Sun Style Tai Chi was developed by Sun Lu-tang in the late 1800s. He was already highly experienced in other martial arts before he developed this style. This style is the youngest among the five styles of Tai Chi and it is well known for incorporating elements derived from Xing Yi and Ba Gua – two other key forms of internal martial arts.
Sun Style Tai Chi uses very fluidly, flowing movements with no jumping or vigorous bending as used in the other styles. You can easily recognize this style by its soft-looking moves that can be termed as graceful. Movements are short and compact and hand movements are performed in conjunction with simple stepping movements. The stance of the style is always upright while the feet are maintained at a shoulder-width length apart not to mention the soft steps with each foot following the other.
Using the open and close palm technique, the Sun Style Tai Chi requires one to move his hands in a gentle circular motion. This technique allows one to concentrate chi in the dan Tien – the area of the abdomen that is just below the navel and in the palms of the hands. Consequently, one can deliver short, deadly strikes.
What is Sun Style Tai Chi?
As mentioned earlier, Sun Style Tai Chi was created by Sun Lu-tang when he was about 50 years old. Lu-tang was quite popular for his proficiency in Baguaquan and Xingyiquan styles. Naturally, the two internal styles have a great influence on the Sun style. Generally, it combines Baguaquan’s stepping method with Tai Chi’s body softness and Xingyiquan’s leg and waist methods.
Sun Style Tai Chi is characterized by higher stances, less punching, and kicking. Instead, all movements have the same tempi with a great emphasis on Qigong. This explains why the style is the most popular among old practitioners. For quite a while now, this style has grown enormous popularity – probably because it comes with less complicated moves such as no jumping. What’s more, the style brings about effective healing results and it is a pleasant style to watch.
Among the most outstanding features of Sun Style Tai Chi is the follow-step techniques. All through the entire set and process, whenever one foot moves forward or backward, the other one swiftly follows in a rhythm. Further, when the back foot touches the ground, the ball of the foot pushes downwards to generate force. Thereupon, you’ll not have to put the entire back foot on the ground – making the steps a little faster, smoother, and livelier. Of course, the front foot that is fully on the ground would generate much less power.
Sun Style Tai Chi is part of internal martial arts popularly known as soft. The art focuses on the breath, mind, and relaxed power. A conscious mind drives the internal energy that controls the internal force to move the body from the core. Therefore, the practitioner will need to be strong enough to absorb any incoming force and to deliver force. Since the main aim of this style is qi, the style includes qigong exercises to enhance great internal power to strengthen both the mind and the body.
Sun Lu-tang (1861 – 1933) was already a master of the internal martial arts of Hsing Yi Quan and Bagua Quan. Also, he was an experienced fighter not to mention an author and teacher. With the expertise and skills in internal and external martial arts styles, Sun began a more detailed study of Taijiquan.
In his book “A study of Taijiquan”, Sun Lu-tang places a great emphasis on the method of cultivating the body. He explains that regardless of age and gender, anyone can practice replacing stiffness with pliability and temerity with braveness. Whether you are weak, ill, injured, or you are suffering from fatigue, Sun Style Tai Chi will enhance your qi. Consequently, you’re sure to achieve a balanced state of wholeness.
Sun’s book was not very clear when it comes to movement description. However, there were relatively few pictures in the book. Sun provided a single picture to demonstrate each movement. With time, different Tai Chi teachers modified Sun’s movements until the Sun Style Tai Chi was achieved. Three members of Sun’s family later taught the style.
In 1988, the National Wushu Sports Taijiquan Committee in China set up a sub-committee to establish a standard Sun Style Tai Chi. The committee consulted with Sun’s daughter along with other experts to obtain a high-level review and approval. In 1991, a fair representation of this style in terms of technique, style, stances, posture, sequences, pace, and spirit was achieved.
What are the basic forms?
Generally, for anyone practicing Sun Style Tai Chi, there are four basic forms one can learn; the sun style short form with 38 posture, the sun style competition form with 73 posture, the sun style long-form with 97 postures, and the San Cai Jian – also known as the sun style sword form.
In case you are new to the Sun Style Tai Chi, you’ll love the sun style short form. The compilation is based on the traditional routine. Besides giving a good flavor of the original art, sun style can also be learned and performed within a very short time. On the other hand, the sun style sword form is unique and interesting when it comes to matching martial applications such as attack and defend. Thence, you’re sure to appreciate a better use of mind and body when using this form of this style.
Related: What is Hung Gar Kung Fu all about?
Currently, the Sun Style Tai Chi is practiced all over the world. Whether you are looking at a different form of martial art for improved fitness, self-defense, or you’re looking to relieve stress, this style will offer some amazing benefits.