A Brief History
The Wu style of tai chi is the latest development of tai chi. The original Chen style was transformed from a hard, sudden style to a soft, rounded style by Yang Lu Chan (Yang style tai chi). This was done by deepening internal nei gong techniques within the tai chi vessel.
Later, Wu Jien Chuan finished the transformations initiated by his father, Chuan You, who was Yang Lu Chan’s best student. This completed the fusion of nei gong with tai chi, making the outer form smaller, but with more internal movement. This fusion brought true meditation practices to tai chi, initiating development of the emotional energy body (of the Taoist Water tradition), where meditation commences.
That said, most stylists who generate a deep, fluid and internal Wu form practised the Yang style for many years or decades before learning the Wu style.
Why Learn the Yang Style of Tai Chi?
Tai chi’s Yang style is the most popular form available in the West for many reasons, but our focus is on results from training. The nature of the Yang style is such that the large, circular motions allow direct contact of the innate qualities of tai chi. So, when taught and practised correctly, practitioners not only make the link between postures in an open, fluid style, but naturally begin to bring alive internal-energetic components. As your form becomes crisp and alive, you can practice the Yang style to delve deeper and deeper into your body, internal energies and Mind, manifesting better training results.
Wu Style Tai Chi Short Form + Mini Form
Wu style tai chi starts with a short 27-step form, which was developed by Wu and Yang Style Tai Chi Lineage Holder Bruce Frantzis after encouragement from his primary teacher, Tai Chi Grandmaster Liu Hung Chieh. His Wu Short Form also lends itself to a “mini form”, which consists of the first eight moves and contains the essence of tai chi. Some tai chi masters in China only taught tai chi mini forms as the totality of the 16 nei gong can be realised through practice of this beginning set.
Wu Style Tai Chi Long Form
My personal belief is that Westerners do not need more forms, but more internal content in their forms. Accordingly, I rarely offer public instruction on the 108-step Wu Long Form, although you may contact me for private tuition if you are a committed student who knows the Wu Short Form already.
Regardless of modern conditions which make learning and training a tai chi long form challenging, long forms are incredibly effective at developing qi-energy and can offer much more than training repetitions of a short form. Although, as I discuss when comparing the potential of training either the Wu or Yang styles, many factors–not the least of which are the skill of the practitioner and the quality of their teacher–can heavily influence outcomes. My best advice is to take opportunities to train with the best teachers you can find in live training scenarios and practise what they teach you until you know it inside and out.
Wu Style Tai Chi Level 2 Instructor + Re-certifier
I hold Wu Style Long Form Level 1 and Wu Style Short Form Level 2 certifications, granted to me by my teacher, Wu and Yang Style Tai Chi Master Bruce Frantzis. I’m also an Energy Arts re-certifier for instructors holding Tai Chi Short Form Level 1 certifications.
Contact me to schedule a Tai Chi Short Form recertification test.
Watch a Wu Style Tai Chi Short Form Video
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