New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:06 pm

Greetings,

Paul Brennan continues to translate interesting taijiquan texts on his site. He has just posted a new translation of material from Chen Yanlin's 1943 book. The section he translates here is an appendix that focuses on taiji theory. It includes many of the familiar classic texts, but some less familiar, with Chen's commentary along with commentary by Chen Weiming and Yang Chengfu. Brennan includes a key for identifying what is being quoted as follows:

Taiji Boxing Treatise – Tre
Taiji Boxing Classic – Cla
Understanding How to Practice – Und
Playing Hands Song – PH
Thirteen Dynamics Song – 13
Chen Weiming – CWM
Yang Chengfu – YCF

So, each quotation is tagged with the source in brackets, for example: [CWM].

http://brennantranslation.wordpress.com ... ji-theory/

There's some fascinating material to study and discuss here.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Audi » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:25 am

Hi Louis,

Wonderful find, as usual. Paul Brennan's site certainly bears watching. His translations remain quite interesting, and the texts he has chosen include many that I do not recall seeing before, or at least have not seen recently.

One of his translations that drew my attention was the way he treats the ever enigmatic references to 虛領頂勁 or 虛靈頂勁. The following passage can illustrate what I am questioning:

頭容正直,神貫於頂,謂之頂勁;須有虛靈自然之意,不可用力。一名「頭頂懸,」謂頭頂如懸空中,同時宜閉口,舌抵上腭,忌咬牙努目。
“The appearance of your head is upright and spirit penetrates to your headtop.” [YCF] – This is what is meant by headtop strength. “There must be an intention of being forceless and natural… You must not use effort.” [YCF]
Another way to say it is “headtop will be pulled up as if suspended” [13], your headtop as though it is suspended in midair. At the same time, you should have your mouth closed and touch your tongue to the upper palate. Never grind your teeth or glare with your eyes.


His translation does not seem to capture what I thought I understood about the connotations of 虛靈知觉 (xu ling zhi jue) as discussed, for instance, in Joseph Adler's work, which we have discussed before. I cannot get from 虛靈 (xuling) to "forcelessly," even though "not using crude force" is a clear requirement. My physical and internal practice might be different if I had this understanding. One of the things that first drew my attention to how Master Yang Zhenduo looked was the way he used his head and eyes, which was more than just "forcelessly."

As I understand it, the phrase 虛靈 (xu ling) refers to the fact that your mind must be refined enough 虛 (xu1) to see through and penetrate its surroundings and the object of your focus and then must resonate with and react to them in a nimble and effective way 靈 (ling). Acting in this way draws the reach of your "Jin" up to the crown of the head as your "Qi" sinks down to the Dantian. The physical part is holding your head as if suspended, but the mental part is, I believe, more than that.

For similar reasons, I am doubtful of translating 頂勁 (ding3 jin4) as "headtop strength." To me, the meaning is more general, like "energy going to the crown (of the head)." I feel there is an active verbal force to 頂 (ding3) that implies that you must actually do something to produce it and not simply refrain from action at a particular place in the body.

I think we are taught this principle first as a principle of body shape, but within it I think there are also principles of spirit and energy. I am not sure how to better Brennan's translation, but I would prefer one that would put the mental/spirit aspect and the energy aspect up front, rather than jumping straight away into something that focuses on body shape. In this way, you would be taught a principle of body shape through an understanding of mental and energetic aspects.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:23 am

Greetings Audi,

I agree with your reflections regarding 虛靈頂勁; you'll recall I invested a good deal of work exploring the nuances of that phrase.

Chen's text sort of randomly quotes from here and there, and it's sometimes difficult to know when he is interjecting his own wording. Brennan's bracketed codes are useful in this regard -- he has identified some of the source texts and commentary.

By the way, regarding the Chen Yanlin material Brennan translates, beginning at the section headed:

主旨
[Part 1, Section 1] MAIN PRINCIPLES

This also appears in appendix 2 of Yang Zhenduo's book, 揚氏太極, pages 376-382, nearly verbatim. I've long been curious about this co-appearance of content. Some accounts say that Chen Yanlin lifted much of the content of his book from Yang family manuscripts. It's difficult to know exactly what took place, but this whole section strikes me almost as a work in progress that never was completed, or notes for what would have been a more thorough exposition.

