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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2002 8:51 pm
by TimB
Amen! Louis,

I hope it's not impossible. By the way, I'm reading your book right now on Fu Zhongwen and Traditional Yang Style.


I love that word disposition too. It sounds so powerful!

I'm a professional writer as well and there are some words that just "work" for you.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2002 10:44 pm
by tai1chi
Hi Jerry, Louis,

both of you have far more knowledge of the language. I can only give my meager understanding of "disposition" in English usage. Using them in a sentence will make it clearer.

"What is the position of your troops?" asks "where" they placed. "What is the *disposition* of your troops?" (apart from asking about their morale ("how") they feel) is really a question about "how" they are positioned, or "disposed" (spread into position). (Sorry, imho, it has little to do with "throw away" except that it is one way to dispose *of* something.) Anyway, "a disposition" is a mood. "A disposition of" something is obviously different.

Oh well, my .02,
Steve James

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:20 pm
by Louis Swaim
Here are some links to some of the characters we have been discussing, and some partial definitions.

The “shi” in Thirteen Shi:

The “shi” meaning, “form,” “pattern,” or “style”:

The compound “zishi” meaning, “posture”:


PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 4:25 am
by JerryKarin
Cool site!

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2002 12:53 am
by Audi
Hi Tim, Erik, and everyone,

You all have made some very interesting points about "shi," "posture," "disposition," etc. I think this discussion was begun before, but the exchange did not go as far.

Go back to an earlier point in this thread, I just wanted to add something to the discussion on “Split Energy.”

As I understand the systems the Yangs teach, the term "Ward Off" (peng) Energy is reserved for “lifting” energy, and different qualities are ascribed to "Split" (lie) energy that do not refer to the overall direction of application. Again, as I understand it, Split Energy is supposed to have three aspects: an energy (1) that sends the opponent's energy in two opposite directions, (2) that is executed with a sudden sharp impulse (someone earlier on the board talked about a dragonfly skipping off the surface of a pond), and (3) that is associated with rotation.

I am uncertain, however, how prominent each of these aspects is supposed to be, particularly with respect to rotation. I have not heard that the Yangs ascribe any particular directionality to Split Energy beyond this or that they require the energy to be directed to the opponent's “center axis or center of gravity.” Since some may have apparently been taught differently or have come to different conclusions, this appears to be a case of “different strokes for different folks.”

To give some examples of what I understand to be the Yangs’ teachings, Flying Diagonal features Split Energy, but Parting Wild Horse's Mane features Ward Off Energy. The difference is that the former has the large body rotation, whereas the latter involves a lifting intent. Other examples of Split Energy I have been shown or heard referred to are the arm breaking application of the Roll Back Posture and the wrist breaking (qin na or ch’in na) application of Needle at Sea Bottom. Each was described as involving a sharp attack and some rotation of energy or of the limbs. It was said that both of these postures could also be performed without Split Energy with different results.

Erik, I find your use of the word “rend” interesting, since my best guess about the origin of the character used for “lie” is that it was based on the character for “split/crack/tear” that has the clothes radical underneath. “Rend” would provide some bridge for the transfer of meaning. By the way, another example of “Split” energy I heard from an authoritative source referred to some sort of form or pad used by nurses in China, where the paper could be successfully detached with just the right opposite ripping motion of the hands.

Any additions or corrections would be welcome.

Take care all,

PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 2:59 am
by DavidJ
Hi Louis,

Some thoughts regarding your post of June 5.

The "middle" direction could be the middle path, i.e. the path that stays away from the extremes.

Each of the four things mentioned above (advance, retreat, look left, gaze right) is paired with its opposite, so this can imply that balance, and the general pairing of opposites, is part of the idea of 'central equilibrium' which they lead up to.

'Central equilibrium' applied to the previous four could simply mean "stay centered."

'Central equilibruim' could be a posture as the "middle" direction could be staking (AKA standing or ZZ).


David J

PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 3:46 am
by JerryKarin
In Yang Zhenduo's Zhong Guo Yang Shi Taiji in the third of the 'important points' regarding Right Brush Knee, he says the following:

'The center of gravity must be stable. If your weight shift is not suitable you might lose your balance. If you are unable to support yourself stably, the move will be wobbly. That is why in the 13 shi4 of Tai Chi, the last mentioned Central Stability (zhong1 ding4) is mainly in reference to one’s center of gravity or weight shifts. The problem of weight shift is extremely important; it can influence the way the entire form is completed and affect the degree of correctness of each move and each posture. Controlling weight shifts is inseparable from these and therefore it must be solved properly.'

I have translated zhong4 xin1 variously as 'center of gravity' or 'weight shift'. Yang Zhenduo typically uses the this term in phrases like zhong4 xin1 hou4 yi2 'shift the weight backward' which could also be rendered 'move the center of gravity backward'.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-02-2002).]

PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 3:51 am
by JerryKarin
The interesting thing is that according to this explanation, Central Stability is not really a posture, movement, position, etc but a kind of principle regarding staying centered.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 4:05 am
by JerryKarin
Heh heh I guess I am being pulled towards 'disposition' though I still find 'efficacious dispositions' very ugly.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 8:20 am
by DavidJ
Hi Jerry,

I visited a few thesaurus websites to see what alternative we might have to "efficacious disposition".

Efficacious reminds me of effervescent, and Speedy Alkaseltzer in a three piece suit, too fancy and arcane (don't mind me, it's late). I wonder what's wrong with plain old effective or efficient?

"Predisposition" can mean spirit or attitude as well as position, and I think that this sort of points in the right direction.

"Stance" can mean posture or attitude, and I think that this is the sense of it. I do note however that stance, stand, and static have the same root, and as Louis suggested might lose the dynamic flavor.

I think that "carriage" is interesting because we are talkng literally about how we carry ourselves. And the term has an old world charm to it.

So I vote for "efficient carriage."

YMMV. Image

David J

PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2002 3:59 pm
by Louis Swaim
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
The interesting thing is that according to this explanation, Central Stability is not really a posture, movement, position, etc but a kind of principle regarding staying centered.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Jerry,

I agree. Ma Yueliang had some interesting things to say about this and the 13 shi in his book on Push Hands. He has an essay, translated by Zee Wen as “The Thirteen Kinetic Movements of Taichichuan,” in which he writes:

“It must be stressed that the thirteen kinetic movements are by no means solitary postures or isolated movements. They are changes of yin-yang and are manifested continuously in circular movements.” (Ma Yueh-Liang & Zee Wen, Wu Style Taichichuan Push-Hands, Shanghai Book Co., 1990, p. 15)

In the section of the essay on Zhongding, he writes:

“Zhong-ding (the strength of central equilibrium), is the most essential and basic skill of Taichichuan. . . . Whenever there is ‘void’ and solid’, there is also Zhong-ding. None of the kinetic movements are ever dissociated from zhong-ding. Strictly speaking there is no fixed form [ding fa] for any manoeuver, but all forms or methods are based on zhong-ding. As in mechanics, zhong-ding is to stabilize the center of gravity [zhongxin], and to balance the momentum.” (ibid., p. 18)

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 08-11-2002).]