Wu Tai Chi is very characteristic, because of its distinctive features:
Α) Small, short movements in the Form.
The Wu form is a small frame form. Its movements are small, short and centered to the central line of the body. Thus, the techniques of the form are more realistic to the parameters of a real encounter. The students learn to move protecting their vital organs and move with a power that springs from their center – and this is very important. Also, these short movements help the mind not be distracted from the external, muscular aspect of a movement (which is the main focus of the External / Hard styles), and to concentrate on the finer, internal movements and techniques. In this way, the student explores and expresses the power of the tendons and the joints, which are the main focus of the Soft / Internal Styles like Tai Chi Chuan.
Β) Tall stance.
In the Wu style form, as well as in Pushing Hands, the legs are slightly bent and the stance is tall. The reasons are the same as above, plus because high stances protect the knees and allow greater flexibility and speed.
C) Weight transfer 100% on the leg that holds the body.
This is done in the form of the Wu style and in Pushing Hands. Thus, the thighs are strengthened, the practitioner gains perfect balance and the pelvis is free and rotates easily (the pelvis plays a very important role in Wu Tai Chi Chuan). Then, the practitioner learns to move properly under the most challenging circumstances. If somebody gains the ability to move easily while all his weight rests on one leg, then he can move perfectly under any circumstances.
D) The feet are always parallel.
As in the above case, this is done for practice. If a practitioner can move easily and in a balanced way with parallel feet (this is considered quite difficult), then he will be able to hold any stance easily.
Ε) The trunk leans forward.
In the front stances of the Wu forms, as well as in Pushing Hands, the trunk leans on the leg to which the body weight falls (probably this is the most distinctive feature of the Wu style). When the practitioner achieves this (it is quite difficult), then the spine is fully aligned. This alignment is of paramount importance not only for any serious Tai Chi practitioner, but also for students who practice Tai Chi for health reasons. In any case, the Classic texts of Tai Chi Chuan give great emphasis to this complete alignment of the spine – it is considered a trademark of quality. Also, with this way the practitioner manages to throw all his weight on one leg, something that cannot be achieved in any other way. Finally, the frontal bent of the spine is an intelligent way of exercise under difficult circumstances. Thus, when the student gains proficiency in this, he will be able to hold easily any stance.
F) The coccyx is tucked in.
The tucking of the coccyx during all exercises (Form, Pushing Hands, fighting applications, Chi Kung etc.) is not a distinctive feature of Wu Tai Chi Chuan, as it exists in all serious styles. However, in Wu style great emphasis is placed continually in this suspension. The reason for this is that thanks to this suspension, the whole spine and the body are aligned. Thus, the student gains the ability to produce very strong power.
Concluding, it should be mentioned that Wu style stresses the detailed analysis of movement, the deep internal work, the Pushing Hands exercises and the explanation, analysis and application of the movements of the forms in engagement.