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History

Wu YuXiang 武禹襄 (1812–1880) was a  scholar and government official in Yongnian county, Hebei, during the late Qing dynasty. Wu was a from a wealthy and influential family, he dedicated his life to the study and research of martial arts along with his two older brothers Wu Chengqing 武澄清 and Wu Ruqing 武汝清 . Wu Yuxiang’s art became known as Wu style Taiji Quan 武式太极拳, he collected and created a body of written work on his art of Taiji Quan, which later became known as the Taiji Quan Lun (Tai chi classics) His only disciple was his nephew Li Yiyu 李啟軒 (1835-1899). Li Yiyu practiced medicine as a profession and devoted much of his spare time to researching, and further developing the art with his uncle, he also took on as a disciple his neighbour Hao He 郝和 (1849–1920), known as Hao Weizhen 郝為真 , for whom he made one of only three handwritten copies of the Wu/Li family Taiji Quan manual.

Hao Weizhen became a well known master, further refining the art and its practice, developing the 81-posture form. Closely associated with the martial arts community in Hebei, beginning in 1914 he also taught in Beijing where his students included Sun Lutang 孫祿堂 (1860-1933) the founder of Sun style Taiji Quan, Hao weizhen’s contributions in developing and spreading the art, and in training the founders of all subsequent Wu (Hao) lineages, as well as the further contributions of his son and grandson — are why many include the Hao family name when referring to this style 武郝太極拳

Hao Weizhen’s son Hao Yueru 郝月如 (1877-1935) and grandson Hao Shaoru 郝少如 (1907-1983) brought the art from Yongnian to the Nanjing region and Shanghai in 1930. Building on the form created by his father Hao Weizhen, Hao Yueru developed the 96-posture form and his son Hao Shaoru developed a shortened 49-posture version of the same form, designed to be accessible to people who practice tai chi for health, while still offering a martial core with lessons on internal power and other advanced aspects of the art to intermediate and advanced students. They were well known for their focus on the internal aspects of “Yi” 意 (“Intention”) and “Qi” 氣 (“Energy”) in martial applications.

Hao Shaoru paused his public teaching in the 1950s, but was invited by the government to lead a new class in Shanghai in 1960, and in 1963 published the seminal book Wu Style Taijiquan  武式太极拳 which focused on the 96-posture form. Liu Jishun 劉積順 (1930-) became the second student in that 1960 class. Pu Gongda 浦公達/达, (1905-1997) being the first. A practitioner of Tui Na and other aspects of traditional chinese medicine, master Liu continued training with Hao Shaoru until Hao’s death in 1983. In 1981 master Liu was selected by Hao Shaoru to begin representing the lineage alongside top artists from other styles at events in Yongnian and elsewhere.

Master Liu trained a new generation of disciples and other students in China, serving as vice president and then president of the Shanghai Wu Style Taijiquan Research Association in the 1980s. He also accepted disciples from the United Kingdom, including the head of the British Jing Wu athletics association , Huang JiFu 黄济复 (1935-1995), and two more UK disciples who have in turn trained several British national push hands champions and founded Hao style Taiji Quan 郝式太极拳 schools in the UK and Singapore.