Taijiquan Lun

Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:50 pm

Greetings,

Just for the record, I never advocated translating zou as “running away” in the taijiquan lun. I did point out that zou sometimes connoted “flight” in the Sunzi, and that flight could be one form of strategic yielding:

"Where the strategic advantages of both sides are about the same, for an army to attack an enemy ten times its size will result in flight (zou)." --Ames, Sun-tzu: The Art of Warfare, p. 149.

I also mentioned that, “On the other hand, zou can just mean movement -- towards as well as away from.”

I understand that zou does not literally mean “to yield.” However, my understanding of its specialized usage in taiji terminology is that it does not refer merely to movement. Rather, it refers specifically to strategic movement. That being the case, I think that the optimal English rendering is in fact “yield.” Recall that further down in the document is the very important statement that “the foundation is to yield to the other” (shejicongren). This provides the context for understanding the preceding lines. Now again, the verb “cong” is not literally “to yield,” but here means “follow/comply.” The phrase “shejicongren” appears quite early in the Mencius, and before that in the Book of Documents. In both cases, it refers to not asserting one’s own initiative, but following, complying with, or yielding to the initiative of the other.

--Louis
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Audi » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:59 am

Greetings all,

Louis, it's glad to hear you chiming in. I hope all is well.

Bailewen, thanks for your reply. According to my understanding, an ancient meaning of "zou" was something like "hasten" (趨) This site gives the Shuo Wen definition and shows the seal and bronze ancestors of , probably showing a person running with waiving arms and flowing hair. From "hasten," it is not a far jump to "scurry" and then on to "flee," as Louis explains. I would also agree that the principal modern meaning, at least, is not far from the English word "go."

By itself, "go" can imply "go to" or "go away," but if I say "I am going" (我了) in English or Chinese, this implies "going away." "Yielding" is again not far away in meaning.

Line 3 says: 人刚我柔谓之,我顺人背谓之粘 (When the opponent is hard and I am resilient, it is called "yielding". When I am in line and the opponent is out of sorts, it is called sticking). How would you translate "zou" in this line to capture the implication of using soft to meet hard? I agree with Louis that "yielding" seems to be a pretty good fit.

I interpret LIne 3 this as a yin-yang couple, with "zou" ("yielding") being the yin component, and "zhan" ("sticking") being the yang component. Together they define the principles of Tai Chi movement and that is why "yielding" is "sticking" and "sticking" is "yielding." Elsewhere in the classics, it is similarly said of seeming opposites that "storing" is "releasing" and "releasing" is "storing." To me, these are not so much statements of identity, but statements of how "yin" implies and requires "yang" and vice versa.

Shifu explained that that's where the flip side of 'zhan' comes in: 'nian'. 'zhan' means you adhere to them lightly, like the way static cling makes a piece of cellophane stick to your hand. 'nian' means you get all entagled in it so you can't disengage.


In line 3, I actually interpret "zhan" ("sticking") as a stand-in for "zhan-nian-lian-sui," or at least both "zhan" and "nian." To me, it is hard to understand the line as a specific description of "zhan" as opposed to the other three skills.

As for the difference between the four skills, according to my current understanding, "zhan" applies to using "sticking" to disturb the opponent's root and leading him to give you energy you can exploit. "Nian" means sticking to the opponent's movements to make him feel labored, like stirring sticky rice or oatmeal as opposed to stirring tea or hot chocolate. His movement is not blocked, but he cannot simply do what he wants. "Lian" means you do not let the opponent leave the control of your sticking. He cannot get away. And "Sui" means that you follow the opponent's movement rather than resisting or going off on your own. You are always attacking "in the rear," where the opponent has difficulty defending.

By way of introduction, here's a video of my and Shifu pushing for the cameras:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrXz6mZJQes

The very first word you here is his telling me to 'zou'


That is a great video clip and shows some wonderful techniques. I also liked the 牛仔 clip I found.

My command of Chinese is poor, but it sounds to me like your Shifu is saying something like "go ahead" or "keep going," rather than using "zou" as a technical term.