I still find it stimulating material to study!

Take care,
Louis
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby DPasek » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:41 pm

Audi & Louis,

Since I am far from being able to read Chinese, I cannot really contribute anything specific in reply to your posts. I am, however, very interested in this topic (xu ling energy to the crown of the head).

I can understand why some introduce this by using the image of the crown being suspended by a string since then one does not introduce muscles pushing the crown up and one can then keep the neck comfortable. But in our response to the force of gravity, we do use our muscles to hold up the head (we do not have a marionette’s string suspending our head!).

From my various lessons and practice, I have changed how I explain this to my students, and would like to know if the following would be compatible with what you understand for this principle, even though it may not really match the Chinese phrase as used in Taijiquan texts.

I say that the energy to the crown of the head should be like the energy of a seedling sprouting through the ground. The sprout itself is very week and easily damaged (without muscle force) but is also capable of pushing aside clumps of compacted and relatively heavy dirt and small stones. I also say that while we want this energy to reach all the way to the crown of the head, it should also be lengthening the spine (like the entire sprout is growing with the energy reaching the tip of the shoot).

Dan
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:27 pm

Greetings Dan,

As you say, we do indeed use our muscles to hold up the head. The goal is not to use them too forcefully, but instead to achieve the proper tonus (sometimes defined as a "continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles) to hold the head in optimal alignment with minimal effort. I think it is no coincidence that Yang Chengfu made this the first of his ten essentials. Understanding the setup of xuling dingjin is, I think, a crucial key to posture and movement throughout the form. I like your image of the sprouting seedling. The traditional notion of suspending the crown of the head is of course just an image, meant to help the practitioner to achieve the alignment and the sense of loosening of the neck muscles.

Yang Chengfu's narrative on the Beginning Form in Taijiquan tiyong quanshu talks about this same prescription using different words, but the message is the same. As Audi suggests, too, it's about more than mere posture or body shape; it's about integrating consciousness with body configuration.

This subject reminds me of this old thread about the importance of the neck muscles in balance and proprioception:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=655

Take care,
Louis
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby DPasek » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:48 pm

Louis,

Thanks for the link to the old thread – very interesting! You must either have a great memory &/or a great filing system, since you seem to be able to easily bring up old threads.

Louis Swaim wrote:Understanding the setup of xuling dingjin is, I think, a crucial key to posture and movement throughout the form.

For me personally, xuling dingjin is a major factor in maintaining my ‘central equilibrium’ during push-hands training (as well as during forms practice). I mention this principle in my classes since it is frequently one of the first factors that I pay attention to when my stability with changeability is not as good as I would like. For me it is a matter of the lengthening spine extending all the way to the crown of the head (“optimal alignment with minimal effort”), but one experienced student of mine mentioned that for him the other end of the extension, i.e. the ‘rooting’ down to the feet complementing the energy rising to the crown, was what stabilized him (note that he has poor flexibility in his ankles due to bone spurs...so for him the primary difficulty may be at the ‘rooting’ end).

Since my ‘root’ is better than many practitioners that I work with, perhaps for me the ‘root’ does not need as much attention as the energy to the crown of the head. But as a teacher, I was reminded that with various levels of ability for my students, I need to remind myself to provide as complete a picture as I can rather than merely what works for me at my current level of understanding and ability. I thus actually extend the sprouting analogy to include the dantien being like the seed (the energy source for the sprouting plant), as well as the roots of the seedling extending downward in a manner similar to the energy extending downward through our legs.

