Taijiquan Lun

Postby Gu Rou Chen » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:05 pm

“I go with the flow [while/even though] the other goes against the flow; this [my movement strategy] is called adhering.”


"Things are goin' my way and you're up a creek without a paddle (enjoy the ride!). . ."


bei4 is common in modern colloquial Taijiquan parlance. 'in a bad way' 'things aren't going the way you'd like' 'you're screwed'. . . etc.


Dropped in after a long time to see what's going on with the board. . .

Best,

Jeff

Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
Greetings,

So, what about the third line? I think it’s easy to render the first part: “When the other is hard, and I am soft, this is called yielding.” The second part, however, is more problematic. There is some ambiguity for me in the intended meaning of “bei.” Ordinarily, this is simply a noun for “back”—that is, one’s anatomical back. One could make a case that here it refers to “me” following the direction of the opponent’s back, hence, “I go along (shun) with the other’s ‘backing-up’; this is called adhering.” Some versions of the Lun (Wu Tunan’s, I recall), has “ni” instead of “bei.” The pairing of shun/ni (going with the flow / going against the flow) as polar opposites—has a long history in Chinese philosophical, medical and other texts. I’m not convinced it would work here, however, as one would have to do some extrapolating in order to understand the phrase with shun/ni in place: “I go with the flow [while/even though] the other goes against the flow; this [my movement strategy] is called adhering.”

What do others think?

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 08-28-2008).][/B][/QUOTE]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:48 pm

Hey Jeff,

Good to see you here! Yes, that’s my sense of it as a trade usage, with a meaning sort of like “backed-up.” I like your paraphrase, but I’m curious how you would render that line—wo shun ren bei— in that case. The tag line, “this is called adhering” would refer to “my” strategy of following/going with. But the structure of this phrase is eluding me, even if the sense is clear. Is shun a stative verb, or is it transitive? Do you follow my drift?

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 08-28-2008).]
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:02 am

Hi Louis,

OK, now I see what you were stuck on.

Correct, it would have to be functioning as an adjective (SV) here. 'X is good, Y is bad.'
BEI4 means 'bad luck' 'things are not shun4' (going your way)' in modern standard Mandarin, not just Taiji jargon.

stuck
with obstacles
go against
backwards
bad situation/bad luck
at a disadvantage
screwed
toast
etc.


One could not make a case that here it refers to “me” following the direction of the opponent’s back, “I go along (shun) with the other’s ‘backing-up’

Challenging task ahead!

Best,

Jeff

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
[B]Hey Jeff,

Good to see you here! Yes, that’s my sense of it as a trade usage, with a meaning sort of like “backed-up.” I like your paraphrase, but I’m curious how you would render that line—wo shun ren bei— in that case. The tag line, “this is called adhering” would refer to “my” strategy of following/going with. But the structure of this phrase is eluding me, even if the sense is clear. Is shun a stative verb, or is it transitive? Do you follow my drift?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri_Snisarenko » Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:13 am

I think ZUO and NIAN advocate to agility as a way to conquer a direct forceful attack. As opposite to the attacker that has already chosen the direction and technique in his mind and is on the way to perform it we try to read him and respond accordingly first, then we try to control the situation and get an advantage.

That’s why I might suggest the following translation :

“When the other is hard and I am soft – this is called ‘evading’. When I follow and the other stumbles and steps back - this is called ‘sticking’.”

Probably this is the same what was written above.



[This message has been edited by Yuri_Snisarenko (edited 08-28-2008).]
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Postby yslim » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:57 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gu Rou Chen:
<B>Hi Louis,

OK, now I see what you were stuck on.

Correct, it would have to be functioning as an adjective (SV) here. 'X is good, Y is bad.'
BEI4 means 'bad luck' 'things are not shun4' (going your way)' in modern standard Mandarin, not just Taiji jargon.

stuck
with obstacles
go against
backwards
bad situation/bad luck
at a disadvantage
screwed
toast
etc.


One could not make a case that here it refers to “me” following the direction of the opponent’s back, “I go along (shun) with the other’s ‘backing-up’

Challenging task ahead!

