Wu Style Taijiquan
Quan You, the great master representing the first generation of Wu Style Taijiquan, was of White Banner Manchu extraction. He worked as a royal guardsman at the imperial court. He studied originally with Yang Luchan. Unfortunately, amongst Yang’s students were a fair few royal officials. In view of the difference in status, Yang instructed Quanyou to learn with Banhou, his own son. Based on what he had learned from the Yang style, Quanyou developed his own form set for the integration of his knowledge and internal methodology. Both Wang Maozhai and Wu Jianquan, his son, were fine students of his teachings. Jianquan was a defence guard at the Qing court. He began teaching Taijiquan in Beijing in 1910. The Wu style began spreading south when he was invited to teach at the Huang Pu Military School in Guangzhou in 1924. He went on to teach at the Shanghai Jing Wu Sports Association in 1928. The Jianquan Taiji Association was established in Shanghai in 1935, and its operation was assisted by Ma Yueliang, the vice president and son-in-law of Wu. Wang Maozhai continued to teach Taijiquan in Beijing. His lineage flourished. Zhu Datong and Gao Zhuangfei, two senior Taijiquan masters who both ran seminars in Hong Kong in recent years, are direct descendants of Wang’s lineage. One can easily note the split into the northern and southern style in the Wu school. Gongyi and Gongzao, the two sons of Jianquan, taught in Hong Kong and Macau respectively before the Japanese occupation. During the war, the Wu brothers took refuge back in the Mainland. When the war was over, Gongyi returned to Hong Kong to establish a branch of the Jianquan Taiji Association. Gongzao, on the other hand, stayed on in Hunan for the promotion of the art. Unfortunately, Jianquan died of diabetes due to a shortage of medicine during occupation times.
Gongyi taught the small frame of the Wu style in Hong Kong. It is said that this particular style was passed down by Yang Banhou in his twilight years.
Since Wu style Taijiquan took root early in Hong Kong, it has collected a large following. Some of the students eventually migrated to South East Asia, America and Europe. After popularization and dissemination of over a hundred years, Wu style practitioners are found all over the world.
By Patrick SW Chan
Translated by Vicky Wong