Another important translation by Paul Brennan: Wu Zhiqing

Another important translation by Paul Brennan: Wu Zhiqing

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:41 pm

Greetings,

I've just checked Paul Brennan's site, and he has posted a new complete translation of Wu Zhiqing's book, 太極正宗 AUTHENTIC TAIJI. This could also be translated Orthodox Taiji. I bought a copy of this book many years ago, and think is is quite valuable. I'm looking forward to delving into Brennan's translation. It looks like he's done a formidable job.

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... u-zhiqing/

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Another important translation by Paul Brennan: Wu Zhiqin

Postby Audi » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:49 am

Greetings Louis,

Thanks for the posting. Brennan seems to have done his usual great job. There was one thing I happened to see that gave me pause. It is the following passage.

(一)體要鬆
i. Your body should be loose.
鬆字淺顯的解釋。就是不用力。蓋一用力。動作卽不能自然。着意在用力部分。則各部分必不平均。毫不用力。順身體自然的動作。周身普徧。動作無所不到。而且平均如一。徐徐的將動作歸到中心。久而久之。中心之動作以成。所以初學太極拳非鬆不可。鬆是學習太極拳第一步工夫。蓋人之身體。要血脈流通。倘作勉强用力。因過分之流通。發生反應。轉於身體有害。勉强用力是硬的。所謂拙力。拙力雖大。是一部分的力。而不得其中。不用力是柔的。所謂沉勁。沉勁雖小。是全部的力。能得其中。學習太極拳有一句常語。「由開展而至緊束」。開展者。動作不用力是也。緊束者。動作達到中心是也。
Looseness is easy to understand. It simply means using no effort. If you use any effort, your movement will not be able to be natural, and by focusing on the exerting of a single part, every part is sure to fall out of synch. If you do not use any effort at all, you are in accord with your body’s natural movement. Throughout your body, there will be movement in every part, and it will also be even and consistent. Slowly bring your movements into a state of centeredness, and then after a long time, centered movement will be the result. In the beginning of learning Taiji Boxing, this cannot be done without loosening. Loosening is the first stage of the training.
     The human body requires blood circulation. If you forcefully put forth effort, it will result in an excess of circulation, producing a contrary effect which will instead cause the body harm. To forcefully put forth effort is “hardness”, which is called “awkward effort”. Even if an awkward effort is powerful, it is isolated in one area of the body, and will not achieve a state of centeredness. To not put forth any effort is “softness”, which is called “sinking energy”. Even if a sunken energy is feeble, it is the strength of the whole body, and so is able to obtain a state of centeredness.
     When learning Taiji Boxing, there is a mantra to keep in mind: “Go from spreading open to binding tight.” To “spread open” means moving without putting forth effort. To “bind tight” means your movement is reaching a state of centeredness.


I like the translation of 鬆 as "loose," rather than "relaxed"; but I don't like translating 不用力 as "using no effort." It seems to me that that there is a substantial group of practitioners who adhere to this formulation, but it just doesn't make sense to me linguistically or in terms of practice.

According to my understanding, "using no effort" and 不用力 are not equivalent. The English phrase means that there is no active energy used, but the Chinese phrase involves more the level and/or quality of the energy used.

I do not think it is possible to initiate movement without effort. I think trying to do so risks going down misleading paths. Within the Association's Tai Chi, I also think it is important to have a different understanding of 不用力 that revolves around the level and use of muscular force.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Another important translation by Paul Brennan: Wu Zhiqin

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:28 pm

Audi wrote:Greetings Louis,

.....There was one thing I happened to see that gave me pause. It is the following passage.

I like the translation of 鬆 as "loose," rather than "relaxed"; but I don't like translating 不用力 as "using no effort." It seems to me that that there is a substantial group of practitioners who adhere to this formulation, but it just doesn't make sense to me linguistically or in terms of practice.

According to my understanding, "using no effort" and 不用力 are not equivalent. The English phrase means that there is no active energy used, but the Chinese phrase involves more the level and/or quality of the energy used.

I do not think it is possible to initiate movement without effort. I think trying to do so risks going down misleading paths. Within the Association's Tai Chi, I also think it is important to have a different understanding of 不用力 that revolves around the level and use of muscular force.

Take care,
Audi

Audi;
Thanks for bringing this up. I have different feeling about the translations of was being translated as "loose" or relaxed"(highlighted in blue). It seems to me that is a linguistic preference. If you are a Chinese, you think it is "loose"; then a Westerner would think it is "relaxed". The reason for being such is that when one loosen up the muscles, then the muscles are being said to be "relaxed". In other words, loosen up the muscles is when the muscles are being relaxed. Thus I think it both ways.

I am totally agree with the statement as highlighted in red.

不用力 doesn't mean "using no effort" at all. In order to translate classic Chinese properly, one must use logical interpretation. Superficially, 不用力 says do not use physical force. However, the hidden message is not to use excessive force intentionally. If one raise the hands, there is effort required to do so. In the contrary, if no effort was used, then, the hands cannot be raised.


Let nature take its course.
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
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