Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:31 pm

Greetings,

This is exciting! Paul Brennan just posted his complete online translation of The Yang Forty Texts, also known in the Wu Jianquan tradition by the title Taiji Fa Shuo (Taiji Methodologies Explained). Until now, the available translations of these texts were to be found in Douglas Wile’s Lost T’ai Chi Classics from the Late Ch’ing Dynasty (1996), and in part in his T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions (1983); in Yang Jwing-ming’s Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style (2001); and in Doug Woolidge’s translation of Wu Gongzao’s Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan (2006). Brennan appears to have done some interesting text analysis. I’ve only just now seen it, but I’m looking forward to delving in, comparing with other translations, and revisiting these fascinating texts. One thing I noticed right off the bat is that Brennan interprets Wu Gongzao’s Preface to read that the manuscript was written in Prince Duan’s hand, which differs from Wile’s statement that it was written in Yang Jianquan’s hand (Lost, p. 58), and from Woolidge’s translation of the Preface saying that it was in Wu Quanyou’s hand. I’ll have to read carefully and try to parse this out. In any case, it’s great to finally have a searchable online version of the Yang Forty in Chinese and English!

http://brennantranslation.wordpress.com ... i-fa-shuo/

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:23 am

Hi Louis,

This is truly a gem. Brennan is clearly a scholar of the first order. Thanks again for monitoring the site. I made a quick review of the translation and noted a number of interesting choices, many of which I find illuminiating and some of which I find provocative.

1. 方位八門乃為陰陽顛倒之理
"The positions of the eight gates are based on the principle of the passive and active aspects inverting each other..."

I can't decide whether or not I like the use of "passive" and "active."

2. 十三勢
"Thirteen dynamics"

"Dynamics" is a good word, much better than "posture."

3. 知覺運動
"perception, realization, activation, action"

I am not sure I would land on these choices, but it is still a good translation.

4. 懂勁
"Identify energies"

Why use "identify" or "interpret"? The instruction I have received has been more along the lines of "understand energy." For me, the distinction is quite important.

5. 頂匾丢抗
"crash in, collapse, come away, or resist"

I do not like some of the choices here. My understanding is along the lines of: "jutt out, collapse [good word], lose, or resist. I particular wonder about translating 頂者出頭之謂也 as "Crashing in means sticking your head out." I think 出頭 is just "stick out" and has nothing to do with the head.

6. 分明火候七十二天然乃武並乃文
"When you get the degree just right, you will naturally have both the civil quality and the martial."

What happened to the "72" in the Chinese? Later in the text, these words seem to be a reference to the meridians. How do they fit n here'?

7. 自己懂勁接及神明
"Once you are identifying your own energies, you will be working your way toward something miraculous."

I have quite a different understanding of this, which is: "(gain familiarity with the external movement,) then gain an understanding of the internal energy involved, and then you will have true insight and be able to act at will."

These are just some preliminary thoughts.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:11 am

Greetings Audi,

Regarding your question about the omission of the "72" language in one of the texts, this came up before in another thread viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1984

I think Brennan omitted the number "72" because it was a common way of saying "many" or "a lot," but not meant to be taken literally for 72 times.

Like you, I have some thoughts on some of the same translation matters as you. For example, I do like "dynamics" for 勢. Marnix Wells also translated 勢 as "dynamic" in his book Scholar Boxer: Chan Naizhou's Theory of Internal Martial Arts and the Evolution of Taijiquan. In reply to an email in which I expressed interest in that rendering, he said that his doctoral thesis had been on the concept of 勢 in pre-Qin thinking. I think "dynamics" captures quite a range of the meaning (especially if you ponder the Greek root), but it wouldn't be my preferred rendering in all instances.

More later. . .

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Audi » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:24 am

Greetings Louis,

Regarding your question about the omission of the "72" language in one of the texts, this came up before in another thread viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1984

I think Brennan omitted the number "72" because it was a common way of saying "many" or "a lot," but not meant to be taken literally for 72 times.

