Taijiquan Lun

Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:54 am

Anyway I think we can agree that this describes a kind of back and forth between two people where each of them is in one of two phases, eluding/transforming or sticking/attacking. (They never refer to the other alternative - both pressing forward - because this is considered to always end in defeat by the person weaker in brute force, and since there is always someone bigger and stronger than you, useless.)

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-30-2008).]
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Postby Yuri_Snisarenko » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:05 am

YCF style doesn’t always use yielding to evade an attack. In fact, sometimes yielding in real fighting situation may be not the best response due to dangerous of the following linked attacks. The applications I was shown quite often uses redirecting instead of yielding and immediate counterattack. That's why I prefer for myself consider ZUO not only as yielding.

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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:06 pm

Yes, I don't think yielding is a good rendering of zou. The root meaning is 'going away'.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:34 pm

Greetings,

Good discussion!

Jerry writes: “Yes, I don't think yielding is a good rendering of zou. The root meaning is 'going away'.”

Granted, yielding may be a loaded word. But in flatly physical terms, I don’t see a problem. In military strategy, if you “go away” from ground or territory being advanced on by an enemy, you are yielding ground. It is typically termed a retreat, and the word retreat can also have loaded meanings of disgrace and surrender, but a tactical retreat is a legitimate military option—sometimes the best one.

More later.

Take care,
Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 08-30-2008).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:41 pm

It seems to me that the core idea here is you are either moving toward or away from the opponent or the opponents force. Toward being nian 'sticking', and away, zou 'leaving'. Typically you go away because the opponent has is in a better position (shun), which you cannot oppose directly. So if I am not in a good position (bei) and he is in a good position (shun) I have to go away from him. By redirecting I let his force fall into an empty spot where I am not, whereupon my 'soft' phase is ended and I change into 'hard' and stick or pursue the opponent from my now advantageous position.
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:42 pm

Louis, yes I know what you mean and it is tempting to sometimes render it as yield. However I like to retain as much of the original core meaning, which here is more like running away.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:35 pm

Hi Jerry,

Yes, but of course running away can have negative connotations as well that are not in keeping with the art of taiji. I agree though about running away being one meaning of zou, if not necessarily the core meaning. In the "Terrain" chapter (ch. 10) of the Art of Warfare, Sunzi enumerated 6 command faults. The first of these is "zou." This is most often translated "flight."

"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.

On the other hand, zou can just mean movement -- towards as well as away from.

"If he moves [zou] rapidly with his troops in formation, he is setting the time of battle." --Ames, ibid. "Deploying the Army (ch. 9) p. 142
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:02 pm

Well you know this nian/zou dichotomy is a technical term and it's hard to get everyone to agree on how to treat these, especially since there is some history now of translating zou as yield. I propose 'leaving', which is fairly neutral and has some of the force of the word in the original.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:24 pm

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Yuri_Snisarenko:
[B]YCF style doesn’t always use yielding to evade an attack. In fact, sometimes yielding in real fighting situation may be not the best response due to dangerous of the following linked attacks. The applications I was shown quite often uses redirecting instead of yielding and immediate counterattack. That's why I prefer for myself consider ZUO not only as yielding.

Greetings Yuri,

In Fu Shengyuan’s English book, Authentic Yang Family Tai Chi, there is a version of the Taijiquan Lun. It is not strictly a translation, but more of a paraphrase, and the text states it is “Expanded upon by Fu Sheng Yuan.” For the section we’ve been discussing, Fu’s version runs as follows:

“When the opponent retreats, you adhere; follow; and attack at the right moment. When the opponent’s strength is powerful and direct, you do not use force against force; you can gently neutralize his force by yielding. By adhering to your opponent, you can follow his every move and take advantage of any favourable conditions that may arise.” —Fu Shengyuan, Authentic Yang Family Tai Chi, Victoria Park, Australia, 1995, p. 32

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri_Snisarenko » Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:02 am

Greetings Louis,

I think 'yielding' is probably more understandable rendering of 'zuo' for the public translation. And all our attempts here ¡V the great posts above - help us and others to see the original meaning closer.

