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Xue Sheng

Taijiquan, which is better, or is it all personal preference…. part 2

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Then we come to Sun style, of Sun Lutang (1860 – 1933). Sun Lutang was a rather accomplished martial artist before he ever trained taijiquan. He was considered a master of Xingyiquan and Baguazhang before he ever trained taijiquan with Hao Weizhen (1842 – 1920) (Hao Weizhen - Wikipedia) Did Sun Lutang’s background and expertise in Xingyiquan and Baguazhang give him a better understanding about all thing internal and make his Taijiquan a better type of Taijiquan?

I’ve done some Sun style, and I like it, but that could be my xingyiquan background speaking. And even though it is called an old people’s style, due to the higher stances, I think it is the style that shows the most obvious applications in the postures. Also, it has a follow step that is very similar to the follow step that you see in a much later style called Jeet Kune Do. But to be honest, I am not sure it would be considered taijiquan if you are using the basics of Chen and Yang style as a test to prove if it is taijiquan or not. I am still working with it and maybe someday I will figure it out. But not for one second would I believe that I know more about any of this than Sun Lutang…or for that matter any of the people I have mentioned here.

I do know doing something slow does not make it taijiquan, if that were the case you could take any Karate, TKD, or Wushu form and slow it down and call it taijiquan and it simply does not hold true. And when thinking of things like this you have to take in to account that there is a lot of trash talk between styles of taijiquan, so figuring any of this out, based on some of the written history, by reputable sources in Taijiquan, is not easy.

Then, the whole thing could come down to what style is best for you. Where one person swears by Chen style and berates all others, there is likely another doing Wu and looking at all others as doing a bad job. And it could be, and likely is, understanding could also come down to what style fits you best (personal preference), and that is something I am still trying to figure out after almost 30 years.

Years ago, Chen Zhenglei came to my area for a seminar, and my wife was going to be his translator. My Yang shifu wanted me to tell Chen hello and welcome him to the area. My Yang Shifu then said “Chen style is a good taijiquan, just the stances are to low”. I meant with Chen Zhenglei and told him my shifu wanted to welcome him to the area, to which Chen seemed happy to hear. He asked me shifu’s name and I told him. He then asked who was my shifu’s teacher. I told him Tung Ying Cheih. To which Chen Zhenglei said. “Yang style, good taijiquan, but the stances are to high”
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