Wu (Hao) is a powerful taijiquan system for health and martial arts. It is one of the 5 major tai chi styles recognized in China today.
Wu (Hao) was created by Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang, during the Qing Dynasty when Xiang Feng was emperor. Sometimes it was called Wu or Hao style. The style’s creator, Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang, was a scholar. He combined taiji training from Chen Qing-Ping, and Mr. Wang Zhong-Yue’s theories with the study of Confucianism, Taoism, and Sun Tze’s Art of War. With this knowledge, Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang developed the main form of Wu (Hao) as well as the 13-Technique Taiji Spear (staff), 13-Technique Taiji Saber, and Moving-step Push Hands. From the basis of Mr. Wang’s Zhong-Yue’s theories, Mr. Wu continued the development of the 13-Torso Method, an Analysis of Taijiquan Theory, an Introduction of the 13 Postures, and Secret of the Four Words. Once Mr. Wu developed these he had completed a taijiquan system.
Studying with Mr. Wu, his nephew, Mr. Li Yi-Yu, developed The Secret of Five Words, Taiji Secret Attacks, and many other concepts. Because Mr. Wu and Mr. Li concentrated on the theories and martial arts aspects of their taijiquan system and diligently studied Confucius, they rejected students. They preferred a scholarly environment where they could further develop the system.
There was an important exception–Mr. Hao Wei-Zheng, who popularized the system. Mr. Hao accepted Mr. Li Shen-Duan as a student. Another student, was Mr. Sun-Lu Tang, a famous Xingyi, and Baqua teacher. He subsequently created Sun-style taijiquan. In addition, a businessman and famous Chinese-Muslim scholar, Mr. Li Shen-Duan studied from Mr. Hao. Mr. Li Shen-Duan taught many students in the Xintai area. The most famous ones are Mr. Chen Gu-An and Mr. Wu Wen-Han. Both taught Mr. Jimmy Kokkhang Wong and accepted him as their disciple.
The development of Wu (Hao) Taijiquan
Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang, the creator of the system of Taijiguan theory, came from a distinguished royal family. He was born in 1812 in Guangfu town, Yongnian County, Hebei province.
His great-grandfather Wu Jing-Yuan was a high-ranking officer of the Qing Dynasty army and grandfather Wu Da-Yong was a martial arts warrior—someone who has passed the imperial examination at the county level during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. His father, Wu Li, was a scholar. His elder brothers also passed the imperial examination. His brother Wu Chen-Qing was the mayor of Wuyung county in Henan province and his other brother, Wu Ru-Qing, worked as the chief inspector in the security department in Sichuan province. Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang was an educator and the leader of education. He was a scholar until his death in 1880.
All members of the Wu family were Confucian scholars and passed their examinations as government officials; however, kungfu was a tradition in the family. Wu Yu-Xiang’s father believed in a combination of education and martial arts. The Chinese called it “Wen Wu Her I” or Warrior Scholar. As a result, the three brothers learned kungfu from childhood.
The owner of a Chinese medicine shop—called Dahetang–rented a room from the Wu family. The owner, Chen De-Hu, came from the birthplace of taiji–Chen Jiagou, Wen county, Henan province, and was a martial arts practitioner himself. Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang practiced with Mr. Chen and discovered their styles were different. They sparred together until Mr. Wu decided the druggist’s skills were mediocre.
As the two practiced together, a third man—Mr. Yang Lu-Chan—returned to the area and worked as a martial arts coach for the medicine shop. Mr. Yang, who lived from 1799 to 1872, was the founder of Yang-style Taiji. He had come from Chenjiaguo where he studied the taiji skills of Mr. Chen Zhang-Xing. Mr. Wu and his brothers recognized the superb martial skills of Mr. Yang and determined to learn from him.
Mr. Wu heard of a man who was a taijiquan expert that lived in Zhaobao town, Wen County, by the name of Mr. Chen Qing-Ping. Mr. Wu had many questions that Mr. Chen could possibly answer. He was determined to find him. In 1852, Mr. Wu’s elder brother was appointed the governor of Wuyang County, Henan Province. His mother gave permission for a visit. On the way, he detoured to seek out Mr. Chen. Diligently, he studied from Mr. Chen.
Later, when Mr. Wu had reached his brother’s house, he found the taijiquan manual of Mr. Wang Zhong-Yue in the mansion salt factory. The book enthralled Mr. Wu. It expanded his taijiquan knowledge. After that, Wu Yu-Xiang gave up his official career and devoted his life to the study of Taijiquan. He and his nephew, Mr. Li Yi-Yu, spent the next nine years improving their skills.
Combining Confucian theory, Sun Tze Art of War, Qigong, traditional Chinese medicine concepts, and martial arts skills, Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang formulated the following theories:
1) Explanation of 13 Postures
2) Taijiquan Theory
3) Analysis of Taijiquan Theory
4) 13 Torso Method
5) The Four Secret Words of Tuishou
Passing Wu (Hao) Down
A new taiji posture was created that had martial arts skill and improved health through harmonizing the mind and body. In addition, Mr. Wu revised some moves of the posture to make the names match reality. He improved and recreated the Taiji Tuishou, 13 Spear (staff), 13 Sabre, 4 Spear (staff), 4 Sabre and found a complete Wu (Hao) taijiquan system for us today.
Mr. Wu devoted all his life to the study of Taijiquan. He made great achievements, despite the limiting customs of his royal family. He only practiced taijiquan to amuse himself and was reluctant to teach students other than Li Yi-Yu, Li Qing-Xuan, Yang Ban-Hou.