I have two issues with this. One is that there is already a perfectly good term for yielding: 'rang'/让 Why not use that one?


Perhaps because "rang" can also mean other things and because "zou" has a better classical pedigree? Perhaps "rang" is also a little bit inaccurate as to what is physically done, since it implies too much of a concession, rather than just "going away from the point of force." I often think that "yielding" can be over-emphasized. I tell people to think of giving the opponent 90% of what he wants, while keeping the 10% that truly matters. While he chokes on the 90%, you use the 10% to great effect. This is not really a simple case of "conceding" everything to the opponent.

Second, zhan, as I alluded to earlier, often requires advancing as well. It's not always yielding.


I am actually thinking of it as the flip side of "yielding" rather than its strict equivalent. It's like the 10% that you always keep.

When a person withdraws their hand and you adhere to it, that is not yielding.


I would think of this as "lian" ("connecting/linking"), rather than just "zhan." Again, it is part of the flip side of "yielding."

Heck, you could be using 'zhan' in order to apply 'an'(press).


The way I would typically understand this would be if the opponent was moving towards me. I would yield ("zou") to his movement, moving in accord with his energy ("sui"). I would then use "Nian" to make his force come to nothing ("luo kong"), but add a little more to give him the feeling of overcommitting ("zhan"). As he withdraws to try to reestablish stability, I use "lian" to prevent him from escaping and then issue ("fa") with Press. The "yielding" and the "sticking" are two sides of the same coin. To make my technique complete, I must use both.

The wonderful part of all this back and forth is that it shows how much you can mine from the classics and get material to ponder.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby bailewen » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:00 pm

Mr. Swaim,

So interesting to talk about your translation choices with you directly. I think I read some of your books well before I ever started learning Chinese. . . heck, before I was learning Taiji even. I was still doing Hung Gar back then but an avid reader of anything MA related from pretty much any area of expertise.
Just for the record...

Yes, I caught that. I am debating the ideas I caught here on the thread more than any particular person who presented them.

I can also see why you might, at the end of the day, settle on "yield' for "zou". Seems like translating is full of compromises. in many cases, nothing ever feels exactly right. You get a little accuracy, but you lose a little poetry. Get a little better denotation and lose the connotation. In this context, I can't really argue that "moving" or any other term is better than yielding. I suppose I am more interested in nitpicking "yielding" as a choice because it allows me to draw out where the term falls short and thereby better draw out the ideas in the text. When you put and actual translation down to paper it has to read well. It has to flow and sound like fairly natural speech or, as the case may be, reflect the poetry or cadence of the original. So you gotta go with something.

Nevertheless! . . .


Audi said:
Line 3 says: 人刚我柔谓之,我顺人背谓之粘 (When the opponent is hard and I am resilient, it is called "yielding". When I am in line and the opponent is out of sorts, it is called sticking). How would you translate "zou" in this line to capture the implication of using soft to meet hard? I agree with Louis that "yielding" seems to be a pretty good fit.

edit:
Just got the chance to bring this up with Shifu today at lunch. It's no surprise he backs me up on not seeing it as meaning "yielding" because well...I learned most of this stuff from him. :lol: His explanation was that "zou", in that line means "to change". :o I like it. That makes the reading go:

when the opponent is hard and I am soft, this is called "change"...

I also asked him about this part of my pre-edited post:
It also kind of bothers me that for such a long time I assumed that the line was not 背 but rather 被.

Another laugh because he said that that's pretty much what it means. He said that 背, in the songs, actually does mean 被动, just a different way of saying it.

Perhaps because "rang" can also mean other things and because "zou" has a better classical pedigree?

It was a silly thought in retrospect. "rang" is way too colloquial. When I try and think about which term I think of from the songs though that means, to my mind, something more like yielding, I would also consider "shun"/顺.
I often think that "yielding" can be over-emphasized. I tell people to think of giving the opponent 90% of what he wants, while keeping the 10% that truly matters. While he chokes on the 90%, you use the 10% to great effect. This is not really a simple case of "conceding" everything to the opponent.

