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Wu Jianquan

http://www.chinese.cn 11:21, November 17, 2009

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Wu Jianquan
Wu Jianquan

Wu Jianquan(Wu Chien-ch'uan, 1870-1942), was a famous teacher of the soft style martial art of Tai Ji Quan(t'ai chi ch'uan) in late Imperial and early Republican China.

Wu Jianquan was taught martial arts by his father, Wu Quanyu, a senior student of Yang Luchan and Yang Panhou. Both Wu Jianquan and his father were hereditary Manchu cavalry officers of the Yellow Banner as well as the Imperial Guards Brigade, yet the Wu family were to become patriotic supporters of Sun Zhongshan(Sun Yat-sen).

At the time of the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912, China was in turmoil, besieged for many years economically and even militarily by several foreign powers, so Wu Jianquan and his colleagues Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu and Sun Lutang promoted the benefits of Tai Ji Quan(t'ai chi ch'uan) training on a national scale. They subsequently offered classes at the Beijing Physical Culture Research Institute to as many people as possible, starting in 1914. It was the first school to provide instruction in the art to the general public. Wu Jianquan was also asked to teach the Eleventh Corps of the new Presidential Bodyguard as well as at the nationally famous Ching Wu martial arts school.

As the focus of Tai Ji Quan(t'ai chi ch'uan) teaching in his time changed from a strictly military art to a discipline made available to the general public, Wu Jianquan modified the teaching forms he learned from his father somewhat. Wu Jianquan's changes to the initial forms shown to his students included smoothing overt expressions of fa chin, jumps and other abrupt time changes in the training routines in order to make those forms easier for the general public to learn. These modified elements were preserved and taught in various advanced forms and pushing hands, however.

Wu Jianquan moved his family to Shanghai in 1928. In 1935, he established the Chien-ch'uan T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association (Jian Quan Tai Ji Quan She) on the ninth floor of the Shanghai YMCA to promote and teach Tai Ji Quan(t'ai chi ch'uan). What he taught has since become known as Wu style Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan) and is one of the five primary styles practised around the world, the others being Chen style Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan), Yang style Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan), Wu/Hao style Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan) and Sun style Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan).

The Jian Quan Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan) Association schools have subsequently been maintained by Wu Jianquan's descendants. He was succeeded as head of the Wu family system by his oldest son, Wu Gongyi(Wu Kung-i), in 1942. His second son, Wu Gongzao(Wu Kung-tsao), also became a renowned Tai Ji master. Wu Gongyi moved the family headquarters to Hong Kong in 1949. Today the Association still has its international headquarters in Hong Kong and is currently managed by Wu Jianquan's great-grandson, Wu Guangyu(Wu Kuang-yu), with branches in Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

Several of Wu's disciples also became well known Tai Ji teachers. Prominent in that number were the senior disciple, Ma Yueliang(Ma Yueh-liang), Wu Tunan and Cheng Yongguang(Cheng Wing-kwong). His daughter Wu Yinghua and her husband Ma Yueliang continued running the Shanghai Jian Quan Tai Ji Quan(T'ai Chi Ch'uan) Association until their deaths in the mid 1990s.

Source:Confucius Institute Onlione 


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