Thanks for the reminder. I think I was throne off by the fact that Brennan includes 72 in his translation in section 15 and IV referring to:

There are at all times in the body seventy-two channels for passive energy as well as seventy-two channels for active energy.

The skill of spirit transmuting the life-force
went down through seventy-two sages to King Wen and King Wu.


Brennan seems to favor being literal whenever possible, but being bold when it is not. I was quite astounded and intrigued when he translated 乾 and 坤 as "skyness and groundness."

Speaking of being intrigued, I was also surprised by the equivalencies/translations he offered for the Celestial Stems and the Earthly Branches in Chapter 18. Are these now accepted renderings or just his view?

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:44 am

Audi,

Re: Brennan seems to favor being literal whenever possible, but being bold when it is not. I was quite astounded and intrigued when he translated 乾 and 坤 as "skyness and groundness."

Speaking of being intrigued, I was also surprised by the equivalencies/translations he offered for the Celestial Stems and the Earthly Branches in Chapter 18. Are these now accepted renderings or just his view?

Good questions. I haven't looked carefully at those sections or terms yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so.

--Louis
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:21 am

Greetings,

Something struck me as odd about Brennan's translation of Wu Gongzao's little preface explaining the provenance of the Taiji Fa Shuo manuscript. Brennan translates: "After my grandfather Wu Quanyou became a formal disciple of Yang Banhou, he was given this manual. The manuscript was handwritten by Duan Fang in the prince’s residence. It has been in our family for over a hundred years. I have preserved it up to now since my childhood." I suspect he may be mistaken in interpreting the preface as saying "Duan Fang" was the person who hand copied the manuscript. I read it to say something more like "This book was transmitted by Master Yang Banhou to my honored grandfather Wu Quanyou after he was accepted as a disciple. It was transcribed in the palace of Prince Duan." That is, it was transcribed in the prince's palace, but not by the prince.

Doug Woolidge's translation of the preface in Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan (p. 25) has: "This book was transcribed by founding Master Wu Chuan Yau after he became a disciple of Master Yang Ban Hou at Prince Sweh Fang's Palace. It has been in our family for over one hundred years. I have possessed the book since childhood and have safeguarded it until now."

Prince Duan was originally known as Prince Rui, but a scribe once mistook Rui 瑞 as the character Duan 端, so he was forever known as Prince Duan. I take it that Woolidge also read the character in the preface as 瑞, and that Sweh must be the Cantonese pronunciation. My cursive abilities are not that keen, but to me it looks like Duan 端. I'm perplexed, however, by the name in the preface, "Duan Fang." There was a contemporary bannerman named Duanfang 端方, but he was not a prince nor did he live in a prince's palace 親王府, so far as I know. Prince Duan, on the other hand, did invite martial artists, including Yang Luchan, Yang Banhou, and Wu Quanyou to stay in his palace to teach and exchange. Prince Duan later became infamous for promoting the Boxer Uprising, but that was well after the Yangs and Wus had moved out on their own. Brennan transcribes the "fang" in the name Duan Fang as 芳, which is different from the bannerman's name: Duanfang 端方. So, I'm full of questions about this little preface by Wu Gongzao.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:19 pm

Greetings Audi,

You wrote:
~~~
5. 頂匾丢抗
"crash in, collapse, come away, or resist"

I do not like some of the choices here. My understanding is along the lines of: "jutt out, collapse [good word], lose, or resist. I particular wonder about translating 頂者出頭之謂也 as "Crashing in means sticking your head out." I think 出頭 is just "stick out" and has nothing to do with the head.
~~~

Yes, I think I agree with you that 出頭 here doesn't mean "sticking your head out"; it's more like "overextended," or "too much."

