TALK ABOUT SUN'S STYLE TAIJIQUAN
BY THE MASTER OF SUN'S STYLE-SUN JIANYUN
Translated by Yan Shufan
Zhou: Would you please detail the demands to the actions of
every part of the body? For example, Why is “Keeping the head
and neck upright”first?
Sun: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the head is
the assembling point of all the Yang, the sea of marrow liquid
and the point of intersection of Du channel and Ren Channel,
and controls and leads Qi of the all body. If it is not harmony
there, all Qi will be lost.
Zhou: The steps in Sun's Style Taijiquan are very quick, how
can we reach it?
Sun: You must pay attention to step techniques and raising
the strength of legs, because the legs support the weight of
the body, they should be quite as mountains and stable as a
huge rock; when they move, they do as a ship or wheels carrying
the body forward, and they keep the body not overturned. The
practitioner should draw distinction between solid and empty
of the legs. Only the recognition can make the steps quick and
not dull. You should keep one leg solid and the other empty
at the same time, if the right one is solid, the left one empty,
on the contrary, while the right one empty, the left solid.
Solidity keeps the body upright and steady. However, if the
two legs are solid simultaneously, movement can be hardly carried
out, being easy to fell down. While emptiness keeps the body
quick, if the two legs are empty at the same time, the body
will not be steady. Therefore, the solid and empty should be
changed on the two legs so as for the body to act quickly and
Zhou: What is the demand to the waist in Sun's Style Taijiquan?
Sun: There is no difference between Sun's Style Taijiquan
and other schools about the waist. The waist is very important
in practicing Taijiquan. In THE SONG OF THIRTEEN FORMS, written
by Wang Zongyue, it says: “Paying attention to the waist constantly”.
The waist is the axis of the body, located at the middle of
the body. It is the waist that remains the center of gravity
of the body, it is the waist that brings along the actions of
the four limbs. Thus, we must pay attention to the waist constantly.
Zhou: Should we pay attention to breath, when we practice
Sun: Of course! Controlling breath is also an important key
link in practicing Taijiquan. Only by keeping your mind quite
and controlling your breath, you can get benefits from the exercise
of Taijiquan. The action of breath should be slow and deep,
and reach Dantian (abdominal breathing) directly and naturally.
The practitioner should keep the tip of the tongue touching
the hard palate, and breathe with the nose, and with the mouth
half closed but not opened.
In brief, when practicing Sun's Style Taijiquan, one should
always keep the Chinese character “Zhong (moderateness)”in mind,
even when walking, sitting, lying on bed. Mr. Sun had said that
a boxer should always been in the state of practicing Gongfu,
whenever walking, sitting, even lying on bed, all his or her
words and action are in practicing Gongfu, keeping “Zhong”in
mind constantly. If a practitioner really understands the significance
of “Zhong”in practicing Taijiquan, he or she can put his or
her center gravity in hands, which keeps the breath normal,
and then the blood can flow in the body smoothly.
To practice Taijiquan better, the practitioner should follow
the natural rules, and keep on removing the selfish ideas and
personal considerations from his mind, by this, one can control
breath naturally. Therefore, the practitioners should never
try to control respiration on purpose. Mr. Sun often said: "The
more you want to control your breath on purpose, the more Qi
will go against your will. " Especially, when you stand
in Wuji form, when you begin to practice Taijiquan. You should
keep the balance between the outside and inside and make yourself
in a state of harmony and moderateness, being even-tempered
and good-humored, so as to breathe normally, slowly and constantly,
instead of quick or non-rhythmical breath. In this case, one
can make Qi of every breath go to navel, and then a quiet and
peaceful feeling will come to the practitioner's both mind and
Zhou: Some people say that Taijiquan is a limp and flexible
one, so the softer, the better, is that true?
Sun: No, I don't think so. In deed, one of the characters
of Sun's Style Taijiquan is that it is limp and flexible, it
should not be too stiff or firm. However, being limp and flexible
doesn't imply softness. The power used by Taijiquan doesn't
come from gritting one's teeth and holding the breath, it is
a kind of natural power- it may be the converse power or that
of taking advantage of the opponent, and one combining Qi with
power, and it is also one of “the hardness from extreme softness,
the stronngness from extreme weakness ”.
Zhou: Need we learn Taijiquan by steps?
Sun: Yes! There are three steps to learn Taijiquan, or three
The primary level: During the process, the practitioner feels
as if his or her whole body were going to sink to the bottom
of a river. When the body, arms and legs act, the practitioner
feels as if they met assistance from water, being hard in actions.
The second level: Basically, the feeling is as the same in the
primary level. However, the practitioner feels that as if his
or her two legs could be floated up in water, and could swim
as a good swimmer does.
The third level: The practitioner feels that as if the whole
body had been floated out of water, and the body were light
and quick, and as if he or she were walking on the surface of
water. However, if the mind were in somewhat disordered, the
body would soon sink into water. If one can reach this level,
it means that he or she has got certain Gongfu.
Zhou: What should be noted, when we practice Taijiquan routines?
Sun: When practicing Taijiquan routines, the practitioners
must step forward and backward, turn to left and right according
to the four directions and four nooks, according to the hand
techniques and match the actions with the inner organs, developing
both the inside and outside, while practicing the outside, developing
the inside. One action should not limited at one part. It should
be that one part acts all the body do. If the practitioner makes
go smoothly in the body, he or she should match the mind with
the breath, and seek quietness during acting, the selfish ideas
and personal considerations in mind will not exist.
Having got certain Gongfu by practicing routines lays a good
foundation for practicing in pair and push-hand, because the
hand techniques of practicing in pair and push-hand are the
same as the eight ones (Peng, lü, Ji, An, Cai, Lie, Zhou, kao)
in routines. If you have got solid basic foundation, you can
move your hands with facility. Practicing routines is knowing
yourself, while practicing in pair and push-hand is knowing
the opponent. However, it is available that only practicing
in pair is on the basic of routines practicing. There are many
ways to do practicing in pair. However the most important is
to work hard, practicing the hand techniques of Peng, lü, Ji,
An every day, according to the demands, warding off with arms,
deflecting with palms, shoving with the back of the hands, pressing
with the waist. When warding off, the arms should be powerful;
when deflecting, the power should be flexible; when shoving,
the power should go horizontally; when pressing, the power should
be with attacking. When practicing push-hand, you should be
quick and changeable, instead of sticking to convention; should
concentrate your mind and control your center gravity and watch
the actions of the opponent, sticking him or leaving him, with
limp power or hard power. Your actions should be coherent between
the upper and lower, no matter what you want, to stick the opponent
or keep a narrow gap with him. You should use the techniques
nimbly and shun dullness, using clumsy power is forbidden. The
practitioner should find the best way by being neither close
nor distance; get message by neither separating nor making forcible
contact. When practicing push-hand, you should try to lure your
component to lose his center gravity, that is, “To set a trap
for the enemy, and then, however powerful a strike, it can be
held off with just a tip of the finger.”