How I began to study taijiquan as a young boy
Dr. Wu BaoYuan, my first Taijiquan teacher
Dr. Wu was one of the early students of Professor Yao. They met at ZhengDan University, where Dr. Wu studied medicine, and Professor Yao read Classical Chinese and English.
Every Sunday afternoon Dr. Wu and his students practised Taijiquan in the garden of his mother-in-law's house. The garden was big enough to practise at leisure with about a dozen students - before the revolution the family was quite rich and had a garden of more than 200 square meters.
Dr. Wu taught me the standing postures such as the basic standing position, An, Bai.He Lian Chi (White crane spreads its wings) and Ti Shou Shang Shi (Lift the hand). He taught me the basic Yang style form and pushing hands. I still practise what I learnt from him.
Dr. Wu was not tall, at just 1.69 metres, but he was very strong with piercing eyes. During pushing hands he often told me to run very quickly towards him in order to push him. When I was just in front of him, he would lift his arm, or move his foot, and I would feel a pushing force and fall backwards, or a pulling force and be pulled forwards to just in front of the wall. He would use different Taijiquan postures during pushing hands: he would name the one he was going to use, and then do it with one of his students, who would invariably be thrown aside. Some of his students were much taller than him -he looked like a child next to them - but he would control them completely. Dr. Wu would also use Taiji forces to heal his patients.