My issue with the yielding concept is that it must be paired with leading. I think that yielding without leading is just retreating and often into a dead end.

This post is getting a bit long.

Be well.

Sorry for the edits in the middle. The thread hadn't moved and I had had a chance to confer with "the experts" today and changed my post in light of what I learned.
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Audi » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:18 am

Hi Bailewen,

I almost missed that you had edited your last post. Thanks for your further clarification.

when the opponent is hard and I am soft, this is called "change


This is an interesting take on this word. Certainly, "change" is one of the implications of "move." I still wonder, however, why such a meaning would be paired in a seeming parallel couplet with the character 粘 (sticking), unless 粘 is supposed to emphasize the lack of movement.

I decided to look through one of my dictionaries to look for other uses of and came across 不了 ("no escape") and am now wondering whether "escaping" or "eluding" might be an implication of this line. The ideas of "escaping from" and "sticking to" would seem to be a good yin-yang pair. That would make the line something like:

When the opponent is hard and I am soft, this is called "eluding." When I go along and the opponent is in opposition (?), this is called "sticking."

I also note your translation of 柔 (rou) as "soft." This is of course quite correct; however, I have often found myself trying to explain that the difference between 柔 (rou) and 软 (ruan) is significant, even though both can be translated as "soft." In our Tai Chi, I think you want to be "rou," but not really "ruan." As a result, I have found myself steering away from using the word "soft" out of context. As I technical matter, I think that the word "yielding" is probably the closest equivalent of what is desired; however, this creates its own set of confusion since "yield" has its own set of Tai Chi connotations.

He said that 背, in the songs, actually does mean 被动, just a different way of saying it.


I think I understand this as a matter of teaching; however, I would love if someone could explain this linguistically or grammatically. I think I remember someone posting before that 背 could mean something like "disadvantaged." I assumed from the sound that it might simply be another way of writing 悖 or that the words were etymologically related; however, I have not found any support for anything other than meanings connected with "back" or "memorize."
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby bailewen » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:38 pm

... I still wonder, however, why such a meaning would be paired in a seeming parallel couplet with the character 粘 (sticking), unless 粘 is supposed to emphasize the lack of movement.

Parallel couplets do not imply opposites or contrasts. More typically they are simply riffs on a theme. Think about it, most "dui lian"/对联 tend to be repetitive not contrasting. They can be both but the most common form is to present two different ways of presenting the same idea with the same number of characters and even the same sentence construction. They should be like call and response in a blues jam. The couplet works well as a dui lian:

人刚我柔谓之
我顺人背谓之粘

When the opponent is hard and I am soft, this is called "eluding." When I go along and the opponent is in opposition (?), this is called "sticking."

I can't agree with this one. My whole issue with the interpretation of 'zou' that has been presented on this thread is that I take strong issue with all the connotations of "escape", "running away" or variations on that theme. My search for a better term than "yielding" is entirely based on the fact that I do not feel that the connotation of directionality is appropriate here.

I also note your translation of 柔 (rou) as "soft." This is of course quite correct; however, I have often found myself trying to explain that the difference between 柔 (rou) and 软 (ruan) is significant, even though both can be translated as "soft."

Actually that's laziness on my part because we were not doing a close reading of that aspect. I have given those terms a lot of thought in the past for exactly the reasons you bring up. What I came up with is that "rou" is more like "flexible" or "pliable" and "ruan" is "soft". I think that "pliable" or "flexible" capture it pretty well without having the connotations of weakness or internal emptiness that "ruan" can have.
I think I understand this as a matter of teaching; however, I would love if someone could explain this linguistically or grammatically.

Me too. Although, I think it at least makes intuitive sense to me. I am ok just chalking it up to classical Chinese or Taiji specific jargon. It sure is tempting to blame it on a transcription error somewhere in the past eh? :wink:
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:21 pm

Greetings bailewen,

You stated: ‘His explanation was that "zou", in that line means "to change".’

