CHEN WEIMING’S CONTRIBUTION TO BAGUA

八卦掌擒拿圖
BAGUA PALMING & QINNA PHOTOS
陳微明
by Chen Weiming
[published by the 致柔拳社 Achieving Softness Boxing Society, April, 1937]

[translation by Paul Brennan, June, 2020]

孫祿堂先生遺影
Portrait of Sun Lutang

陳微明先生
Chen Weiming

八卦掌圖序
INTRODUCTION

余少好拳技,入京師,遇孫祿堂師,傳形意拳。余體孱力微,每苦不能充實,蓋形意乃拳之至剛者也。師之徒,皆北方魁梧健者,每練拳時,聲震四壁,不一二月,地磚皆碎裂。余驚嘆望洋莫及,以為於拳技,雖性好之,而資材不足,恐終無望已。後見師圜行室中,變化萬端,其妙不可言,乃大喜,求師授余。師言此乃八卦掌也,乃咸同間,有董海川先生者,精少林術,遍遊天下,至皖謝華山,得異僧之傳,其術走陰變陽,移形換影,變動莫測,遇之者,莫不目迷神奪,手足失措,故海川先生拳擊,無敵于天下。先生傳之程廷華、馬維騏、尹付諸人,祿堂師乃得廷華先生之傳。余承師教幾十年,往往自朝至暮。師為説七十二擒拏、七十二暗脚之法,終日不厭倦。師曰,我所説諸手法,外人見之者甚少。師不吝惜而教余,恨余資鈍,不能得其百一。壬申年,應中山大學之聘,至廣州,有梁生勁予者,從余學,堅請以八卦掌及擒拏法,攝影以示後學。共攝七十餘幅,社友惲君蓴園欲為付印流通,爰書數語於此,學者欲得八卦掌之法,有祿堂師八卦拳學,圖説詳盡。余之圖,不過聊備參考可耳。
丙子秋七月陳微明書于莫干山海雲樓
When I was young, I was enamored with boxing arts. I went to Beijing, where I met Sun Lutang, who taught me Xingyi Boxing. My body was weak and feeble, and so I could not do it justice. Xingyi is a boxing art of extreme hardness. Sun’s students were all robust northerners. Whenever they practiced the art, their shouts shook the walls. After just a month or two, the floor tiles were all broken. I sighed with inadequacy as though gazing upon the ocean. Although I was infatuated with boxing skills, I did not have any natural ability and feared it would be a hopeless endeavor. Then I watched Sun swirling around the practice space, constantly transforming in a way that was wondrous beyond words. I was overjoyed and asked him to teach me what he was doing.
  He said that this is Bagua Palming. During the reigns of Emperor Xianfeng [1850–1861] and Emperor Tongzhi [1861–1875], a man named Dong Haichuan, a master of the Shaolin arts, traveled everywhere, and while wandering through the mountains of Anhui met an unusual monk who taught him his art. This art changes passive into active and converts shape into shadow, transforming unpredictably. All who challenged Dong found that their eyes were dazzled, their minds were disoriented, and their hands and feet did not know where to go. Hence Dong Haichuan’s boxing skills were known as being invincible.
  Dong taught the art to Cheng Tinghua, Ma Weiqi, and Yin Fu. Sun Lutang then learned it from Cheng Tinghua. I learned from Sun for about ten years, training from dawn to dusk. He never tired of discussing the “seventy-two qinna [‘grab & seize’] methods” and the “seventy-two hidden kicks”, but he also said: “Of all the techniques I talk about in this art, the layman comprehends very few of them.” He did not keep any secrets when teaching me, but unfortunately I was just too untalented and so I was not able to grasp even one percent of his knowledge.
  In 1932, I was invited to Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, where Liang Jinyu, who was learning from me, strongly requested to take photographs of Bagua Palming and of the qinna techniques in order to show the material to students. There were altogether more than seventy photos made. Yun Zunyuan, another of my Achieving Softness Boxing Society students, then suggested that I publish these photos and also that I add a few words of introduction. For students who want to obtain the methods of Bagua Palming, there is already Sun Lutang’s A Study of Bagua Boxing [1917], which explains the art in detail. My photos are merely for the sake of reference.
  - written by Chen Weiming at the Lake & Clouds Pavilion at Mt. Mogan [in Zhejiang], 13th year of the cycle, autumn, 7th month [i.e. Aug/Sep, 1936]

