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Bart Saris on

Wu style Tai Chi Chuan

Part I of IV

written in 1995

I Introduction

II The original Wu style and the modern history of tai-chi-chuan: "The Yang and Wu families".

  1. Introduction: modern history of t.c.c. starting with Yang Lu-Chan.
  2. The spreading starts: Two Wu styles?
  3. The original forms and the arise of "styles"
  4. Disintegration
  5. Some misunderstandings

III Some striking characteristics of Wu Chian-Chuan's Original Wu style tai chi chuan

  1. Introduction.
  2. Archery stance.
  3. Parallel foot position?
  4. Improvements?
  5. Wu Chian-Chuan's way.
  6. Consequences of leaving parallel foot position and raising the upper body.
  7. "Connected" body movement.
  8. "The rigid waist": looking for an answer.
  9. Shifting weight and changing direction.

IV Original Wu style tai chi in Europe: the present state of affairs.


About the author and the "European School for Original Wu style Tai Chi Chuan"

The author of these articles, Bart Saris, has been practicing t.c.c. for about 13 years now. The first 4 to 5 years he studied a Yang style variant: a so called "simplified" form designed by Cheng Man Ching, which was at the time the only form available. During that time he attended the lessons of several (Dutch) teachers, and visited workshops of people like Benjamin Lo. After a number of years he started to feel a growing sense of discontent, as he discovered that his native teachers were by no means able to explain in a satisfactory way the know-how of the postures. Also he became a feeling that the contacts with the "source", in this case the master students of Cheng Man Ching, were too short and superficial to be fruitful.
Last but not least he was deeply interested in Tui-Shou (pushing hands), a discipline of which there was only very shallow material available.

By the time, however, he was actually planning to spend a few years in China, his problem got solved in 1986 when he met Master Ma Jiang-Bao in Düsseldorf, after having seen him demonstrate in Amsterdam with his father, the then 84 years old Ma Yueh-Liang. He has mainly been practicing Wu style t.c.c. under Ma Jiang-Bao's guidance ever since, first in Germany and the last 7 years in the Netherlands.

The series of three articles he wrote, are meant to raise the level of awareness about Original Wu style t.c.c. in Europe, which is still quite low, most people are only acquainted with Yang style versions. (After all, Yang style and its spin-off was the first to reach the West).

The first article deals with some contemporary (modern) t.c.c. history, to give the original Wu style its proper place in the spectrum of styles.

The second article discusses some technical aspects, which are specific for this Wu style.

Finally the third article describes the state of affairs after Ma Jiang-Bao has been teaching for 9 years in Europe.