About four years ago I had a motorbike accident that left me with a herniated disc of the lower back. I struggled on and eventually with the help of my teacher and class mates in Beijing seemed to have it under control, but it would always reappear and be debilitating each time getting worse and restricting my training. It was mainly sciatica and discomfort. I decided that after this last bout of discomfort, I needed to look at my training and what I could do realistically. Too much movement was out, no matter how gentle! So I started to think about the Xing Yi I had learned. Not just the movement, but the standing that was obviously part of the system, but maybe had got lost and we were left with just San Ti Shi as the main standing exercise. Looking at Yiquan Wang Xianghai and how he got his initial introduction to standing practice from his teacher Guo Yun Shen and as this is the same teacher in my Sun Style lineage to Sun Lu Tang then Lei Shi Mo to Lei Shi Tai to myself, I felt worth some investigating and also experimenting.
I have been undertaking this standing practice gleaned from my research and it is definitely helping. I do about 40 minutes a day at the moment building slowly to an hour and I’m able to do more movement, but feel this is all I need.
Xing Yi is a remarkable art, truly flexible and adaptive to the needs of the practitioner.
I am not advocating this as a system for people to learn, it has been purely for me to improve my own health and well being,. Though I am sure it would help others in a similar situation.
After a long time researching and developing the Sun Style System, I have developed a mini system meant to introduce people to the Sun Style giving them a flavour of the arts involved but also keeping it simple and effective using the traditional methods and exercises.
Based on the 13 Step form developed by Sun Jian Yun, it introduces the practitioner to the basic movements of Sun Style Taiji with the emphasis on moving slowly with intent. The form can be performed multiple times or in multiple directions. Once mastery of the form is achieved the San Ti posture and Pi Quan are introduced along with the walking step of Bagua. After proficiency is attained then the single palm change is taught.
The last thing to be taught is a shortened version of the Taiji Sword. Obviously this method can be aimed at beginners, but also to improvers or for someone who just wants to experience all the elements involved in training the Sun Style. But without the time it takes in learning the 97 Step Form, all the Xing Yi and Bagua plus sword. This training is available still for those that want to follow that route and we will be offering certification, for those wanting to become instructors or affiliate groups.
This is not a detailed breakdown of what will be taught just a basic overview of what we will be offering, for further information please contact me.
It was always explained to me that in Sun Style the mind is the most important thing, 75% is intent in doing the movements and 25% physically performing them, I think this is a very difficult concept to understand unless you break it down in other ways for example, doing the Taiji with 25% effort but 75% concentration.
The most important movement according to teacher Lei Shi Tai is Pi Quan and this should be done slowly and softly but with 100% concentration on every movement. If you feel something different in the movement you should examine it with your mind, adjust it to what it should be and continue. Some days I just did Pi Quan for an hour nothing else! I maintained this routine, just teaching the form and other Xing Yi and so practicing it. The benefits from just doing Pi Quan on the rest of the Sun Style was amazing it improved everything.
This is really cutting down to a base movement no other movements needed just one fist to make all others.
It was thought by many people that this was lost and no longer taught within Sun Style. But teacher Lei Shi Tai has knowledge of this form and though I never learned the form, I was shown the movements by him and they resembled the energy used in the 5 element fists, but developed it to a higher degree. As the idea is to put the energy into the spear and so project it out of the body. I have done a lot of spear training previously with Master Chu so this concept was not new to me, but in the Sun style it is projected in a natural way not forced. So this is a very high level of training, as you need to be at the ‘An Jing’ level to be able to put the energy into the spear without injuring yourself or forcing the energy and you must use the mind with intent to get the correct result.
She Xing (Snake) This is a difficult form, coiling and twisting as well as stepping in a low stance blocking and unbalancing the opponent in one move.
Xong / Ying (Bear and Eagle) This combination form is very powerful with steady stepping and grabbing and is number 8 and 9 in the forms list, the Qi Na movement can break an opponents arm if done correctly.
Yau Xing (Sparrow Hawk) A very simple form with an effective strike to finish the opponent.
Loong Xing (Dragon) Pi Quan is essential in performing this form and it is designed to be an evasion but also give a springy leg attribute.
Huo Xing (Monkey) This form has jumping and striking in 5 directions and is very difficult to perform correctly.
Teacher Lei Shi Tai explained that the 12 animals give different attributes like evasion and footwork they don’t train power as that is done with the 5 elements. So to make the them work you need to practice the basics of San Ti and the 5 elements then when you have time perform the 12 animals. His advice was to practice San Ti and Pi Quan and Taiji everyday and if you have time the 5 Elements and 12 Animals, if you did not have a lot of time just the San Ti and Taiji or even just Pi Quan as he taught everything comes from this and it is in everything within the Sun Style and is as Important as San Ti.
The following are how I learned them from Teacher Lei Shi Tai and he stressed that they could be practiced anyway you felt or in any order it was not important to do them strictly following a predetermined order.
I first learned Ma Xing (Horse) and there are two ways of doing this form a traditional straight line way and also a way using exchange step making it a practical method, it charges like a horse excluding the opponents guard or dragging the opponent towards you then hitting him with two fists.
Hu Xing (Tiger) was next and this involved a small step and jump to close the distance to the opponent and the footwork is at 45° as the opponent is pulled and pushed.
I then learned Tai Xing (Ostrich) again the start of the form involved a small step and a jump then stepping at 45° a double punch then a double block up is performed, the double block up is performed very fast before the next step is taken to perform the double punch.
Toh Xing (Llizard) this is done in a circular motion a bit like Yun Shou (Cloud Hands) using semi circular stepping this can also be done in circles forwards or backwards it is a very flexible form.
Yen Xing (Swallow) is a simple form with some devastating movement including jumping and a very powerful punch it swoops down to unbalance an opponent and also has some Qi Na.
Ji Xing (Chicken) this is a very powerful form and devastates an opponent rattling their teeth and shaking their bones.