Interestingly, I found an old 2001 thread in which you and I discussed the bian 匾 character, and in which I floated the translation "collapsed." I also noted some text emendations of that character that appear in the Yang Family version of the 40 Chapters that is reproduced in Yang Zhenji's book. It's about half-way down on this page: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=33&p=394&hilit=bian#p394

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby DPasek » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:19 pm

Audi wrote:5. 頂匾丢抗
"crash in, collapse, come away, or resist"

I do not like some of the choices here. My understanding is along the lines of: "jutt out, collapse [good word], lose, or resist. I particular wonder about translating 頂者出頭之謂也 as "Crashing in means sticking your head out." I think 出頭 is just "stick out" and has nothing to do with the head.

I cannot read much Chinese so I cannot respond with translation specifics, but to me ‘crash in’ would work according to my understanding of Taijiquan principles. ‘Jut out’ (or protrude, etc.) would work in some contexts, but I do not really like it when talking about the qualities that you want when making contact with an opponent. [The various choices for other terms seem to be OK to me.]

I’ll try to explain. To me, Taijiquan tries to train something different from the typical human response of ‘fight or flight,’ and thus directs us to neither have excess nor deficiency, to neither resist nor let go, to neither protrude nor collapse, etc. ‘Fight’ would be when you are too Yang (resisting, crashing in, jutting out, protruding, tense, etc.) whereas ‘flight’ would be when you are too Yin (run away, collapse, lose, are limp, etc.). For there to be Taiji, both Yin and Yang are present, and we want to maintain both Yin and Yang in our Taijiquan.

A sphere does not have protrusions or depressions on its surface, but humans have joints which make us deviate from the ideal of a sphere. So in terms of our attempting to reproduce the quality of a sphere in ourselves, terms like ‘jut out’ would work ("don’t jut the head forward" would be but one specific example of this). But when we are talking about the quality that we want when we make contact with an opponent, we can, for example, extend our arm to contact them with our hand, and this extension of the arm could be viewed as protruding (or ‘jutting out’) from the body; but the quality of the contact should not be ‘crashing in’ (or banging against, etc.). We want our contact to be such that it matches the energy of the opponent; it does not seek to dominate but avoids being dominated. Thus we are free to react to the situation as it actually is without imposing likes or dislikes; we are able to ‘listen’ to what is actually happening and act appropriately rather than acting out of anticipation, fear or anger, etc. Thus, in the context of making contact with an opponent (sometimes called ‘bridging’), we can ‘jut out’ some part of our body such that it contacts the opponent, but that contact should not ‘crash in’ against the opponent since that would be too Yang and could inhibit the ability to absorb (or pull, or contract, etc.) if that is what is appropriate to the situation. We want the potential, on contact, to either absorb or project, pull or push, expand or contract, to be able to express energy in any direction, and when we listen and understand what is happening at the point of contact, then we will be able to act appropriately, regardless of which direction or which energy is called for. Being too Yin or too Yang usually inhibits the ability to act appropriately, to change with the condition(s) manifesting at the point of contact.

Dan
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:28 pm

Dan,
I really like you the way you have defined both "jutting out" and "not crashing in".
I've taught this same concept, many times, but not with such clarity.
To me, your words are spot on. They really "clicked" into place with me.
Understanding the concept and being able to explain it clearly...
Those are two entirely different things!

On a separate note, about "jutting out the head".
I spent some time training in a Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy.
While there, I was often told by the instructors: "Don't stick your head out". The meaning, as it was explained to me; "don't lead with your head".
Many times when performing TCC I see people who "lead" with their head. I'm probably a bit more tuned into the concept now due to my time under the WCC system, but I do see it all the time and I make a point, if applicable, to correct it whenever possible (I don't just walk up to random people doing a form and say, "You're sticking your head out. Knock it off." I am talking about when I am teaching my own students).
Leading with the head, as I'm sure we can all agree, is not a very good idea in TCC.
Your head is heavy, if you allow it to it will lead you instead of you leading it. This is easy to do, especially during the WCC forms where "leaning" is their prescribed method for movement.
But that concept is a discussion for a whole 'nother thread! I won't get that debate started on here again. We've been down that road more than once already.
When I hear, "Don't stick out" or in this case "Don't jut out your head", to me that indicates a prescription not to let the head lead your movements.
When your head leads, your movement is not center driven, instead it is top down driven. Even using the Wu style concept of "leaning" this is incorrect. Move from your center, not from your head.

