Lu Gui Rong, who will be 70 years old in July, has many connections in the Shanghai martial arts communities because of his amiable personality.
Although he initially studied the Wu style in 1965 for about a year, he began the Wu/Hao style with Hao Shao-ru in 1966 and then also studied the Yang style from 1970 from a number of prominent masters.
George Xu, who brought him to the U.S. to teach seminars early this year, said he has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of martial arts in Shanghai because of his many contacts, yet he is very humble.
He has many interesting stories to tell and some of the most interesting are in the cover article. They include challenges to Yang Cheng-fu and to Zhang Yu, a student of Yang who was highly accomplished at push hands.
In his discussions of self-defense techniques, Lu emphasizes the development of softness and flexibility as prime tactics. He also speaks about the cultivation of neijin, or internal, whole-body strength.
Most people who study martial arts, including T’ai Chi Ch’uan practitioners, have as their focus the development of external strength, techniques and speed.
In the West, neijin is an unknown concept for the most part, except for some people who have developed it naturally and may call it something else.
It is very difficult for most men to give up the quest for external strength in their martial arts studies.
Of course, strength is necessary, but in T’ai Chi Ch’uan the goal is to combine internal strength with flexibility in a Yin/Yang partnership.
At deadline, word from Leroy Clark indicated that Wu Ngan Ha, daughter of Wu Kung-Yi, died March 3 in a Hong Kong Sanatorium of hepatobiliary malignancy, a cancer of the liver, gall bladder region.
Wu Kung-Yi was a famous son of Wu Chian Chuan.
Wu Ngan Ha was referred to as the gatekeeper of the Wu style in Hong Kong since the death of her older brother, Wu Dai Kwai, eldest son of Wu Kung-Yi.
Wu Dai Kwai was taught by his grandfather, Wu Chian Chuan and his father, Wu Kung-Yi. He was an excellent fighter with many victories.
Wu Ngan Ha was 71. She taught Wu style T’ai Chi from an early age and had moved to Hong Kong about 1948 with her father.
Earlier, she and her brother, Wu Dai Kwai, would go to the Pearl River district of Shanghai, where he had fought many Southern stylists without a defeat.
In 1998, I spoke to her by phone following the death of Ma Yueh-Liang. Although she had not met Ma between 1948 and 1988, she remembered him as “a very good elder.” Ma’s wife, Wu Ying-Hua, was the aunt of Wu Ngan Ha.
Additional information about her death was provided by Dr. Yip, son of a disciple, Wu Kung Yi, in Hong Kong.
Peter Wu Shi-zeng of Melbourne, Australia, has written a second installment of his article on the famous Chen stylist, Chen Fa-ke.
The article adds more information about Chen’s skills and his character. It’s clear from the article that despite his skills, he was very humble.
There are some interesting stories about famous martial artists who studied with him and some of the challenges he faced.
Peter Wu studied with Hong Jun-Sheng, one of Chen Fa-ke’s top students. Wu also has studied and teaches other styles of T’ai Chi.
Mark Wasson discusses the role of the dantian in T’ai Chi practice. He describes what the dantian is and its function, and how rotation is coordinated with the Chen style movements.
It is a complex method and not everyone does it exactly the same. Some styles differ in the way they deal with the dantian. But for all styles, the dantian is an essential practice. Wasson is a student of Chen Xiaowang and has also studied with his brother, Chen Xiaoxing, in the Chen village. He has studied T’ai Chi for some 25 years.
Gerald A. Sharp, who studied with Ma Yueh-Liang and was in Shanghai at the time of his death, writes about some of the subtleties of the movement Brush Knee, Twist Step. He discusses, structure, dynamics, and applications of the movement. And he relates some of the advice Ma gave him about executing the posture.
Zhang Yun, author of “The Art of Chinese Swordsmanship,” writes about four of the most important push hands skills in T’ai Chi Ch’uan—Zhan, Nian, Lian, and Sui. These are subtle skills, important for achieving higher level skills of push hands. Their similarities can make it difficult to differentiate between them.
Zhang studied with Luo Shuhuan and Wang Peisheng. Wang is the president of the Beijing Wu Style Association. Zhang has also studied Bagua, Xingyi, and qigong.
Gene Killian of Bloomfield, NJ, studied with a number of prominent teachers and says he was super conscientious about his practice until he gained new insights and a new approach to life after a Taoist master entered his life.
Graham Horwood, who writes about T’ai Chi Ch’uan and the Code of Life, has practiced martial arts since 1963.
In 1977, he began studying Yang style with Chu King Hung, a disciple of Yang Shou Chung, eldest son of Yang Cheng-fu. Currently, he teaches T’ai Chi, runs a health clinic, and is a Jungian Analyst. He is author of a forthcoming book, “T’ai Chi and the Code of Life for Both East and West.”
Daniel L. Sayer writes about expanding the role of teaching to respond to students’ life needs. He has been involved in T’ai Chi and Kenpo Karate for over 25 years.
He also has a background in qin na, Kung-Fu, Ju-Jitsu, Judo and various weapons systems. While he agrees that the martial arts aspects are very important, he thinks teachers have to consider other aspects, as well.•