Turn, Rotate, Revolve, Spin

Postby Audi » Sat Jan 15, 2005 3:17 am

Greetings to all,

Steve, I think I can add to what has been said about "pie" and "Flip the Fist Past the Body"/"Chop with Fist."

You originally talked about "pi shen." If memory serves, this phrase shows up with this "spelling" (as opposed to "pie shen") in the Yang Saber Form and a similar posture in the Chen barehand form. I understand it to mean something like "cloak the body" or "drape something over the body." The movements in these postures are different from "Flip the Fist Past the Body"/"Chop with Fist," but there is some similarity. Perhaps this accounts for where you get "Cover body (with fist)."

As for "zhuan" and "hui," I think that "zhuan" applies a rotation through any number of degrees. "Hui" means "going back to the point of origin." In the form names detailed on this site, I think that "Hui" only appears once and is used to describe the change in orientation after Strike Tiger Right. Here, the transition feels to me like a unique one in the form. I have always assumed that "turning back" referred to "turning back to the primary kicking direction." Does this make sense for the way the Fu's teach the form?

Jerry, Steve, and Louis, thanks for your comments on "Step up" and "Step Forward," but I think my question still remains. After the second "Step Forward, Defect Downward Parry and Punch," we then have "Step Up, Grasp Sparrow's Tail." After using the phrase "Step Forward" ("Jin Bu") twice in the form, and once in the immediately preceding posture, why change the terminology in "Step up, Grasp Sparrow's Tail"?

Steve, thank you very much for your link. With an electronic Chinese file, I may now have a chance to dig into some of the Chinese texts with the help of my trusty Wenlin software and its instant vocabulary.

Since I am anxious to try it out and want to give those who know little or no Chinese a sense of why interpreting these passages is difficult, let me offer a translation of the short section that is being discussed. I am a rank amateur at such endeavors, but I think I can defend 90% of my choices on the basis of grammar, if not on the basis of theory or textual research. (I am flat out guessing on the other 20%.)

I am doing this not to contest any other translations, but to show the difficulty of relying on only one interpretation. One major difficulty with my rendering is that I am not sure how much to trust the punctuation I see. My understanding is that such punctuation was not used in this type of text. If that is true, there are even more possibilities of interpretation. It is not easy to know what to translate as a command, a statement, a question, or even a condition for what follows.

Here is my attempt:

"The Taiji Circle

"In retreat, the circle is easy, in advance the circle is difficult; so do not neglect the waist, the crown of the head, back, and front. What is difficult is the central ground and not leaving your positioning, so the ease of retreat and the difficulty of advance is a meticulous study. This is a matter of movement training, not standing in a fixed posture, of coming in close in advance or retreat keeping even shoulder to shoulder. The skill is like the rush of a water wheel, fast and slow, like dragons (gathering Qi) through the clouds, and tigers (dispersing Qi) through the winds. If you want to use the Disk of Heaven, carry out your search from here; with the passage of time, it will naturally emerge."

Any comments?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:49 am

Greetings Audi,

Well done. I think your rendering is both smooth and accurate. There is one term in the text that you’ve rendered “Disk of Heaven.” This term, tianpan, refers to a geomantic compass, I believe. This is an instrument traditionally used by fengshui practitioners to evaluate the lay of the land, and to facilitate a harmonious relationship among the natural, structural, and human elements. A tianpan typically has a magnetic compass at its core, surrounded by a number of concentric grids that reference various cosmological schema, including bagua, five phases, twelve animals (astrological), etc. The usage here is surely metaphorical, but for what, I’m not certain. An internal compass? In line with the title of the text, “taiji circle,” there seems to be a pattern of circle imagery, with the mill stone of the watermill, the rotational whirling of the cloud-dragons and wind-tigers, and the geomantic compass.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:12 am

Greetings All,

Just for the reference:

Advance, Retreat, Look Left, Gaze Right and Central Equilibrium
accordingly are
Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth
(in WZY treatise)

but

Advancing Step (jin bu) – fire
Retreating Step (tui bu) – water
Look Left (zuo gu) – wood
Gase Right (you pan) – metal
Central Equilibrium (zhong ding) – earth

according to Yangshi Taiji quanpu which I don't really know where it came from.

This endorses Louis's words about a 'glide' of metaphors meaning i.e. their not fixed interpretation.

In the analysis of The Taiji Circle I would link it to the next passage line about Yin and Yang. Because The Taiji Circle consists of interchange of Yin/Yang and further of Wu Xing. So we have numerous interpretations. Actually The Taiji Circle is a sort of quintessence of whole Taiji.

The most hidden layers are – 1) martial strategy/application , 2) mechanism of neigong .

The line about Yin and Yang contains the representatives both from the martial plane and the internal training plane. The next passage of the linked text takes the second plane in consideration. Can we use taiji without any of these planes? I don’t think so.

Louis gave very interesting reference to the Qian hexagram. Soon or later all important things in Chinese culture tend to make connection with Yijing. The first line of the next passage in the text also contains two the most fundamental hexagrams – Qian and Kun, which, I believe, play the role of the principle, that then evolutes in those numerous yin(s) and yang(s) and further in the numerous interpretations of The Taiji Circle.

To understand the text we need as usual to bring up/ illuminate all the turbid terms/metaphors such as Heavenly Disk (Tian Pan) (Louis, thanks for the explanation about it), Watermill, Cloudy Dragon, Windy Tiger and others.

This is all for now, but happy hunting to all of us as Louis would say.

Take care,

Yuri


[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 01-15-2005).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:52 am

Sorry for my English. Sometimes my Russian, Ukrainian, English and Chinese just mix in my mind. But I hope I'll be improving my English.