Like Dan, I know almost zero Chinese. I wouldn't dream of butting in on a translation discussion to try to say anything about the accuracy of any translation, one way or the other.
I just thought another take on "Don't jut out the head" might be relevant and since I had one, I thought I'd chime in with those two cents.
And ONLY those two cents.

I'll go back to lurking now.

Bob
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:28 am

Greetings all,

Putting aside the question of translation and concentrating on the principle behind the words, I understand one concept of Peng Energy to be that we must make our energy like a resilient sphere. For simplicity sake, let's look at it as a circle. If we do not push out enough against our opponent's energy, we lose roundness, collapse before our opponent's energy, and cannot control it. If we push out too much, we lose roundness, clash against our opponent's energy, and cannot maintain stability in the lower body.

In using our resilient sphere, we are supposed to practice certain skills. The Taijiquan Lun ("Taijiquan Treatise/Essay on Taijiquan") uses two words: 走 [zǒu] and 粘 [zhān] to describe these. I understand them to mean "yielding" and "sticking," respectively. The Yang Forty uses four words: 粘 [zhān], 黏 [nián], 连 [lián], and 随 [suí] . I understand these to mean: "sticking," "being sticky," "connecting," and "following." Corresponding to these skills are four defects, which are: "顶 [dǐng], 匾 [biǎn], 丢 [diū], and 抗 [kàng]. I understand these to mean: "butting against," "collapsing"/"being flat," "losing," and "resisting." These four are sometimes summarized by explaining that the first and fourth involve doing too much and the second and third involve doing too little.

In the videos I reference below, there are only two terms used that appear to cover all these four: "顶 [dǐng] ("butting against") and 丢 [diū] ("losing"). I take the usage to be equivalent to talking about doing avoiding too much or too little. This may be a case where oral teaching has preferred slightly different usage of the terminology than what the classics use.

In this video, subtitled in Chinese and English, Master Yang Jun talks about "顶 [dǐng] ("butting against") and 丢 [diū] ("losing") from about time index 7:41 to 9:36. The whole video is well worth viewing, since it lays out the basics of Yang Style Push Hands as the Association sees it. To me, it seems that Master Yang is describing 顶 [dǐng] as ("butting against"), even though the translation has "knocking (together each other)." The word 丢 [diū] is translated as "throwing," which is one meaning of this word, but which I do not think is correct in this context.

In this video, subtitled only in Chinese, another Yang Style master (Zhang Jizong (?)), also discussed 顶 [dǐng] at time index 13:55, 14:44, and somewhere near the end. He does not really describe it, but seems to indicate that pressing forward hard or jutting the elbow forward constitutes this fault. At time index 19:46, and in several other places, he also describes the stance the two practitioners use as 顶步, presumably because it appears as the front feet of the two persons "butt up against each other." The entire video is also well worth watching, although the specific exercises are slightly different from what the Association teaches.

Given these videos, I think I would like to revise my suggesting from "jutting out" to "butting against."

What do you think?

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby DPasek » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:43 pm

Audi wrote:Corresponding to these skills are four defects, which are: "顶 [dǐng], 匾 [biǎn], 丢 [diū], and 抗 [kàng]. I understand these to mean: "butting against," "collapsing"/"being flat," "losing," and "resisting." These four are sometimes summarized by explaining that the first and fourth involve doing too much and the second and third involve doing too little.

Audi,

I really like what you posted.

In regards to 匾 [biǎn], I am not certain that I like your choice to include both ‘collapsing’ and ‘being flat,’ although both could be a result of deficiency.

