Tai chi chuan (t’ai4 chi2 ch’üan2) (literal translation “Supreme Ultimate Fist”) is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and health benefits. It is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique, demonstration competitions, and longevity. Consequently, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims. Some of tai chi chuan’s training forms are especially known for being practiced at what most people categorize as slow movement.
Today, tai chi has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of tai chi trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu and Sun.
Our lessons are primarily Sun Style Tai Chi.
What is Sun Style Tai Chi?
The Sun style tai chi chuan was developed by Sun Lutang (1861-1932), who was considered expert in two other internal martial arts styles: xingyiquan and baguazhang before he came to study tai chi chuan. Today, Sun style ranks fourth in popularity and fifth in terms of seniority among the five family styles of tai chi chuan. He was also considered an accomplished Neo-Confucian and Taoist scholar, especially in the Yi Jing and the Tai chi classics. Sun learned Wu/Hao style tai chi chuan from Hao Weizhen, who was Li Yiyu’s chief disciple.
Besides his earlier xingyi and bagua training, Sun’s experiences with Hao Weizhen, Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu and Wu Jianquan influenced the development of what is today recognized as the Sun style of tai chi chuan. Sun’s son Sun Cunzhou (1893-1963) and daughter, Sun Jianyun (1914-2003) were tai chi chuan teachers, as well as Sun Cunzhou’s daughter Sun Shurong (1918-2005) who taught in Beijing until her death.
Sun style tai chi chuan is well known for its smooth, flowing movements which omit the more physically vigorous crouching, leaping and fa jin of some other styles. The footwork of Sun style is unique, when one foot advances or retreats the other follows. It also uses an open palm throughout the entirety of its main form, and exhibits small circular movements with the hand. Its gentle postures and high stances make it very suitable for geriatric exercise and martial arts therapy.