A brief biography of Sun Lutang
The most modern of the five major styles of Tai Chi, (the other four being Yang, Wu, family Wu and Chen) Sun Tai Chi was developed in the early 1900s by the famous grandmaster Sun Lutang and is unique in that it fuses Ba Gua and Xing Yi with classical Tai Chi Chuan.
Sun Lutang was born in 1861 as the son of a poor farmer. While still a young boy, Sun's father died, forcing Sun to go work for a rich landowner to support his mother. Seeing that he was physically weak, the man said that he would give Sun food but refused to pay him any money. During this time, Sun took many beatings from the man's cruel son but endured them for the sake of his mother.
Wishing that he could defend himself, Sun began studying with a local instructor in the style of Heng-Gung Shaolin kung-fu. Sun Lutang was a quick study. Later, at his employer's home, Sun was fired for injuring one of the employer's family members who tried to beat Sun. Sun Lutang returned home to his mother.
No longer interested in working, Sun spent his time practicing martial arts and would often eat wild vegetables that he found in the countryside to relieve the burden on his mother.
His mother then sent Sun to live with and work for his prosperous uncle. While working for his uncle, Sun met an internal martial arts instructor by the name of Li Kuiyuan and began learning Xing Yi. He went to live with his teacher and began training full time.
After learning all he could from Li, Li suggested that Sun go study with his teacher, Kuo Yunshen. Sun studied with Kuo for eight years before graduating. Upon graduating, Sun went to study Bagua with the famous master Cheng Tinghua. Sun spent three years studying Bagua . Upon finishing his study of the art, Sun left his master and went out into the world to test and improve his skills.
Sun was in Beijing when he met the famous Tai Chi master Hao Weichen who was visiting the area and had fallen ill. Being unfamiliar with the territory, Hao was unable to meet with his friends and was forced to check into an inn. When Sun found Hao ill he called a doctor and took care of him. After Hao recovered, in gratitude for Sun's care and goodwill, Hao taught Sun Wu Yu Xiang style Tai Chi.
Now that Sun had mastered the three traditional internal styles of Chinese martial arts, he began developing his own style. Incorporating elements from Xing Yi and Bagua into his Tai Chi, Sun style T'ai Chi Chuan was born.