Do you know of examples where different terms are used for ‘collapsing’ and ‘flat’ since ‘flat’ seems to associate more with being ‘square’ (cube) rather than ‘round’ (circle or sphere) and does not necessarily correlate with being ‘collapsed;’ although I suppose that a circle (sphere) becoming a square (cube) could be thought of as collapsing the flattening sides.

I tend to associate ‘flat’ more with being ‘double weighted’ (‘double pressure’) since a square (or cube) needs to move an opponent’s energy beyond its corner (edge) before avoiding allowing them a point of application, as opposed to a circle (or sphere) which can immediately rotate the point of contact off of its center. Whereas a circle (sphere) can freely rotate allowing one side to go towards the point of contact and the other side go away from the point of contact (i.e. maintain both Yang and Yin acting on the point of contact), being ‘flat’ (square, cube) tends to result in both sides of the point of contact acting with the same energy (either both sides Yang/resisting or both sides Yin/collapsing, thus ‘double pressure’).

Since being ‘flat’ could be either both sides of the point of contact being Yang or both sides being Yin, I consider this term to be applicable to conditions of both ‘excess’ and ‘deficiency,’ and thus may not be appropriate in the phrase being discussed. I would consider a ‘double Yin’ ‘flat’ to probably correspond to a condition of ‘collapsed’ (‘deficiency’), but not a ‘double Yang’ ‘flat’ which I would associate more with ‘excess’ (‘resistance’).

To me, ‘flat’ is another error that we should strive to avoid, but I differentiate it from other terms like ‘excess,’ ‘deficiency,’ ‘collapsed,’ ‘butting against,’ ‘resisting,’ ‘running away,’ ‘too much,’ ‘too little,’ etc. (although they can, in some contexts, be associated with being ‘flat’ as indicated above).

Dan
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Audi » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:28 am

Hi Dan,

I really like what you posted.

Thanks, although I am just repeating what I have read, which is a recurring theme in traditional Chinese thinking: excess (过/過) is just as bad as insufficiency (不及).

Do you know of examples where different terms are used for ‘collapsing’ and ‘flat’ since ‘flat’ seems to associate more with being ‘square’ (cube) rather than ‘round’ (circle or sphere) and does not necessarily correlate with being ‘collapsed;’ although I suppose that a circle (sphere) becoming a square (cube) could be thought of as collapsing the flattening sides.

The word/character 匾 [biǎn] actually means a "horzontal inscribed board" like the one you can see above the gate in this picture. It is almost certainly used here as an alternate way of writing 扁 [biǎn], which is pronounced identically and is probably more or less the same spoken word. (Notice that this second character is the same as what is inside the 匚 box of the first character.) The word/character 扁 [biǎn] means flat in the sense of something in a flattened shape, but does not mean "level," as in a "level or flat plain." The phrase 压扁, for instance, literally means "pressed flat" and is often the equivalent of "crush."

Chinese has a number of words that can refer to the collapse of a wall or building, but I do not know whether they could be applied to a deficient ward-off arm.

According to my understanding, our view of Tai Chi has part of Sunzi's approach near the top of the theoretical hierarchy: "Know yourself and know your adversary" and "Do not let the enemy know you." Our way of doing that is to make sure the we and our adversary form one Taiji (I am referring to the principle, not the art of Taijiquan). To make you and your adversary one Taiji, we need to stick with him. To stick, we use pressure. To use pressure, we make the energy of our body somewhat like a balloon. The pressure comes from the balloon changing its level of inflation and changing its location. The skin of the balloon hides the internal energy.

If you over-inflate, your energy will feel rigid, like a bowling ball. Your energy will butt against (顶 [dǐng]) the energy of your adversary, and your upper body will feel like a heavy bowling ball knocking into your adversary's energy. If you under-inflate, you will feel like a flat tire that does not keep the rim of the wheel from touching the ground. Your energy will be flat ( 匾/扁 [biǎn]), and you will feel like a car chassis that shakes and rocks with every bump in the road. If you over-protect our center or core and butt against the opponent's energy, every action of the adversary will affect our core directly through the skin of our "balloon." It's as if you bring your core all the way out to the skin. If you under-protect your center or core, the adversary will crash right through the skin all the way in to it. It's as if we bring the skin all the way in to the core.

