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Wu (Hao) Taichi Quan was first invented by Grand Master Wu Yuxiang
during the era of Emperor Xianfeng, Qing Dynasty.
Wu Yuxiang (1812 – 1880) was born in the Wu family in Guangfu town, Yongnian county, Hebei Province, China. His name at birth was Wuqing but he was later also known as Yuxiang. He and his two elder brothers Wu Qingqing and Wu Ruqing were born in a well-to-do family. They were all well educated. Both his elder brothers were high ranked civil servants in other cities. Wu Yuxiang was a scholar. He stayed in his hometown working as a teacher and spent a lot of time studying Tai Chi. The three brothers had been dedicated novices in both literature and martial art when they were young. And their dedications never diminished. His family was wealthy, owning two tea shops on the East and West streets in the city. Later, the West street shop was let to Chen Dehu whose origin was from Chen town, Wen county, Henan Province, to open a Chinese medicine shop named Taihetang.
During the era of Emperor Daoguang, one of Wu Yuxiang’s close friends who stayed in the same village was Yang Luchan (1799-1872), the founder of Yang-style Taichi. He came back after studying Taichi martial art with Chen Jiagou at Chen town, Wen county, Henan Province. Wu Yuxiang had the chance to practice Taichi with Yang Luchan many times. However, he felt that Yang Luchan still could not comprehend the real core of Taichi, and the only way to find out was to meet his master himself. During the second year of Xianfeng Governor era (1852), his elder brother Wu Qingqing (1800-1884) passed a test and became a "Jin Sue" (an official scholar title), and was appointed to be a city governor of Wuyang county, Henan province. One day, his mother requested that Wu Yuxiang visit his brother at Wuyang. While travelling, Wu Yuxiang decided to stop by Chen county in order to meet Yang Luchan’s Master, Chen Changxing (1771-1853). However, when he arrived at Chen county, he found that Chen Changxing had already passed away (he died at the age of 82).
Later, he was recommended by the owner of Taihetang Chinese pharmacy shop in Yongnian county that there was a martial art expert in Zhaobao county named Chen Mingqing who was very excellent in Taichi and that it was very difficult to find someone of his caliber. Therefore, he decided to go to the county and practice with Chen Mingqing. And completely learned theories and its in-depth sophisticated principles in only one and a half months. In addition, he also got an ancient Taichi book written by Wang Zongyue from his brother who found the book secretly stored in a salt shop in Wuyang city. After Wu Yuxiang came back to Guangfu, he began to study from the book carefully. After a while, he had many chances to fight against many big and strong martial artists. All of them were defeated by Wu Yuxiang. This is an important evidence of the Taichi skills that he had been practicing. Two years after studying and practicing Taichi on his own, his skill improved to a very high level.
Wu Yuxiang discovered many important rules of Taichi from his own practice and understood the core knowledge of the ancient internal martial art book thoroughly. He also incorporated his experience from his own practice with other knowledge such as the Arts of Wars, full-empty-true-false theory, knowledge of Chinese medical Qigong line in the human body, Taoist and Tui-na medical method, holding and releasing fighting power as well as promptness of lifting and releasing. After many years of analyzing with full efforts, he founded Wu-style Taichi boxing, his martial art skill became extraordinary.
In addition, Wu Yuxiang also used Taichi theory and principle to develop a set of posture of Taichi boxing that combined both martial and health aspects together. He also developed a set of Postures of Wu (Hao) Taichi Jian (Chinese sword), 13 Postures of Wu (Hao) Tai Chi Long spear, attacking and defending, fighting posture set, development of pushing hand with footwork by stepping back three and a half steps and forward three and a half steps, and the most important is Wu-style Taichi which has been uniquely developed in accordance with Taichi theory and principle. In addition, he wrote many books about principle and theory of Taichi such as thirteen postures practice, an explanation of Taichi boxing, the principle of important theory on Taichi boxing, an explanation of thirteen postures, four secret key words of Taichi boxing, eight important secrets of Taichi postures, the important things in hand pushing etc. All these books and writings were famous martial arts foundations and became perfect educational references for learning Taichi boxing. They were the results of the great devotion of the Grand Master in order to develop a perfect Taichi theory which remains unsurpassable until now.
Gu Liuxin, the great famous martial artist said about Wu Yuxiang’s works that they are short but very precise and accurate. Wu Yuxiang had only one disciple which was his own nephew named Li Yishe.