序一
1st PREFACE

余讀書之暇,好研習拳術。初習少林拳,略知門徑。壬申歲蘄水陳師微明來粵,余從之學。授余以太極八卦拳與劍術。陳師蓄道德、能文章、精拳術,兼善太極八卦形意三家,而闡發拳理,尤為精詳。迨師將離粵赴滬,余請將太極八卦拳姿勢,攝影為圖,以為朝夕揣撫之模範也。癸酉秋,余負笈來滬,萬里從師,隨侍左右,以求深造。乃蒙寵愛,諄諄誨授,而余亦孜孜苦練,寒暑無間,不覺又䦧數年矣。陳師昔著太極拳書,久已風馳海內,同學惲君尊園,慫恿吾師,將圖式付印行世,內八卦擒拏手法十數圖,尤為珍貴,蓋此手法,世不易覲。此乃吾師疇昔得諸孫師祖祿堂老先生之心傳者也,祿堂老先生已歸道山矣。今欲見先輩之典則,而得八卦拳之精妙者,當於是編求之,將付梓,師命誌其崖略。因兼敘及往事,或為現世科學戰爭,鄙拳術為無用,不知鍛煉身體,强身為强國之本。人人能自衛,而後可以衛國。是書之由,充其量,可以鍛煉我國同胞,以一洒東亞病國之耻。是為序。
丙子秋月弟子台山梁勁予謹序於上海望南樓
In my spare time away from attending school, I loved to study boxing arts. I started by practicing Shaolin Boxing and achieved some slight understanding. In 1932, Chen Weiming of Qishui [in Hubei] came to Guangdong. I went to learn from him and he taught me Taiji Boxing, Bagua Boxing, and the sword art. Chen has a deep sense of morality and is skilled in literary matters, as well as being an expert at the three boxing arts of Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi. This means that he is unusually qualified to explain boxing principles.
  Before Chen went back to Shanghai, I asked him if I could take photos of his Taiji Boxing and Bagua Boxing postures so that I could have a constant model to imitate. In the autumn of 1933, I then went to Shanghai to study from him, seeking to pursue more advanced studies. Receiving attentive instruction from such a tireless teacher inspired me to work hard, never taking a break even during the hottest days of summer or coldest days of winter, and several years flew by as if no time had passed at all.
  Chen had previously written The Art of Taiji Boxing [1925], which has long since been popular throughout the nation. My fellow student Yun Zunyuan convinced Chen to now publish these photos, among them more than a dozen photos of Bagua qinna methods, which are especially precious because they are techniques that are rarely seen. These are skills which Chen learned personally from his teacher Sun Lutang. But Sun has since passed on, and so if we wish to examine the standard that he set and obtain the marvels of Bagua Boxing, we have to seek for it in books. Chen has made this record of the general outline of the art, which is now about to be published.
  Some feel that in this era of modern scientific warfare, our boxing arts are of no use, but they do not understand the role of these arts as physical exercise. Strengthening the body is the basis of strengthening the nation. When everyone can defend themselves, they will then be able to defend the nation. The basic reason for this book is to get our compatriots to exercise in order for us to cast off the humiliation of being the “sick nation of Asia”. And thus I write this preface.
  - sincerely written by your student Liang Jinyu of Taishan [in Guangdong] at the Gazing South Pavilion in Shanghai, 13th year of the cycle, autumn month [i.e. Sep/Oct, 1936]