I think I understand that. There is a term that so far as I can determine is idiomatic to taijiquan—化. The word 化, of course, refers to change, transformation. So 化 refers to dissolving, neutralizing, or redirecting the action of the opponent through your own movement. Translating zou as “change” in the context of this document, though, strikes me as sort of a meta-interpretation. One can’t argue with it, but to me it doesn’t capture the specifics of the movement or its intent as well as “yield.”

As for your general remarks on translating: “It has to flow and sound like fairly natural speech or, as the case may be, reflect the poetry or cadence of the original.” I don’t disagree, but that’s not my main objective in translating zou as “yield.” I think “yield” does a better job of accounting for the structural and strategic import of the passage. Again, I see this in the context of the shejicongren notion, which the lun declares to be the “foundation.” This way of dealing with an opponent is really grounded in early Chinese military strategy. Consider the concept of 因 —of according with the enemy—as explicated in the Sunzi. I'm thinking of the Sunzi line translated by Roger Ames: "As water varies its flow according to (因)the fall of the land, so an army varies its method of gaining victory according to (因) the enemy.

Regarding: “He said that 背, in the songs, actually does mean 被动, just a different way of saying it.”

I touched on this in a footnote in my translator’s notes to the classics in Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan, pointing out that Meng Naichang glossed 背 as 被动, explaining that by becoming passive, or losing the initiative, an opponent allows the more skilled partner to “seize the center” of the opponent. I find it difficult, however, to square that sense with the use of 背 in the phrase in question. I pointed out in the same note that 顺 and背 appear as contrasting verbs in a taiji document by Wu Ruqing, which Wile translated as “my opponent goes against the flow, whereas I go with it.” It’s been a very long time since I’ve even thought about this, and I’ll have to revisit the Wu Ruqing text, but I still find this to be a compelling way of reading 顺 and 背 in the taijiquan lun. It occurs to me that the usual contrast to 顺 is 逆, right? So I might be inclined to gloss “bei” with “ni.”

Even “the experts” disagree, naturally, on how to resolve these translation issues, so the discussion continues.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:12 pm

The original text for the Sunzi line I quoted above can be seen here http://ctext.org/art-of-war?searchu=%E5%9B%A0, in paragraph 7 of the Xu Shi (weak and strong points) section. Actually, both paragraphs 6 and 7 are very applicable to taijiquan push hands. Gile's Sunzi trans. is not bad!
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby bailewen » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:24 pm

Hello again Mr. Swaim,

Feel free to call me Omar if you like. 白乐文 is my Chinese name. I use it online for consistency as more people know me in a kung fu context in China than back home in the states. In any case:
There is a term that so far as I can determine is idiomatic to taijiquan—化. The word 化, of course, refers to change, transformation.

The actual term I was thinking in was not "change" but 变化. I just did a translation of the translation for the sake of keeping the conversation more purely in English. 变化 is exactly what I mean. I can't go as far as meaning just 化 alone as I think that used without the 变 it has more of a feeling of transforming and/or dissolving the other person's energy. The line we are talking about seems to read as more of a reference to one's own movement.

I think “yield” does a better job of accounting for the structural and strategic import of the passage. Again, I see this in the context of the shejicongren notion, which the lun declares to be the “foundation.” This way of dealing with an opponent is really grounded in early Chinese military strategy.

I feel that this is a classic example of how a "translation" of an old text tends to be much more of an interpretation than translation. I do understand that concept of as it relates to Sunzi but really reject that interpretation for a very specific reason. Mainly because is every bit as likely to be following from behind as it is to be yielding. A person pushes, you yield. Ok. That is . But what happens when they retract their hand and you continue to adhere to it? If the other person is retracting their hand and you are following it back, it can't really be considered yielding at that point...but it is still .

