Turn, Rotate, Revolve, Spin

Turn, Rotate, Revolve, Spin

Postby tai1chi » Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:16 am

Hi,

along the lines of Audi's last questions. What exactly do you make of the distinctions among

pi shen

zhuan shen

hui ji

All of which are applied to turning movements. What are the distinctions, though?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Bamenwubu » Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:32 pm

Glad to, just as soon as you tell me what those words mean.
It's all chinese to me.....
Image

Bob
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Postby tai1chi » Sun Jan 09, 2005 1:05 am

Hi Bob,

oops, should have written,

"Pi shen" as in "Pi shen chui" (which some translate as Turn, 'sidle', punch, whereas others write "Pi Shen Quan" and translate it as "Cover Body with Fist).

"Zhuan shen" as in "Zhuan shen bie shen chui" (Turn around and body punch. bu some translators). Or, "Zhuan Shen Shi Zi Tui, which is used for Turn Body and Cross Heel Kick.

And, "hui" as in Hui Tou Dang Men Pao (Turning Around Forearm Punch) or
Hui Tou Jing Lan Zhi Ru (Turning Around Elbows).

Is there a specific difference in the types or kinds of turns involved? Is there a way we can tell from the language?

Btw, I'm also interested in the difference between "repulse" and "step back." But, that's another thing.

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:51 pm

Steven,
Ah, OK.
I don't do the chinese very well, at all, so I was at a loss.
Looking them up, however, I don't find some of the references you make in the Yang family form translations I have, that I got off this website.
I see, clearly, the Zhuan Shen, Turn Body, in a few places, but the Pi Shen and Hui Ji I don't see put together in the form names I have in chinese.
As I don't know which one of Audi's last questions you're referring to, I don't know exactly what you're asking, either.

I'll stay out of the "translation" game, I have no head for languages, I don't even speak english very well.
If you have a specific question on specific form movements, I would be happy to venture my opinions, but as for trying to translate from Chinese, and then venture opinions on those form names...
Not my baliwick, at all.

My only usefull opinion would be on Turn Body, Flip fist past body, at this point. I will wait,though, and see what the others mean, and for a clearer question, before I venture any further onward.
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:13 pm

We had some discussion about pie shen chui here:

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000068.html

Zhuan means turn around. Hui means turn back.
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Postby tai1chi » Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:10 am

Hi Bob, Jerry,

thanks Jerry, I recall the discussion. Actually, the relation this has to Audi's post regards the use of specific terms for particular movements in the form. The question was whether what individuals actually did in the form "conformed" to the Chinese translations.

Bob, I agree that translation is not a critical issue. There are and have been too many variations and inconsistencies for it to be very important. I.e., regardless of the written translation, some have gotten "it" right and others not.

However, translations can reveal subtle differences in how a movement is perceived by its originator. Of course, if one is taught in Chinese, there's little problem. Thirty and more years ago, there were few instructors of tcc --I'm aware of in the Northeast-- who were also fluent in English enough to translate directly from Chinese. Essentially, most of the students, then, learned at best in a kind of monosyllabic pidgin.

Nowadays, though, we have many, many English translations. Audi asked about consistency within Yang style. Imho, there is not; but this is partly a result of the translations from Chinese to English, and not simply a matter of different techniques/movements.

What I was trying, clumsily, to get at was an attempt to make some of these terms "consistent" in my own practice. Btw, learning a form through remembering the names is far more traditional than trying to memorize them from reading. The "Songs" are really songs with mnemonic lyrics.

But, working backward, it would seem logical that, as Audi said, "Shang bu" and "Jin bu" can't both be "Step Forward," though both are found translated as such. So, I added the concept of "turn" or "revolve", and Jerry provided exactly what I wanted. Now, the question is to see how this works within the form.

I also think there must be different ways of describing a "retreat": i.e., the difference between "shifting" back, "stepping back," and "repulsing" (which, in some styles, requires a different 'step' in Repulse Monkey.

