No Tracks in The Snow - Remembering Sun Lutang 踏雪無痕 記民 國武術大師孫祿堂

There was an article in one of the Chinese newspapers today, on Sun Lu Tang and "lightness skills" 輕功. Here is my translation below. Although many marital arts novels talk about this phenomena, most moderns tend to dismiss it as the overactive imagination of our predecessors. However there were many records of kung fu masters demonstrating light skills in the 1920s and 1930s of which the most well known was Sun Lu Tang. We do not lack for aerial acrobatic performances in the modern era, but according to those of deep spiritual cultivation, if you are able to open the macroscopic orbit in your body, you will be able to levitate, but as the practitioner is no longer bound by the rules of biology and physics and this exceeds the abilities of normal man, spiritual practitioners will not lightly demonstrate this skill. During the Republican era, Sun Lu Tang himself said that he had achieved the Dao through martial arts practice. Sun Lu Tang's (1860-1933) birth name was Sun Fu Quan 孫福全 and was born in Wan County in Hebei Province (currently part of Wang Du County). He was a master of Xingyi, Baguazhang and Taiji and the founder of Sun Style Taiji. He was a well known martial artist with the nickname "The First Hand under Heaven" 天下第一手. According to the Society Daily 《社會日報》 - 1930年5月11日 the author Xiang Kai Ran 向 愷然 relates, "Although Sun Lu Tang was born in Hebei his reputation was respected across the nation. In addition to his skills in Xingyi, Bagua and Taiji, he was also taught by some unusual people, one of who was called Chen Letian 陳樂天 whose skill was to be able to fly in the sky, and he transmitted this skill to Sun. Sun was able to use this skill in the North East, to escape from an explosion by jumping off a steep cliff, while helping the troops stationed there to rid the area of bandits.

Sun said that the foundation of martial arts was how to use the Shen and the Qi. I was greatly surprised. Jizi did not realize what had happened. Upon that point Jizi adjusted the saddle to jump the horse. Although I had heard this I was personally suspicious of its veracity. and upon return asked Master Sun to try out the horse. And thus he was famous in the area of Yan Zhao. there are no others who can compare to him. and hastened it on with the whip. At that time the horse was running as if in full flight. This is the use of the Shen and the Qi. like a flying swallow through the curtain. and it was like waking from a dream. as a dragonfly skipping on the water. but the applause from the spectators was like the sound of lightning. who loved martial arts and enjoyed riding horses. The son of the Qing Minister 鹿傳霖 Jizi. and then jumped on its back. and none did not know the living monkey Sun Lu Tang. . Sun waited for the horse to run several bows' length." 2) According the the magazine of the Central Guoshu Academy 《國術週刊》 and the Records of Great Guoshu Masters 《國術名人錄》,they both recorded that that "Sun Lu Tang was able to squeeze through narrow spaces and bridge large expanses. and was the talk of the capital. and there was none who could compare to the speed of Sun. The audience did not understand and asked Sun to demonstrate. like the frost chasing the wind. One day Jizi received a new horse. Sum demurred and said I am not proficient at riding. yet Sun was as swift as a monkey. and it is not something that can be achieved by brute strength. and asked Sun to accompany him to try out the horse in the countryside. to be able to see such achievements in the art today. frowned and said that he should try his utmost to catch him. if the heart and emotions are not suppressed. Sun Lu Tang has always been universally acclaimed. and requires the cultivation of the heart and the emotions. he was like the wind and it was difficult to discern his shape until he finally landed safely on the ground.In the previous year in Beijing. and was able to move like a god on a knife's edge. At the beginning of the year Sun Lu Tang had come to Shanghai to teach at the Jian De Savings Association 儉德儲蓄會 and I had gone to listen. he waited for Jizi to ride a few more rounds. and heard the rising sound of applause. and finally believed that there was an art of flying using the Qi of the body. this results in an expenditure of energy. a number of masters from Shanghai related that Sun Lu Tang had jumped over the walls of the forbidden palace. and so he leapt into the air and moved flew backwards and forwards in the space of the hall. he placed both hands lightly on Jizi's shoulder. went to visit Master Sun. Thus one must understand the importance of cultivation in your daily life. Jizi rode first. he rode with all his ability.