序二
2nd PREFACE

尊少好弄,偶聞長老談武俠事,心竊慕之。弱冠入學校,習徒手兵式體操,不過稍稍運動已耳。厥後從事商業,遠涉平津、終年伏案,鈎稽簿册。漸覺胸膈脹悶,精力日疲,醫治罔效。友人或謂此病非藥石所能治,不若學習太極拳,鍛煉身體,使氣血流通,積久自愈,尊深韙其言。經歷數師,時或練習,惟以俗務羈身,作輟無恒,亦未能得益。至戊辰歲,供事滬濱,聞薪水陳微明師,設立致柔拳社,門下從遊甚盛,竊喜平昔志願至是得所依歸。因亟入社,求師教授。陳師為廣平楊澄甫、完縣孫祿堂兩先生高足,楊先生係太極拳專家,孫先生精通形意八卦太極,兩先生拳法,魁倫冠群,一時推為宗師。陳師道德文章,久為士林引重,其致力拳術,幾三十年,親承楊孫兩名師之真傳,於太極八卦形意三派,實能貫通融會,而洞悉其精微。尊數年來,蒙師循循善誘,專心肆學,雖盛暑嚴寒,未嘗或輟,進退擊撞,不以為苦,遂覺宿疾頓消,精神暢滿,獲益實非淺鮮。囚思吾人處世接物,欲有所為,必須氣體强盛,精力有餘,乃能勝任愉快。陳師以文人而擅武藝,功深養到,內充實而外平和。行動舉止,與世之赳赳武夫,氣象迥不相侔。其開示後進,口講指畫,秩然有條理,故及門之士,皆服其教,而欽其度。師著有太極拳劍等書,久已風行海內。前年在粵時,因梁君勁予之請,留將八卦掌及擒拿法圖,攝影以示學者,共七十餘幅,但未及印行。尊惜具流傳未廣,與梁君慫恿吾師,將圖式付印傳世,與孫先生所著八卦拳學圖說,相輔而行,堪以互相發明,上以存前輩之模型,下可資後學之圭皋,而於保身立業,亦大有裨益矣。印既成,師囑為序文,謹承命略述緣起于右。
丙子冬月、受業番陽惲尊園謹序
When I was young, I loved listening to my elders telling stories about martial heroes and wanted to be one. When I grew up, I went to college, where we did military calisthenics, but this was little more than exercise. I subsequently went into business and traveled to Beijing and Tianjin, where I ended up spending all my time bent over some desk examining account books. I gradually began to feel a swelling and stiffening in my chest and my vigor dissipated further each day into fatigue. All treatments for this were ineffective.
  My friends sometimes commented that “this is an illness which no medicine can cure” and that the only thing for it would be to practice Taiji Boxing. They said it builds up the body and boosts the circulation, and with accumulated practice I would be cured automatically. I deeply respected their advice and tried learning from several teachers, but I could only train from time to time because I was bogged down in everyday affairs, making my practice sporadic and inconsistent, and so I was unable to get any benefit from it. Then in 1928, business took me to Shanghai, where I heard that Chen Weiming had established the Achieving Softness Boxing Society. The school was overflowing with students, reawakening my past aspirations. I eagerly joined and sought instruction.
  Chen was a student of both Yang Chengfu of Guangping County and Sun Lutang of Wan County [both counties in Hebei]. Yang was a master of Taiji Boxing. Sun had mastered Xingyi, Bagua, and Taiji. The boxing skill of both of these men was at the highest level and they had quickly become hailed as masters. Chen’s moral character exhibited in his writings had already long made him highly esteemed in literary circles, but he has also devoted himself to boxing arts for decades, having personally learned the authentic teachings of Yang and Sun. He has a thorough understanding of Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi, a profound depth of knowledge in these three arts.
  For several years, I have followed his systematic guidance, learning these arts obsessively. Even in times of oppressive heat or bitter cold, I have never interrupted my training for anything, nor have I found all the advancing, retreating, and striking to be a hardship. My illness has completely vanished and my spirit is boundless. The benefits I have obtained are by no means meager. After giving constant thought to how we deal with things in life, it seems to me that if we want to achieve anything, we have to have strong bodies and abundant energy in order to be up to the task.
  Chen is a scholar who is also skilled at martial arts, so great is the depth of his achievement. Inwardly full of power but outwardly displaying calm, his behavior and bearing are like the archetypal “valiant martial man” [Book of Poetry, poem 7], his manner without equal. He enlightens the new generation through both verbal instruction and personal demonstration, presenting everything methodically. This is why students so willingly accept his instruction and so greatly admire the standard he sets.
  Chen has written books on Taiji Boxing and Taiji Sword, which for a long time now have been popular throughout the nation. In recent years, he was in Guangdong at the invitation of Liang Jinyu. While there, photos were taken of him performing Bagua Palming and qinna techniques, in order to demonstrate these things for students. There were more than seventy photos made, but they remained unpublished. Since this material has not been widely spread, Liang and I have encouraged Chen to publish the photos as a supplement to reading Sun’s A Study of Bagua Boxing or as an inspiration to start reading it.
  This purpose of this book is firstly to preserve a model of how previous generations performed these skills, secondly to supply new generations of students with a key to gaining access to the art, and also to establish a means of physical health that will bring great benefit indeed. Once this book was prepared, Chen told me I should write a preface to it. Accepting this task solemnly, I have here given a brief account of the genesis of this project.
  - sincerely written by your student Yun Zunyuan of Poyang County [in Jiangxi], 13th year of the cycle, autumn, winter month [i.e. Dec, 1936 / Jan, 1937]

八卦掌圖
PHOTOS OF BAGUA PALMING
[Although Chen provides names for these movements, he does not supply us with explanations for how to perform them, and so what he has passed down to us here is primarily a photographic record.]