In moving back and forth, for instance in practicing moving step, you now have to consider the location of your "balloon." If, for instance, you are not willing to give up your location and move your "balloon" pressure to accompany the adversary's withdrawal, you will lose contact (丢 [diū]) with his energy and no longer be part of one Taiji. If, on the other hand, you are not willing to adapt to the opponent's movement and resist (抗 [kàng]) his advance, you will reject contact between your "balloon" energy with his energy and no longer form part of one Taiji. You will be like a billiard ball bouncing off your adversary's energy. Again, you want to push your balloon pressure into your adversary, but not so far that your resist his movement.

I think I share a lot of your fondness for using the image of a sphere in many aspects of push hands; however, I note that Chapter 21, as Brennan translates it: does talk about squareness, saying:

[21] CORRECTNESS OF SKILL IN TAIJI

太極者元也無論內外上下左右不離此元元也太極者方也無論內外上下左右不離此方也元之出入方之進退隨方就元之往來也方為開展元為緊凑方元規矩之至其就能出此以外哉如此得心應手仰髙鑽堅神乎其神見隱顕微明而且明生生不已欲罷不能
Taiji is round, never abandoning its roundness whether going in or out, up or down, left or right. And Taiji is square, never abandoning its squareness whether going in or out, up or down, left or right. As you roundly exit and enter, or squarely advance and retreat, follow squareness with roundness, and vice versa. Squareness has to do with expanding, roundness with contracting. [Squareness means a directional focus along which you can express your power. Roundness means an all-around buoyancy with which you can receive and neutralize the opponent’s power.]
The main rule is that you be squared and rounded. After all, could there be anything beyond these things? By means of this you will become proficient at the skill. But “gazing up, it grows higher, and drilling in, it gets harder…” [i.e. there is always more to it], so magical it is. When you look upon it at last, it hides again, revealing there is yet more subtlety to it, illumination upon illumination. It generates new features infinitely, rendering you “unable to quit even if there were the desire to do so.” [Lun Yu, 9.11]

The teaching I have received has not focused so much on roundness vs. squareness, and so I cannot add to what Brennan puts here in brackets. I have been taught and experienced "Seek the straight in the curve" and do include that in my teaching and my own practice.

As for empty and full and being double weighted, the theory I follow goes beyond shape. If by chance you have a copy of Master Yang Jun's Push Hands Video, Vol II, I could give some examples of applications and counters that work on these principles.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby DPasek » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:30 pm

Hi Audi,

Thanks for your wonderful post. I enjoy hearing your perspective on Taijiquan, especially since we have differing backgrounds and perspectives.

I agree that empty and full, and double weighting, goes beyond shape. However, double pressure (weighting) is one example of the error of not properly differentiating empty and full. The energy produced when a line (square) advances or retreats is different than when an arc (circle) does so. The circle (sphere) can freely rotate whereas the line (square) cannot. But, it is also accurate to say that an advancing or retreating sphere could also have double pressure if it is somehow stiff or otherwise constrained from having the ability to freely rotate; then, even though the shape is round, its energy would be flat. Likewise, even though human forearms, for example, are essentially flat in shape (from wrist to elbow), with training we can produce the energy of a sphere at any point of contact that an opponent has with the forearm (or any other point of contact anywhere on our bodies). So yes, speaking of the shape is actually referring to the energy rather than a literal physical shape. I find that referring to shape helps in understanding energy.

[Note, I do not have the video that you refer to, but I suspect that your specific examples of empty and full as well as double weighting, would be compatible with my understanding – we just tend to use different terminology and analogies...]

