This section is dedicated to questions on Wu Style Tai Chi from many students all over the world. If you have a question that you would like to ask you can ask it here: Contact Stephen
thankyou and take care,
Wu -Shoulder Width Stance?
QUESTION from Rob: Hi Stephen would like to say how much I enjoy your videos on tai chi and meditation. Are you the same lineage as Eddy Wu? I notice with his step by step approach it has good internal dynamics but no flow, also a much narrower stance. There is a 2 part video of a lady Wu Yang Xia that looks impressive but her stance is so narrow, I thought one of the tenents of Wu Style was shoulder width stance? What are your thoughts on this please?
ANSWER: Hi Rob, Thankyou for your kind words about the videos. I am not in the same branch of the lineage as Eddy Wu. The Wu lineage that I follow goes from Wu Chien-Chaun - Wu Ying-Hua / Ma Yeuh-Liang - Li Li-Qun- Sam Li, I am an indoor disciple of Sam Li. The forms I teach are the same as the 3rd lineage holders of Wu Tai Chi - Wu Ying-Hua and Ma Yeuh-Liang, my teacher and his father before him were very careful to keep the complete system intact.
Eddy Wu practices Wu Square Form which is one of the main branches in the Wu lineage but the interpretation is different from how I have been trained with individual movements being performed separate from the body movement. The way I have been taught all movements must be combined, nothing separate, in this way the understanding of the form is very different. I looked at the video you referred to, it is also of Square Form. The question referring to stance, I do not know what the guidelines for Square Form are so can only speak from what I have been taught and through my experience.
For training in Wu Style the stance is usually set at shoulder width apart as this is part of the body mechanics of the small frame tai chi. If a person is tall they can widen their stance to strengthen their legs and lower their centre of gravity. This is especially useful for training in Pushing Hands. At higher levels of development in Wu Tai Chi the stance can get very small, You can observe this in videos of Ma Yeuh-Liang pushing hands or Li Li-Qun. They can do this because they have mastered the flow of their Qi and mind and no longer need to rely on their physical body posture to sink or return the energy. The form becomes completely internal.
I hope you find this helpful, take care
QUESTION from Rob: I think I have already said how I am enjoying the tai chi forgot too mention the warm ups video. On the first wrist loosener i feel the chi spread from hands to chest and the second one as I rotate my elbows its as if i am pumping water from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, fantastic. I have a question about unweighted turns, I see in Eddy Wu's version after Sparrows Turn they push straight out then turn the foot to the corner with the weight on it. I notice this gives more torque to single whip do you always use unweighted turns? Rob
ANSWER: Hi Rob, I looked but could not find a video of Eddie Wu doing this part of the form where I could view his feet so I can only comment from what I have been taught by my teacher. In the lineage I have been taught in there are empty weighted turns and what appears to be weighted turns. Empty weighted turns are performed by shifting the weight off the leg you wish to turn first so that it is fully yin, most postures in Slow Form use this.
There are a number of postures in the form that use what appears to be weighted turns such as single whip.To perform these turns you do not empty the turning leg fully into yin but instead as you are shifting the weight from one leg to another you internally bring your weight and balance into your duntien / waist making your legs light allowing you to turn your foot, this is controlled by the waist not legs. The feeling is similar to lifting a sack from one side of a log to another, with practice we can raise and shift our weight internally.
This is a mechanic which has come from the original Wu Fast Form which is the mother of todays Slow Form, it follows different rules to Slow Form because of its different purpose and some of its attributes have been carried over.