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The Wu or Wu (Hao)-style (Chinese: 武氏 or 武/郝氏; pinyin: Wǔshì or wǔ/hǎoshì) of t'ai chi ch'uan of Wu Yu-hsiang (武禹襄, 1813–1880), is a separate family style from the more popular Wu-style (吳氏) of Wu Chien-ch'üan. Wu Yu-hsiang's style was third among the five t'ai chi ch'uan families in seniority and is fifth in terms of popularity.

History Edit

Wu Yu-hsiang was a scholar from a wealthy and influential family who became a senior student (along with his two older brothers Wu Ch'eng-ch'ing and Wu Ju-ch'ing) of Yang Lu-ch'an . There is a body of writing attributed to Wu Yu-hsiang on the subject of t'ai chi theory, writings that are considered influential by many other schools not directly associated with his style. Wu Yu-hsiang also studied for a brief time with a teacher from the Chen family , Chen Ch'ing-p'ing, to whom he was introduced by Yang. His most famous student was his nephew, Li I-yü (李亦畬; 1832–1892), who also authored several important works on t'ai chi ch'uan. Li I-yü had a younger brother who was also credited as an author of at least one work on the subject of t'ai chi ch'uan, Li Ch'i-hsüan.

Li I-yü taught Hao Wei-chen (郝為真; 1842–1920), who taught Li Xiang-yuan, Li Shengduan, Sun Lutang , his son Hao Yüeh-ru (郝月如) and others. Sun Lutang later on created Sun style Tai Chi . Hao Yüeh-ru in turn taught his son Hao Shaoru (Hǎo Shǎorú, 郝少如) Wu Yu-hsiang's style of training, so that it is now sometimes known as Wu/Hao or just Hao style t'ai chi ch'uan. While there are direct descendants of Li I-yü and Li Ch'i-hsüan still teaching in China, there are no longer Hao family members teaching the style.

CharacteristicsEdit

Hao Yüeh-ru is known for having smoothed out (in the sense of under-emphasising jumps and snap kicks, etc.) and standardized the forms he learned from his father in order to more effectively teach large numbers of beginners. Wu Yu-hsiang's t'ai chi ch'uan is a distinctive style with small, subtle movements; highly focused on balance, sensitivity and internal ch'i development. It is a rare style today, especially compared with the other major styles. 

Training has three Stages: the first part consists of practicing the external forms – the movement of the posture and the torso methods (shenfa). Emphasis is placed on correct anatomical alignment and integrated movement. This foundation allows the practitioner to fully access the power inherent in his or her body.

The second part focuses on internal structure. In this stage the mind (yi) becomes primary. Taijiquan theory states that where the mind (yi) reaches, the qi reaches, and the energy (jing) follows. Awareness must be unbroken, so that the qi and the energy are unbroken. In a state of utmost calmness the mind is highly focused in the body, continually checking that all parts of the body are natural and relaxed. With increased sensitivity the practitioner achieves a high level of postural control, using the mind to sink the muscle and qi, expand the posture, and open and close the joints.

In paired exercises this awareness, sensitivity and structure is directed at a partner, contesting balance and control. Taijiquan’s martial skills are developed in this manner. 

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