Mr. Wu passed away Saturday August 13, 1994. He was 87 years old and has been a resident of Palo Alto, California since 1973. He was born on September 14, 1907 in China. Mr. Wu graduated from Nankai University in 1930. He was a Rockefeller Foundation Scholar studying at Harvard and the University of Chicago between 1934 and 1936.
Mr. Wu married Teng Shu-hsien in September 1936. He was Professor of Economics at Nankai University between 1936 and 1945. He wrote many learned articles and was part of a team of specialists planning the economic reconstruction of China prior to 1949. He was known as one of "the three Wu brothers of Nankai University" (Da-ren is an internationally known mathematician who was Chancellor of the University, Ta-you is an internationally known nuclear physicist who retired after many years of service as Director of the Academia Sinica in the Republic of China, Taiwan). Between 1946 and 1949, Mr. Wu was a special economic advisor to the Bank of China in Shanghai and a Professor of Economics at Ling Nam University in Canton (now Sun Yat-san University).
He was appointed to the United Nations in 1947. He specialized in developmental issues of developing countries and was the Chief of the Economic Analysis and Survey Branch of the Research and Planning Division at the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), the United Nation's regional headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. In 1966, on special request of the Singapore government, the United Nations assigned him to be a special economic adviser to the government of newly independent Singapore. In 1971, Mr. Wu was appointed to be a special economic advisor to the Economic Co-Operation Commission in Tai-pei for the government of the Republic of China, Taiwan.
In 1973, he retired to Palo Alto where he and his wife founded the Taijiquan Exercise Tutorial (which later became the Taijiquan Tutelage of Palo Alto). He and his wife learned Taijiquan in the early 1960's from Mr. Tung Hu-ling, a master of the art, and this exercise was key to maintaining his health in later years. Mr. Wu published many articles elevating the art of Taijiquan in English and in Chinese. Mr. Wu devoted the 21 years of his retirement life to teaching Taijiquan and writing the most comprehensive book on Taijiquan. The book is intended to be both a practical guidebook for beginners, a workbook for advanced students, and a scholarly reference source for teachers and researchers. It is currently being finalized by members of the school.
Mr. Wu's main aim in practicing and teaching Taijiquan was health improvement. Although he emphasized the healing aspects of Taijiquan, he always used the martial applications to clarify the movements.
In his youth, Mr. Wu suffered from tuberculosis and had congenital heart disease. He also suffered from severe arthritis while in his forties. The arthritic condition was sometimes so bad that he, while in his late forties, was unable to even sign his name. At that time his nicknames were "Medicine Chest" and "Encyclopedia of Diseases." He was not expected to live past the age of 60 years old. He started studying Taijiquan at the age of fifty, and reversed his health condition. Mr. Wu lived almost to the age of 87, and was rarely bothered by arthritis or heart trouble beyond the age of fifty. All of this he attributed to the practice of Taijiquan.
Wu Ta-yeh taught Taijiquan in the greatest of detail, diverging from the usual Chinese method of silent teaching in which the students just followed the teacher, picking up the form according to their own ability to observe and mimic the movements with minimal corrections.
The refined teaching methods and principles developed by Mr. and Mrs. Wu continue to be taught here at the Taijiquan Tutelage of Palo Alto.