In my experience, the concepts of the circle and the square have not been clearly explained. But I think that many of these concepts are interrelated (empty/full, excess/deficiency, resisting/losing, etc.). I would like to hear more about how you understand ‘seek the straight in the curve,’ especially since you do not seem to focus on roundness and squareness (the circle and the square, the curved and the straight, the round and the flat); I consider them to be interrelated concepts.

Since I view many concepts to be interrelated, it is not particularly easy to explain, but let me try a somewhat simplified explanation. If you have a properly inflated ball that is floating on water such that it can freely rotate in all directions (as well as being able to move along the water in any direction, plus possessing buoyancy allowing it to resist being pushed underwater), and you tried to control this ball with your finger, it would be very difficult to gain a point of application for your energy. The exception would be when the direction of your energy passes directly through the center of the ball (thus producing a line from the surface of the ball to its center, i.e. the straight in the curve). Any other angle of the energy of the finger would result in the ball deflecting your finger off of its intended direction (Lujin).

Many of the errors of excess and deficiency result in not having entirely round energy that may allow an opponent to gain a point of application (the straight in the curve; the inability of the sphere to freely rotate in any direction). For example, insufficient air in the ball (insufficient pengjin) would allow an indentation (deficiency) on the surface in response to the pressure from the ‘attacking’ finger, producing a point of application that connects the surface of the ball with its center (thus no longer being able to freely rotate). The same principle would apply to protrusions (excesses) as for indentations, allowing an opponent to have a point of application (a place of purchase to latch onto on an otherwise smooth surface of the ball, resulting in an inhibition of its ability to freely rotate) that can connect the surface with the center. So would being ‘square’ rather than ‘round’.

Simplified, to me seeking the straight in the curve is to find points of effective application of your energy that allow you to have a line of attack. While we try to maintain roundness defensively, we use this defensive roundness to uncover the opponent’s errors, keeping our center hidden from them (maintaining the curve) while exposing their center (finding the straight). Likewise, when we have found a point of application (the straight) and attack, we need to still be capable of defending with the circle (the circle in the straight).

As a final note, rather than viewing me and a partner (opponent) forming one Taiji (although that is a part of it), I tend to consider myself to be a complete Taiji interacting with their Taiji such that all points of interaction have their own individual Taiji points; perhaps more like the following illustration:

Image

But otherwise, your explanation of sticking and the pressure of the balloons touching each other, etc. are quite nice.

Dan
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:13 pm

Audi,
You want to know about "roundness and squareness" as applied to TCC? I did too.
And I just watched a video that explained at least one aspect of that so clearly that I said, "Whoa!"
I did, I heard me say it.
Many aspects of TCC were explained more clearly on this video than I had heard them explained before.
Master Zhu Tian Cai is nothing if not direct and to the point.
Perhaps it only cleared things up for me and others won't get as much out of it as I did, but here it is anyway in case it clears some things up for others:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QncpnFdLjZ4

I was sent the link by one of my students, who has posted here from time to time, Carlos.
Thanks again, Carlos!

I like Master Zhu's way of explaining things so much, I am currently watching all 8 videos of his titled "Lecture on Chen Style Tai Chi"
There is a lot of good stuff there as well.
If you go to the first link and like it even half as much as I did, the others are linked on the right.


Bob
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Re: Brennan translates Taiji Fa Shuo (Yang Forty)

Postby Audi » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:47 am

Greetings all:

Louis, thanks for the information about Prince Rui/Duan. I also wondered about a Prince serving as a copyist, but did not investigate. Thanks also for the link back to our old discussion. I enjoyed reading it. I had recalled your suggestion of using "collapse" to translate bian and should have given you credit.

Speaking of being intrigued, I was also surprised by the equivalencies/translations he offered for the Celestial Stems and the Branches in Chapter 18. Are these now Earthly renderings or just his view?


Good questions. I haven't looked carefully at those sections or terms yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so.


Any more thoughts about this?

Take care,
Audi
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