Sun Lu-t'ang (disambiguation)

Sun Lu-t'ang

Sun Lu-t'ang (Sūn Lùtáng 孫祿堂, 1861-1932) was a renowned master of Chinese Neijia (internal) martial arts and was the progenitor of the syncretic art of Sun style Tai Chi Chuan (孫家). He was also considered an accomplished Neo-Confucian and Taoist scholar (especially in the I Ching), and was a distinguished contributor to the theory of internal martial arts through his many published works.


When born in 1861 in Hebei province he was named Sun Fuquan (孫福全) by his parents, and was later given the name Sun Lutang by Cheng Tinghua (程延華), his baguazhang teacher, years later. (It was common in old China for people to have multiple names). He continued to use his original name in some areas, including the publishing of his books.

He was first noted as an expert in two other internal martial arts styles: Hsing-i Ch'uan (Xingyiquan) and Pa Kua Chang (Baguazhang) before he came to study T'ai Chi. Sun learned Wu/Hao style T'ai Chi Ch'üan from Hao Wei-chen.

Sun started studying with Hao relatively late in his life, but his accomplishments in the other two internal arts led him to develop his T'ai Chi abilities to a high standard more quickly than is usual.

He subsequently was invited by Yang Shao-hou, Yang Ch'eng-fu and Wu Chien-ch'üan to join them on the faculty of the Beijing Physical Education Research Institute where they taught T'ai Chi to the public after 1914. Sun taught there until 1928, a seminal period in the development of modern Yang, Wu and Sun style T'ai Chi Ch'uan.


In 1891 he married Zhang Zhouxian, with whom he had three sons and a daughter.

  • First son, Sun Xingyi (孫星一) (1891-1929)
  • Second son, Sun Cunzhou (孫存周) (1893-1963)
  • Third son, Sun Huanmin (孫換民) (1897-1922)
  • Daughter, Sun Jianyun (孫劍雲) (1913-2003)


  • Xingyiquan from Li Kuiyuan (李魁元), and later from Guo Yunshen (郭雲深) (from 1882).
  • Baguazhang from Cheng Tinghua (程延華) (from 1891).
  • Wu Yuxiang style Taijiquan from Hao Weizhen (郝為眞) (from 1911).


In later life, he published five martial arts texts:

  • Xingyiquan xue (A study of form mind boxing) 1915
  • Baguaquan xue (A study of eight trigrams boxing) 1916
  • Taijiquan xue (A study of grand ultimate boxing) 1921
  • Baguajian xue (A study of eight trigrams straight sword) 1927
  • Quanyi Shuzhen (An explanation of the essence of boxing)

He also wrote a study of Xingyi spear, though this was never published.

(These five texts are available in a collected Chinese language edition from Lion Books, and English translations of individual texts can also be acquired)

T'ai Chi family tree

This family tree is not comprehensive.

Zhang Sanfeng*
circa 12th century
Wang Zongyue*
Chen Wangting
1600-1680 9th generation Chen
   |                                                                   |
Chen Changxing                                                     Chen Youben
1771-1853 14th generation Chen                                     circa 1800s 14th generation Chen
Chen Old Frame                                                     Chen New Frame
   |                                                                   |
Yang Lu-ch'an                                                      Chen Qingping
1799–1872                                                          1795–1868
YANG STYLE                                                         Chen Small Frame, Zhaobao Frame
   |                                                                   |
   +---------------------------------+-----------------------------+   |
   |                                 |                             |   |
Yang Pan-hou                      Yang Chien-hou                   Wu Yu-hsiang
1837–92                           1839–1917                        1812–80
Yang Small Frame                     |                             WU/HAO STYLE
   |                                 +-----------------+                      |
   |                                 |                 |                      |
Wu Ch'uan-yü                      Yang Shao-hou     Yang Ch'eng-fu          Li I-yü
1834–1902                         1862–1930         1883–1936               1832–92
   |                              Yang Small Frame  Yang Big Frame            |
Wu Chien-ch'üan                                        |                    Hao Wei-chen
1870–1942                                           Yang Shou-chung         1849–1920
WU STYLE                                            1910–85
108 Form                                                                      |
   |                                                                        Sun Lu-t'ang
Wu Kung-i                                                                   1861–1932
1900–70                                                                     SUN STYLE
   |                                                                          |
Wu Ta-kuei                                                                  Sun Hsing-i
1923–72                                                                     1891–1929

Note to Family tree table

Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semilegendary figures in the lineage, which means their involvement in the lineage, while accepted by most of the major schools, isn't independently verifiable from known historical records.


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