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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:57 pm
by Michael

You beat me to it. I was just going to post what I left out earlier---about downstream walking. You are indeed correct. I don't know your Elkhorn Creek. But if the bottom is slippery rocks and has a fast current, imagine if the water was mid thigh. Hmmmm, I have never done "standing" in a stream.

I don't have the "knack" of flyfishing either, but I try. My spinning rod gets just as much use. BUT there is nothing like Pike and Bass on a long rod. They say carp are a blast as well. MAybe when I get done reading tonight I will tie up some bread dough flies!

Metaphor for "bottom feeder"? The close as I can come would be "politician".

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 10-30-2003).]

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:39 am
by psalchemist
Greetings all,

I enjoyed reading the texts you provided comparing fishing and the 'Silk reeling' concept.
It recalls fond memories of fishing excursions in nature...which I have not engaged in for far too long.
Fishing, I find, is one of the most relaxing and pleasant pass times I have ever engaged in.
It develops patience and concentration, it's good sport and challenge, and personally, I like the peace, tranquility and beauty of the environment that usually accompanies the endeavor.

Talk to me about Rock Bass!
I once waited close to two hours 'feeling' for a five inch Rock Bass to exit the hidey-hole he had dived into when I had hooked him (talk about working towards developping patience!). Actually, it was probably just stubborness!
Now there's a fish you have to respect 'Silk reeling' with...Feisty little things, if you allow them any extra line they will dive for the nearest rock, and literally become immovable.
They make sharp, jerking movements rather than the strong pulling movements of, say, a Pike so they are more difficult to maintain a steady reeling in of.
A five inch Rock Bass is much more sport than a twenty-five inch Pike who can be reeled in like a log, with almost no challenge.

Many a chisel I've sharpened! Image
Nice to meet a fellow carver, I have not spoken with very many.
I used to sculpt ice professionally, now it is only 'an occassional request' hobby.
I attempted wood carving several times, but found the limitations of the grain and layer by layer removal process required more patience than I had for that particular activity....Think I'll get a chainsaw! Image
Ice or soapstone is more my penchant...No veins.
I find sculpture does requires a form of the 'silk threading' process.
A certain smootness and continuation of motion.
It's a pleasant, creative way of cultivating sensitivity in hand movement, control.

In very large sculptures I find the whole body becomes involved in the final stroke that the chisel makes.
A very (nine pearl?)threaded concept of ground through the feet,up the legs, through the waist... manifesting through the hands.
I am sure my sculpting skills will be greatly improved by learning proper Taijiquan co-ordination, methods, and principles.

Welcome to the discussion board, no need to be a fly on the wall...all the contributors here are unique, friendly, and share the common interest of Taiji, so feel free.

Best regards,

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-30-2003).]

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 6:52 am
by Michael

Another fisherman, ah, another brother! Thankfully we are on the fishing thread.

As far as wood goes, it is important to pick the right piece. As in the stories that Louis refers to, when you carve you learn grain, it tells you what is possible, you can follow with no "extra" effort if you follow what is before you, just like taiji, just like with what "life" offers. In the case of carving it may be angles, it may be gouge choice. If you try carving again, pick straight grained wood for your first projects. Basswood is a good choice as is Mahogany (plantation grown--if at all possible), leave the Cherry and Walnut for those projects where the grain becomes the "art". Again you must follow what you are presented with. Fustration comes from going against "the current". It just takes a little practice to see which way it is flowing.

Some of my carving is done standing with or with out a mallet. The body is Always involved, and always rooted.

This place, becomes more interesting all the time.

Gone fishing!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 1:59 pm
by Wushuer
I think I've met your rock bass a few times. Little buggers fight like mad. Yes, an excellent way to test your skills. I like carp too, for nearly the same reason. They're not as jerky or dive happy, but they fight like demons when hooked and like to run both up and downstream to try and get away with no rhyme or reason to their pattern. A rock bass can sometimes be predictable in his movement, but a carp just goes full bore wherever he can.
Since I don't eat a single one of them, I'm not too picky about what ends up on my line, though. It's all good and when we're done with our little drama I put them right back where I got them, so I can come back later and catch them again.
I once caught the same bass five times in one day. He had a deep scar down his left flank and so was easily identifiable. He must have been one hungry fish, because he kept hitting the same line over and over again.
Or maybe just stupid? Dunno.

I have to agree with your metaphor. It's only a few days until our election around here, and I'm still stuck as to which is the lesser of the two evils I have to choose between.
So any metaphors on "lesser of two evils" anyone?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 11:23 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Michael,

Thanks for the advice on wood carving. Image

I have heard said that the 'image' of the carving already resides within the wood, according to these grains and knots. That it is the sculptors duty simply to 'allow' the image to emerge.

Do you choose a 'subject' when you carve, or do you find one already exists within the 'piece' to be worked?

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 11:35 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Wushuer,

I too 'catch and release', just don't have the heart...I fish for fun, not for survival.

Must say though, a good fresh trout straight from the hook to the fire is very fine fare.

As for Carp...don't think I've ever dealt with those guys before...No matter, I enjoy the time fishing even if I catch absolutely nothing.