Dan
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:59 pm

Greetings All,

One of the less familiar texts in the Chen Yanlin material Brennan translates is what he calls the Five Study Reminders:

用功五誌
FIVE STUDY REMINDERS [These five terms are originally from the “Zhong Yong” – chapter 31 of the Book of Rites]

博學。足多功夫
審問。非口問是聽勁
愼思。時時想念
明擺。生生不已
篤行。如天行健
[1] Learn abundantly. (Sufficient learning will lead to a great deal of skill.)
[2] Inquire meticulously. (This does not have to do with querying verbally, but with listening.)
[3] Ponder wholeheartedly. (Think about the material constantly.)
[4] Discriminate clearly. (New things will always continue to come at you [and you should keep yourself from being distracted by things that are not important].)
[5] Practice sincerely. (It is as though Nature is actively strengthening you.) [Nature is naturally sincere, whereas human beings have to be deliberately sincere. The idea here seems to be that you should develop so much sincerity that you practice out of instinct rather than discipline.]
--Paul Brennan, trans., http://brennantranslation.wordpress.com ... ji-theory/

I appreciate the fact that Brennan makes note of the origin of these five terms in the Zhong Yong. Shen Shou's book, 太极拳谱 (Taijiquan Classic Manuals), 1995, pp. 238-239, also points this out. For those interested, here's a link to the passage of the Zhong Yong where those five terms appear, with Legge's translation:
http://ctext.org/liji?searchu=%E5%AF%A9%E5%95%8F

Roger Ames renders the sentence in question as, ""Study the way broadly, ask about it in detail, reflect on it carefully, analyze it clearly, and advance on it with earnestness." (Ames and Hall, Focusing the Familiar: A Translation and Philosophical Interpretation of the Zhongyong, p. 104) Where Brennan has 明擺, by the way, all of my sources (Shen Shou, and both my versions of Chen Yanlin's text) have 明辨. That may just be a variant, or a typo.

Especially interesting to me is the second line of the text: 審問。非口問是聽勁, which Brennan translates, "Inquire meticulously. (This does not have to do with querying verbally, but with listening.)"

That is, of course, tingjin. Shen Shou's book glosses this line as follows (my quick translation): "Tingjin is a term of art in taijiquan tuishou (push hands) -- an analogy for using the sense of touch in order to discern the changes in your partner's energy, just like using one's ears to listen to the degree of clarity in a sound." (p. 239)

Take care,
Louis
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby aidren » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:35 pm

It has been a long while since I have logged in. Glad that I did.

I'm curious as to how others might translate this? I haven't come across this one before.

非運後天之氣,運氣則流弊甚大,是有窮盡。
It is not a matter of “wielding the energy of habits… for exercises of wielding energy are big frauds” [CWM], and you would in such cases have limits.


And Louis, thanks so much for publishing your books in epub :)

Aidren
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:11 am

aidren wrote:It has been a long while since I have logged in. Glad that I did.

I'm curious as to how others might translate this? I haven't come across this one before.

非運後天之氣,運氣則流弊甚大,是有窮盡。
It is not a matter of “wielding the energy of habits… for exercises of wielding energy are big frauds” [CWM], and you would in such cases have limits.


Greetings Aidren,

That is a bit of Chen Weiming's commentary on the Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures. He wrote:

太極拳蓋養先天之氣。非運後天之氣也。運氣之功。流弊甚大。養氣則順乎自然。日習之養之而不覺。

Barbara Davis translates this as, "Taijiquan nourishes pre-heavenly qi, and is not the moving of post-heavenly qi. The work of 'moving the qi' is greatly abused. If qi is nourished, then this is following nature. Practice this daily and nourish it, but without consciousness." (Davis, The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation, Including A Commentary by Chen Weiming, p. 133-134)

She also includes her own comment, "Chen's comments suggest that he disapproved of some of the popular techniques of qi manipulation, or at least felt that they were being used inappropriately." (Ibid., p. 134) I recall discussing this very passage with her when I was reading an early draft of her book, and noted this tone of disapproval in Chen's remarks.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby aidren » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:13 am

Thank you Louis. That certainly clarifies it for me. I was puzzled by what 'energy of habits' might be.
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Bob Ashmore » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:29 pm

I too am curious a particular portion of CY's treatise.
Under the heading: Posture, Specifics, Footwork; there is this line:
"Also, you must make the “three-line stance”, meaning that when you are standing with your feet one forward and the other behind, the toes of both should be pointing forward [with an imaginary third line running between them in the same direction]."

This three line stance was taught to me at the Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy I trained at some time back and I'm very familiar with it.
However, Traditional Yang Family TCC does not use this stance. At least not in a way that I recognize.
With the back foot of the TYF bow stance being held at 45 degrees how does one hold to the premise of performing a three line stance?

