Taijiquan Lun

Postby JerryKarin » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:10 am

likewise,
'If you observe [some other matter which I am too lazy to look up, someone chime in here], what good is speed?'
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:36 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
<B>likewise,
'If you observe [some other matter which I am too lazy to look up, someone chime in here], what good is speed?'</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings,

Maodie means an elderly person, an octogenarian, someone you would expect to be infirm. Yu means to fend off. Zhong means a crowd. I take xing to mean “a situation,” or "an occurrence.”

Observe a situation where an old man shows the ability to fend off a crowd [of opponents]. Can this be done by speed?

--Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-02-2008).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:00 pm

15. 英雄所向无敌,盖皆由此而及也。
16. 斯技旁门甚多,虽势有区别,概不外,
17. 壮欺弱,慢让快耳。有力打无力,
18. 手慢让手快,是皆先天自然之能,
19. 非关学力而有为也。
20. 察四两拨千斤之句,显非力胜;
21. 观耄耋御众之形,快何能为。
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Postby Phocion » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:02 am

I am using a text in traditional Chinese which differs slightly from the simplified text Jerry has posted. What I have is:

There are very many schools, and although they are distinguished by different regimens,
they do not go beyond the strong bullying the weak, and the slow yeilding to the fast.
The strong beating the weak, slow hands yeilding to fast hands,
these are all the result of natural ability and are not related to the results of diligent study.
Examine the saying "four ounces deflects 1,000 pounds," it is evident this is not achieved by strength;
observe an old man defending himself from a gang, how can this be done by speed?

No doubt someone will correct me if I have wandered too far from the path.
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:48 am

Pretty good!
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:18 pm

Greetings Dave,

Yes, well done. Kudos for getting the sense of xueli. http://zdic.net/cd/ci/8/ZdicE5ZdicADZdicA6284302.htm

--Louis
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Postby Phocion » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:31 pm

Thank you both. Even monkeys jumping on word processors must make sense occasionally. Shall we set 'em up in the next alley?
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Postby JerryKarin » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:08 am

Ok here's the rest of it. This last bit is relatively non-controversial. It strikes me as somewhat more cohesive than some of what precedes. Reading this essay I sometimes suspect that we have in this text a hodge-podge of earlier sayings stitched together and possibly some notes or commentary mixed in for good measure.

22. 立如秤准,活如车轮,
23. 偏沉则随,双重则滞。
24. 每见数年纯功,不能运化者,率皆自为人制,
25. 双重之病未悟而。
26. 欲避此病,须知阴阳;
27. 粘即是走,走即是粘,
28. 阳不离阴,阴不离阳;阴阳相济,
29. 方为懂劲。懂劲后,愈练愈精,
30. 默识揣摩,渐至从心所欲。
31. 本是舍己从人,多误舍近求远。
32. 所谓差之毫厘,谬之千里。
33. 学者不可不详辨焉。
34. 是为论。
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:27 pm

Regarding: Á¢Èç³Ó×¼

Most versions have a different term:

ƽƒý

I think we should discuss.

--Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-07-2008).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:39 pm

Greetings All,

My rough translation of line 22 is: “Stand like a balance scale; move like the wheel of a cart.”

As I noted above, most accepted versions of the Taijiquan Lun use the term “ping2zhun3” for what I’ve translated “balance scale,” whereas the posted simplified-character version has “zheng4zhun3.” Shen Shou’s annotation for this line notes that the variant “zhengzhun” appearing in “some published versions” is likely a scribal or printing error. (Shen Shou, Taijiquanpu, p. 27) In my own observation, although the first character in that compound, “zheng4” means “a steelyard,” I’m not aware of a compound “zhengzhun” having general currency as a term. Shen Shou glosses the more prevalent term, “pingzhun” as “tian1ping2,” which is a standard term for a balance scale of the type with two pans used for weighing objects. This interpretation is broadly accepted as the meaning among commentaries I’ve seen for the Lun.

