Grandmaster Wu Kuo Chung R.I.P.
On the 29th June, 2016 at 7pm, Grandmaster Wu Kuo Chung passed away at the age of 84 (85 in Chinese years). His funeral ceremony was held in Taiwan on the 17th July, 2016. It was attended by family members, Tai Chi students from around the world, and a host of political and business dignitaries. To mark the event, students from the Taiwan Shen Long Tai Chi Association gave a demonstration of Tai Chi as a final farewell to their distinguished and devoted teacher. Also, the coffin was draped in both the Nationalist Party flag and the national flag of the Republic of China by government representatives as a reminder that Grandmaster Wu was also a national hero during the war with Communist China.
Wu Kuo Chung was born in 1932 in Zhejiang Province, China. At the age of nine, he began learning martial arts from his father. After his father’s death, at the age of 16 he joined the army and later followed the nationalist army to Taiwan in 1949. In 1954 he was posted to Jinmen (Kinmen) Island, where he became platoon leader of a special forces group that later became known as “Special Shen Long Commandoes”. He led 47 raids on mainland China during which time he single-handled captured three communist frogmen. He married when he was 28 years old. Later following a bout of liver disease, he was forced to retire from the army after 17 years of service.
Working for many years as a civil servant, it was during this time he met several well-known Tai Chi practitioners to spar with. This only reinforced his feeling that Tai Chi was just a sport for health, hardly effective as a fighting art. However, in 1971, he was introduced to Professor Cheng Man Ching, who effortlessly though him against the wall several times. This convinced Wu to become his disciple, and whenever Professor Cheng was in Taiwan, he would follow him daily from seven in the morning to seven in the evening. It was only in February, 1975, that Professor Cheng accepted Wu as a disciple of the Internal Techniques of Zuo Lai Peng, which he had learnt from Grandmaster Zhang Qin Lin.
After Professor Cheng’s death in the same year, Wu Kuo Chung opened the Shen Long Martial Arts School. In February 1976, he travelled to Japan to demonstrate so-called Cheng Style Tai Chi. From 1981 to 1985 he taught in the USA. In 1989 he emigrated to Australia, and travelled to and from Taiwan. In 1992 he established the Taiwan Shen Long Tai Chi Association, and in 2001 the current headquarters in Miao Li County was built. Shen Long Tai Chi is now represented in at least ten countries.
Although, many of Professor Cheng’s students denied the existence of the Zuo Style Internal Techniques, Grandmaster Wu upheld this belief and in 2014, the home of the Zuo Style, San Qing Temple, was discovered in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China. One of Grandmaster Wu’s final achievements was to build a smaller replica of the San Qing Temple at the Shen Long headquarters. This is a final testament to the achievements and contributions of Professor Cheng and Grandmaster Wu to the art of Traditional Taoist Tai Chi Chuan.
May Grandmaster Wu Kuo Chung rest in peace.