第一圖 右單換掌一
Photo 1 – RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 1):

第二圖 右單換掌二
Photo 2 – RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 2):

第三圖 右單換掌三
Photo 3 – RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 3):

第四圖 右單換掌四
Photo 4 – RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 4):

第五圖 右單換掌五
Photo 5 – RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 5):

第六圖 右單換掌四
Photo 6 – RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 6):

第七圖 左單換掌一
Photo 7 – LEFT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 1):

第八圖 左單換掌二
Photo 8 – LEFT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 2):

第九圖 左單換掌三
Photo 9 – LEFT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 3):

第十圖 左單換掌四
Photo 10 – LEFT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 4):

第十一圖 左單換掌五
Photo 11 – LEFT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 5):

第十二圖 左單換掌六 變為右單換掌如第一圖
Photo 12 – LEFT SINGLE PALM CHANGE (Part 6) (from which you can switch back to RIGHT SINGLE PALM CHANGE as in photo 1):

第十三圖 右獅子掌一
Photo 13 – RIGHT LION PALM:

第十四圖 左獅子掌一
Photo 14 – LEFT LION PALM:

第十五圖 右返身掌一
Photo 15 – RIGHT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 1):

第十六圖 右返身掌二
Photo 16 – RIGHT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 2):

第十七圖 右返身掌三
Photo 17 – RIGHT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 3):

第十八圖 右返身掌四
Photo 18 – RIGHT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 4):

第十九圖 左返身掌一
Photo 19 – LEFT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 1):

第二十圖 左返身掌二
Photo 20 – LEFT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 2):

第二十一圖 左返身掌三
Photo 21 – LEFT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 3):

第二十二圖 左返身掌四
Photo 22 – LEFT TURNING-BODY PALM (Part 4):

第二十三圖 右順勢掌一
Photo 23 – RIGHT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 1):

第二十四圖 右順勢掌二
Photo 24 – RIGHT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 2):

第二十五圖 右順勢掌三
Photo 25 – RIGHT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 3):

第二十六圖 右順勢掌四
Photo 26 – RIGHT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 4):

第二十七圖 左順勢掌一
Photo 27 – LEFT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 1):

第二十八圖 左順勢掌二
Photo 28 – LEFT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 2):

第二十九圖 左順勢掌三
Photo 29 – LEFT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 3):

第三十圖 左順勢掌四
Photo 30 – LEFT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM (Part 4):

第三十一圖 右變換掌一
Photo 31 – RIGHT DOUBLE PALM CHANGE (Part 1):

變換掌二至四同右順勢掌二至四
RIGHT DOUBLE PALM CHANGE parts 2–4 are the same as RIGHT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM parts 2–4:

第三十二圖 左變換掌一
Photo 32 – LEFT DOUBLE PALM CHANGE (Part 1):

變換掌二至四同左順勢掌二至四
LEFT DOUBLE PALM CHANGE parts 2–4 are the same as LEFT SMOOTH-POSTURE PALM parts 2–4:

第三十三圖 右背身掌一
Photo 33 – RIGHT BEHIND-THE-BODY PALM (Part 1):

第三十四圖 右背身掌二
Photo 34 – RIGHT BEHIND-THE-BODY PALM (Part 2):

第三十五圖 左背身掌一
Photo 35 – LEFT BEHIND-THE-BODY PALM (Part 1):

第三十六圖 左背身掌二
Photo 36 – LEFT BEHIND-THE-BODY PALM (Part 2):

第三十七圖 右平托掌一
Photo 37 – RIGHT LEVEL PROPPING PALMS:

第三十八圖 左平托掌一
Photo 38 – LEFT LEVEL PROPPING PALMS:

第三十九圖 右臥掌一
Photo 39 – RIGHT LYING PALM (Part 1):

第四十圖 右臥掌二
Photo 40 – RIGHT LYING PALM (Part 2):

第四十一圖 左臥掌一
Photo 41 – LEFT LYING PALM (Part 1):

第四十二圖 左臥掌二
Photo 42 – LEFT LYING PALM (Part 2):