Personally, I especialy like how Chen Weiming put it - I find his comment to be quite explicit of practical meaning that I see as:


- - - The both - the other and me - are hard then there will be mutual resistance. If he is hard, I am soft ¡V then there will be no mutual clashing. No clashing means ZUOHUA - repositioning-redirecting. (Due to ZUOHUA) the other's strength will lose its efficiency (in some moment). Thus his position will become unfavorable (BEI). I take this opportunity (SHIDE). Here I respond in accordance (SHUN). To follow and adhere keeping him struggling means don't allow him apply strength that he possesses. - - -




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Postby yslim » Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:21 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>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).]</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Master Swaim

Sorry to say I did not have Master Chen Weiming's book. How can I get his book? (In Chinese) Sorry I don't know who is Barbara?
I know very little as I am not a well read man. I just like to share some personal experience in Taiji practice what I learned from my teachers before I forgot it. Because I was told endlessly "Now you know form, forget the form.You have root, forget the root. Use your yi and go outside, forget the body. One of these days I might just do that naturally. I should call it "Process of Aging".No mind, no matter. Simple Taiji is Tao??.

Wish you a 'shun yi' day

Ciao
yslim
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:02 pm

Greetings Mr. Lim,

I have a couple of Chen Weiming’s books in Chinese. One is a mainland edition of his complete works, _Chen Weiming Taijiquan yizhe huibian_, published by the Renmin tiyu chubanshe. I got it from Jarek Szymanski in China. As I recall, we did a trade; I sent him a John Lee Hooker CD he wanted. The other is a Taiwan edition, _Taijiquan jiangyi dawen hebian_ published by Wuzhou chubanshe. I bought it at Eastwind Books in S.F.

Barbara Davis translated Chen Weiming’s sword book, _Taiji Sword and Other Writings_ (2000, North Atlantic Books), and a study of the classics, _The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation_ (2004, North Atlantic Books), which includes her translation of Chen Weiming’s commentary on the classics, as well as the Chinese text of the same. Barbara is also the founder and editor of “Taijiquan Journal” (no longer in circulation).

Take care,
Louis (just Louis)
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:12 pm

Greetings,

For what it’s worth, here is my translation of the entry for “zou jin” from the _Jingxuan taijiquan cidian_ (Dictionary of Essential Taijiquan Terminology, Renmin tiyu chubanshe, 1999).

~~~
zou jin—a neijin method of taijiquan. In some instances it is termed “you2zoujin” [*strolling?]. It is to “move about” (you2dong4), to transform with soft yielding (rouhua), constituting a retreating, defensive skill (tuifang zhi jin). The boxing treatise states: “When the other is hard, and I am soft, this is called zou.” It is mostly used for defense (fangshou), with the effect of drawing in [the opponent’s] movement (you yin dong zhi xiao). —p. 266
~~~

I must confess that I’m unfamiliar with the term “youzoujin” in taiji. If anyone has encountered it, let me know. The term youzou isn’t a very common term. The Hanyu da cidian glosses it “ben1bo1”—to rush about, to shuttle back and forth; or “you2guang4”—to stroll about.

With that aside, I find it a serviceable definition of zou. I think it’s important to note that most commentaries mention “hua” as an important ingredient of zou in taiji. That is, zou is more than moving away or out of the way. It is doing so in a manner that transforms the opponent’s intent and energy. I would also note that “yielding” is implicit in the concept of “rou.” I also favor the English word “yield” because of its productive ambiguity in our own usage. That is, while it means to “give way” or “give ground,” at root the word yield means “recompense, reward.” It is the return on an investment, or the fruits of a well-cultivated field. I would argue that there is plenty of cultural evidence that yielding (shunying) and soft pliancy (rou) carry considerable weight in Chinese tradition as a strategy for success. Consider the Daodejing, but there are countless other examples. There is a chengyu from the Sanguo yanyi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 14th cent. Novel), for example: “rou neng ke gang”—softness can subdue hardness.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:50 pm

Louis, I think I agree with everything you are saying, but mostly what you have said rationalizes how 'yield' could work in this spot; it does not make the case that zou means 'yield' in Chinese. It's a technical term for which there is no good match in English, so whatever you use is a compromise. I simply find the root meaning of zou to be awfully far from yield, so I am not too satisfied with it.
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:54 pm

I think the zou/nian dichotomy is something like the colloquial terms 'bugging out' and 'sticking like glue'.
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