The Philadelphia studio traces its lineage to the teachings of Grandmaster Liu Yun-Qiao (1909-92) who was born and raised in Hebei Province (province surrounding Beijing). Grandmaster Liu began martial arts training at age 5, served in the Chinese army against the Japanese invasion of the late 1930s, and fled with the Chinese Nationalists to Taiwan in 1949 where he continued to serve in a military role. There, Grandmaster Liu became the Safety Advisor of the Presidential Palace and trained bodyguards for the presidents of Taiwan. Grandmaster Liu passed away at age 83 in Taiwan on January 21, 1992.
While in Taiwan, Grandmaster Liu gathered what he considered the most effective forms of martial arts into a training system that embodies the best internal and external conditioning, physical and mental discipline, and Chinese philosophy. This system was named Wu Tan, sometimes translated as “martial platform,” but bearing the meaning of a “place where the martial arts are revered”. His purpose was to organize, research and exalt authentic Chinese martial arts.
By 1992, when he passed away, Grandmaster Liu and his disciples had instructed more than thirty thousand students and were on the teaching staff of over 20 colleges. Since then, the Wu Tang Chinese Martial Arts Center has become the largest and most popular independent Kung-Fu school in Taiwan. Grandmaster Liu’s effort in the development of Wu Tang played a crucial role in the modern history of Chinese martial arts by bringing the accessibility and popularity of Kung-Fu training back into the Chinese community.
The Wu Tang system revolves around 5 major forms: Baji-Quan, Tai Chi, Pigua Zhang, Tan-Lang, and Bagua Zhang. The fighting form which sets the Wu-Tang school apart from all other schools is Baji-Quan. The Baji (8 extremities) form originated in Hebei Province and was known to exist since at least the beginning of the Ching (Manchu) Dynasty (1644-1908).
Baji is a very practical and powerful style designed to intercept and cut down an opponent as quickly as possible. This is one of the reasons that it was often adopted as the fighting style for the bodyguards of the imperial palace and subsequently, protection of Chiang Kai-shek and other government officials in Taiwan. Its outward appearance is hard and explosive, but its underlying source of power is generated from internal cultivation of energy.