I think I follow you with that relating 因 to 从人 and that works for me but how do you avoid implying that this principle is always based on retreat? I still don't see where there is any directionality implied. includes both advancing and retreating. As long as you gave me that wonderful link on 因 I may as well quote from it to further support my argument for meaning "change". Paragraph 7, as per your reccomendation:
虛實:
夫兵形象水,水之形,避高而趨下:兵之形,避實而擊虛;水因地而制流,兵因敵而制勝。故兵無常勢,水無常形;能因敵變化而取勝,謂之神。故五行無常

That right there is how I interpret .
...It occurs to me that the usual contrast to 顺 is 逆, right? So I might be inclined to gloss “bei” with “ni.”

I had exactly the same initial response and have always read 背 in that line with a subtext of 逆. I don't have a lengthy linguistic explanation for it but I don't think there's really any conflict between the Meng Naichang explanation and the Wile translation. My only tweak to the idea is that with my understanding of Taiji at this point in time, I just don't find "seizing the center" to be particularly important. I know it's a bit of a heretical idea but Shifu never emphasized it and when asked seemed to laugh at the idea. The equating 背 with 被动 has more to do with the idea of being reactive. It means you are stuck playing catch up in the change game. You've lost the initiative and are being led instead of leading. That's always awkward.

Thanks for the conversation.
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:34 pm

Greetings Omar,

You wrote: “A person pushes, you yield. Ok. That is . But what happens when they retract their hand and you continue to adhere to it? If the other person is retracting their hand and you are following it back, it can't really be considered yielding at that point...but it is still .

I consider it to be yielding. I emphasize that yielding here means yielding to the initiative of the other, and therefore not asserting one’s own initiative. It’s not a matter of merely retreating or giving ground. Where the other wants to go, that’s where I go, no matter the direction. In this way, the other’s intent is always known to me, but mine is unknown to him. I’m providing no intelligence to my opponent; I’m inscrutable. Adhering to the other isn’t just passively following, but actively engaging. This is precisely why 粘即是即是粘 is such a crucial formula in the lun.

Re: ‘As long as you gave me that wonderful link on 因 I may as well quote from it to further support my argument for meaning "change".’

Isn’t it marvellous? The Xu/Shi chapter of the Sunzi is just full of amazing insights. I’ve long been convinced that taijiquan theory is strongly informed by and grounded in the Sunzi. It takes 兵形 and translates it to the somatic curriculum of interactive taijiquan movement. I love the productive ambiguity of classical Chinese operating in the phrase 因敵變化. One could read it as “according with the transformations of the enemy,” or as “transforming in accordance with the enemy.” But you see, the transformation is going to take place in any case. What is important is this 因, this “according with.”

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby bailewen » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:02 am

I consider it to be yielding. I emphasize that yielding here means yielding to the initiative of the other, and therefore not asserting one’s own initiative...

Now who's meta-interpreting? :P That sure is an interesting take on "yielding" and makes sense. Kind of the sort of thing I'd feel like needed a footnote or something because I don't think that's the first connotation of "yielding" in English. It gets back to why I think that these "songs" are really only useful as guideposts or reminders for those already within the tradition. They definitely need a certain amount of decoding. Thanks for clarifying.
Adhering to the other isn’t just passively following, but actively engaging. ...

That really gets to my reason for being so averse to the term "yielding". I am trying to avoid that misinterpretation and focus less on "yielding" and more on "leading". I've lost count of how many times I have seen 引进落空 mis-translated as "yielding into emptiness" instead of the very similar but, IMO, far more accurate "leading into emptiness".
Isn’t it marvellous? The Xu/Shi chapter of the Sunzi is just full of amazing insights. I’ve long been convinced that taijiquan theory is strongly informed by and grounded in the Sunzi. It takes 兵形 and translates it to the somatic curriculum of interactive taijiquan movement.

Heck, my own Shifu pulls from pretty much everywhere. He says that Taiji is a sort of distilled essence of the entire thousands of years of Chinese culture. Suntzi, Kongzi, Chinese medicine, Buddhist thought, modern physics, etc. Just check out some of Wang Peisheng's vids and the Buddhist citations are sprinkled all throughout his speech.

