This is a really important question!

All tai chi styles are excellent. The differences between the styles are all for good reasons - nothing is random in tai chi, as it has been developed over hundreds of years, by the masters of all the various styles.

In Wu style, everything you learn that seems basic stuff, is actually going to become vitally important as you go up through the levels. This is because tai chi is an internal martial art, not an external one. Thus anything you do that seems an external and simple movement, will later have the internal aspects added, when you have progressed far enough to start learning those.  In other words, if you don't do the basic stuff, you will not be able to progress to the higher levels.

The really important basics include: warm ups, five elements meditation, sticking and tai chi walking:

  • Warm ups aren't random, but are all designed to (a) loosen the joints over time and (b) each one has a specific purpose, which your instructor will explain to you.
  • five elements meditation is designed to (a) improve your connection to feeling your weighting in the feet and (b) help you feel time has slowed down if you are in a stressful situation, so that you can cope with calm reactions.
  • sticking is absolutely essential if you want to learn the martial aspects. Without developing stickiness, then applications will only ever be brute force, which is not the tai chi way.
  • tai chi walking. This is the one that's most surprising to people from other styles. It really is essential and I do it myself every day, though after 8 years, I now do it with the internal practises too - though this looks absolutely identical to the observer; after all they can't see what's going on inside my body! Tai chi walking helps with all sorts of things, not just making your posture look and feel good, but also with Pushing Hands practise too.

Anyway, if you want to be good at any style of tai chi, do those basic practises regularly - with Wu style *really* spend your time on them, as this will help you improve, and help you prepare yourself for the higher level stuff later on.