Brennan translates Xu Yusheng's book

Brennan translates Xu Yusheng's book

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:44 am

Greetings,

I just discovered another remarkable online translation by Paul Brennan -- Xu Yusheng's 1921 Taijiquan shi tujie (Taijiquan forms illustrated). It's great to see! I'll be reading through it closely as time permits.

http://brennantranslation.wordpress.com ... u-yusheng/

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Brennan translates Xu Yusheng's book

Postby ruben » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:20 am

Thank you Louis for keep sharing your treasures with us.

Regards,

Rubén
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Re: Brennan translates Xu Yusheng's book

Postby BBTrip » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:22 pm

ruben wrote:Thank you Louis for keep sharing your treasures with us.

Regards,

Rubén


+1
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Re: Brennan translates Xu Yusheng's book

Postby Audi » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:46 pm

+2. Excellent find!

After some initial scanning, I particularly liked the following passage. Many times I have tried to explain the path I believe I have been taught and have decided to follow, but not felt up to the task of explaining why and how I work with specific techniques. This passage explains much of what I understand much better than I could.

此言習太極拳者。進功自有一定之程度。而不可躐等躁進也。太極拳之妙全在用勁。此勁字係靈明活潑由功深練出之勁不可僅作力量解然勁為無形。必附麗於有形之着。始能顯著。言太極拳者。每專恃善於運勁。而輕視用着。以致習者無從捉摸。有望洋興歎之槪。虛度光陰。難期進益。較循序漸進者。反事倍功半。不遵守自然之程序故也。昔孔子講學。常因材授敎。故諸門弟子。各得其益。拳術雖屬小技。然執塗人而語以升堂入室之奧。未有能豁然者也。故習此拳者。應先模仿師之姿勢。姿勢正確矣。須求各姿勢互相聯貫之精神。拳路熟習矣。須求各勢着數之用法。着熟矣。其用是否能適當。用均得其當矣。其勁是否不落空。勁不落空。是眞為着熟。再由推手以求懂勁。研求對手動作之輕重遲速。及勁行之趨向方位。久之自微懂而略懂。進至於無微不覺。無處不懂。方得稱為懂勁。懂勁後不求用着。而着自合。進至無勁非着。無着非勁。漸至不須用着。祗須用勁。再至不求用勁。而勁自合。以意運勁。以氣代意。精神所觸。莫之能禦。則階及神明矣。是非數十年純。功曷克臻此。
For Taiji Boxing practitioners, there is a fixed process of progress. You cannot skip steps and rush ahead. The subtlety of Taiji Boxing all comes down to using energy. (This “energy” has to do with nimbleness and liveliness, comes from a deeper level of training, and cannot be explained only in terms of physical strength.) Although the energy is shapeless, it must be in accord with the shape of the technique in order for you to start to be able to manifest it. In Taiji Boxing, whenever you concentrate power it depends on being good at moving energy. If you neglect it when applying techniques, you will end up unable to understand why they are not working, and you will feel pathetic, that you have wasted your time, and that progress is hopeless. Compared to proceeding step by step and progressing gradually, you will instead get half the effect for double the effort, the result of not abiding by the natural sequence.
Confucius discusssed education along these lines: if it is always based in talented instruction, then each student will benefit from it. Although boxing arts are a lesser skill, it takes applying it upon opponents to say you have mastered it, which no one has ever been able to do quickly, therefore a practitioner of this boxing art should first imitate the teacher’s postures.
Once you are doing them correctly, you must seek to be mindful of linking them with each other. Once you can do the solo set fluently, you must focus on each posture’s function. Once you are familiar with the techniques, see whether or not you can apply them properly. Once you have grasped the proper way to apply them all, see whether or not your power is empty. Once your power is substantial, you have truly engrained the techniques.
Then seek to identify energies through pushing hands. Study the weight and speed of your opponent’s movements and the direction his energy moves toward. After a long time, you will naturally come to identify a little bit, then a little more, until you progress to the point that you sense the slightest thing and everywhere know what it is, and then you will have grasped what is meant by identifying energies.
Once you are identifying energies, you will not try to apply techniques and they will happen by themselves. You will progress to the point that without the energy there is no technique and without the technique there is no energy. Gradually you will reach the level at which you do not need to apply techniques, you only need to apply energy. Then finally you will not try to apply energy and the energy will happen by itself, for you are wielding power by way of intention and transposing intention with energy. There is spirit in your touch and nothing can stand against it. You have proceeded to the miraculous. Indeed, without several decades of ardent practice, how could you attain this?


Take care,
Audi
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Re: Brennan translates Xu Yusheng's book

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:35 am

Greetings Audi,

You managed to find a particularly good quote. Xu Yusheng's book really benefits from his excellent analysis of taijiquan theory. The shortcomings, in my opinion, are in his presentation of the historical origins of the art, which reveal the state of research and knowledge at the time. This quote, however, reveals some very keen insight.

Just a couple of days ago, I was practicing with a friend, and I told him that my form felt like a "comfortable old shirt." I was enjoying the fact that everything in my solo form seemed to be in place, and I could simply enjoy the form for what it is. Not two days later, that comfortable feeling went away. Once again, I was questioning the cadence in a particular transition, or noticing a lack of cohesion in my execution of some sequences. That's an amazing aspect of this art we practice. It allows for no complacency. We may feel we have progressed, but the next day it's clear that there's yet more work to be done.

Take care,
Louis
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