Wu Style


 A Classic Essay by Lu Ta-lu (1971)

Translated by Patricia N. H. Leong, Sifu of the Hawaii Academy


A long time ago during the reigns of Huo (1851) and Tung (1862) in the Ching Dynasty, Master Wu

Chuan Yau was employed by the royal household. He was from the Ta-hsing district of the province of

Hopei. At that time many Manchu princes studied a martial art, namely Tai Chi Chuan, in order to

improve their health. They were taught by Master Master Yang Lu-chan and his son, Master Yang Pan-

hou. Because they only taught Manchu princes or guards of the royal household, everyone thought that

this was an aristocratic art. Further, because the body and arms in Tai Chi Chuan moved slowly, people

thought it to be beneficial for health, but not equally useful as a martial art. People in general held this

view and Master Wu Chuan Yau and others in the martial arts worlds were no exception.

A martial arts expert named Hsu Hsien-liu was not convinced. He said that one should not apply the

term chuan or fist (which implies a fighting art) to Tai Chi Chuan. Upon hearing theses words, Master

Yang Pan-hou replied that Tai Chi Chuan was indeed the Great Ultimate Fist which could be used for

healing as well as for fighting, and proceeded to lift Hsu Hsien-liu with his gesturing hand. As a result,

Hsu Hsien-liu bowed to Master Yang Pan-hou’s advanced kung-fu. From then on people began to regard

Tai Chi Chuan with special respect.