Home>>Boxing technique and theory of Taijiquan


By Zhou Lishang
Translated by Yan Shufan

  Ms. Sun Jianyun is the leading person of Sun's Style Taijiquan, whose father, Sun Lutang, was the founder of Sun's Style Taijiquan. She is a rare Taijiquan master, adept with both pen and sword. Under the training of her father, she has a good command of lute-playing, chess, calligraphy and painting. Graduated in Peking Professional Art School, she is good at Chinese handwriting and painting, being a specialist of landscape and traditional beautiful women painting;“Her vigor of strokes in handwriting can go through the paper.”As the experts said. Although she is 88 years old, she practices Baguaquan and Taijiquan every day; receives people who are fond of Sun's Style Taijiquan domestically and internationally. She has been handed down in a direct line from her father and got the quintessence of Xingyiquan (form-and-will boxing), Baguaquan (eight-diagram boxing) and Taijiquan from her father, since she practiced martial art and learnt Chinese culture from her childhood, watching how her father did. She had been a teacher in the Wushu Academy of Jiangshu Province, following her father.
  We have known each other for more than twenty years and I have learnt Sun's Style Taijiquan from her. During the period of my learning, I often asked her some questions about the characters of Sun's Style Taijiquan and how to practice it well. Now, I sort out her answers about these questions to dedicate them to the friends who like Taijiquan.
  Zhou: Master Sun, could you tell me the differences between Sun's Style Taijiquan and others?
  Sun: Sun's Style Taijiquan was originated by my father based on Xingyiquan, Baguaquan and Taijiquan. My father, Sun Lutang (1861-1932), who loved Wushu deeply from his childhood, formally become a pupil of Li Kuiyuan at first, who was a famous Xingyiquan master. In fact, he learnt from Guo Yunshen for longer time (Guo was Li's teacher). Then he learnt Baguaquan from a famous master, Cheng Tinghua, and Taijiquan from a famous master, Hao Weizhen, who was a boxer of Wu's Style Taijiquan. My father's skill reached the perfect realm and he was known as “An outstanding master of our time ”, because he learnt, studied practiced and taught Taijiquan hard, with single-hearted devotion for decades.
  My father was open and aboveboard in all his life with nobly virtue of martial art and understood Xingyiquan and Baguaquan profoundly and had great learning. Integrating Xingyiquan, Baguaquan with Taijiquan, according to the I Ching, he originated Sun's Style Taijiquan that is a unique one with its special characters. Since its establishment, it is popular in the circle of Wushu. Now, people who want to learn it are getting more and more domestically and internationally.
  Zhou: Many lovers of Sun's Style Taijiquan domestically and internationally wish to practice Sun's Taijiquan better, however, they don't know how they can do, could you tell them?
  Sun: If anyone who wishes to practice Sun's Style Taijiquan better, he or she should understand its features and the differences between it and others first. The major differences between Sun's Style Taijiquan and others are: First, the steps should follow the postures of the body quickly, therefore, it is also called “quick steps Taijiquan”. Second, the practitioner should be quick, flexible and smooth, and well-knit in movement, resembling floating clouds and flowing water and being smooth and continuous. Third, each time, when the practitioner turns his or her body, to the left or right, “opening or closing the hands”should be connected, so it is also called “open and close Taijiquan”.
  The main routines of Sun's Style Taijiquan also consist of the eight Hand Techniques: Peng, lü, Ji, An, Cai, Lie, Zhou, kao, (warding off, deflecting, shoving, pressing, picking, breaking off, elbowing, leaning against) coordinating with the hands and body keeping upright, moving to the four directions (the front, back, right and left) standing upright, and the four nooks (the directions between the front and left, and the right, and so on). As mentioned above, Sun's Style Taijiquan integrates Xingyiquan, Baguaquan with Taijiquan, therefore, it is of its own style.
  Sun's Style Taijiquan is also characterized by high postures and quick steps, which is good for the knee joints. So it is not only suitable for the Taijiquan lovers but also the middle and elder-aged.
  Zhou: How can we practice Taijiquan better?
  Sun: I think the most important for those who want to practice Taijiquan is the virtue of martial art, to which everyone who wishes to practice Taijiquan should pay special attention. Mr. Sun Lutang paid special attention to the education of the virtue of martial art in all his life. Therefore, he always began his teaching from raising “accomplishment of the virtue of martial art”. During the breaks of practicing and spare time, he often told his students: “You should do the most hard work at calmness in mind, instead of showing off or boasting your skills. The virtue of martial art should always be the first in your mind, keeping yourself respectful, modest, and no quarrels with others. Self-control is the basic training for the boxing exercisers. If you want a perfect posture, you must do it thousand times; and if you are not skillful at that, you should practice it thousand times again. ”
  The second, you must follow the rules. Mr. Sun had repeated: “When you practice boxing, you must follow the rules, and be in complain with the nature, should not rigidly adhere to the forms outside, and should not be contrary to spirit and Qi inside. Only when the outside forms is smooth, the spirit and Qi inside can be in harmony. Thus, we can know one's innermost from his appearance; one's power is formed inside and it shows outside, which means that you have integrated the inner with the outer.”I think what he said explains how to practice Taijiquan well exactly.
  The demand of Sun's Style Taijiquan to the actions is keeping the body upright, the actions steady, smooth out, flexible, well-knit, coherent, and without stopping. The practitioner should keep balance between the inside and outside; if any part of the body moves, the whole body do, and if any part is quite, no one should move. Keeping upright means that the body does not rock nor shake forward and backward, left side and right side, keeping the body moving in accordance with four limbs, and the inner in accordance with the outer. Hence, the postures of boxing must be in complain with the rules.
The third, the postures should be correct. According to the theory of Taijiquan, one part of the body moves, the whole body do, by no means that the action is limited at one part nor the parts be separated; they depend on each other and influence each other as well. From the above, we conclude that the practitioner should try to make the postures correct, the actions smooth, and never influence the breath. As the saying goes: “An error of the breadth of a single hair can lead you a thousand li astray.”

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