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There, he was only interested in martial arts and would not work but spent his time practicing. In order to relieve his mother's burden, he often ate wild vegetables which he found in the country side. Things got so bad that he decided that he wouldn't be a burden on his mother any more and commited suicide by hanging himself. Fortunately for posterity, two men saw him hang himself and quickly cut him down, bringing him back to his mother. They told him that no matter how bad things got, it was not worth dying. They gave him some money and left.

Sun and his mother used the money to send Sun to live with his uncle. His uncle owned a calligraphy shop and Sun would help in his uncle's shop. His uncle was a kindly man and would not only feed and house him but also pay him for his work in the shop. Through his uncle's contacts, he met his first internal martial arts teacher and learned Hsing-I Quan.

Later, he would go and live with his teacher and train full time. To progress further, he would later learn Pa Kua under the famous Pa Kua master Cheng T'ing Hua. All this time, Sun was very respectful of his mother and made sure that she was well taken care of. So great was his love and respect of his mother that when he visited her grave, he would take a bow every five steps.

Sun taught at many places and because of his skill became a famous martial arts teacher. Always heeding his teachers' words, he always taught martial arts in terms of morality and never advocated violence and even turned away students who wanted to take up martial arts to learn how to fight. He once said that if somebody wanted to fight, he should use a gun.

Later Sun would meet up with Hao Wei Chen, the famous Wu Yu Xiang style Taijiquan master and learn Taijiquan from him. Sun later integrated Pa Kua and Hsing-I principles into his Taijiquan and developed his own style of Taijiquan. He also wrote books on the internal martial arts he practiced and these have become important works for the martial arts community.

There are many legends about the man but as Sun Jian Yun, his daughter, cautions, her father was an exceptional martial artist but he was not superhuman. Sun always stressed that the keys to success in martial arts was to persevere in correct practice.

Sun Lu Tang's First Martial Art

Sun Lu Tang's first martial art was an external martial art. He learned Shaolin Hung Boxing from his teacher, surnamed Wu, who had studied for two years at the Shaolin Temple. He also learned the light work skill (qing gong) from his teacher.

His teacher was highly skilled and Sun was very talented. Sun gained a very good martial arts foundation from him and received a firm grounding for the internal martial arts.

Sun Lu Tang And Hsing-I Quan

Sun Lu Tang got to meet his first Hsing-I Quan teacher through friends of his uncle. His uncle's scholar friend, surnamed Chang, was impressed with his calligraphy and allowed him to visit him at any time to learn more about calligraphy. During his spare time, Sun would also go over there to practice his martial arts. It was during one of these sessions that one of the scholar's friends, Li Kuei Yuan. Li found Sun to be intelligent and upright and having a good martial arts background. He offered to teach Sun Hsing-I Quan which he had learned from the famous Kuo Yun Shen.

Sun studied hard and soon learnt all that Li had to teach him. In order to help Sun progress further, Li recommended Sun to study under his teacher Kuo Yun Shen and went with Sun to study under Kuo together. Kuo was very impressed with the progress Sun had made in Hsing-I Quan and taught him diligently. So agile was Sun at his Hsing-I that Kuo nicknamed him the `lively monkey'.

Kuo worked Sun hard and taught him all he knew. After eight years, he graduated Sun and presented to him the Hsing-I manual he had received from his (Kuo) teacher Li Neng Jan. Kuo told Sun that in order to improve his martial arts further, he should take up Pa Kua Chang from his friend Cheng T'ing Hua.

Sun Lu Tang And Pa Kua Chang

Sun Lu Tang went and studied under the great Pa Kua Chang master Cheng T'ing Hua (?-1900). Cheng himself was one of the best students of the great modern founder of Pa Kua Chang, Dong Hai Chuan.

When Sun first met Cheng, he was soundly defeated and was greatly impressed with Pa Kua Chang. He practiced diligently and eventually learnt all that Cheng had to teach him. It was here that Sun gained his speed in foot work, a skill which gained him fame.

Sun began Pa Kua Chang relatively late in life, at around 30 years of age but his perseverance and constant regular hard practice gained him great proficiency. He stayed with Cheng for 3 years. After 3 years, Cheng graduated him and told him that if he wanted to improve he needed to go out into the world and test himself. It was Cheng that changed Sun's given name from Fu Quan to Lu Tang.

For the rest of his life he was known more by the name of Sun Lu Tang than by his old name Sun Fu Quan. Sun's Pa Kua Chang came from the Cheng lineage and retained much the same syllabus but Sun's exceptional speed on his feet made his Pa Kua Chang truly magnificient.



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