3) According to the Tianjin Compendium of Cultural History 《天津文史資料彙編》 and Wudang Magazine's 《武當》 1995年9期 edition,Sun Lu Tang's light skills could chase down a good horse。In his early years he followed Guo Yun Shen across many provinces in the north and south. Sun leapt onto the fall and remained there with his back to the wall for 1-2 minutes before returning to the ground. and that he should not have an open competition.Those who knew of this tried to persuade him. and even the devils and gods found it hard to deal with him. following behind in the dust. and was able to meld them together. He also had the skill of "hanging a painting on the wall" 牆上掛畫之功. Taiji which were the pinnacle of the internal arts , he also took studied the external arts. and was one of the most accomplished artists during the Qing period. so that he was like a god. 4) According to the Zhejiang Wulin Events 《浙江武林紀事》,In the spring of 1931 Sun was travelling in Hangzhou and walking towards the West Lake with his disciples Gao Zhen Dong 高振東 and Cao Yan Hai 曹晏海. Li thus visited Sun privately. and Guo often rode a horse with Sun holding on to the horse's tail. his disciples could not catch up with him. There was once a palace guard . 5) According to the Stories of the Northern Guoshu Masters 《北派國術家掌故》,“In the year of the Emperor Guangxu 光緒,there was a Sun Lu Tang from Puyang 蒲陽,who was known for his bravery and skills in pugulism. He was playing with his disciples and asked them to chase him,with the one who was able to catch him being the winner and he would teach them a secret technique. at that time Sun had . In Mukden (Manchuria),he once had a challlenge match in the Governor's mansion ,at that time the walls of the hall were as glossy as a mirror. He was well trained in Xingyiquang.Big Nose Li who heard of his reputation. He was known as the first hand under heaven. Baguazhang. who hoped to arrange a fight with him. The observers were very surprised as he did not leave any footprints in the snow where he had stepped. Once Sun lived in Tianjin,and it was snowing heavily,with the snow half a foot deep in the courtyard,when the sun came up,the snowing had stopped,Sun admired the beautiful snow,and demonstrated his Taiji set. that Sun had exquisite form. Although Sun looked as those he was walking without effort. and rose up high perpendicular to the floor. What was even more surprising was his ability not to leave tracks in the snow 踏雪無痕之 功. and was undefeated.

with the observers shouting encouragement. Sun's Taoist Studies. The observers did not see Sun move. in recent times only Sun has achieved a golden body. my kung fu brothers at the time especially respected me. I saw Master Sun carrying a lantern coming from the back courtyard. During the winter of the second year. “This is Master's way of honoring his teacher. so Sun finally agreed. Lightness Skills and Martial arts were of the highest level ,and none in the modern era can compare to him. and another also said that Guo Yun Shen had been able to leap 30 feet. and the courtyard was completely white. You used Master Guo to compare so Master deliberately did not leap past 30 feet. he denied this and said that he was only able to jump 20 feet. Coming out of the bedchamber. for Sun had already come behind Li. and have experienced many hardships. why didn't Master jump further? Afterwards my brother 李玉琳 said to me. and indeed it was 20 feet 5 inches。 I was bothered by this. Li left.heard from Su Wang of Li's reputation. but many have dropped out halfway. 6) According to the Study of Sun Style Martial Arts 《孫氏武學研究》 Yang Shi Huan 楊世垣 remembers,“In the 12th year of the Republic (1923) I was in Nankai in Tianjin. they are the same”. and there was heavy snow. Zhao Bilu 趙 壁塵. At that time Master Sun came to Tianjin one to two times a month for 3 to five days. and asked him three times for a match. attending university. Having said this he used the tiger form to jump and my brother 龔劍堂 used a ruler to measure. After Master heard this. and asked Sun to decline the request. and is the only one who I know who was able to enter the Dao through the martial arts. I have many friends who have an interest in the spiritual studies. but am on the path." After his he finished speaking. he looked at the snow as though he could not bear to step on it. I woke up early in the morning. five inches. "This is a silver carpet from heaven. and felt that he was the only one in modern times to achieve the Dao through martial arts. So do not pick on the details. once the signal was given. and in that year I began to study Xingyiquan. The two faced each other. Perhaps for this reason. humiliated and regretting his actions. 《老氏探賾》. Baguazhang and Taijiquan under Sun Lu Tang. Sun often mentioned that to study the internal arts one needed a solid educational foundation. Master wanted me to accompany him to Beijing. a well known Daoist Teacher (杜心五的道學老師)reckons that he is approaching the Dao. Li had not yet began to move when he fell out of the ring. and on the same day I used a ruler to measure it and it was thirty feet. I follow the Longmen path 龍門,while Master Sun is of Wenshi 文始,although the lineage is different. but this is not something that one who does not study the Dao can understand. “I study the spirit. it was like a spirit. and to stay at his house. After this I told my brothers that Master had been able to jump thirty feet carrying a lantern. he leapt up and reached the steps of the Northern rooms. I noted his footprint. and he had said that Li was gracious and humble. 踏雪無痕 記民國武術大師孫祿堂 . while Sun resided in the Dao. Li suspected that Sun's reputation had no basis in fact." 7) According to the 1933 publication of Lao's explorations.

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