Yuri
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:43 pm

Greetings Yuri,

Your English is always very clear and understandable to me. I can only admire your facility in multiple languages!

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:44 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>"The Taiji Circle

"In retreat, the circle is easy, in advance the circle is difficult; so do not neglect the waist, the crown of the head, back, and front. What is difficult is the central ground and not leaving your positioning, so the ease of retreat and the difficulty of advance is a meticulous study. This is a matter of movement training, not standing in a fixed posture, of coming in close in advance or retreat keeping even shoulder to shoulder. The skill is like the rush of a water wheel, fast and slow, like dragons (gathering Qi) through the clouds, and tigers (dispersing Qi) through the winds. If you want to use the Disk of Heaven, carry out your search from here; with the passage of time, it will naturally emerge."
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't think that the first sentence is correct. In tui quan rongyi jin quan nan, you are taking tui and jin as topics and the remainder as comments. I think tui quan and jin quan have to go together, either as 'retreating circle' or 'retreat from the circle'; I prefer the latter. In principle there is nothing wrong with positing topic comment here but knowing the language I don't think it's possible to interpret it that way. On zhong tu bu li wei, I have commented on this in my translation from Shen Jiazhen in the 3rd rep titled Empty and Full. What you have rendered "so the ease of retreat and the difficulty of advance is a meticulous study" is an injunction: 'you must study .... in detail'. Also yun long feng hu xiang zhou quan, "the images of cloud, dragon wind, tiger are all complete". Xiang does not mean 'like' here. Something like image or archetype.


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 01-15-2005).]
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Postby tai1chi » Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:14 pm

Hi Audi, Yuri,

Audi, I like your translation of the passage; but, I tend to see the greater "problem" or issue to be that of interpretation. There's disagreement even among the native Chinese-speaking scholars, as you know. Yuri's point about the use of metal and fire for "forward" is a case in point. Well, I have no problem with the attempt to map the wubu with the wuxing. It is the extent to which that was the intention of the writers which is in question.

Anywyay, I think your question about "shang bu" versus "jin bu" is another example. If there can be many interpretations, then the idea of a contradiction becomes very difficult. Thus, "step up" and "step forward" can both mean the same thing without contradiction. Of course, your question (iinm) comes from your perception of at least an ambiguity or ambivalency in the seeming interchangeability of the terms. My suggestion was that the terms weren't interchangeable; however, that didn't mean that their difference was consistently observed in the movements of anyone's form. Simply put, any teacher should be able to say whether there is a difference, or whether the names remain as a matter of convention.

Going back to the passage that you translated, I believe that the key does lie in understanding the principles underlying the metaphors. We really need to know what is meant by "the circle" --according to the understanding and usage of the writer. Clearly, the idea of the "water wheel" and how it works seems crucial --because the author says it defines the "skill."

regards,
Steve James
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Postby tai1chi » Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:57 pm

Hi,

this thread has, unintentionally but interestingly, come back to the idea of "circles" and "turning" in tcc (loosely, speaking). Louis brought up the idea of the Chinese water wheel. The only picture I could find on the net is here http://www.oakroad.net/nathangray/image-13349.html

But, is that the kind of water wheel that Louis meant? or that was alluded to in the passage? And, does the photograph illustrate the principle outlined in the passage?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby tai1chi » Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:11 am

Hi Jeff,

great links! Now the question, using Audi's translation, is about the skill that is meant:

"The skill is like the rush of a water wheel, fast and slow, like dragons (gathering Qi) through the clouds, and tigers (dispersing Qi) through the winds. If you want to use the Disk of Heaven, carry out your search from here; with the passage of time, it will naturally emerge."

How do yall think we relate this to the form, etc, or the practice in general? Which skill would it represent, if put into words?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:42 am

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the images! Now, I’m curious if that type of mill (tuimo) would ever have been called a shuimo. The description I’ve read of a shuimo is that it is a type of grinding mill that is driven by water, so it’s not human powered. The taiji reference could very well refer to the type in the photos, and perhaps shuimo was a sort of generic usage for a grinding mill. In any case, it was the horizontal grinding millstone that I kept getting a mental picture of in reading the text.

From the photos, the action of working a push mill looks fun, and I can imagine that there’s a knack to getting it to work smoothly. The flywheel effect of the heavy stone would require that the operator feel for just the right place in the orbits to apply pressure. It would require working *with* the action of the stone. I suppose too, that one could get "bounced" out of the "circle" if one stiffened up your arms at the wrong moment. I can certainly see a taiji-like quality there, but I’m just wondering if that’s what the ‘taiji circle’ text is referring to. Have you heard something that specifically ties the “shuimo” imagery of the text to the manual mill?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:59 am

Greetings Jerry,

I agree with you about the first line of the poem. I think it’s more like “retreating from the circle. . .” On the ‘yun long feng hu xiang zhou xuan’ line, I’m not sure about “are all complete.” I think the last two characters are a compound, zhouxuan, meaning “to contend.” But even this term connotes a sense of circular movement, or whirling. Kind of like the colloquial, “mix it up.”

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:16 am

Hi Louis. I was just going by the text in Jeff's link, which had quan "complete" for the last char. Is it xuan "hanging" or "spinning" or something in the books?

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 01-15-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:18 am

Hi Jerry,

Yes, all of the print versions I have, including the hand written ms. in Yang Zhenji's and Wu Gongzao's books, have xuan2 (revolve). The one exception is Yang's Taijiquan shiyongfa, which has quan2, and that was the base text for that linked page. I'm inclined to think that quan was a misprint, but of course we see variant characters often in these early texts.

Take care,
Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 01-16-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 01-16-2005).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:32 am

OK. Well that might lend credence to the idea that the list has 4 members such that zhou xuan means handling all 4 directions/archetypes.
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