I love the productive ambiguity of classical Chinese operating in the phrase 因敵變化. One could read it as “according with the transformations of the enemy,” or as “transforming in accordance with the enemy.” But you see, the transformation is going to take place in any case. What is important is this 因, this “according with.”

A favorite example of this sort of thing is one I stumbled onto just recently in the Dao De Jing. No punctuation in classical Chinese right? But most printed editions put it in for the readers convenience. Last year I bought a copy which had just moved a couple commas slightly and it completely transformed the way I understood the phrase. Usually, tranlsations reflect this sort of puntuation:
无名,天地之始.
有名,万物之母.
What if instead it read:
无,名天地之始.
有,名万物之母.
:idea:
It's not contrasting "the nameless" and "the named".
It's contrasting "nothingness" with "somethingness".

Now that's Taijiquan! Full and empty, 无 and 有。 :!:
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:03 pm

Greetings Omar,

Re: I've lost count of how many times I have seen 引进落空 mis-translated as "yielding into emptiness" instead of the very similar but, IMO, far more accurate "leading into emptiness".

I can’t say I’ve seen it rendered as “yielding into emptiness,” but I agree that would be a poor translation. Mine is similar to yours: “attract into emptiness,” or alternatively, “Attract him to fall into a hole.” The latter is less nebulous, and describes what it actually feels like sometimes!

As for the quote from DDJ ch. 1, I think that punctuation is interesting, but not compelling. For one thing, the compound 無名 appears in several instances in the DDJ, all pretty unambiguously meaning “not named,” or “nameless.” The refined metaphysical concept of wu/you (non -being/beibg) was developed by the Han dynasty commentator, Wang Bi (226–249), who, some would argue, read the wu/you idea back into the DDJ. It’s quite arguably there, buy not as explicitly as Wang Bi held it to be. If you’re interested, you can read more about this in Livia Kohn & Michael LaFargue, eds., Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching (SUNY, pp. 127-128).

--Louis
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby yslim » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:05 am

Hi ,

[无名,天地之始.

WU CHI/ VOID. MOTHER OF TAIJI

有名,万物之母.

TAI CHI, MOTHER OF ALL THINGS?
ONE GIVES BIRTH TO TWO, TWO GIVES BIRTH TO THREE, THREE GIVES BIRTH TO 10,000......

What if instead it read:
无,名天地之始.

WUJI/VOID, BEFORE GOD CREATE THE HEAVEN AND EARTH. BEFORE THE BIG BANG.

有,名万物之母.

lET THERE BE LIGHT THERE SHALL BE LIGHT. I CALLED IT THE NIGHT.( BECAUSE I WAS IN CHINA WHEN GOD DID HIS NAME CALLING)

WUJI GIVES BIRTH TO TAIJI. TAIJI HAVE YIN-YANG, BUT YIN YANG IS NOT TAIJI. TO BE TAIJI YIN YANG MUST BE ONE.TO BE ONE THEY MUST HAVE THREE. THIS IS THE ONLY FORMULA I LEARN HOW TO RUN / ZOU THE TAIJI PRINCIPLE'S SMOOTHLY.

:idea:
It's not contrasting "the nameless" and "the named".
It's contrasting "nothingness" with "somethingness".

Now that's Taijiquan! Full and empty, 无and 有。 :!:[/quote]

SO GLAD YOU BROUGHT IT UP....THE TAIJIQUAN'S " FULL AND EMPTY" WITH "NOTHINGNESS AND "SOMETHINGNESS".

THE FOLLOWING SONG IS IN CHINESE. SORRY I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO CHINESE IN COMPUTER. LOT OF THING I DON'T KNOW INCLUDING THIS SONG.....

"EMPTY EMPTY FULL FULL, FULL FULL EMPTY EMPTY
EMPTY IS NOT FULL, FULL IS NOT EMPTY
EMPTY ALSO IS FULL, FULL ALSO IS EMPTY
EMPTY YET NOT EMPTY, FULL YET NOT FULL
EMPTY YET NOT EMPTY IS CALLS YUAN/MYSTERY (FOR LACK OF WORDS)
YUAN MEAO'S KUNG NO CAN SAYS. (THE ARTS OF MYSTERY IS NO WORD FOR IT .IMO, IT MEAN I HAVE TO DO IT WITH FEELING ...WISDOM, INSTEAD OF THINKING...INTELLIGENT ) .