For the record, I am extremely comfortable using either style of stance work depending on situational need.
I have found many instances where one is preferable to the other, for me, and I switch back and forth between them freely during free style sparring. I use whichever gives me the greatest advantage at the moment rather than slavishly sticking to one type of stance.
I am merely curious as to how to reconcile this seeming anomaly of footwork, or even if it is one at all.
Perhaps I am simply misunderstanding CY's assertion? Or perhaps I do not fully understand the three line stance (the more likely scenario)?
It is clear from photos, drawings and other writings that many top Masters have used the bow stance with the back foot at 45 degrees, so it cannot be incorrect. Just looking to the top of this page you can see YCF holding his back foot at 45 degrees, not in a three line stance as I have been taught it and it seems to be described here (parallel footwork, both feet pointing in the same direction with another imaginary line running between them that you use to hold them pointing true).
So...
Is CY simply incorrect on this point? (highly unlikely, so...)
Or does holding the back foot at 45 degrees still constitute a three line stance?
And if so, how?

Not looking to start a "My way is the best and only way" debate. Merely trying to clear this up in my own head.

Thanks for any input,
Bob
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:47 pm

Greetings Bob,

What Brennan translates as a "three-line stance" is in Chinese 川字步 (chuānzìbù), literally, a "chuān-character stance." That is, the shape of the character is being used as a graphic analog for the configuration of the stance. (The character, by the way, means "river" or "stream." If you like Sichuan cuisine, the province of its origin is named 四川, which means "four rivers.")

I think the main message of the 川-shaped stance is that the two feet are astride the middle line, as distinct from both being in-line. Although Chen Yanlin says that the toes of both feet should be "toward the front," I'm sure that he didn't mean that the feet are both in a parallel orientation as in the Wu style bow stance. Chen's form instructions in his book prescribe the back foot in a bow stance with the toes turned out at an angle as we're used to in the received Yang form. That's not to say Wu stylist wouldn't use the 川字步 analog for their way of doing it, as again, I think the main message is that of three "channels" -- one down the middle, and one on either side where the two feet are placed.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Audi » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:24 am

Greetings all,

On another thread, I tried to express how rich the Ten Essentials can be in guiding our practice. I want to use this post to give an example and apologize in advance for its length.

I say that the energy to the crown of the head should be like the energy of a seedling sprouting through the ground.

This does indeed accurately describe one of the meanings of 顶, which is the third of the four words/characters in the first of the Ten Essentials. One of my dictionaries actually gives the following example sentence to illustrate the meaning:

嫩芽把土顶起来。(The sprouts have pushed up the earth.)

From what I understand, we look at the Ten Essentials as describing the principal things that we need for our Tai Chi, particular in terms of body shape, energy, and spirit. In other words, they are ten “needful” things.

I think that “xuling dingjin” (The spacing of this phrase is meant for visual convenience and does not necessarily divide the syllables correctly into individual words.) is meant first as one of the body-shape principles, dealing with how to hold the head. Curiously, the Chinese does not directly address head position, but rather seems to speak in terms of spirit and energy. I think this is because the Ten “Needful” things are interrelated. Body shape and spirit both determine energy. Energy requires body shape and spirit.

I understand the Ten “Needful” things in terms of layers. Each of them has a simple, surface meaning, but as our practice evolves we understand deeper meanings and more connections to other principles. Even as our understanding deepens, however, we must still continually return to the simpler meanings. What meaning is most important depends on what happens to be important at that moment in our practice.

I understand the layers of “xuling dingjin” as something like the following:

Keep your head up.
Keep your head up, but do not hold your neck in a stiff way.
Hold your head as if suspended from above.
Hold your head as if suspended from above as a corollary to sinking your shoulders.
Hold your head as if suspended from above so that a feeling of vitality/vigor/vim (jingshen 精神) can rise up the spine to the crown of the head.
Bring up the feeling of vitality to raise the spirit as a corollary to sinking the Qi to the Dantian.
Position the head with intent on openness/perceptiveness, alertness, and bringing the Jin all the way up to the crown of the head.

The last “layer” represents what I currently understand the fullest meaning of xuling dingjin to be: “Open and alert, crown the energy.”

