February 2004The Tai Chi Chuan of Wu Yuxiang is one of the lesser known styles, even though its founder remains one of the bright stars in the Tai Chi firmament.
Wu Yuxiang, a scholar and government official at the time he and Yang Luchan were learning Tai Chi, is said to be the author of many of Tai Chi classics writings, which are the backbone of practice.
If I remember correctly, Wu used to write the principles on the wall in the room where he practiced and the walls were soon filled with them.
Two articles in this issue by Alex Yeo of Singapore help to illuminate the development of the Wu style and the characteristics of its practice.
Qiao was in Singapore in September 2003, at the invitation of the National Wushu Federation to promote Wu style in general and the 13-posture simplified from in particular.
The Wu style, which is pronounced with the third tone in Mandarin, differs from the Wu style Chian Chuan, which is pronounced with the second tone.
Both founders of the two styles had a relationship with the founder of the Yang style.
Qiao discusses the relationship between Wu Yuxiang and Yang Luchan, saying they were in a relationship of co-students rather than teacher/student.
Each of the major Tai Chi styles have evolved over time and also present a snapshot of the development of Tai Chi Chuan at a particular point in time.
Even Wu style developed an offshoot in the Hao style of Hao Weizhen, who Qiao says modified it slightly to make it easier to teach.
Qiao said that since the Wu family was well off and did not have to teach for a living, they kept it in the family without any modifications. So it remains today as it has been brought forward for generations.
If we can get past the idea of one style being better than another, it is possible to learn quite a lot from what each have to offer, even without learning more than one style.
One might say that at an early or intermediate stage the differences between the styles seem pronounced, while at higher levels of development it is easier to see and understand the common principles that each of the styles manifests.
Qiao Song Mao, the current Family Leader of the Wu style, was in Singapore for a seminar where he gave an address on the Wu style when he was interviewed by Alex Yeo, who also translated his talk.
His articles provide valuable insights into the practice of Wu style and its founders and Tai Chi in the perspective of Chinese culture.
The 1960s and 1970s were periods of significant growth for Tai Chi Chuan in the West. A number of important teachers arrived in the U.S. And other countries, and many of the students in those decades went on to become dedicated teachers.
So it is interesting to read the radio interview of William F. Zachmann from 1976. It provides ideas that are fresh today.
He also writes about his experiences learning privately with T. T. Liang in Boston. He found Liang to be one of the most interesting and complex persons he ever met.
Zachmann heads Canopus Research, Duxbury, MA, a computer consulting company. He still practices and teaches Tai Chi ans also Karate. He learned Karate beginning in the early 1960s.
Many people have an interesting story about how they got started in Tai Chi. Irv Rothstein tells his in an interesting and humorous way, which sometimes is a rare commodity.
He tells about his experience learning from Fong Ha and how Tai Chi helped his joints and health in general.
Dr Steve L Sun writes about the natural development among serious practitioners of Tai Chi and qiqong.
He says it is something that comes if you have the talent and interest and good guidance from a qualified teacher.
Dr Sun gives some good advice on cultivating such a talent, He cautions against forcing such development and suggests avoiding treating certain conditions and people.
During the course of some 28 years of publishing T'AI CHI, there have been many articles that are worth publishing again because of the useful information that they provided.
In this issue, there are two articles from a Yang Zhenduo seminar at A taste of China in July 1990. One is an interview and another is a summary of his teaching at the seminar.
Yang returned many times t the U.S. To spread the teaching of the Yang style and his grandson, Yang Jun, now lives in the Seattle area and teaches at seminars throughout the country and the world.
The third installment of the 10 Form Exercises for Longevity are published in this issue. This installment features a short segment, Form 7.
Chinese sword sparring strategies are discussed by Yan Gaofei of South Florida, who teaches internal styles. Sword sparring is a popular training method that is growing in popularity. Its growth probably waits on the development of more sword players. The article mentions a number of useful techniques.
David Simonov, a long time internal martial arts teacher in Russia, reports that he has been invited to teach at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, where the headmaster is a friend of President Putin.
Since Putin's daughter is studying Tai Chi, he told the headmaster that Tai Chi is good for everyone. Now, the headmaster sometimes does Tai Chi with the students.