HOPE YOU CAN "ZOU/RUN WITH IS SMOOTHLY.

CIAO AND HAVE A GOOD TAIJI DAY
TAIJI IDIOT
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby bailewen » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:07 am

Louis Swaim wrote:I can’t say I’ve seen it rendered as “yielding into emptiness,”...

It's not something I've seen in print so much as seen on discussion boards or heard in conversation. I suppose it's not so much a mis-translation as an successful meme. People hear a more accurate translation somewhere and then paraphrase it in a way that changes the meaning and suddenly we're all playing the game "telephone".
As for the quote from DDJ ch. 1, I think that punctuation is interesting, but not compelling. For one thing, the compound 無名 appears in several instances in the DDJ, all pretty unambiguously meaning “not named,” or “nameless.” The refined metaphysical concept of wu/you (non -being/beibg) was developed by the Han dynasty commentator, Wang Bi (226–249), who, some would argue, read the wu/you idea back into the DDJ. It’s quite arguably there, buy not as explicitly as Wang Bi held it to be. If you’re interested, you can read more about this in Livia Kohn & Michael LaFargue, eds., Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching (SUNY, pp. 127-128).

--Louis

I'll definitely look into it. I may have just fallen victim to a bit of confirmation bias as moving the comma that way makes it square up so much nicer with the martial arts theory that got me into the DDJ in the first place.
=========================================================================================================
yslim wrote:THE FOLLOWING SONG IS IN CHINESE. SORRY I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO CHINESE IN COMPUTER. LOT OF THING I DON'T KNOW INCLUDING THIS SONG.....

"EMPTY EMPTY FULL FULL, FULL FULL EMPTY EMPTY
EMPTY IS NOT FULL, FULL IS NOT EMPTY
EMPTY ALSO IS FULL, FULL ALSO IS EMPTY
EMPTY YET NOT EMPTY, FULL YET NOT FULL
EMPTY YET NOT EMPTY IS CALLS YUAN/MYSTERY (FOR LACK OF WORDS)
YUAN MEAO'S KUNG NO CAN SAYS. (THE ARTS OF MYSTERY IS NO WORD FOR IT .IMO, IT MEAN I HAVE TO DO IT WITH FEELING ...WISDOM, INSTEAD OF THINKING...INTELLIGENT ) .

Do you have a link to the original text for this "song"?

Your translation reads like it is riffing on the heart sutra.

http://www.netor.com/know/buddhism/sutra/duoxin.htm
bailewen
 
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:34 am

This old Yang family formula is similar, but different from the song mr. yslim quoted:

杨氏太极拳九诀
虚实诀

虚虚实实神会中,虚实实虚手行功。
练拳不谙虚实理,枉费功夫终无成。
虚守实发掌中窍,中实不发艺难精。
虚实自有虚实在,实实虚虚攻不空。

Here’s a translation I did of this in the “Empty and Full” thread here on the board a few years ago.

Xu Shi Jue
Using empty-empty full-full, the spirit gathers within.
Using empty-full full-empty, hands trade merits.
If in training quan you’re not versed in the principles of empty and full,
It will be a waste of gongfu with no end result.
Abiding in the empty, issuing the full; the knack is in the palm.
If the center remains full, with no release, refinement will be elusive.
Knowing that empty and full themselves contain empty and full,
In applying empty-empty full-full, your attacks will not be in vain.
—transmitted by Yang Banhou

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Taijiquan Lun

Postby BBTrip » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:50 am

Thank you guys for posting the subject, and the translations, Yum.

As practitioner who does not speak or read Chinese and does his best to apply the techniques you speak of, this is simply gold.

First the mind, then the body.
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