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Wu-style tai chi

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Wu-style tai chi
Also known asNg-style tai chi
Date foundedlate 19th century
Country of originChina
FounderWu Jianquan
Current headWu Kuang-yu
5th gen. Wu
Arts taughtTai chi
Ancestor artsYang-style tai chi
PractitionersWu Quanyou,
Wu Gongyi,
Ma Yueliang,
Wu Yanxia
Official websiteWuStyle.com

Wu-style tai chi (Chinese: 吳氏太极拳; pinyin: Wúshì tàijíquán) is one of the five main styles of tai chi. It is second in popularity after Yang-style,[1] and the fourth-oldest of the five major tai chi styles.[2] It was developed by Wu Quanyou and Wu Jianquan.


Wu Quanyou was a military officer cadet of Manchu ancestry in the Yellow Banner camp (see Qing Dynasty Military) in the Forbidden City, Beijing and also a hereditary officer of the Imperial Guards Brigade.[3] At that time, Yang Luchan was the martial arts instructor in the Imperial Guards, teaching tai chi, and in 1850 Wu Quanyou became one of his students.[2]

In 1870, Wu Jianquan was asked to become the senior disciple of Yang Banhou, Yang Luchan's oldest adult son, and an instructor as well to the Manchu military.[4][2] Wu Quanyou had three primary disciples: his son Wu Jianquan, Wang Maozhai and Guo Fen.[5]

Wu Quanyou's son, Wu Jianquan, grandsons Wu Gongyi and Wu Kung-tsao, and granddaughter Wu Yinghua were well-known teachers.[3]

Wu Jianquan became the most widely known teacher in his family, and is therefore considered the co-founder of the Wu style by his family and their students.[6] He taught large numbers of people and his refinements to the art more clearly distinguish Wu style from Yang style training.[6]

Wu Jianquan moved his family south from Beijing (where an important school founded by other students of his father is headquartered, popularly known as the Northern Wu style) to Shanghai in 1928, where he founded the Jianquan Taijiquan Association (鑑泉太極拳社) in 1935.[3]

Wu Gongyi then moved the family headquarters to Hong Kong in 1948, while His younger sister Wu Yinghua and her husband Ma Yueliang stayed behind to manage the original Shanghai school.[7]

Between 1983 and her death in 1996 Wu Yinghua was the highest-ranked instructor in the Wu family system. Her descendants continue teaching and today manage the Shanghai school as well as schools in Europe:

Wu Gongyi's children were also full-time martial art teachers:

Tai chi lineage tree with Wu-style focus[edit]


  • This lineage tree is not comprehensive, but depicts those considered the 'gate-keepers' & most recognized individuals in each generation of Wu-style.
  • Although many styles were passed down to respective descendants of the same family, the lineage focused on is that of the Wu style & not necessarily that of the family.

Solid linesDirect teacher-student.
Dot linesPartial influence
/taught informally
/limited time.
Dash linesIndividual(s) omitted.
Dash crossBranch continues.CHEN-STYLEZhaobao-style
Wang Lanting
2nd gen. Yang
Yang Jianhou
2nd gen. Yang
2nd gen. Yangjia Michuan
Yang Banhou
2nd gen. Yang
2nd gen.
Guang Ping Yang
Yang Small Frame
WU (HAO)-STYLEZhaobao He-style
Li-styleYang Shao-hou
3rd gen. Yang
Yang Small Frame
Wu Quanyou
1st gen. Wu
Qi Gechen
2nd gen. Wu
Xia Gongfu
2nd gen. Wu
Wu Jianquan
2nd gen. Wu
108 Form
Chang Yuanting
2nd gen. Wu
Guo Songting
2nd gen. Wu
Wang Maozhai
2nd gen. Wu
Dong Yingjie
4th gen. Yang
Qi Minxuan
3rd gen. Wu
Cheng Wing Kwong
3rd gen. Wu
Wu Yinghua
3rd gen. Wu
Wu Gongyi
3rd gen. Wu
Wu Kung-tsao
3rd gen. Wu
Ma Yueliang
3rd gen. Wu
Yang Yuting
3rd gen. Wu
Cheng Tin Hung
Wu Ta-k'uei
4th gen. Wu
Wu Yanxia
4th gen. Wu
Wu Daxin
4th gen. Wu
Li Liqun
4th gen. Wu
Wang Peisheng
4th gen. Wu
Wu Kuang-yu
5th gen. Wu
Luo Shuhuan
5th gen. Wu


The Wu style's distinctive hand form, pushing hands and weapons trainings emphasize parallel footwork and horse stance training with the feet relatively closer together than the modern Yang or Chen styles, small circle hand techniques (although large circle techniques are trained as well) and differs from the other tai chi family styles martially with Wu style's initial focus on grappling, throws (Shuai jiao), tumbling, jumping, footsweeps, pressure point leverage and joint locks and breaks, which are trained in addition to more conventional tai chi sparring and fencing at advanced levels.[6]

Generational senior instructors of the Wu family tai chi schools[edit]

1st Generation

  • Wu Quanyou (吳全佑, 1834-1902), who learned from Yang Luchan and Yang Banhou, was senior instructor of the family from 1870–1902.

2nd generation

  • His oldest son, Wu Jianquan (1870-1942), was senior from 1902–1942.

3rd Generation

  • His oldest son, Wu Gongyi (1900-1970), was senior from 1942–1970.
  • Wu Gongyi's younger brother, Wu Gongzao (1903-1983), was senior from 1970–1983.
  • Wu Gongyi's younger sister, Wu Yinghua ({1907-1997), was senior from 1983–1997.

4th Generation

  • Wu Gongyi's daughter, Wu Yanxia (1930-2001) was senior from 1997–2001.
  • Wu Gongzao's son, Wu Daxin (1933-2005), was senior from 2001–2005.

5th Generation

  • The current senior instructor of the Wu family is Wu Ta-k'uei's son Wu Kuang-yu (born 1946).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yip, Y. L. (Autumn 2002). "Pivot". Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness. 12 (3). Insight Graphics Publishers. ISSN 1056-4004.
  2. ^ a b c Wile, Douglas (1995). Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty (Chinese Philosophy and Culture). State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0791426548.
  3. ^ a b c Wu, Kung-tsao (2006) [1980]. Wu Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan (吳家太極拳). Chien-ch’uan T’ai-chi Ch’uan Association. ISBN 0-9780499-0-X.
  4. ^ a b Yip, Y. L. (Autumn 1998). "A Perspective on the Development of Taijiquan". Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness. 8 (3). Insight Graphics Publishers. ISSN 1056-4004.
  5. ^ Zhang, Tina (2006). Classical Northern Wu Style Tai Ji Quan. Berkeley, California: Blue Snake Books. ISBN 978-1583941546.
  6. ^ a b c Philip-Simpson, Margaret (June 1995). "A Look at Wu Style Teaching Methods". T'AI CHI the International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. 19 (3). Wayfarer Publications. ISSN 0730-1049.
  7. ^ Li, Liqun (October 1998). "A Remembrance of Ma Yueh-liang". T'AI CHI the International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. 22 (5). Wayfarer Publications. ISSN 0730-1049.
  8. ^ Cai, Naibiao (2006). "In Memory of Wu Daxin". Journal of Asian Martial Arts. 15 (1). Via Media Publishing. ISSN 1057-8358.
  • Tina Chunna Zhang, Frank Allen (2006). Classical Northern Wu Style Tai Ji Quan. Blue Snake Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-154-6

External links[edit]