Even within Wu style, there are degrees of inclination. Seeing the Shanghai pictures brings that to mind. Also, we teach that k'ao can be accomplished without leaning into it, probably 50% of the time it is used in freestyle, IME.
One thing that I've been told is that the emphasis on leaning is for training, so that over time we can become comfortable in that extended range of motion. We don't necessarily fight that way. Our sparring probably looks a lot more like the other styles than one would think from the forms. Yang and Ch'en style, with their feet farther apart, have similar ranges, of course, they are achieved differently due to the footwork.
I have also been told is that the primary difference between Wu style and the other styles is the fundamental footwork, which predicates the inclination alignments.
[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 05-28-2005).]