The Development Of Wu Jian Quan Style
-----Wu Jian Quan style Taijiquan is second in popularity only after the Yang style of Taijiquan. It is in fact representative of the Yang style Small Frame which was developed and taught by Yang Lu Chan, the founder of the Yang style, for the students in the Imperial Court.
-----The founder of Wu Jian Quan style Taijiquan is Wu Jian Quan's father Quan Yu (1834-1902). Quan Yu was one of Yang Lu Chan's top students and was said to have gained his master's skill in evasive techniques. He worked as a bodyguard in the Imperial Court and was Manchurian by race. Wu Jian Quan (1870-1942) did the most to popularise this style of Taijiquan and the style is named after him. Because of his efforts, many people came to learn this style of Taijiquan and his form soon became the accepted standard for this style.
----When Yang Lu Chan began teaching in the Imperial Court through the recommendation of Wu Yu Xiang's brother. He encountered conditions which merited a modification to the form he normally taught. The Imperial Court Dress had long sleeves and long robes which made certain movements awkward, these factors had to be taken into account in order for the art to be used effectively for combat in such clothes.
What resulted was the Yang style Small Frame. This is primarily a modification of the Old Yang Form to take into account these factors. It was smaller in terms of movements and its postures allowed combat in the restrictive clothes of the Imperial Court.
----Because the Yang Small Frame was different from the Old Yang Form that Yang Lu Chan taught before he was in the Imperial Court and at his private classes. There arose a misunderstanding that he taught a watered down `Manchurian' directed form in the Imperial Court and a secret `Han' form to his family and close students. This was not the case, his family knew the Small Frame and taught it as well and some of the Imperial Court members like Wang Lan Ting who practiced outside with him also practiced the Old Yang Form. Other than the postural modifications to take into account the dressing differences, the art remained essentially the same.
----After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, in order to integrate into the predominant Han population, Quan Yu adopted a Han surname Wu for his family. Thus in some references he is referred to simply as Quan Yu and some refer to him as Wu Quan Yu.
----The style was not taught publicly until Xu Yu Sheng, Yang Jian Hou's disciple established his association in Beijing and invited Wu Jian Quan to teach there. Quan Yu taught his son martial arts from a young age and Wu Jian Quan grew up an accomplished martial artist . When Wu Jian Quan first began to teach in Beijing, he taught the Yang Small Frame as handed down by his father, Quan Yu. and can be regarded as the old Wu Jian Quan form. This is the form taught by Jim Williams. The form itself is still quite similar to Wu Jian Quan's later form and besides minor variations, it remains essentially the same.