What is Hai Di Lao Yue ?

What is Hai Di Lao Yue ?

Postby Gianluca Meassi » Mon Jan 13, 2003 7:27 pm

In Yang Jwing Ming book "Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style" there is a reference to a posture called "Pick Up the Moon from the Sea Bottom" (Hai Di Lao Yue). Is it present in the YCF form?
I have downloaded the preview in PDF format of the book while waiting to get it so i have got just only few pages.
I practice with a scholar of Fu Zhongwen and we don't have nothing called like that. Again i read in the preview of the book that Hai Di Zhen is called Hai Di Lao Zhen. Which is the right name? And the Lao term what does it mean?
I'm not good at english and know nearly nothing about chinese but i practice hard. Image

Thanks for any reply
G.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jan 14, 2003 3:41 am

Greetings Gianluca,

The name you are referring to, “hai di lao yue” (pull up the moon from the sea bottom) is from a document in a collection of nine knack formulae (jue) reputed to be handed down by Yang Banhou (1837-1892). This first formula names the postures of the taijiquan form in order, and gives martial applications for each of them in a highly codified poetic scheme. The order and naming of the postures are remarkably similar to the received form taught by the Yang family today, but there are a number of differences. The form name “hai di lao yue” has not survived in the received form. In the formula, it appears between Lift Hands Upward, and White Crane Displays Wings, so it evidently named what is now an unnamed transition. I have seen several variations of this transition, mostly involving something resembling Press (ji), with the focus varying from above shoulder height to the lower abdomen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Needle at Sea Bottom referred to as Hai Di Lao Zhen, but only as Hai Di Zhen, which is in fact how it appears in the Yang Banhou formula. (The word ‘lao’ means to pull up, especially to pull something from the water; to fish). The formula text is translated in the book you mention, Yang Jwingming’s _Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style_, pp. 7-13, and in Douglas Wile, _T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions_, pp. 41-63. The original Chinese appears with the translation in the Yang Jwingming book, and can also be found in Yang Zhenduo’s most recent book in Chinese, _Yang Shi Taiji_, pp. 19-20.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 14, 2003 4:50 am

The name also appears in the Yang style sword form (move 42). I seem to remember reading recently that hai di lao yue was also a variant name for another barehand move, but I can't remember. I'll try to find it.
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Postby Gianluca Meassi » Tue Jan 14, 2003 4:22 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Greetings Gianluca,

The formula text is translated in the book you mention, Yang Jwingming’s _Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style_, pp. 7-13, and in Douglas Wile, _T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions_, pp. 41-63. The original Chinese appears with the translation in the Yang Jwingming book, and can also be found in Yang Zhenduo’s most recent book in Chinese, _Yang Shi Taiji_, pp. 19-20.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

As usually you are like a light in the dark for me. Image
So you mean that Hai Di Lao Zhen is not a correct translation? I do not have the power to read the source in chinese.
Thanks in advance.
Gianluca.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jan 14, 2003 6:24 pm

Greetings Gianluca,

Yes, the translation, "pick up the needle from the sea bottom," and the transliteration, "hai di lao zhen" appearing on p. 8 in Yang Jwingming's book are both incorrect. The Chinese appears on the next page, and the wording is "hai di zhen," which would be "needle at sea bottom."

There are numerous other problems in that book, editorial in nature, but I think it is worthwhile having, simply because the materials are so important.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Gianluca Meassi » Wed Jan 15, 2003 11:35 am

Yes that book seems so interesting for me.
If the errors are relative to transliteration i think is not a minor problem. Well i obviously got other sources to compare and integrate with but for me and other person that don't have a knowledge of chinese is a real problem. The author have done a good choice to insert the originals paragraphs in chinese.
Again the preface or other introductory materials seems to me a little bit superficial. Probably more work must be done to put in the right light that material.
Just my opinion for what i see in the preview (still waiting for the book).

Thanks for your help.
Cheers
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jan 19, 2003 12:33 am

Greetings,

Since these form names came up, I thought I might post some informational trivia on the names, although I can’t say that I know with any certitude why these particular names were chosen to designate taiji forms.

