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Dear editor,

I have read your article on Wu style Tai Chi on page 9 of your December 1999 issue of Kung Fu , titled 'Close Quarters Explosion', by Frank Allen  and Clarence Liu.  I have found  some historic inaccuracies, and I would like to address these.

  Yang Lu Chan spent nearly twenty years learning Chen style martial arts from Master Chen Chang Xing inChen's village.  By the time he left, he was the best student of his master.Even his master's son, Chan Guen Yuin, who had to work as a travelling bodyguard to support the  household was unable to match Yang's level of skill, or dedication to the art.  Yang concentrated wholeheartedly like

this for over twenty years.When Yang Lu Chan finally returned to his home town in Yung Nan County in Hu Bei Province, he began teaching Tai Chi there.  Wu Yu Xiang, a scholar from a wealthy and well respected family, became his student.  Yang Lu Chan guarded his knowledge too well,and withheld much of the truth of the art from his student, so that  Wu 's training was incomplete.  This led him

to seek another master, one who was prepared to teach the whole system unreservedly.  It so happened that Wu heard of another great Tai Chi teacher in Zhao Bao County,

by the name of  Chen Qin Ping.  Wu's brother, Wu Cheng Qin, was the Mayor of Wu Yang County which was very close to Zhao Bao County.  After helping Chen settle a legal matter, he informed his brother, who decided to visit and learn from Master Chen.  On meeting Wu Yu Xian, Chen liked him immensely, also respecting the fact that Wu  was an accomplished scholar and began teaching him Tai Chi.

The style Chen taught Wu is now known as Zhao Bao style, Wu later became the founder of his own style, later called Wu-Hao style.  Yang Lu Chan's son, Yang Pan Hou, studied literature and Tai Chi under Wu Yu Xian, thereby receiving the Art from both his father and Wu. Wu Yu Xian's other brother, Wu Ru Qin was a high government official in Beijing.  King Se Bei  Le was looking for a good Martial Arts Instructor for his son, Prince Se Sao Nan.  Wu sent a recommendation for Yang Lu Chan.While in Beijing teaching the Prince, Yang also taught the Imperial Guards.Although many people learned from him, only three of these students stood out.  They practised hard and took the Art very seriously.  These were the young army officers Wang Chun, Ling Shan and Chuan You, later known as Wu Chuan You, were much beloved by Yand and their skill improved rapidly.  Included in this inner circle were Yang's two disciples,Prince Se Sao Nan and an Army General, Yue Zhu Cheng.  The General was u-Zhuang-Yuan*, that is in his year he was the highest scoring candidate in the National Martial Arts Examination.The last member of this group of students was King Se's Household Steward, Wang Lan Ting.The rules of Etiquitte in the Qin dynasty were very rigid, ordinary army officers were not permitted to call a Prince or their superior, the General,, their Martial Arts Brothers.Yang solved this by asking his son,

Yang Pan Hou, to take Wang Chun,Ling Shan and Chuan You as his disciples.  The young officers began their training, and Yang Lu Chan went back to his hometown for a break.In the Qin Dynasty, the Emperor's brothers were titled kings, with their own households and they were often accomplished Martial Artists in their own right.  Once, King Se, feeling in high spirits challenged Wang Chun, Ling Shan and Chuan You to fight with him, and defeated them all.  When Yang Lu Chan returned to Beijing, the King asked how the officers were going to guard him if he could defeat them himself.  From that day cn,Yang wholeheartedly trained the young men.  Meanwhile, Yang Pan Hou had returned from his break in his home

county.  At the king's request he had Push Hands with Wu Chan You.  The king also instructed Wu not to hold back.  All of Yang's attacks were nuetralised and he was unable to overcome Wu.  Yang was very upset with his father for giving away all the secrets of the family art to an outsider.  After his father's death,