第四十三圖 右風輪掌一
Photo 43 – RIGHT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 1):

第四十四圖 右風輪掌二
Photo 44 – RIGHT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 2):

第四十五圖 右風輪掌三
Photo 45 – RIGHT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 3):

第四十六圖 右風輪掌四
Photo 46 – RIGHT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 4):

第四十七圖 右風輪掌五
Photo 47 – RIGHT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 5):

第四十八圖 右風輪掌六
Photo 48 – RIGHT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 6):

第四十九圖 左風輪掌一
Photo 49 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 1):

第五十圖 左風輪掌二
Photo 50 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 2):

第五十一圖 左風輪掌三
Photo 51 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 3):

第五十二圖 左風輪掌四
Photo 52 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 4):

第五十三圖 左風輪掌五
Photo 53 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 5):

第五十四圖 左風輪掌六
Photo 54 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 6):

第五十五圖 左風輪掌七
Photo 55 – LEFT PINWHEEL PALMS (Part 7):

第五十六圖 右抱掌一
Photo 56 – RIGHT HOLDING PALMS:

第五十七圖 左抱掌一
Photo 57 – LEFT HOLDING PALMS:

擒拿圖
PHOTOS OF QINNA TECHNIQUES
[Unfortunately there is again no explanation given for these techniques, nor even any names for each technique, making their connection to the postures of the solo practice less clear, and thus Chen has again left us only with a unique photographic record. This publication therefore has a diminished practical use, but nevertheless remains of historical value.]

第五十八圖 擒拿一
Photo 58 – Qinna technique 1:

第五十九圖 擒拿二
Photo 59 – Qinna technique 2:

第六十圖 擒拿三
Photo 60 – Qinna technique 3:

第六十一圖 擒拿四
Photo 61 – Qinna technique 4:

第六十二圖 擒拿五
Photo 62 – Qinna technique 5:

第六十三圖 擒拿六
Photo 63 – Qinna technique 6:

第六十四圖 擒拿七
Photo 64 – Qinna technique 7:

第六十五圖 擒拿八
Photo 65 – Qinna technique 8:

第六十六圖 擒拿九
Photo 66 – Qinna technique 9:

第六十七圖 擒拿十
Photo 67 – Qinna technique 10:

第六十八圖 擒拿十一
Photo 68 – Qinna technique 11:

第六十九圖 擒拿十二
Photo 69 – Qinna technique 12:

第七十圖 擒拿十三
Photo 70 – Qinna technique 13 [repeat of photo 58, indicating that a photo may have been accidentally left out]:

第七十一圖 擒拿十四
Photo 71 – Qinna technique 14:

第七十二圖 擒拿十五
Photo 72 – Qinna technique 15:

第七十三圖 擒拿十六
Photo 73 – Qinna technique 16:

– – –

[As a bonus to the very sparse text of this publication, below are a couple of contributions Chen made to magazines.]

孫禄堂先生傳
A BIO OF SUN LUTANG
陳微明
by Chen Weiming
[published within 國術統一月刊 Martial Arts United Monthly Magazine, Issue #2, 1934]