The Chinese phrase is four characters that represent four words or four morphemes. The internal grammar of the phrase is not clear. In English terms, each of the characters could be understood as a verb, adjective, or noun independent of or governing one or more of the words that follow. Literary Chinese of this sort does not have to use punctuation, conjunctions, or articles, so the translator is free to supply these according to context and experience. Literary Chinese of this sort also tends to rely heavily on literary and philosophical precedent, since literate Chinese used to learn and memorize a common core of literature as part of the expected moral and educational foundation all people craving upward professional mobility would have.

The first character, “xu” (虛/虚), is the character we normally translate as “empty” or “insubstantial,” when we talk of “empty and full” or “insubstantial and substantial.” In this case, I think it is used to suggest the refinement of the Qi to be used.

I believe that the general view of cosmology that used to be held by educated Chinese was that all matter and energy was made of Qi. “Cloudy” or “opaque” Qi formed matter, and clear or insubstantial Qi formed “spirit.” Humans differed from animals or rocks because they had an abundance of Qi that was “clear” enough to “penetrate” objects, resonate with them, and then perceive their essence and understand them. This view of perception is from subject to object and could be called an aspect of a “pure” or “unclouded” awareness. It is the opposite of how we view physical awareness today, which is that awareness physically proceeds from object to subject. We do not view our perception as actually extending into things, but rather view the objects as making impressions on our minds. In either case, the idea of being “xu” seems to be that we can correctly understand the nature of things to which we extend our minds. I think our modern sensibilities could call this “openness” or “perceptiveness.”

The second character, “ling” (灵/靈), has many seemingly confusing translations, such as “agile, nimble, clever, sharp (e.g., of hearing), effective, spirit.” I think the common core refers to the unseen force that makes something animated, spirited, and/or efficacious.

I think that in “xuling dingjin,” the use of “ling” refers to the fact that the spirit should show a sharpness and alertness to what is going on. The head will thus show an aspect of animated, live movement, rather than movement that is stiff or represents mere repetition of learned patterns. The eyes should show a connection between the spirit and the energy that is being manifested, without glaring or leading the head to jut forward.

The spirit is the general that remains calm at the center of battle. He or she knows every aspect of what the soldiers are doing at the vanguard of the fight and also what ambushes may be developing at the rear, but does not him or herself go physically to fight, unless things are desperate. The spirit should similarly remain calm, perceptive, and alert. If you experience some external deficiency, such as a subtle loss of balance, this will show in your eyes as you draw on your internal, your “spirit,” to compensate. The goal is to move with both external and internal fully sufficient and having abundant resources.

The third character, “ding” (顶/頂), can be a noun referring to the crown of the head or the top of something (such as a mountain). It can also be a verb referring to pushing something from below or behind, usually with the top of something. It can also refer to bracing against something, like the wind.

Because of the requirement to bring up the feeling of vitality, I take “ding” to mean “to bring up to the crown of the head.” This action should actually affect your mood, or the feeling you have within your body.

The last character, “jin” (劲/勁), particularly with this pronunciation, is typically a noun, meaning “strength,” “vigor,” or “energy.” Particularly when pronounced as “jing,” it can also be an adjective/verb, meaning “strong,” “powerful,” or “robust.”

We think of internal “jin,” or “neijin” (内劲/内勁) as having an external and an internal part. The external part is rooted in the feet, developed in the legs, controlled by the waist/lower back, and expressed in the hands and fingers. The internal part comes from the Dantian and is led by the mind/spirit to the point of attack. Some even say that “jin” is a combination of Qi and spirit (shen 神).

In “xuling dingjin,” I think the use of “jin” reflects a view that “jin” is strong when it is a union of Qi that has sunk to the Dantian and spirit that is calm, alert, and perceptive. A calm mind allows the Qi to sink for later use, like still water at the bottom of a bucket or water concentrated in a water balloon. An excited or scattered mind lets the Qi rise, like water sloshing around in a bucket and spilling and spraying in all directions. Only when the water is still, can you eject it in a unified fashion or as one “piece.”

