- 1952) stands as an important figure in the history of the art of Ba Gua Zhang. He was known as a teacher (one of the few to pass on the teachings of Cheng Ting Hua's son, Cheng You Long, an organizer (in 1932 he created the Virtuous Way Martial Study Society in Tianjin) and an author (his Genuine Transmission of Ba Gua Quan was published in 1934). This month, Joseph Crandall of Smiling Tiger Martial Arts, in a coordinated effort with High View Publications is releasing the first English version of Sun Xi Kun's book. Unlike Crandall's previous translations, Sun's book is presented with its original photographs in a offset print, saddle bound version (printed and bound exactly like this Journal). We combined our efforts to bring this book to the English speaking public because this is one of the best and most comprehensive early books written on Ba Gua and all serious Ba Gua Zhang practitioners can gain valuable insights in to the study of this art through a careful examination of Sun's written word and photographs.
As far as the book's content, Sun was very thorough in introducing the reader to the depth of the Ba Gua art. Prior to Sun Xi Kun's book being published, there was no other book on Ba Gua which addressed such a vast range of Ba Gua material. Sun's book includes: historical and lineage information, several sections dealing with discussions of the general principles of internal martial arts and Ba Gua practice, an examination of the Sun's eight section open hand Ba Gua circle walking form (including photos of Sun Xi Kun performing the movements), an explanation and photographs of Ba Gua application, discussion
Sun Xi Kun with members of the Dao De (Virtuous Way) Martial Society in 1933, Tianjin, China
of apparatus training methods (wooden man and bag training), discussions on Tai Ji and Xing Yi's Wu Xing (five elements) and a discussion (with photographs) of each of the following Ba Gua weapons: sword, Day and Night Mandarin Duck Axes (crescent moon knives), the halbred, and the Spring and Autumn knife. This book is now available from High View Publications (800 - 413 - 8296). What follows in this article is a short biography of Sun Xi Kun and a few excerpts from his book.
Sun Xi Kun, also known as Sun Yu Peng was born in 1883 in Wu Jiao County in Hebei Province. It is not known with which martial art style Sun began his martial arts training. However, it is written that he studied both Xing Yi Quan and Tai Ji Quan for about eight years prior to his practice of Ba Gua. While in
1949, there were two groups of individuals who they particularly wanted to abolish. One was martial artists and the other was those belonging to religious societies. China's history had proven that these groups most often formed rebellions and the Communists wanted to stomp out any form of organized rebellion. Sun Xi Kun belonged to both of these groups. He had been the head of a martial arts society and he was an Yi Guan Daoist. Sometime in 1949 or 1950, Sun Xi Kun was caught by the Communists and taken to be executed with a mass of others.
Sun Xi Kun was taken with a group of others and lined up for execution by a firing squad. As soon as the firing squad's bullets started to fly, Sun Xi Kun hit the ground as if he had been shot and he lay there among the dead bodies. The executioners left the bodies to rot where they lay and Sun stayed there playing dead for three days. When he thought it was safe to move, he made his escape and eventually ended up in Hong Kong. After a short stay in Hong Kong, one of his old students from Tianjin, Lu Hong Bin, paid for Sun to move to Taiwan. Shortly after moving to Taiwan, Su Xi Kun died in 1952. It is said that he died as a result of illness he suffered after having lay on the cold ground for three days with the dead bodies.
The Following Excerpts were taken from Sun Xi Kun's book, The Genuine Transmission of Ba Gua Quan, translated by Joseph Crandall.
Cheng You Long (1875 - 1928)
Tianjin, he met his Ba Gua teacher Cheng You Long (1875 - 1928).
Sun Xi Kun opened up his own school in Tianjin in 1932 under the name "Virtuous Way Martial Study Society." In 1934 he published his book, "The Genuine Transmission of Ba Gua Quan." Had the situation in China in the 1930's been different, Sun Xi Kun would have perhaps grown old teaching in a flourishing school in Tianjin. However, the Japanese invasion in 1937 put an end to life as he knew it in Northern China.
Sun Xi Kun left Tianjin in 1937 and moved to Nanjing where he had been invited to teach at the Central Martial Arts Academy. It is not known to me exactly how many years Sun stayed in Nanjing (the Central Martial Arts Academy moved to Chong Jing with the Nationalist Government in 1943), or if he followed the School's move to Chong Jing, but he eventually ended up back in Tianjin. He most likely went back home at the end of World War II (1945), but that is just speculation. He may have returned home prior to this time.
Unfortunately for Sun, his troubles in Northern China were not over. Shortly after the end of World War II, China found herself in the middle of a civil war between the Communists and the Nationalists. After the Communists took power of the country in
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