Best regards,
psalchemist. Image

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:35 am
by Michael

Any discussion you wish to have on woodcarving should take place somewhere other than here. Feel free to e-mail me.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:56 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Michael,

I believe I should have put this in the metaphors thread, but placed it here, since we were discussing the topic here.
I assure you this will be my last effort on this Taijiquan board to speak of carving.

I was drawing the parallels, that the grains of wood are perhaps representative of our 'personal path',
and the 'image residing within the wood piece' is similar to our life mission.

The idea is not to 'carve out', or forge one's life, but rather to follow the flow(grain) that redsides 'within' and allow the 'image' of one's true life mission to 'emerge', with little or no 'interference' from a personal desire to create something of one's own volition, against the original plans (grains and facets of the nature of the piece)-the original source.

Simply allowing the 'creation' of one's life to unfold without predjudice, without force, without the desire for a particular outcome.

Accepting what one is given, and working with that 'piece' until it becomes 'transparent', clear, defined...following one's path,to acheive one's true mission...Cultivating.

Go with the flow...go with the grain.

Best regards,

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 11-01-2003).]

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 2:50 pm
by Michael

I find that carving is very representative of Chinese/Daoist/taiji theory. It can be very useful in discussion, I just meant---we shouldn't really be saying "I would use a #7 12mm bent back gouge in that situation" kind of stuff here.

"Yep", that is basically the point of the Daoist stories.

The carver does impose "his" will upon the wood however. Commissions kind of demand that, but one still has to find the way not to make it a "struggle".

As I always say, "You have to work around the knots."

I can't resist.

Since this, I think, is the "Standing" thread...I recently approached a "standing post" with a chainsaw for the first time. "Sculpting" OK , but to me, NOT "carving".

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 11-01-2003).]

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 3:19 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Michael,

Thanks for the reply.

I would never use a chainsaw for my sculpting.

Others find it strange though, that I labour so hard with chisel when there are easier methods such as mechanical grinder or chainsaw.

I try to convey the idea that it is the journey I am enjoying, not the arrival...and it is more meaningful for me, somehow, when worked with a chisel.

I fish because I enjoy fishing and find benefit in the activity, the purpose is not to catch fish.

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 8:29 pm
by Louis Swaim
Greetings Michael,

You wrote: ‘I have not read the Graham translation of the Liehzi. Do you know if it is available?’

Yes, Graham’s translation, _The Book of Lieh-Tzu_, is available in paperback from Columbia Univ. Press. You can find it on

And, ‘The Lushi Chunqiu? I am not aware of this text. I expect it is only available in Chinese?’

It’s available as, _The Annals of Lu Buwei: Lu Shi Chun Qiu: A Complete Translation and Study_, by Jeffrey Riegel and John Knoblock (Stanford Univ. Press, 2001) It’s massive, very expensive, and includes the Chinese text along with the translation.

You wrote: ‘But there is a certain knowledge that comes from the use of the "hands" so to speak. That very simple knowledge always amazes me how it is so "all encompassing".’

The designation of this type of knowledge as “simple” may be misleading, for it implies that it is a lower order of knowledge than something that may be categorized as “complex,” such as calculus or economics. I think a more helpful distinction may the one that the philosopher Gilbert Ryle made between “knowing that” and “knowing how.” Propositional, discursive knowledge is the “knowing that” variety, which tends to be highly valued as a type of intellectual capital. The other kind, “knowing how,” is in fact the more valuable, and is, as you say, “all encompassing.” It may be easier to illustrate with examples of craftsmanship or sport, but it’s really applicable to skill in any and every sort of context. A number of modern commentators have suggested that it was precisely the “knowing how” variety of knowledge that Zhuangzi intended to highlight with his knack master stories.

Take care,

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 1:15 am
by Michael

Thank for the information on the texts.

I suppose using the word "basic" instead of "simple" may have conveyed my thought better. I expect you understood how I was using it. It is true that "simple" maybe taken wrong. Personally I see it as the "highest" form of "knowledge"/"wisdom".

I think quite often "complexity" is what man's "overthinking" has done to "simplicity". However,

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

The severing of a joint, the carving of wood, the management of an office, the turning of a phrase, is all the same.

Make it good!


[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 11-02-2003).]

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:19 pm
by dorshugla
Though I do not "fish" or practice catch and release as in actual activity, I do practice conceptually its elements regarding discourse with people.

Here's how:
Though the group of taijiquan practitioners is quite large (numerical) as in big fish, that actual number is quite small as is the difference between the "wild" and the "tame" (be it paper tiger's) as in farm raised (cloistered evvironment as evidenced by lack of a tail (second fin) whereas the wild do have that fin to note where they came from (meaning their lineage or lack thereof, though may be consequential or inconsequential depending on behaviour/attitute) or lack thereof.

Just as there these external characteristics differentaite fish, other measures (external) determine type of training or orientation of the taijiquan practitioner. No need to ask as all masters teach this in one way or another, so I will not touch the subject.

The catch and release part is relegated to the manner of approach of the purported student/practitioenr. The catch part is ability to share and exchange. if not, release by being kind and considerate without malice. In all situation be kind, regardless of circumstance.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 12:19 am
by Louis Swaim
Hi Michael,

Yes, I understood your meaning. I think we're in perfect agreement.

Take care,