When I got home tonight, I realized that the “Ba-wu shisanshi changquan jie” has been translated by Douglas Wile in _Lost T’ai-chi Classics of the Late Ch’ing Dynasty_ (text #16, pp. 71, 140). I’ve gone ahead and worked through my own translation, which differs in some repects to Wile’s. One notable point I’ve taken differently is the phrase beginning, “wanbude,” which I take to mean “by no means,” but Wile renders “it is necessary.” So the meaning I get here is the reverse of what he got. Here’s my attempt:
Unraveling the eight [gates]-five [steps] and thirteen postures of Long Boxing
When you apply yourself diligently, after having gained achievement in each and every posture/form, gather them together to make it long, flowing without stopping, on and on to return again. Hence it is named Long Boxing. By no means should it have fixed postures, for fear that it will eventually become slick and facile boxing, or stiff and rigid boxing. Never neglect its soft malleability. The entire body, in ebbing and flowing, will in time be naturally pervaded with a vital spirit, the foundation for intent and qi, reaching everywhere and invulnerable. When you engage with opponents, the four hand methods take priority, and these in turn come from the eight gates and five steps. In standing, the four hand methods mill and polish (nian3mo2), [then there are the] four hand methods of the center, the four hand methods of downward and upward, and the four hand methods of sancai (heaven, earth, man). On the basis of these lower [skills], the four hand methods of Long Boxing arise, first expanding and spreading, then refining to be more closely knit, bending and according, so that skill comes at will, advancing to middle, and then to higher achievement!
Comments and critiques welcome.
[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-09-2005).]
[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-10-2005).]