The problem is that “pingzhun” is not a standard term for a scale. In the Han dynasty, pingzhun was the name of a government bureau—the Bureau of Standards. This bureau was responsible for procuring grains and other commodities when there were surpluses, selling them during shortage, in order to stabilize prices throughout the empire. The term was similarly used during the Song Dynasty for a government price stabilization section. I’ve never seen any evidence for the usage of pingzhun as a term for a scale. However, it could be that pingzhun had currency in some regions or during some time periods as a word for a scale. After all, the Han dynasty was greatly preoccupied with the standardization of weights and measurement, writing script, axle lengths of carts, and widths of roads between market towns. The imagery of the two graphs would lend themselves to this usage, as ping means “level, even,” and zhun means “a standard, to measure, to weigh, to equalize” but is rooted in its use as a term for a carpenter’s level. I believe early Chinese carpenter levels were variously of the spirit level or water level type, as well as a mechanical type based on a plum-line, and in fact resembling a balance scale. Barbara Davis, by the way, neatly translates the line in question: “Stand like an even level.” (The Taijiquan Classics, p. 114)

So how do we derive “balance scale” from “pingzhun?” We have two statements—one about how one stands, one about how one moves—each involving a metaphor. Since the metaphor for movement is a mechanical metaphor—a wheel—it’s reasonable to conclude that the metaphor for standing is also mechanical, hence a balance scale or the like. The two metaphors are notable for sharing characteristics of balance and equilibrium; for a centered still-point of either the scale's fulcrum or the wheel’s axle; and for responsiveness to outer conditions.

Those are a few of my thoughts for the discussion. What do you folks think?

Take care,
Louis




[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-09-2008).]
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Postby Phocion » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:32 am

Hi Louis,

Are we talking about something like this?

http://www.mocmonline.com/photos/1.517681resized_forweb.jpg

That's not what I think of when I think of a "balance beam" scale, but it seems to be a type of scale used in China. Did the Chinese use a balance beam like this http://img.tfd.com/wn/EE/620DA-beam-balance.gif ?

And if ping2zhun3 is not the name of the device, what is?

Dave
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Postby Audi » Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:17 am

Greatings all,

If we stay with Jerry's version, how about: "Standing like the criterion of a steelyard and movable like a cartwheel"?

For me, the sense is not so much directed at a physical shape, but rather at the intent. In other words, "Stand so that you can measure small gradations of left and right, up and down, empty and full. Then rotate freely in either direction as your "measurement" indicates to be appropriate.

Dave, apparently this is a steelyard with what I believe to be a variant of the cheng4 character. The following, on the other hand, is the Chinese equivalent of the weighing scale, which is called tian1 ping2 (“V•½). If anyone checking out those sites wants the English equivalent, click on "English" at the bottom of the far left column shown on those webpages.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Audi » Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:26 am

Greetings,

One of my dictionaries has an entry under cheng4 (³Ó) that might be of interest and might bear on our discussion:

³ÓíÈËäСѹǧ½ï

"The sliding weight of a steelyard, though small, can hold down a thousand pounds."

Maybe we are supposed to stand and move like that?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:29 am

Greetings,

The term pingzhun appears in the title of one of the Yang Forty texts (Wile, Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty, pp. 77-78; 144. Also in Yang Zhenduo, Yang Shi Taiji, p. 11.) Wile translates the title, "An Explanation of the Waist and Crown of the Head as Plumb and Balance in T'ai-chi" (taiji pingzhun yao ding jie). Within the text itself, zhun and ping are explained as separate concepts, but the "stand like a balance scale" (li ru pingzhun) line is quoted withing the text. For me, "balance scale" makes sense in the Taijiquan Lun. It could either be a steelyard (cheng) or the type with two pans (tianping). Both were used in China. But the appearance of pingzhun in the Yang Forty text makes me wonder if we're dealing with some kind of regional usage.

Take care,
Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-10-2008).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:36 pm

Greetings Audi,

You wrote: ‘For me, the sense is not so much directed at a physical shape, but rather at the intent. In other words, "Stand so that you can measure small gradations of left and right, up and down, empty and full. Then rotate freely in either direction as your "measurement" indicates to be appropriate.’

I fully agree, but I would like to have confidence that I fully understand the imagery of the metaphors so as to translate with as much fidelity as possible. Your interpretation is supported by a line in the Yang Forty chapters text 24 mentioned above: “If one stands like a plumb line and balance, then the slightest deviation in lightness, heaviness, floating, or sinking will be obvious.” (Wile, p. 77)

Re: "The sliding weight of a steelyard, though small, can hold down a thousand pounds."

My chengyu dictionary sources that saying in chapter 31 of the Xi You Ji (Journey to the West, or ‘Monkey’. I’ll have to have a look. Neat line!

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-11-2008).]
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