孫祿堂先生,諱福全,直隸完縣人也。幼隨李奎元先生讀,兼學形意拳,又從奎元之師郭雲深先生學,所至必隨,郭騎而馳,先生步行,手攬馬尾,日常行百數十里。至京師,又從程廷華先生學八卦拳,後遇郝維楨先生,得太極之傳,故先生精三家之技而能融合為一。至若外家拳械,通者數百種,蓋先生於武術,殆有天授焉。徐世昌督奉天,嘗居其幕下,保知縣,後為總統府校尉承宣官,南京國術館成立,聘為武當門主任,以忌之者衆,不合辭去,後江蘇國術館聘為副館長兼教務主任,成就武術人才甚衆,先生通易理及天文算數奇門遁甲道家修養之術,道德極高,與人較藝,未嘗負,而不自矜喜,虛心研究,老而不倦,所詣之精微,雖同門有不知者。蓋先生於武技,好之篤,功之純,出神入化,隨機應變,而無一定法,不輕衒于廣衆,故能知其深者絕少。完縣嘗大旱,貸錢利半於本,先生憫焉,散錢于鄕農而不取其息,樂善好施,莫不感德。任江蘇國術館副館長三年,倭人入寇,先生遂歸北平,壬申九月,忽欲囘鄕里,家人留之不可,旣歸。每日書字練拳無間,惟不食者二旬,預知歿之時日,臨終見佛至接引,囑家人誦佛號,勿哀哭,安坐而逝,曰:吾視生死,猶遊戲耳。其所養至此,豈偶然哉?其子存周。能得其傳,先生著有形意。八卦。太極拳學。八卦劍學。拳意述眞傳于世,余承先生教誨二十餘年,略知其生平,謹為之傳。
Sun Lutang, called Fuquan, was from Wan County, Hebei. In his youth, he was schooled by Li Kuiyuan, who also taught him Xingyi Boxing. He was then told that he should also learn from Li’s own teacher Guo Yunshen. Guo would trot along on horseback while Sun ran behind, holding the horse’s tail, and in this way they covered many miles each day. Sun then went to Beijing and also learned Bagua Boxing from Cheng Tinghua, and later met Hao Weizhen, from whom he learned Taiji. Having mastered all three of these arts, he was thus able to merge them into a single understanding. As for external styles of boxing and weapons, he knew many of those as well. He seemed to have an inborn talent for martial arts.
  Xu Shichang, who governed Fengtian [now Shenyang, in Liaoning], sought out Sun for instruction. For later protecting a county magistrate, Sun was made an army field officer by declaration from the presidential palace. When the Nanjing Martial Arts Institute was established, he was appointed as head of the Wudang department. This made many people jealous, and so he resigned from this position so as not to upset anybody. He was later appointed as vice-director and academic dean of the Jiangsu Martial Arts Institute. Beyond his many achievements as a talented martial artist, he also had a thorough understanding of the theory within the Book of Changes, as well as astronomy, mathematics, divination, and Daoist cultivation arts.
  He never lost a fight, but because he had a strong moral code, he never bragged about winning. He was curious about everything, was never tired in his old age, and had a range of knowledge that even his closest colleagues were hardly aware of. His relationship to martial arts was one of sincere devotion and purity of skill, achieving a spiritual level, responding to situations without any predictable pattern. He never showed off in public, and thus very few got to know the true depth of his skill.
  Wan County once experienced a bad drought. So much sympathy did he have for the people of his native place that he donated half his money to their relief. Because he gave money to the farmers without seeking to gain anything in return, everyone was moved by his charitable actions.
  He served as the vice-director of the Jiangsu Martial Arts Institute for three years. When the Japanese invaded [Manchuria in 1931], he returned to Beijing. Then in the 9th month of the 9th year of the cycle [i.e. Oct, 1932], he suddenly wanted to return to his hometown. Family members could not convince him to stay, and so they all returned with him. Every day, he ceaselessly wrote and practiced, but he ate nothing for three weeks, having foretold the day of his death. As he approached death, he had a vision of the Buddha leading him away. He told his family members to chant the name of the Buddha and not to weep. He passed away sitting up, saying: “Life and death – just a game.” Having prepared for his death to this extent, it seems like he really must have known when he was going to die.
  His son Cunzhou is now in charge of passing on his teachings. Sun’s writings include A Study of Xingyi Boxing [1915], A Study of Bagua Boxing [1917], A Study of Taiji Boxing [1921], A Study of Bagua Sword [1927], and Authentic Explanations of Martial Arts Concepts [1924], all of which have been shared with the world. I have followed his teachings for more than twenty years and know something of his life, and thus I sincerely present this brief bio of him.

孫禄堂先生六十壽序
A TOAST TO SUN LUTANG’S SIXTY YEARS
陳微明
by Chen Weiming
[published in 國術聲 Martial Arts Voices, Vol. 3, Issue #4, June 20, 1935 (though clearly written in 1920 and thus possibly published earlier in some other form)]

