Sun Lutang's "A Study of Taijiquan"

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Sun Lutang's "A Study of Taijiquan"
   By Tom (Unregistered Guest) on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 06:30 pm: Edit Post

For those interested in Sun Lutang's method of taijiquan, or taijiquan generally, I highly recommend Tim Cartmell's translation of Sun's "A Study of Taijiquan." It's one of the clearest English translations from the Chinese I've ever encountered in martial arts (and I've seen a lot). This is a particularly impressive feat given the abstruse nature of much of Sun Lutang's writing.

Tim deserves a round of thanks from the Chinese MA community for his perseverance in completing the translation, and North Atlantic Books deserves the patronage for taking a chance on such a limited-market title. No one makes a lot of money off these projects.

The book includes Tim's insightful overview of Sun's taijiquan, Dan Miller's biographical essay on Sun Lutang previously published in Albert Liu's translation of Sun's book on xingyiquan, and a complete translation of the Chinese text of Sun's original book on taijiquan--the first book ever publicly released on this martial art. The explanation of the form is fairly complete, and benefits from the fact that Tim studied with Sun's daughter, the late Sun Jian Yun, and teaches Sun taijiquan. The photos are the ones from the original text, and are fairly clear considering their age.

It's available from local bookstores or on-line from

   By Tim on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:34 pm: Edit Post

Thanks Tom.

I still haven't seen the finished product!

   By Tim on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 06:30 pm: Edit Post

I received copies of "A Study of Taijiquan" today.

I want to thank Jess O'Brien and the people at North Atlantic Books for doing a great job on the publication.

I'd also like to thank my friends Dan Miller for letting us use his bio of Sun, and Joe Bellone for his help in trying to get the work published.

   By Dragonprawn on Saturday, January 03, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit Post

I have the book. Nice job Tim (except for the footnote regarding the lifting of the anus by intent).

A classmate of mine who owns a copy of the original Chinese version said that it has two things your translation does not. One is photos of Sun Lutang doing push hands. The other is a section on sword.

Is this correct? Were these left out & if so why? Or is it Sun Lutang's other book on tai chi that he has?


   By Bob #2 on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 05:49 pm: Edit Post

how do you lift your anus?

   By Brian Kennedy on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 02:09 am: Edit Post

Well, since Tim is on tour I will answer the question about the Taiji book. Sun Lu Tang¡¦s book on the Taiji sword was a separate book, published at a different time. Chinese (and Taiwanese and Hong Kong) book publishers frequently slap different books together as they see fit. Your friends edition simply has the two books together.

As to the pushing hands, umm, you must not have gotten to the back of the book yet. Tim's translation (i.e. the North Atlantic version) does include the push hands part (see pages 197 and following). The line drawings (not photos of Sun Lu Tang) are the same as in both Chinese editions I have.

So North Atlantic did not gyp you out of anything. My wife, who is a full time translator, did a side by side comparison of Tim's translation with the original and thought that Tim did an outstanding job on a very difficult text.

And I thought the whole thing was outstanding.

Take care and Happy Chinese New Year (Jan 21)

   By Dragonprawn on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 08:49 pm: Edit Post


Thank you.

Bob #2,


   By Tim on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 01:24 am: Edit Post


As Brian explained, the book your friend has is two books put together. The translation I did is Sun's entire, original "Study of Taijiquan."


I wanted to hook up with you while I was in Taipei, but ran out of time. My apologies for not getting in touch.

   By Travis Flinn (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 12:12 am: Edit Post

This book and translation is excellent! Can anyone advise on good english translations of Sun Lutang's other works?

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