Seating the Wrist vs. Puffing the Wrist

Postby Yuri_Snisarenko » Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:12 am

I suggested my translation of the classical line only as a possible in my opinion variant (that came from my study of general theory of neijia and my understanding of levels in some taijiquan branches) for everyone’s consideration in the light of the above discussed matters. I am glad that Louis and Jerry provided their comments and views. It will help others to see the whole perspective.

[This message has been edited by Yuri_Snisarenko (edited 08-13-2008).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:58 pm

It's fun to play around with these things. We really should read right through a text, paragraph at a time and discussing each chunk a bit bef moving on.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:56 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
It's fun to play around with these things. We really should read right through a text, paragraph at a time and discussing each chunk a bit bef moving on.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings,

I agree! It's both fun and rewarding to explore taiji texts. They're full of subtle meaning that sometimes will only come out as the result of the reader's active engagement.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:15 pm

Greetings Arthur,

Out of curiosity, I did a google search of the characters for zhuolidian, and got references to many web pages—mostly if not all mainland sites having to do with government matters, finance, agriculture, etc. In randomly checking through these, it’s clear that the current usage of the phrase zhuolidian is “focus,” or “focal point.” That fits with my understanding of the way Fu (or Gu Liuxin?) used it in his Important Point for Kick with Heel. The contexts it appears in on these random sites makes me wonder, however, if this is not an example of a phrase that may have gained currency during the early years of the PRC, and hence became a sort of “politically correct” phrase. I’m only speculating, but it kind of has that ring to it. In fact, a further search of the phase, adding Mao Zedong’s name, yielded quite a bit of material on Mao’s speeches and writings containing the phrase zhuolidian. It’s odd that the full phrase zhuolidian does not appear in most dictionaries, while zhuoli does. That phrase was readily used by folks like Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming.

Well, it’s a tangent I know, but I enjoy these sorts of forays into socio- and historical linguistics.

What do you think?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:11 am

Greetings,

I've done a bit of digging in the Erlangen database, and found a number of entries for zhuolidian in scientific sources in the early 1900s. These were all references to physics, with the meaning "point of application of force." Clearly the term gained currency later on with the more abstact meaning of "focus," or "point of focus" as evidenced in Chinese Marxist-influenced usage. Either meaning seems to work in Fu's note, though one could argue that "point of focus" may be more appropriate in the taiji context.

--Louis
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Postby Yuri_Snisarenko » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:00 pm

Greetings Louis,

I believe that in taiji there are some things that can’t be defined in a fixed single way and this is probably one of them. People with their differences each try to find in taiji what he/she values for himself or herself more. Naturally a man who say studies taiji with a serious martial attitude will see some things a little differently than a man who studies taiji with a more wide approach.

Song then li dian/ jin dian – this is the sequence of how I see things and I am probably more the second kind of a man. But the first kind of people who trains for at least two hours a day in a traditional way with martial part fully involved probably will have deferent sequence – li/jin dian and then song. And most probably we will have different understanding of the (zhuo) li dian , different degree of its emphasizing.

I am not sure but I have a feeling that earlier photos of master Yang Chengfu display attitude more of the second category and his later photos display more of the first kind. Again I am not sure, just guessing.

So what I am trying to say is that each of us probably should try to see different angles of the tradition and try to understand how the tradition works for him or for herself.

How is it possible? In my view – there are the main keystones in taiji and there are assistant details. And due to this scheme we can find some variety.



[This message has been edited by Yuri_Snisarenko (edited 08-15-2008).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:04 pm

Greetings Yuri,

Re: "So what I am trying to say is that each of us probably should try to see different angles of the tradition and try to understand how the tradition works for him or for herself."

I agree completely.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yin Peixiong » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:52 pm

Hey Louis,

Your passion for the Chinese language, including its social usage and historical evolution, is impressive. My interest, knowledge, and approach are quite simplistic.

When I first posted the question on li dian vs. jin dian, I didn't even notice Fu's notes refer to zhuo li dian. Be that as it may, how about considering the negation of zhuo li? For me, bu zhuo li has the connotation of being ineffective in the application of force.

Arthur
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:05 pm

Greetings Arthur,

I suppose buzhuoli would be “not focused.” I’ve come across examples that compare zhuoli lianxi “focused practice” with buzhuoli lianxi (unfocused practice). It has to do with how and where to concentrate one’s effort.

An “ignition point” is zhuohuodian, so zhoulidian is the point of application of force, or of effort. As I noted, the most current usage seems to be the idea of collective or collaborative effort.

Some further rambling thoughts: To me, there is not really an issue of physical strength (li) vs. intention (yi). Or to put it another way, there should be no conflict or dichotomy of strength vs. consciousness, or outer vs. inner. When I think of focusing intent, it has fundamentally to do with action. One could say that Taijiquan practice is an exercise in what the Ming philosopher Wang Yangming called “the unity of knowing and acting” (zhixing heyi). Tu Wei-Ming wrote of Wang’s conception of zhixing heyi:

“For to know, Yang-ming suggested, is not to assimilate a set of externalized values, but to manifest what one has truly understood in concrete actions. It is a delusion to believe that the quest of knowledge can be independent of its application. If one studies the words of the sages as if they had nothing to do with one’s body and mind, here and now, one inevitably falls prey to self deception. The words of the sages are to be learned in experience. They can never be fully internalized by a process of cognitive appreciation. Real experiential participation is so much an integral part of the learning process that to delay action means to falsify knowledge.”
—Tu Weimin, _Neo-Confucian Thought in Action: Wang Yang-ming’s Youth (1472-1509)_Berkeley, University of California Press, 1976, p. 151.

Sometimes I need to cast the net wide in order to sharpen my own focus. Knowing your appreciation for the detective work of Judge Dee, you probably know what I mean. So that’s why I like to go off on tangents about the context and meaning of “zhuolidian” in a taijiquan manual written by Fu Zhongwen and edited by Gu Liuxin, published in 1963. I’m glad you brought it to my attention!

Take care,
Louis
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