微明游京師,遇完縣孫祿堂先生,授以內家拳術,以為先生乃幽燕豪俠之流也;及其處之旣久,乃知先生人品之高,道術之深,有非士大夫所能及者!蓋先生兼通奇門數理,精於易,著有形意太極八卦拳學諸書,其術大抵借後天之復先天,由有為以歸無為,摧剛而為柔,揉直而為曲,內健外順,體乾用坤,故能冲虛不盈,變動不居,隨機制勝,時措之宜。嘗曰:天下之理,同歸殊途,一致百慮,大道無名,體物不遺,惟湛密者能暏其微,中和能觀其通,夫其神全者,萬物皆備於我,其不相通者,必一曲一徧之士也。微明聞有殊才異能,必訪問其人,然精於蓻者,不能通於道,善為言者,不能徵於行,或守一。先生之言,暖暖姝姝而自悅,不知天地之大,四海之廣,惟先生備然侗然,無成心,無私見,故能兼取衆善而為我之用,無相拂之辭焉。自士大夫以至於百家技術之人,其為學志以干祿者為多,惟先生輕利樂道,久而彌篤,負絕蓻不自表襮,故能深知者絕少。容貌淸癯,靄然儒雅,每稠人廣坐,靜默寡言語,及道蓻,則精神四達並流,演繹開說,忽起舞蹈,奇變襲出,連環無窮,往往終日不厭。故微明游客京師,雖饔餐不繼,而戀戀不忍去者,以感先生之德意而欲略闚其門徑也。今歲庚申冬月十五日,先生六十初度之晨,無以為祝嘏之獻,謹略述先生行誼,以為壽言。夫以先生明大道之要,識陰陽之故,通奇正之變,解生勝之義,體之於心,驗之於身,精氣內蘊,神光外發,孟子所謂直養無害,塞乎天地之間者,先生勤而行之,服而不舍,其為壽,豈有涯哉!
I traveled to Beijing and met Sun Lutang of Wan County, who taught me internal boxing arts. He seemed to me to be like a fabled knight-errant. Having been in his presence for a long time now, I have come to know both the nobility of his character and the depth of his knowledge of Daoism, which was beyond the level of most scholars. He also had a thorough grasp of divination and mathematics, being an expert in the Book of Changes. He has authored the books A Study of Xingyi Boxing [1915], A Study of Bagua Boxing [1917], and A Study of Taiji Boxing [1921].
  The gist of his art is to make use of acquired tendencies to restore our inherent nature, to return from a habit of doing to a state of non-doing, to break down hardness into softness, to twist straightness into curves, to become inwardly vigorous and yet be outwardly compliant, to possess both lofty theory and earthy practicality. In this way, we will be able to empty our minds instead of being overfilled with stubborn beliefs, to adapt to circumstances instead of getting stuck in predictable patterns, to respond according to a situation as the means to gaining control over it, and to always act at the right moment.
  He once said: “It is a universal principle that ‘things take different routes but return to the same place, people having countless strategies but the same goal’ [quoting from the commentary section to the Book of Changes]. The great Way is indefinable and yet it neglects nothing. Look closely and you can perceive its subtleties, from a neutral state able to observe its connection to everything. Being full of spirit, ‘all things are a part of us’ [Mengzi, chapter 7a]. A man who does not feel connected to it is surely distracted by his own obsessions.”
  When I had heard of his extraordinary abilities, I decided I had to meet this man. It is often the case that those with skills cannot communicate how to achieve them, while those who are good at talking about their art often do not have the skills to back up what they say, but he can do both. Sun’s words filled me with delight. I have no sense of the size of the universe nor the true scale of the world, but he equips me with the open-mindedness to learn unfettered by preconceptions or personal opinions, and as result I am better able to serve both the greater good and my own needs without any clashing between the two.
  Many learn skills in order to obtain a lucrative position. Sun thinks little of material gain and instead delights in the Way, and ever more so through the years. He has a consummate skill but never shows off, and thus very few have gotten to know the true depth of his skill. He looks thin but very healthy, amiable but very scholarly. Even when sitting among a crowd, he is quiet and reserved in speech. However, once the subject turns to Daoist arts, he becomes excited, talks more freely, and suddenly starts demonstrating, performing remarkable transformations endlessly and tirelessly.
  I went Beijing to meet him, foregoing even my meals to do so, for nothing could keep me away. So moved was I by his ideas that I had to catch at least a glimpse of his methods. This year, the 57th year of the cycle, on the 15th day of the winter month [i.e. Dec 24, 1920] is Sun’s sixtieth birthday. My words are not intended as a form of birthday congratulations, only to outline his virtuous deeds and to wish him many more years to come.
  Sun understands what the great Way entails, how the passive and active aspects work, how to transform between the anticipated and unexpected, and how to succeed at life. Principles dwell within his mind, but his experience is revealed through his body. Because he stores up energy within, he outwardly expresses spirit. As Mengzi said [Mengzi, chapter 2a]: “If you nurture it consistently and never waste it, your energy will fill the whole universe.” Sun works hard and never gives up, and so there could never be an end to his longevity.

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