Mr. Yang Ban-Hou, who lived from 1837 to 1892, was the second son of Mr. Yang Lu-Chan. When he was very young he grew sleepy while reading so Mr. Wu taught him taijiquan. By the time Mr. Yang was 20 years old, he was an accomplished martial artist. He went to Peking (Beijing) to help his father Mr. Yang Lu-Chan teach Taijiquan. With Mr. Wu and his father coaching, Mr. Yang Ban-Hou’s style was called Small Posture Yang Style. The founder of the other Wu (Woo) style, Mr. Wu Quan-You studied from Mr. Yang Ban-Hou.
Mr. Li Yi-Yu, the elder nephew of Mr. Wu Yu-Xing, is the second generation of Wu (Hao) style. He was also a scholar who was so influenced by Mr. Wu, he gave up their official career. Some masters said Li Yi-Yu may have surpassed the skills of Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang.
Besides perfecting his postures, he often challenged strong young men to verify what he learned. He would research and modify his skills, day and night, until he felt satisfied. Whenever he understood something, he would write it down on the wall. Today, the notes he and Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang made are still on the walls of the training hall of their home in Yongnian County. Eventually, he wrote the “5 Secret Words”, “Posture and Boxing Skills Application”, “The Secret of Pushing Hands”, “Post-Analysis of Wang Zhong-Yue theory”, “Thirteen Posture Song”, and a hand-written taijiquan manual personally calligraphed by Mr. Li Yi-Yu.
The Next Generations – Wu and Hao
Mr. Li Yi-Yu had the same limitation as the earlier taijiquan generations. Because of his royal status, Mr. Li Yi-Yu taught his skills to very few students.
One student was Mr. Hao Wei-Zheng (1849-1920). Born in Yongnian County to a poor family. Mr. Li Yi-Yu was very fond of him and allowed him to study taijiquan for many years. He mastered the expert skills of Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang and Mr. Li Yi-Yu.
Mr. Hao Wei-Zheng became an honest and respected teacher who had many disciples throughout China. However, Mr. Hao respected his master and grandmaster and never considered his boxing the Taijiquan of the Hao family. However, his students proved their skills so the Taijiquan of the Wu family is also called taijiquan of the Hao family. In the 1960’s, his grandson published a book on Taijiquan and called it Wu style Taijiquan. Today, we often call it Wu (Hao) style to give credit to both Mr. Wu and Mr. Hao.
From 1920-1930, Wu (Hao) style Taijiquan was widely spread. Mr. Hao Yueh-Ru (son), Mr. Zhang Zhen-Zong, Mr. Han Qin-Xian, Mr. Li Fu-Yiu, Mr. Fan Nian-Zu, Mr. Li Shen-Duan, Mr. Li Bao-Yu (who taught the Tung family Mr. Tung Yin-Jie), Mr. Zhong Hao-Tian, and Mr. Sun Lu-Tang (later he created Sun style Taijiquan) were all taught by Mr. Hao Wei-Zheng. Mr. Li Shen-Duan (1888-1948), along with Mr. Wang Peng-Nian and Mr. Hao Zhong-Tian, popularized Wu (Hao) style taijiquan. Most people who exercise Wu (Hao) style taijiquan in Xintai learned from Mr. Li Shen-Duan.
A top student of Mr. Li Shen-Duan was Mr. Chen Gu-An (1913-1992), a Chinese Muslim. He had the greatest influence in Xintai, China, where he was very famous for his martial arts skills in Wu (Hao), Chaquan, Baquazhang, and Xin-I-quan. When he was a young man, he was often challenged by martial artists.
wuwenhanMr. Wu Wen-Han was another top student of Mr. Li Shen-Duan. Born in 1928, retired, and still living in Beijing, Mr. Wu researches the Wu (Hao) taijiquan theory, application, and history. As one of China’s top taijiquan theorists, he has published many articles and enjoys an expert reputation in Yinfu Baquazhang and Xin-I-quan.
Wu (Hao) Today
The form has developed for more than 130 years from Qing Dynasty emperor Xian Feng to today. In the past, this taijiquan was hindered by reluctant ancestors and customs that frowned on teaching. Consequently, the practice’s followers were not widespread, but the skill set was very pure. Practitioners followed the classical theory created in the 1800s by Mr. Wu Yu-Xiang and Mr. Li Yi-Yu. Wu (Hao) is still practiced as it was and is prominent in Xintai, Handan, and Yongnian of Hebei Province. Also Taiyuan of Shanxi Province, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Guangzhou. It is now practiced outside China.
Mr. Jimmy Wong is responsible for transporting the art to Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, and New Jersey as well as Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and Peru.
The sixth generation has formed. In a direct lineage, Mr. Jimmy Wong is the closed-door disciple of Grandmaster Wu Wen-Han and was the closed-door disciple Grandmaster Chen Gu-An until the grandmaster’s death. In 1998, Mr. Wong’s student competed against the Chinese in the International Yongnian Taijiquan Championship in Handan, China, and won 1st place in Wu (Hao) form and Wu (Hao) Taiji sword.
Sifu Wong was granted the Grandmaster title of Wu (Hao) style by the China Yongnian Traditional Taijiquan National Association. At that time, he was the only person outside of China to receive this title. His classmate in China, Mr. Pang Da-Ming was also granted the Grandmaster title. His teacher, Mr. Wu Wen-Han was granted the Great Grandmaster title.
Mr. Wong’s mission is to spread this traditional taiji form throughout the world. Along with others, he founded the World Wu (Hao) Taijiquan Federation, an organization responsible for spreading the form to all interested persons. With the Online Study, now anyone can learn in any place from anywhere in the world!