Grandmaster Sun Zhi Jun (1933-2016)
一 代 宗 师 孙 志 君
National Representative Successor of Baguazhang
Grandmaster Sun Zhi Jun 孙志君 was born in 1933 in Hebei province, in the home town of Cheng Ting Hua 程廷华, founder of Cheng Style Bagua Zhang. Sun, a fourth generation lineage holder, received his Bagua training from three primary teachers: Liu Zi Yang 刘子扬 (one of the top disciples of Cheng Ting Hua’s brother Cheng Dian Hua 程殿华), Cheng You Sheng 程有生 (Cheng Ting Hua’s nephew and Cheng Dian Hua’s son), and Cheng You Xin 程有信 (Cheng Ting Hua’s second son).
Grandmaster’s love for the martial arts was clear from a young age. As a child, Sun would spend days and evenings studying with his teachers, continuing his practice well into the night after everyone had long gone home. Sun maintained this rigorous regimen even as he studied to become a civil engineer. It was through this unwavering tenacity that Sun excelled amongst his training brothers, becoming the favorite disciple of Cheng You Sheng who taught him the Xia Pan 下盘, or lower basin, the most advanced level of Bagua. Sun also studied Xing Yi Quan 形意拳, which helped to develop speed and power in his strikes, an excellent supplement to the fluid, swimming body nature of Bagua.
Sun’s achievements were many. An Eighth Duan Wushu Master certified by the Chinese Wushu Association, he was a consultant to the Beijing Wushu Association, serving as Vice Chairman for the Second Committee of its Bagua Zhang Research Institute and a member of the Board of Supervisors for its Third Committee.
Sun entered his first competition in 1964 at the Beijing Wushu Championship and won gold medals in both Bagua palm and weapons. In 1983, he competed in the China National Championship and, again, captured gold, receiving the National Outstanding Wushu Athlete award. In 2004, at over seventy years old, he competed in the World Traditional Wushu Championship, held in Zhengzhou, Henan, and received standing ovations (and gold medals) for his performance of the 64 Linked Palms 游身八卦连环二十四式六十四掌 — the most advanced empty-hand form in Cheng Style Bagua — as well as Bagua Saber 八卦刀.
Grandmaster was a passionate teacher, who devoted much of his adult life to nurturing the next generation of Bagua masters. He began teaching in 1982 at the Beijing Dongcheng Wushu Institute 北京市东城武术馆. In 1983, Sun received the National Instructor of Excellence award. Since then, martial arts enthusiasts near and far have come to pay homage to Sun and train under his watchful eye. His disciples span the globe and include Jia Shu Sen 贾树森 (Chairman of the Third Committee of the Beijing Bagua Zhang Research Institute and author of Foundations of Baguazhang) with whom our teacher Master Mike J. Ng studied, as well as Ge Chun Yan 戈春艳, five-time China National Bagua Champion and star of the classic award-winning martial film, Pride’s Deadly Fury 武林志 (1983).
In 1983, the Chinese Wushu Association elected Grandmaster Sun as the representative for Cheng Style Bagua, featuring him in two sets of VCDs, titled Chinese Traditional Martial Arts (1990) and Ba Gua Zhang (1992). Another VCD titled Cheng Style Ba Gua Zhang was later published, in which Sun demonstrated the practical applications and fighting techniques of Bagua. These video series were greatly received and due to popular demand, Sun published his book You Shen Ba Gua Lian Huan Zhang 游身八卦连环掌 in 1994 to document the traditional forms of Cheng Style Bagua. In 2001, a collection of VCDs was published to accompany this text, showcasing all of the empty-hand forms plus weapons such as the saber 刀, straightsword 剑, spear 枪, double hooks (deer horn knives) 双钺 , as well as two-person sparring set 八卦掌对练, two-person saber set 八卦刀对练, and Xing Yi Quan.
In 2012, China’s Ministry of Culture conferred upon Sun the pinnacle achievement of his career: the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Award 国家级非物质文化遗产, making him the official National Representative Successor of Baguazhang 八卦掌代表性传承人.
On August 13, 2016, the world lost one of its most prominent exponents of Bagua Zhang 八卦掌; Grandmaster Sun Zhi Jun passed away in Beijing at the age of 84.
He will forever be remembered as a scholar warrior with a huge heart, overflowing with knowledge and wisdom, and an inspiration to us all.