Master Wu Chien Chuan –吳鑑泉 (1870 – 1942)
Second generation: Son of Wu Chuan Yau
Master Wu Chien Chuan was originally employed by the Ching court in the palace battalion of the Imperial Guards. After the emperor Puyi abdicated the throne, Chief of General Staff Yin Chang recommended Master Wu Chien Chuan to President Li Yuan Hong. In 1914, he was appointed to the Eleventh Cops of the Presidential Body Guards as a military instructor and martial arts advisor by the government. Among his students were Chiefs of Staff Chang I Ke, Tuan Chih Kui, Lu Mian and others,
His influence of the development of the Wu Style was very significant. Master Wu Chien Chuan modified and streamlined the existing forms taught to him by his father. He utilized a narrower circle and created many new ways to apply the forms in a practical manner.
In 1916, he co-founded a famous martial arts school in Beijing with colleagues Master Xi-Yiu Seng, Yang Shoa Hoa (Yang Shou Hou) and Yang Cheng Fu. Tai Chi Chuan once the private domain of kings and military men was finally made available to the general public.
The Institute recruited more than sixty students from the teaching ranks of high schools and universities throughout Beijing. Third generation Masters brothers Wu Kung Yi and Wu Kung Cho were among the first graduates. Because of the excellent results achieved by students there, the institute won the praise of the Beijing University Dean Tsai Yuan Pei who recommended to the Ministry of Education that the Institute be moved to a new location and expanded. The new institute was named the Beijing School of Physical Education. Students were selected from the provinces to go to the capital and train at the school for a two year period. After returning to their respective provinces they became Wushu teachers. This aided the spread of Wu style Tai Chi Chuan throughout China.
In 1928, Master Wu Chien Chuan moved south to Shanghai where he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Shanghai Martial Arts Association. Subsequently, he became the supervisor of the Tai Chi Chuan Section of the famous Ching Wu Sports Association.
In 1935, he established the first Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Shanghai. It was directed by Master Wu Chien Chuan himself, with his son-in-law Ma Yue Liang as vice-director.