Something in one of Audi’s recent posts reminded me of an image that Yang Zhenduo used in a past seminar—that of a chain. I’m working partly from memory and partly from notes, so I would appreciate it if anyone else has any recollection of his use of the image.
The image has to do with the difference between differing interpretations of “fangsong” as either a proposed absolute relaxation or slack, and something more closely resembling a distributed minimal tension in the sinews coupled with a loosening of the joints. As I recall, Master Yang used the image to illustrate the classical requirements of “rooted in the feet, issued by the legs, governed by the waist and expressed in the fingers,” and of movement that is “threaded together joint by joint.” Yang Zhenduo talked about how a chain when lying loosely on the floor is disorganized—disjointed if you will—but when swung from one end, there is a unity of tension from link to link. Key to the sense of linkage and threading, then, is maintaining one’s focus on the pivot point—the waist, or lumbar spine—and loosening the joints so that the tension is evenly distributed, flowing out to the fingertips.
Can anyone else recall any specifics on the use of this chain image?