Yang had push hands with the Royal Steward, Wang Lan Ting and was again neutralized.  He was very upset.After Yang Lu Chan's death, Wu Chuan You set up his own Tai Chi school in Beijing.  General Yue Zhu Cheng died on the field fighting the English Invasion.  Prince Se Sao Nan died of smallpox at the age of 41.The Tai Chi form that Yang Lu Chan taught in Beijing was modified and improved by him. Now called fast or small frame Tai Chi, this  differed noticeably from the Chen family form.  Fast and slow movements are interwoven along with power issuing and jumping.  All Yang Lu Chan's  students learnt this form, including his sons, Yang Pan Hou and Yang Jian Hou.  There was no large frame or slow form invented yet.  Yang style slow form/large frame was invented by Yang Lu Chan's grandson, Yang Chen Pu, 11 years later after Yang's death.  In the article it says that Wu Chien (Jian) Chuan learnt the Large Frame form from his father, Wu Chuan You, this is incorrect.  In fact, Wu Chien Chuan, (13 years older than Yang Cheng Pu), Yang Shao Hou.(eldest son of Yang Chien Hou and 17 years senior to Yang Cheng Pu) and Yang Cheng Pu were all learning Yang Lu Chan's form or Small Frame/Fast Form from their fathers.  Later on, according to his own understanding of the art, Yang Cheng Pu created his own form, now known as Yang style Large Frame/Slow Form.  His elder brother, Yang Shao Hou never learnt his younger brother's form.  He still carried on his grandfather's Small Frame/Fast Form. Wu Chien Chuan also created his own form which is now known as Wu Style Slow Form.  Yang Lu Chan's form is called Fast Form in the Wu style  family.  Only inner circle disciples are taught this form.  After Yang Chen Pu created his slow/large-frame form, he  no longer taught  the Fast Form. So now when we speak of modern Yang style, it refers to the form that Yang Chen Pu created. Both Yang and Wu style Slow Form  are based on the Fast Form, the differences between them are reflections of the different levels of understanding and mastery of the Spirit of Tai Chi by their creators. In the article it states that:  '...Chuan You also arranged for his son to study with ...Yang Pan Hou.  Wu  learned the Yang family small frame Tai Chi Chuan from him.' According to his daughter, Wu Yin  Hua, Wu learned only from his father Wu Chuan Hou.  This statement is blatantly incorrect. The next paragraph states:  ' Wu Yu HHsiang had studied Large Fram Tai Chi Chuan with Yang Lu Chan then learned the Small Frame version of the Chen family Martial Arts form from a cousin of Yang Lu Chan's teacher...'  This is an historical mistake, as Chan Qin Ping was not a cousin of Yang's teacher, although they were related. Chan Qin Ping was born in Zhao Bao County and was taught by the  well known Master Zhang Yan.  This was not the Chen family Martial Art.  For more information, please refer to  my book, which is currently being translated into English. In a following paragraph it states: '...Wu Chien Chuan developed a small frame, high stance form of  Tai Chi Chuan, which became known as Wu Style.  This was in contrast to the Tai Chi of Yang Pan Hou's other best known student, his brother's son, Yang Shao Hao.  Shao Hao developed a small frame tai chi, with a very low stance.  His student Wu Tu Nan, who lived to be over 100 years old, would recount how Shao Hou would make him practice the long form under a table.' As I have already stated, Wu Chien Chuan founded his own form, while Yang Shao Hou carried on practising his grandfather's form.  Wu style form was not high stance but medium height stance and framed tai chi. There was no low-stance Tai Chi that could be practised under a table at all. All styles and forms have low-stance movements, but only a few, certainly not the whole form. Wu  Tu Nan was, in fact Wu Chien Chuan's student.  Tu Nan stated in his later years that Wu Chien  Chuan intrcduced him to Yang Shao Hou to learn from him.  None of Wu Chien Chuan's other disciples, including his daughter Wu Yin Hua  and son-in-law Ma Yue Lian, had ever heard of this when I questioned them on this matter.  As to Tu Nan's claim to be 108 years of age, Master Ma told me there were three of Wu Chien Chuan's disciples born in the same year, 1901.  They were Wu Kung Yi, Wu Tu Nan and Master Ma himself.  Later on  Tu Nan changed his birth date by  more than a decade.  He also changed the race of  Wu Chien Chuan from Manchurian to Mongolian.   Tu Nan was Mongolian, by making this  change, perhaps it made him feel closer to the Wu Style Founder.  So in this paragraph there are obvious errors. The article mentions Wu Chien Chuan and Yang Chen Fu doing push hands in front of students at the Beijing Athletic Research Institute.  It is most unlikely that two tai chi Founders would do this publicly.  For either to lose would make it impossible for  hem to continue teaching.  The  winner would be ostracized by their martial arts peers.  According to Master Wu Yin Hua, in the early days the Wu and Yang families lived very close together in Beijing.  When Yang Chen Fu was born, his grandfather was already dead.  When he was 9 yrs old, his uncle Yang Pan Hou died, when he was  32 his father died.  So, his tai chi was mainly taught to him by his father, Yang Chien Hou.  Yang Chen Fu would often come to Wu Chien Chuan's residence to practise push hands.  Each time Wu always asked his students and children to leave them alone.  Master Wu Yin Hua said they could still hear Chien Chuan saying,'This jin (force) is  correct, or not correct.' The part of the article on Liu Hung Chieh states that he studied Wu style tai chi under Wu Chien Chuan, this is incorrect.  According to Masters Wu Yin Hua and Ma Yue Liang, also Wu Kung Yi's daughter's book, Liu was a student of Wu Kung Yi, euen though they were of a similar age. There was another Xing Yi (Hsing I) master, Zhu Gu Lu who won the Best Fighter Title in the first All China National Martial Arts Tournament in 1928, along with his his two brothers Zhu Gu Fu and  Zhu Gu Zhen. He also challenged Wu Kung Yi in the Hunan Province Central Government Martial Arts Academy.  After continuously falling out, he also started learning from Wu Kung Yi. As regards the Wu Style short form, the article states that before he died, Liu requested that B K Francis compose a short form for '...busy westerners with tight schedules.', so he created the 16 movement short form.  In 1985 Masters Wu and Ma had already composed a modified Wu style short form.  It has  thirty movements and normally takes 6 minutes to do.  Wu Style tai chi slow form will take 35 to 40 minutes to do. Wu style fast form, (Yang Lu Chan's form), will take 8 minutes to do.  It is a pity that B K Francis did not seem to know that the short form already existed. I hope that this will help to correct misunderstandings about Wu style Tai Chi history.  If possible, could you forward an unabridged copy of this letter to the authors of the article for their information.  It is also my wish that you publish this letter in your respected magazine to help your readers to understand the correct Wu Style tai chi history.  I am a student of  Master Wu Yin Hua and Master Ma Yue Liang. 

I would be interested in contributing articles to your magazine in the future.

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