~ Wu Style T’ai Chi Sequence Background ~
© Margaret Emerson
Kao Ching-hua (Madelaine Kao Leonida) learned this form as a girl in pre- Revolutionary China. She was living in Wuxi, not far from Shanghai, where her father had a silk factory. Madelaine was an athlete in high school, excelling in track, when she began to have fainting spells. Her parents consulted Chinese and Western doctors. None knew how to deal with what Madelaine believes was a heart ailment. An herbalist suggested she learn T’ai Chi. A friend of the family instructed her in this Wu style that was taught to the upper classes. Because it was practiced by people who didn’t have to defend themselves (they had others to do that for them), the emphasis shifted away from the martial toward mental and physical fitness and meditation. Within a year, Madelaine was back on the track, succeeding as an athlete again.