Both of the phrases, “hai di lao yue,” (pull up the moon from the sea bottom) and “hai di lao zhen” (pull up a needle from the sea bottom) are specimens of what are called “chengyu” in Chinese. These are set phrases, almost always consisting of four characters, or pairs of four, and often encapsulating a story with some sort of lesson or bit of wisdom, much like a proverb. These two stand among a handful of apparently related phrases, including: “hai zhong lao yue,” and “shui zhong lao yue,” meaning respectively to pull up the moon from within the sea, or from the water. All of these share the meaning of a task that is difficult, nearly impossible, or utterly impossible. The refererences to the moon is of course to the reflection of the moon in a body of water, so it is obviously impossible to grasp the moon or its reflection from the water. The “hai di lao zhen” proverb is much like the English expression, “like finding a needle in a haystack.” However, chengyu that refer to matters of difficulty often carry an ironic twist—the endeavor that is presented as a fruitless waste of effort is actually something very worthwhile doing, at least for the rare person who makes the sincere effort to accomplish this “impossible task.” I also found one entry for “hai di lao yue” in a chengyu dictionary that actually makes reference to something resembling the taiji form: “It also describes a posture in which one stretches out with the arm and bends at the waist to seize and pull something.”

As I mentioned in the post above, the “hai di lao yue” does not survive in the received taijiquan form, but as Jerry points out, it is used for one of the taiji sword form names. The taijiquan posture, Needle at Sea Bottom (hai di zhen), while it may be in some way inspired by or named for the chengyu, “hai di lao zhen,” does not in fact contain the verb “lao” (to pull, to fish). Xu Yusheng, who was a student of Yang Jianhou, offers quite a bit of information on many of the taijiquan form names in his 1921 book, _Taijiquan Shi Tujie_ (Illustrated Explanations of Taijiquan Forms). For Needle at Sea Bottom, he writes, “Sea Bottom is the name of a cavity (xue) on the body, hence Needle at Sea Bottom means that the hand pierces (or stabs) at the Sea Bottom point [of the opponent’s body].”(p. 22) Huang Wenshan’s English book, _Fundamentals of Tai Chi Ch’uan_, which cribs heavily from Xu Yusheng’s book, has: “It means that the hand (needle) is used to pressure the vital point, which is known as ‘Sea Bottom’ (Hai Ti) in acupuncture, at the foot of the opponent.” (p. 240). Neither Xu nor Huang bother to point out where the haidi point is. The term “xue” can mean either an accupuncture point or a “strike point” in boxing. I’m not at all well-versed in Chinese medicine, but I’m not aware of an acupuncture point with this name, so “haidi” is more likely a colloquial term or a specialized boxing term. If there is an application of this movement involving a strike point, it would only be one of several possible applications. Yang Chengfu, in _Taijiquan tiyong quanshu_, says, “The movement’s intent is like that of a needle probing the sea bottom.” His application scenario does not mention the use of the hand in a strike, however.

Take care,
Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 01-21-2003).]
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Postby Gianluca Meassi » Mon Jan 20, 2003 11:42 am

I've figured out that "pull up the moon from the sea bottom" is a meaning of something difficult or impossibile to do. I think it's a phrase easy to understand even for a occidental. But your work is gone deeper than this and as always is like a treasure for me.
One of the applications of hai di zhen i know it's a strike in a acupuncture point behind the genitals, behind the scrotum for a male person.
Didn't remember where it comes so it could be wrong or mistaken. Will take a look at some books when i'll be back home or ask to my master at next seminar.
The concept of a needle probing at sea bottom is new to me but interesting.

Thanks for your help.
Gianluca
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Postby theone » Mon Jan 20, 2003 1:44 pm

Hi,

I hope this contribution adds to the discussion Image

I noticed this discussion with interest because the version of the form that we practice seems to still contain this "Pick up the moon from the sea bottom" move.

We don't give the posture a name in our form, but the move fits that poetic description of picking up a moon from the sea bottom nicely, and it appears in exacty the same place in our form that Yang Ban-Hou lists it in his poem. i.e. just before Crane Breaks Open Wings.

I'll provide a description of it here:

1. Keep your weight on the back right foot and circle the arms into the classic "Hold the ball" type posture. Left hand on top, right on the bottom. I guess this ball is the 'moon' the name referrs to.

2. Bend from the waist, and as you do so, squash the ball down towards your left foot. This is a strong downward motion. The toes of the left foot raise as you do this. The hands get closer and closer together unil the 'moon' disappears just before you reach your foot (very like the image of the moon reflection in the water not being real that Louis gives above)

3. Raise the body upwards as the hands arc upwards into the classic 'Crane Breaks Open Wings' posture.

In a martial application it's generally thought of as a break out from a double wrist grab. As you rise up into Crane Breaks Open Wings the opponent should be forced to 'jump' up into the air, provided he is stll holiding onto your wrists. It can also be thought of as a throw: grabbing the opponents head and pushing him face down into the ground, or into your foot (which then becomes a kick).

Thought this would be of interest to a few people here Image



[This message has been edited by theone (edited 01-20-2003).]
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Postby theone » Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:01 pm

Incidentally, could the people who are familiar with the move from the sword form that has the same name please let me know if it has any similarity to the move I described above?

Thanks,
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