Its been a very hectic week since I got back home to Chiangmai, its not been easy but I have managed time for training. In our new house we don’t have the same space as before but I have found a great spot to train its at a busy intersection at the side of our new house but its perfect for me I practise early morning and its great as a lot of other people are out walking or cycling so they stand and watch but are very polite and don’t talk till I finished which is a contrast to practising in China as people just walk in front of you and don’t think k they are interrupting your practise but this is great for your awareness training as you need to have an active concentration when in Beijing.
It is a great feeling being able to practise again but even when I was poorly I still tried to practise in my mind visualising the movements getting the feeling of energy passing through my system and directing it with my mind to the infection to help heal quickly.
Sometimes we forget how important the mind is and how it can help, in Taiji we concentrate on each movement trying to control our movements and relax so the energy can flow and give us health and vitality, but it is the mind that is the guide for the energy and that by practising in concentrating we are making the mind stronger, Taiji is likened to meditation with movements but I don’t think there is a difference between Taiji and meditation as both have stillness in movement and movement in stillness.
This is a little more complicated as you are engaging two hands but once mastered you can start to add elbow and shoulder strikes once your partner is off balance.
One partner has his right arm extended and left hand touching his wrist, the other partner has one hand on the wrist and one on the elbow of his partner and is in roll back.
Making an anti clockwise circle reverse the position and continue, be careful not to over extend on the press and try not to use force but just relax and feel through the movement.
As in all Sun Style Tui Shou (Push Hands) it is non competitive so you work with your partner for mutual benefit. It is good if you can work with someone more advanced than you as you will learn more in touch and the advice they give.
To add footwork we just step forward three steps on each circle, then three steps back when your partner makes the techniques.
To add elbow and shoulder strikes you need to seek tuition from a teacher as these are potentially dangerous techniques and need supervision.
I have an infection at the moment and the tablets I am taking make me feel tired but I am still managing to train daily but is the training doing me any good? I think sometimes I am working against myself and going backwards as the idea of exercise is to improve our health and by training am I emptying the tank instead of topping it up. Hunyuan is a decent workout for Taiji and when I am 100% I get great results from the daily training and feel really healthy.
With my experience I feel I understand my body enough to realise if I am doing more harm than good. Daily training has always helped me in the past to overcome illness and stress, so I think I will persevere and see how things go. I can ease up if I need too, but really feel I need to train everyday to gain more understanding of how the Hunyuan works.
I don’t recommend this for everyone as if I had injured a joint or muscle would approach my training differently and maybe just do some standing Qigong if able or sitting if not able to stand or balance. The mind is the key to this type of training! I hope anyone reading this who has similar or other injuries can gain something from it and if I can help with any advice please get in touch.
In this second article I wanted to show how we would use the brush knee and twist step application and how this can be adapted for the street. The first photograph sequence shows how we can use this technique classically, then in the second sequence in a street environment. Sun Style is comprised of three arts, Taiji, Xing Yi and Bagua and though the names are the same as other forms of Taiji we use applications from Xing Yi and Bagua.
Lou Xi Ao Bu
Bob is attacked with a punch, he dodges the punch and then hits the opponent with a shoulder charge, it is not a big movement and because the hand controls the hip and knee it causes the opponent to lose balance.
In this next sequence Bob is approached then attacked by two men he uses the same technique to put one into the other and then make his escape.
This article is meant to show how a traditional Chinese martial art can be used in a practical application. I will show first how the technique is done classically then in a practical application in a street situation. Obviously the pictures have been taken to try and show possible applications, these interpretations are my own as traditionally the Chinese martial arts were taught in a broken fashion so that the student has to find the answers themselves and not be spoon fed by the teacher.
Bob is attacked with a hook punch, he first collects the punch and immediately steps forward using Pi Quan as the final application.
Bob is attacked opening his car if you follow the sequence you will see that he uses the same application with a variation as he also uses the environment to finish the attacker.
There are many different styles of Tai Chi, some of which can aid a healthy lifestyle, some followers believe it can cure health problems of modern living, helping to de-stress the rigours of daily life, but Sun Style Tai Chi does all that and much more.
Developed by the famous Chinese Martial Artist Sun Lu Tang, this style incorporates all three of China’s most famous internal martial arts training: Tai Chi, Xing Yi (pronounced: shing-yee) and Bagua Zhang (pronounced baa-gooaa jzhang). Sun Lu Tang was a scholar boxer and an innovator of martial arts. He was able to synthesise these different elements into a complete set of movements that incorporate health as well as martial benefits, but do not detract from the original systems but standardise their basic similarities.
Sun Style Tai Chi uses the stepping and agility from Xing Yi and Bagua with the relaxed body of Tai Chi. It has the practicality of using the whole body in a relaxed way to keep the joints and muscles moving without the strain of holding postures. It uses alignments from Xing Yi to make sure that the knees do not suffer and that energy is allowed to flow and aid in good health.
Because use of the following step is used in the Sun Style Tai Chi form, it is very practical when we come to use the style, but it is also good for balance and coordination. The form can be adapted for many disabilities and this makes the Sun Style more accessible and enjoyable to a wider range of people young and old, It has particularly been shown to help with arthritis in that the gentle movements and correct alignments can help to strengthen the muscles, tendons and joints over a period of time and so help the sufferer deal with this debilitating disease.
Sun Style Tai Chi is the youngest of the five styles recognised by the Chinese government, but it is also a rare style to find and a jewel within the crown of Chinese martial arts. It is unique in its training and form and, through the lineage of my teacher Lei Shi Tai, I have been fortunate to have access to a pure and little changed form from when his grandfather learned directly from Sun Lu Tang in the 1920s. My teacher describes it beautifully, I think, when he says Sun Style Tai Chi is “like the water that runs or clouds that slip on a windy day”.
Anyone interested in finding out further information can visit our website www.sunshitaiji.com or contact me directly sunstylebob @gmail.com
I am available for workshops in all aspects of Sun Style Tai Chi and related arts and corporate training can also be arranged.