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Part 7: The Development Of Sun Style Taijiquan




Sun style Taijiquan was developed by the famous martial artist Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932) also known as Sun Fu Quan. It contained the essence of his martial arts experience and techniques. Sun was famous also for his Pa Kua and Hsing-I which he learned from famous masters. He was already highly skilled when he came to learn Taijiquan and in the later part of his life, taught it as his preferred art.

Sun style Taijiquan is the most recently developed of the five major styles which were taught when Taijiquan was first made public. His great reputation as a martial artist made Sun a sought after master but Sun never taught his art to promote violence, he taught it to promote peace and good health. His form of Taijiquan incorporated what he felt were the key elements of Pa Kua and Hsing-I into the framework and theories of Taijiquan.

Having learnt from the great Hao Wei Chen (1849-1920). Sun's own form of Taijiquan retains many of its characteristics like the high standing and emphasis on opening and closing. With more emphasis on mobile stepping, Sun's Taijiquan is often referred to as the active step small form of Taijiquan.

In order to more fully understand Sun Taijiquan, we must first examine the arts which Sun Lu Tang studied and for which he was famous for. Even though Sun Lu Tang is a recent historical figure, there is much legendary material about him. Fortunately, his daughter Sun Jian Yun is still around to provide us authentic details into the life of her father. A diary of his which recorded his experiences in martial arts was stolen, a great loss to the martial arts community, perhaps one day it will be recovered and the precious wisdom of a great martial artist be shared with the martial artists of the world.

Through the efforts of Sun Lu Tang's family and students, and his great reputation as a martial artist, Sun style Taijiquan is quite well known and is practiced in many countries. Since the liberalisation of China, Sun Jian Yun, his daughter, has been able to meet with foreign enthusiasts adding new impetus to the promotion of the style. Sun Taijiquan stylists from China are also beginning to make their presence felt throughtout the world. Both bringing the precious treasure of the life work of Sun Lu Tang and the spirit which he taught and lived to all.

Sun Lu Tang The Man

Sun Lu Tang was born poor and physically weak, the son of a poor farmer. Though he was very poor, Sun's father bartered the produce he grew for Sun's education. Sun was a very intelligent child and progressed quickly in his studies. Unfortunately, he only managed to study for a few years. Due to a bad season, his father could not afford let him continue his studies and due to the Imperial Tax, his father was forced to sell all that he had. And to make the situation even worse, he died shortly after that.

So poor was Sun and his mother that in the end, his mother had to beg a rich man to take Sun in as a servant so that he would at least not go hungry. The man saw that Sun was frail and weak, so he said he would provide him with food but would not pay him any money. The man's son was a bully and would beat Sun any chance he got. For the sake of his mother, Sun endured the suffering and worked hard for his keep.

Later he studied martial arts with a local teacher, who was skilled in the external school of martial arts. Sun wanted to learn martial arts in the beginning because he didn't want to be bullied by the rich man's son. But he soon developed a genuine love for the martial arts. He was a quick study and his teacher taught him quickly. Later, because he injured a member of the rich man's family when he tried to beat him, he was fired from his job and returned home to his mother.

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