Sun Tai Chi History

Already proficient in both both XingYi Quan and Bagua Zhang, Sun Lu Tang was already a very famous and accomplished martial artist when he was first introduced to Taiji by Hao Weizheng of the Wu/Hao style Taiji.

Hao Weizheng had been a student of Li I-yu. Li I-yu was an early writer and recorder of Taijiquan principles and theories. We know much about the early history and origin of Taijiquan because of Li I-yu’ writings and recordings.

Li I-yu was one of the few students of Wu Yuxiang who taught Wu style Taiji. Wu Yuxiang was already an accomplished martial artist when he began learning Yang style Taiji from Yang Luchan.

Yang Luchan encouraged Wu Yuxiang to learn Chen Style from Chen Changxing in Chen village, but on his way to Chen Village Wu Yuxiang learned Chen Changxing was very old and no longer teaching Chen Taiji and so changed his travel plans and went to Zhaobao village to study with Chen Qingping another member of the Chen family.

Zhaobao Chen Style as the style is known was widely influenced by Chen Qingping and is more compact in nature than the traditional Chen style of Changxing with many additional circles for applications added to the movements.

Thus the lineage of Traditional Sun Taijiquan came from these early influences; Sun Lu Tang learned Wu/Hao Taiji from Hao Weizheng who learned from Li I-yu, who learned from Wu Yuxiang, who studied with Yang Luchan, who was the first non-Chen family member to learn Chen family Taijiquan from Chen Changxing,

In 1988 the National Wushu Sports Taijiquan Committee formed a sub committee led by Professor Men Hui-Feng of Beijing University to design an international Sun Competition Form and in 1991 the 73 Sun Competition form was completed as the international competition form we have today.

Dr. Paul Lam was a student of Professor Men Hui-Feng learning many of the Beijing competitions forms including the 73 Sun Competition form. Dr. Lam modified the 73 Sun form by removing the difficult movements to create the Tai Chi for Arthritis form for beginning students and students with sensitive joints.

The Traditional Sun Style is known as the lively step or brisk step form as most movements forward or backwards has a follow step following movement. This form is done much more briskly than the traditional Yang Style taiji and has much higher stances than the traditional Chen style taiji. Traditional Sun Taiji movements were designed for martial applications and should be done with the lively step footwork as originally intended by Sun Lu Tang. Without this type of footwork the form is no longer as effective in delivering full body power.

There are very few knowledgeable teachers of this art, Tim Cartmell is one of those teachers, being one of the few Westerners who was able to study with Sun Jian Yun and is the translator of Sun Lu Tang’s book “A Study of Taijiquan” published in 1921. For more information on Tim Cartmell visit

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