Anyway, I don't want to claim that this is helpful to anyone's practice, per se. I need to get out more.

regards,
Steve James
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:57 am

Well jin bu really has the sense of advance whereas shang bu suggests stepping up in some way, for example treading on the other guy's foot or something. However in some cases it seems synonymous to advance to me. Now dao nian hou actually does not specify any retreating. dao here means reverse. nian really means something like chase or repel. None of the move names mention shifting weight, that I can remember. There is of course tui bu kua hu where tui bu really does mean step back or retreat. Truth is there aren't many retreating moves in Yang style taiji. Mostly you turn around and advance again.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 01-11-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:40 pm

Steve,
I see where you were going now.
Hmmm.....
I have to agree with Jerry on this one. I don't see a lot of "retreat" in the Yang forms, or any other I've ever learned.
I don't agree with the oft stated opinion of some I have talked with that there is only advancement in TCC, there is a "step back" component in TCC clearly. However, I don't know that stepping back is a retreat, per se.
I view it as more of a setting up motion, you are setting yourself in a more advantageous position by stepping back, not necessarily retreating.
I also don't see any kind of "retreat", as I understand it, in Repel Monkey, the form most often stated as a retreat. The way I understand the movement, it is truly a "repelling" motion, not a retreating motion, just because you are moving backward does not have to signify a retreat.
Could we call it a "strategic withdrawal"? Possibly, but I'm not qualified to say.
I see a lot of instances of turning around in the form, where you turn to face whoever may be behind you. Turn Body and Flip Fist Past Body, moving then immediately into Grasp The Birds Tail seems to directly address the issue of an attacker who is coming up from behind you.
I would venture that Single Whip also addresses the same issue, being attacked from behind, as Yang Cheng Fu himself says:
"An explanation of the practical application of Single Whip can be found in Yang Chengfu's
book entitled "Tai Chi Chuan's Practical Applications" published by Wenguang Printing Press in 1931. In this book, Yang Chengfu explains that "if an enemy attacks from the rear, I would use my right hand to form a hook hand to dissolve the attack; at the same time the left palm would straighten out from the front to the left attacking the chest of the enemy.... The dissolving of the attack and the palm strike must be conducted simultaneously".
In Yang Chengfu's book entitled "The Complete Volume of Tai Chi Chuan Usage" published by the Zhonghua Book Company in 1933 explains the use of the right hook hand and the left palm in Single Whip. "If the enemy attacks from the rear, I would move my center to the left foot.... When the two hands wipe over to the left, the right hand forms a hook hand. The left palm moves inward with the center of the palm facing out. The waist and hips should relax as
the left palm attacks the chest of the enemy. This pattern of movements must be conducted at the same time."

From the fact that I have yet to find a mention of a method for retreat in any of the books I have read about Yang style TCC, I have to conclude that "retreating", in the sense of running away rather than addressing conflict, isn't necessaarily addressed in the Yang family forms. I can't say that for sure, as I'm certainly no expert and have yet to read all the literature available on the subject, but I haven't seen it yet.
I do see quite a lot of information on how to address being attacked from behind, though.
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Postby tai1chi » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:52 pm

Hi Bob, Jerry,

well, I think "Upward step" is probably best described as when the back foot moves forward to become the front foot, as in Step Up, Seven Stars --which 'could' be renamed Step Forward, or Advance, Seven Stars. This, however, would not distinguish the method of stepping, itself.

As for the application, I tend to believe that the few movement names that describe specific applications are very general, as in "punch" or "kick". There are many more like Part/ition Wild Horse Mane, Grasp Sparrow's Tail, and Repulse Monkey (or "Reeling Forearms.") I think applications are mostly a matter of personal experience and inclination. Anyway, I just mean that the application of stepping upon an opponent's foot is only a possibility-- that exists in other ways that are at least as obvious --in Golden Chicken Stends on One Leg, for ex.

Anyway, as for the idea of "retreat" in tcc. Well, I wasn't thinking of the term in the sense of "surrender" or giving up. However, the ability to "give way" or "yield" and "neutralize" is certainly a skill characteristic of tcc practice and theory, no? I mean, your screenname "bamenwubu" comprises all the (traditional) directions and ways of moving --among other things. "Tui bu" (retreat) is one of them. I agree, though, that it does not mean "giving up." In that sense, I am also in accord with the idea that "there is no retreat in tcc." At the same time, there should be "no resisting, and no letting go."

Oh well, that is really not what I had in mind here.

regards,

Steve James
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:50 pm

Greetings Folks,

My sense of the distinction between “step up” (shangbu) and “advance step” (jinbu) is that jinbu is any sort of advancing step, whereas shangbu is a case of the rear foot coming forward, past the weighted front foot, and into an empty step. I’ve seen explanations to that effect, but I haven’t checked all the form occurrences to see if they are consistent with that explanation.

