ru's book which remains today the standard text for this style of Taijiquan.

Hao Yue Ru's Modification

Wu Yu Xiang's form originally retained the energetic slapping of toes and jump kick, as well as quick movements interspersed with slower ones, which were characteristics that the old Yang form has as well.

Hao Yue Ru inherited his art from his father Hao Wei Zhen who in turn learned it from Li I Yu. Hao Yue Ru was a professional martial arts teacher and in order to cater for mass instruction covering a wide age range, he taught the form devoid of these jumps and strength explosions to enable the basics to be better grasped when the form was taught to a large class. The slow even movements was a basic method of practice and the Hao Style then used a fast form which retained the elements of the original.

This is the form that is practiced extensively today. Some have termed this form "Hao style Taijiquan" to differentiate it from the other Wu Yu Xiang lineages which retain the old characteristics both in the normal sequence and the fast form.

Wu Yu Xiang Taijiquan Spawns Sun Taijiquan

When Hao Wei Chen was visiting Beijing, he fell sick. Sun Lu Tang happened to hear of it and went to see him. Sun Lu Tang, already an accomplished Hsing I and Pa Kua master, had heard of Hao's boxing prowess, but did not know which type of boxing he practiced. Sun attended to Hao and took care of him until he recovered from his illness. In gratitude, Hao taught Sun Lu Tang his Taijiquan. Later Sun Lu Tang incorporated elements from Hsing-I and Pa Kua into his Taijiquan and developed a new version which was later termed Sun style Taijiquan. Apparently he felt that Taijiquan was the style that best suited him and he taught little else in his later years. (more information in a later document on Sun style Taijiquan)

Wu Yu Xiang's Taijiquan Today

Wu Yu Xiang style Taijiquan is one of the five major styles but is still relatively unknown and seldom practiced outside China. The most popular form of this style is the one promoted by the Hao family. Its popularity is increasing as China opens up and more and more people learn this style of Taijiquan.

With its high standing postures, it appeals to those who regard the lower standing styles as being hard on the knees. Like the other styles of Taijiquan, it continues to bring health and self defense skills to those who practice it.

 

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