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History and Philosophy of Wudang Three Harmony Set

As I was revising my book, The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan, I replaced drawings with photographs in the revised edition. I was not impressed with Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan, and wondered how their masters would use its prosaic techniques for combat.

Then I remember that its founder, Sun Luk Tang (1860-1933), was a great fighter. He was known in the martial art circles as "shao bao", or "young guard", being trained in Xingyiquan and Baguazhang. In his later years he learned Wu Style Taijiquan, which is sometimes called Hao Style Taijiuqna, from a great Taijiquan master, Hao Wei Chen. Sun Lu Tang combined his Taijiquan with Xingyiquan and Baguazhang, which is now called Sun Style Taijiquan.

Then I recalled that some masters purposely distorted some techniques in their open sets to hide their effective combat application. Did Sun Luj Tang do this, I asked myself. I looked closely at the Sun Style Taijiquan set and found effective Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang patterns for combat.

I had a good opportunity to teach Sun Style Taijiquan with its effective but hidden combat application when Emiko (Sifu Emiko Hsuen) invited me to teach a special kungfu course in Toronto from 4th to 6th November 2016. To help course participants better understand the combat application of hidden patterns but still unknown to the general public and to most martial artists who do not even know simple combat application of open patterns, I modified some patterns in the set without changing its main structure.

But there was a problem. Sun Style Taijiquan practitioners would say tthat what I taught was not Sun Style Taijiquan, and I did not learn the set from a living Sun Style Taijiquan master. They were right in their complaints. So, with the agreement of Emiko, I called the set "Wudang Three-Harmony Set".

The term "Wudang" is prefixed to the set because, rightly or wrongly, Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang are commonly regarded as Wudang arts. It is called "Three-Harmony" because the three intenal styles of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang are harmonized into a set.

There are three signature patterns which represent the essence of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang. "Green Dragon Shoots Pearl", often called "Brush Knee Quick Step" in other styles of Taijiquan, is a signature Taijquan pattern. It manifests the Taijiquan principle of minimizing an opponent's force. "Golden Axe Strikes Mountain", called "Single Whip" in the original Sun Style Taijiquan Set, is a signature Xingyiquan pattern. It manifests the Xingyiquan principle of striking an opponent as soon as he makes a move. "Green Dragon Returns Head", called "Lazy to Roll Sleeves" in the original set, is a signature Baguazhang pattern. It manifests the special Baguazhang skill of getting to an opponent's back

At the Toronto course, these three patterns were specially taught. It may be incredible to other martial artists, but each of these three patterns can be applied to counter any attack, irrespective of whether the attack is a strike, a kick, a felling technique or a chin-na technique!

The Wudang Three-Harmony Set is a wonderful set. It is extremely effective for combat as well as contributes greatly to good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
18th January 2017