Some Opinions on Studying Tai Ji Quan of Wu Style

Some Opinions on Studying Tai Ji Quan of Wu Style
    Tai Ji Quan of Wu style was founded by Wu Yuxiang (1812----1880). Its technique was benefited by Chen Qingping (1795----1868) of Wen County of Henan Province. Wu's theory was profited by the Treatise of Tai Ji Quan written by Wang Zongyue. Under the guidance of the Confucian theory, with the theory of Yin and Yang, the falsehood versus reality of the strategists in war fighting and the theory of energy channels and breath and blood of the Chinese traditional medicine, and on the base of practices, he founded a set of Tai Ji Quan including the methods of fighting, keeping in good health, keeping fit and some exercise patterns of sword and rod. He also changed the skill of one step of advancing and one step of retreating to three and a half steps of advancing and retreating respectively. On theories, he inherited Wang Zongyue and wrote Somc Advice of Practicing the Thirteen Skills, Some Explanation of Tai Ji Quan, Some Opinions of thc Treatise of Tai Ji Quan, the Concise Doctrine of the Thirteen Skills, the Secret Idiom in Four Words, etc. He formed a complete system of Tai Ji Quan inheriting the tradition, developing and bringing forth lots of new ideas, enhancing the theory, the skills, the weapons and the method of fight.
    Wu Yuxiang and his successor Li Yishe (1832----1892), Li Qixuan (1835----1900) were all the members of the family of Confucian school. They amused themselves by studying and practicing the boxing theory and skills, but very rare to accept apprentices, so just until the third generation He Weizhen, the Kung-fu of their style began spreading widely and became a sect around the state
The features of the boxing stance of Tai Ji of Wu style are as follows:
1. The stance is easy but the skills are difficult. The organization is reasonable, the operation is concise, and the skill is clear. It values the practice but not the showy movements.
     2.The attitude is serious, the body upright and the stance round. The hands protect the middle of Zhongtian, stretch forth not out of the tiptoe, and the elbows bend behind not onto the costal region. The left and the right are keeping connected and following each other, the upper and the lower are considered together, three sections and nine steps are associated as a whole, interior and exterior are joined closely, so all of the body is linked together well.
     3.The mind drives the breath to link the interior and the exterior; the breath drives the body to make it smooth. The skills change much, and the subtlety is on the waist.
     4.The beginning, the continuation, the changing and the ending are together. There are five curves on the body. The style is simple, gentle outside and firm inside, putting force into gentleness and implying magnificence into common things, so this skill has another state. presents the boxing theory, and the sophistication of Kung-fu. It arrives at the communality on the boxing theory, the stance and the methods, and forms the style" concise and meticulous, clear, simple and elegant, dignified and free."
    Now, I’ll attach herewith some important ideas to present some experiences about Tai Ji of Wu Style that I find when I practice the Tai Ji for reference.
    1. Zhong Zheng ---- Wu Yuxiang required walking and fighting should be "upright and hold by eight aspects" in The Explanation of The thirteen Skills, so it is called Zhong Zheng. "Zhong" means not to be aside. The movements should be well situated neither too much nor too little. "Zheng" means upright. No matter how the stances change, the shoulders and the body should keep in the situation of quadrilateral but not to wind. Only being upright can make the power complete. Tai Ji of Wu style puts Yin Yang as some converse substances and "Zhong Yong" (the Doctrine of the Mean) as its principle. Further more, falsehood shall be considered versus reality or being conversely for using. The boxing system is precise and the law is complete. It should be upright and observe the regulars. Liu He and Yin Yang will join together and effect with each other. The balance is symmetric, the root is deep, and the spirit is up to the top. Accumulating when still, the breath will be thick; nimble when move, the form will be elegant. When the interior and the exterior become together, it is better.
     2. An Shu ----"An" means that the manner is calm and the movements are not absurd; "Shu" means the movements are unfold and the breath is smooth. If Anshu, the manner will be elegant, the movements will be refined, and the spirit will be magnificent. Every skill is the complete set of the beginning, continuation, changing and the end. it couldn't only avoid being hasty and careless, but also smooth out the muscles and bones. So it can make one's breath and blood drive and move much better and his power stronger. After being familiar, it requires to be compact and careful. So, being compact and unfold are together. The hands move reasonably and the feet move correctly. It had the definite goal and does neatly.
      3. Rou Shun (Gentleness)----Wang Zongyue required the fighter “be proper and bend and stretch nimbly" in The Theory of Tai Ji. To arrive at this state, the body must be very yielding. To be yielding , it must be loose at first. Only if the body is loose, one can link the interior and the exterior and make the form follow the spirit, just as" the spirit is the empire and the form is the official". Slow, and the stance is correct; Move properly, and the eyes and the mind are together, the mind and the breath are mixed together, the breath and the body are combined together the body and the hands are moving together, the hands and the feet are joining together ,the feet and the waist are rounding together, so the six aspects are all together ". The body is loose and the movements are slow, so the gentleness is inside.
      4.Yuan He---Under the premise of "stand upright, and be hold by eight aspects", the boxing operation needs Yuan He, which takes the feet as axle, and forms the movement of spiral in solid, just like the movement of the planets, the "revolution" and the "rotation". The skill is clear but avoiding moving straight, just like a puppet. If the boxing has no fault the stance is right and the operation can stop and continue, the power will be "changed at eight aspects ".  The boxing is proper, the operation is skilled and the mind and the breath are harmonious, it is called "he". Getting harmonious and perfect, the boxing will be purified.
    5. Understanding the theory of boxing and knowing the method Hao Yueru said in Thc skills and Fighting of Tai Ji Yuan, "if you want to practice the boxing, you must understand its theory." The theory of boxing is the direction to do the boxing, only if you know the theory you will have the standard of boxing. Through the movement to know the "theory" and "skill" of every stance, you can practice better. The advanced stage of Wu style requires the apprentices to know the names, familiar to the degree sand, clear to the methods and understand the possible change of each stance. Knowing the regulations, observing the regulations and theng ettingoff the regulations and merging into the regulations, you could make your spirit , your mind, your breath and your body mixed together.
      in a word, it must be fast rather than confused, slow rather than off, strange rather than nervous and familiar rather than careless. You must observe the regulations from the beginning to the end.

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