Best,

Jeff

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
[B]Hey Jeff,

Good to see you here! Yes, that’s my sense of it as a trade usage, with a meaning sort of like “backed-up.” I like your paraphrase, but I’m curious how you would render that line—wo shun ren bei— in that case. The tag line, “this is called adhering” would refer to “my” strategy of following/going with. But the structure of this phrase is eluding me, even if the sense is clear. Is shun a stative verb, or is it transitive? Do you follow my drift?

Take care,
Louis

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

HI LOUIS

I AGREE WITH JEFF HOW HE SAW YOU GOT STUCK...
YOU ARE OVER FOCUS ON THE MEANING OF THE WORD YOU ARE TRANSLATING YOU MIGHT MISS THE WHOLE PICTURE. I THINK HE LIKES YOU TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THIS BOX? HE CREATED A LIST OF THINGS TO SHOW YOU THAT THE 'BACK' THAT YOU ARE FOLLOWING MAYBE A WRONG TARGET.TRY HIS "BAD SITUATION/BAD LUCK, AT A DISADVANTAGE" SEE IF THE SHOES FIT.

I HAVE BEEN PRACTICING SOMETHING CALL "COUNTER-BALANCE" WHEN I DO MY SOLO FORM. MY DAN TIEN IS THE MIDDLE OF THE BALANCE SCALE WITH A NUMBER ZERO AS MARKER.WHEN I SINK MY WEIGHT/CHI DOWN TO THE GROUND I ALSO SEND THE SAME FROM THE DAN TIEN UP TOWARD HEAVEN. SO MY DAN TIEN ALWAYS MAINTAIN IN ZERO TO A COUNTER- BALANCING ACT IN MOTION. IF YOU GOT THIS PICTURE AND APPLY IT TO THE FIRST HALF OF THIS THIRD LINES TAIJIQUAN LUN. THE 'HARD' AND 'SOFT' MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT MEANING. THE HARD IS NOT WHAT WE THINK OF HARD, BUT IT IS A ON COMING FORCE, WHETHER THIS ON COMING FORCE TRAVEL AT GREAT OR LESSER SPEED AT ME I WILL MATCH IT TO INTERCEPT IT AND MAINTAIN IN MOTION AS THE FIGHTING JET HOOKING UP WITH THE FUSE TANKER IN MID-AIR.. HEREBY THE ON COMING FORCE IS 'HARD' AND I THE INTERCEPTOR IS THE 'SOFT'. CHINESE CALL THIS TECHNIQUE 'TSOU'(ZUO/WALK/RUN/TRAVEL) IF I COULD RUN WITH IT NO MATTER HOW GREAT THAT COMING FORCE MIGHT BE,THAT MAKE ME AT THE ADVANTAGE POINT. IT GIVE ME THE LEADING POWER TO LEAD IT AS I WISH. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, CHINESE HAVE A OLD SAY "36 TECHNIQUES/POSTURES/FORMS,THE 'TSOU/ZUO' IS THE BEST" UNFORTUNATELY OUTSIDE OF TAIJI, WE USE THIS AS A RUNNIGN AWAY SOLUTION...lIKE IF THREE BIG 6 FT.LAO FANS COMING AT ME WITH KNIFE..I PICK RUNNING IS THE BEST WAY OUT. I DON'T WANT TO BE A DEAD RIGHT.

SO THE BIG PICTURE IS...IF THE FIRST HALF OF THIS LINE IS SHOW SIGN THAT I AM IN COMMAND OF THIS LEADING ADVANTAGE POSITION. THEN THE SECOND HALF OF THIS LINES WOULD MEAN I AM READY FOR COUNTER ATTACK BY 'RETURN-THE-FORCE-TO-SENDER'. BUT BEFORE I DO THAT I MUST NOT LET MY EGO GET IN THE WAY AND SEEK THE "SHUN". THIS 'SHUN' IS TO SHUN OR FOLLOW/GRANT MY WISHES THAT ALL THING IS GOING MY WAY. THAT I WILL CAPTURE THAT OPPORTUNITY AND BEST SITUATION. THEN SECONDLY I NEED TO ELIMINATE ANY 'BACK PADDLING JIN' (GO AGAINST GRAIN/BAD LUCK SIGN/OBSTACLE THAT MAY CAUSE ME GO REVERSE) THIS 'BACK' IS 'HOLDING ME BACK COULD PUT ME IN A DISADVANTAGE POSITION' AT THIS POINT WE ARE STILL STICK TOGETHER AS I GAINING ON HIM IN STEALTH 'TIL WE PART.


WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY THE FOURTH LINE
AND WILL TAKE THE FIFTH!PERIOD.

CIAO
YSLIM
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:09 pm

Greetings Jeff,

Is taijiquan a matter of luck, or is it a process of skill and strategy? I get it that “bei” can mean “bushun,” but I’m not convinced that’s how to read it here. The sticky wicket is the tag line, “this is called adhering,” which does not resolve well with a phrase referring to a good/bad state. Adhering refers to a process. If we look at the phrase “wo shun, ren bei” in the context set up by the preceding phrase, —“When the other is hard and I am soft, this is called yielding.”—these are adjectives or stative verbs as well, but they have to do with how one engages with the other. There is also the context of the earlier phrase, “follow, bend, and then extend,” which again describes process and action. Barbara Davis makes a good observation in her book, The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation, about the interpretive problem. She notes the interpretation of shun as “advantage” and bei as “disadvantage,” then writes, “This interpretation, though, seems less clear, in that it refers more to the result of the two persons’ action than to the actions themselves.” (Davis, p. 106)

So, how best to yield to this text?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:10 pm

Greetings Mr. Lim,

You wrote: YOU ARE OVER FOCUS ON THE MEANING OF THE WORD YOU ARE TRANSLATING YOU MIGHT MISS THE WHOLE PICTURE. I THINK HE LIKES YOU TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THIS BOX? HE CREATED A LIST OF THINGS TO SHOW YOU THAT THE 'BACK' THAT YOU ARE FOLLOWING MAYBE A WRONG TARGET.TRY HIS "BAD SITUATION/BAD LUCK, AT A DISADVANTAGE" SEE IF THE SHOES FIT.

I do try to avoid boxes or boxy metaphors when I’m thinking through issues like these. It’s interesting that you mention “target,” though. In Chen Weiming’s commentary on this passage of the Taijiquan Lun, he describes “bei” as the opponent’s strength “missing its target” (shi qi zhong). Then he says, “If my position gets the target (de qi zhong), then I go with it (shun)! By means of shun [I] adhere to [his] bei—thus, although he has strength, he cannot implement it.” (my rough trans.) See also Barbara's translation on p. 105, and the original Chinese on p. 158 of The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 08-29-2008).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:31 am

Line 27 is related to line 3. In 27 it is said that 'going away' and 'adhering' are the same, and this is adduced as an example of understanding yin and yang. So these are kind of being used like opposites such as 'avoidance' and 'pursuit'. I agree with Jeff: shun and bei seem like opposites; where I have the advantage and the other is screwed - that's pursuing, or perhaps 'holding fast'.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-29-2008).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:36 am

I think the parallelism between the pairs 'hard' and shun on the one hand and 'soft' and bei on the other, help clarify the bei/shun idea.
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:40 am

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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:38 am

Greetings,

Chen Weiming's commentary tugs the thread linking the phrases in line 3 of the lun. Here's Barbara Davis' translation of Chen's commentary:
~~~
If the opponent is hard and I am hard, then the two of us are mutually resistant (dikang). If the opponent is hard and I am soft, then we will not impede each other. By not impeding [him, I] can then yield and neutralize (zou hua). When [I] yield and neutralize, if the opponent’s strength misses the mark, he goes against (bei). If my position finds the mark, I go with [him]. If I go with [him] and stick to where he goes against, then though he has strength, he cannot use it.
—Chen Weiming, trans. Barbara Davis, The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (North Atlantic Books, 2004, p. 105.)

I'll put the Chinese in a separate post. You may need to set your browser encoding for Big 5.

--Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:41 am

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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:06 am

I don't think she is really making sense of shun and bei there.
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:25 am

Commentary from Li Yaxuan:

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[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-30-2008).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:39 am

He says 'hard' in this context refers to attacking (such as push or press), and 'soft' refers to defending (such as rollback or ward off).

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"If the opponent uses an or ji to press me I use lu or peng to destroy that, this is called zou ." Eluding, perhaps.

He explains shun as keeping your balance and bei as losing control of it.

If I use press or push to attack the opponent and destroy his structure, this is called nian (sticking).

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-30-2008).]
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