I think the whole discussion of retreat is very interesting. I’m fully in agreement with Steve that retreat as a strategic physical option is integral to taijiquan. As he points out, “tui” (retreat) is one of the five steps. The kind of retreat Bob is talking about as proscribed is what is militarily termed “disorganized retreat,” “flight,” or a “rout.” That would not be the kind of retreat taijiquan aims for, but a strategic yielding or giving way is integral to taiji technique. In taiji theory this is often expressed in active terms such as “leading” the opponent. There are also feigned retreats. The Sunzi states that one should not follow the enemy’s feigned retreats. The Sunzi is also the source of the famous lines about the snake that, when you attack its head strikes with its tail, when you attack its tail it strikes with its head, and when you attack its middle, both the head and tail strike. Chen Weiming referenced this in his commentaries to the taiji classics, and it refers to a kind of strategic retreat that includes an attack.

The “Back up, dispatch monkey” (dao4 nian3 hou2) sequence is an excellent example of an “attack within a retreat.” As Jerry states, the verb dao means “reverse.” It is the verb sometimes used for backing up a car (dao4 che1). In Yang Chengfu’s description of Dao nian hou, he says that it involves a retreat (daotui), but that even while retreating a step, one can issue an attack against the opponent.

I wonder if in English the word retreat has a certain emotional charge to it that could cloud the issue here. That is, we are often likely to encounter entreaties to “never retreat,” as in “never give up.” In traditional Chinese military theory, however, that sort of injunction would be considered unwise. An assessment of a battle would always include assuring that there is a good escape route, or exit strategy.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:36 pm

Steve,
Tui Bu was interpreted to me, by my first teacher, as "To reverse, or go back, or step back, never retreat. One retreats by turning tail to the enemy and running, you don't often look directly at an opponent from whom you are retreating like you will when you step back in TCC". So while he was using "retreat" incorrectly, that is how I learned it and have that stuck in my head incorrectly. It's not the first time.
But he was adamant about this, that the five steps of the transmission were correctly stated as "Central Equilibrium, Go Forward, Go Right, Go Left, Reverse". He further advised frequently that "reverse means the opposite of Go Forward, so you could say Go Backward, rather than reverse and be correct".

However, I am no longer studying that transmission, so the words have entirely different meanings in the Yang family lexicon and I am comparing apples to oranges, yet again.






[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 01-12-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:43 pm

Louis,
Now that I've looked up the meaning of the english word "retreat", I see that it means "move to a more advantageous postion".
I stand corrected.



[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 01-12-2005).]
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Postby tai1chi » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:56 pm

Hi Louis, Bob,

well, Louis brings up an interesting technical point: i.e., that we are using "advance" and "retreat" in (or as) military terms. "Retreat" is a necessity of warfare; the only question is how organized or disorganized it is, and the purpose it serves. Mongol warfare on horseback relied heavily on "false retreats" to lead other armies "into emptiness" (where their outposts could no longer be well supported.

Bob, I'm not arguing with your teacher. I'm just saying that limiting the term "retreat" only to "disorganized withdrawal from the opponent." Even in terms of basic Yin/yang theory; if there is a forward, there must be a rearward. (Reverse, btw, is commonly used; but it isn't really 'correct' when used as the opposite of "forward". Backward would be more appropriate, but I don't think it would obtain the same sense as "retreat."

As has been mentioned, "jin bu" in the wubu is interpreted as "Advance". It, imo, is a generic category that can include any type of advance (for ex, linear, circular, diagonal, down to up, up to down, and all the combinations of the above). "Shang bu", I think we may all agree, is a type of "jin bu" --in terms of tcc's wubu.

At any rate, if the term "retreat" is used, it is as a generic description of the necessary opposite of "advance." I don't think anyone intends it to mean "running away from the enemy."

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:00 pm

Steven,
I edited my response to you, for two reasons. First, I had his quote wrong, I didn't feel right about the quote and after looking it up I went "whoops" and corrected it. Second, I had somehow slipped into my old persona and was sticking to a position that does not apply here on this board or in my current training, so I moderated myself back to my new persona.
You replied before I could finish my editing, and so others may not understand your reply to me.
I apologize for the backslide.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:11 pm

Hi Bob,

Re: ‘Now that I've looked up the meaning of the english word "retreat", I see that it means "move to a more advantageous postion".’

Yes, in fact the most literal meaning of retreat (from Latin: retrahere) is “to draw back.” The Chinese term “tui” is essentially the same meaning. Like the English word “retreat” tui is used for the military maneuver too. But I don’t think it carries the same negative charge of disgrace or failure that retreat does in some English contexts. The “move to a more advantageous position” is, in my opinion, perfectly in harmony with taiji theory.

Take care,
Louis
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