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  A TALK ABOUT SUN'S STYLE TAIJIQUAN
BY THE MASTER OF SUN'S STYLE-SUN JIANYUN

 
  By Zhou Lishang
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 naturally.
  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 Taijiquan?
  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 body.
  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 levels.
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.”
 
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