In my experience, our Tai Chi does not stress rooting in terms of directing force into the ground, but talks mostly in terms of simply feeling the weight in the bubbling well/spring. We also emphasize more “sinking the Qi.” An image I often have, for instance when doing standing meditation, is of feeling as if my body is a heavy balloon or Pilates ball centered on my Dantian. If I let the Qi sink and settle, I will feel the weight of the balloon or ball primarily on the bubbling well/spring and flattening out my whole foot. If I am not sinking the Qi correctly, I either feel no balloon or ball, or else feel as if it is propped up somehow without contact with the ground.

As I have stated in the past, I also think our Tai Chi does not stress “relaxation” as the absence of muscular activity or exertion. I think that this is particularly important when considering the neck muscles. I was at a recent seminar where we were practicing various types of Fajin. One of the mistakes many of us were making was to leave the neck so loose that our heads bobbled in a potentially dangerous way. The Qi that is stuck to the upper back should not continue up into the head, but rather go into the arms (assuming a hand, fist or elbow technique). If you think too much of relaxation or delicateness, I think it is easy to allow the head to shake and lose focus on the target.

This view of “xuling dingjin” has particular implications for how to move the head and eyes as the various postures develop from beginning to end. The head and eyes should reflect every second of the movement, without necessarily exactly tracking the movement of the contact point. Many times the gaze should actually go far, rather than focus in close, since it will reflect a comprehensive awareness, rather than a limited one.

For instance, in a posture like Brush Knee and Twist Step Left, the eyes and head could track the left arm doing Roll Back from left to right and then the right arm rising to lift the opponent’s leg and seating on the far right. Then the head and eyes could track the left arm moving to grab and control from right to left, and then track through the Tiger’s mouth of the right hand as it strikes out to its target. Again, it should reflect the general calmly launching the soldiers into the breach, rather than then the actual solders rushing forward with their war cries.

But it is not only the eyes. Many times we take “blind” steps to the rear or position ourselves where we could use an elbow, shoulder, or back strike to the rear. We also have 360 degree spins. Even in these cases, the head and even back should show 360-degree awareness and precise knowledge of where the steps are going and how they control the positioning of the body. Coming out of the spins, the head and eyes should not merely find a new orientation, but rather re-establish an orientation that has continuously remained clear in the mind.

According to my understanding, the eyes cover 270 degrees and the ears cover the remaining 90. Master Yang once described this idea by breaking down the implications of the Chinese word for “intelligent,” “congming” (聪明). The first character or syllable can be understood as meaning “sharp of hearing,” and the second can be understood as meaning “clear of sight.” Someone who shows sharpness and clarity can be thought of as intelligent. This is the quality we want to show in our head and eye movement. We want to show sharpness and clarity with respect to the overall intent and movement of the body.

I hope this is helpful.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:11 pm

Jerry,
Thanks for clearing that up for me.
The English translation seemed to suggest the bow stance I had learned which is actually called "three line stance", hopefully that helps you understand why I was confused by that.
I like the translation of "chuan-character stance". It is a lot clearer for me.
And I do like Sichuan food. I had no idea it meant "Four Rivers" but I always like to learn new things.

Bob
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Re: New Chen Yanlin translation from Paul Brennan

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:23 pm

Audi,
I really enjoyed seeing all the differing ways of describing this Essential laid out so clearly.
I now have much to ponder.

But now I'm going to have the image of "bobble heads" in my mind whenever I watch my students practice!
I've often taught my students the dangers of leaving their head just hanging loose up there. It was one of the first things I learned not to do when I began to actually practice fajin, so I watch for it when I teach others.
There's nothing like experience though to drive home a lesson though. You can tell them and tell them not to do it, you can explain why, you can show them how not to do it...
But the first time a student forgets to do it, which they inevitably will, while hitting a heavy bag to practice fajin is usually the last time you have to remind them not to do that.
I know it worked out that way for me and I've seen it happen more than a few times since.
Each student has to work out on their own how best to accomplish lifting their head and holding it steady without using stiff force. It's another thing that you just can't teach someone until they experience it for themselves.
Unfortunately the natural progression is for new students to shove it up there at first and hold hard.
That too will give you a good neck ache after a few solid punches, just like if you don't hold it up firmly enough.
Most folks find the happy middle ground eventually though.

Bob
Bob Ashmore
 
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

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