a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Audi » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:22 pm

Greetings all,

Hi Meghdad. I glanced over your site. It is clear that you both put forth a lot of effort and research to create a quality product. Congratulations!

My knowledge of Persian is minuscule, dating from a brief study of the language quite a while ago; however, as I looked over your English translations of the Chinese headings, I did notice a few things that represent common renderings of the Chinese in English, but which I believe to be slightly problematic. I can't figure out more than a few words of the Persian and so do not know what was reflected, but do have some experience of where translations into other languages have strayed further from the Chinese by using English translations with some misleading aspects.

1. The phrase "Xu ling ding jin" has come down to use in two versions, one with the second character as 灵 (ling2) and the other with the second character as 领 (ling3). Your translation seems to reflect the first, but uses the pinyin spelling of the second.

2. "Han xiong ba bei": I think translating han (含) as "hold in" can be misleading. I think the idea is more like "enfold" in this case, where the back shoulders spread and reach around to the front to enfold or make a "container" for the chest. "Hold in" could improperly imply that we restrict how much of the surface of the chest expands during breathing.

3. "Song yao": The English word "relax" tends to imply minimal use of energy. Although the Chinese word "song" can imply that, the core meaning is closer to "loosen." The word "yao" can be "waist," but in this case it means "lower back." For us "Song yao" is less about minimizing the use of muscles around the waist than about using the muscles of the lower back to loosen up, extend, and open up the vertebrae in the lower back. There should be a visible, physical change. It is about using muscular energy to align the lower back with the needed flow of energy.

4. "Zhui zhou" is closer in meaning to "let the elbows droop" than to "drop the elbows." The word 坠 (zhui4) means that something hands or bends down because of weight at the end. The meaning for the Ten Essentials is that the elbow needs to have a specific weight relationship with the shoulder and the torso. The meaning does not directly refer to the height of the elbow in relationship to the ground, which can vary according to the requirements of the form or of the energy.

5. "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力": Despite what may appear from Yang Chengfu's explanation, I think that too much emphasis is often given to Li, Yi, and Jin as theoretical concepts. I think what is meant is simply that we should pay attention to how we use our muscles rather than to how much. If we put our minds on the right things, natural processes will give us the power we want. If we concentrate on simply using more muscular power to achieve our ends directly, we will actually block those processes from achieving the result we want. It is more about training method than about the level of muscular exertion.

I hope this is helpful.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby meghdad » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:48 pm

Dear Audi,
Thanks for looking at our website and providing us with valuable feedback, we do appreciate. In the course of translating the content of the website the effort has been in a way that the translations into Persian would be as close as possible to the meaning of the original Chinese. For instance in the translation of the Ten Essentials I checked and compared all the available English translations (Louis Swaim, Yang Jwing Ming, Jerry Karin, Paul Brennan) and also checked the original Chinese text and compared its translation (according to my little understanding) with those, then chose among them and translated it into Persian. I did this for the titles and also the text of each principle. For sure it still needs revision and we look forward and welcome feedbacks. Therefore I thank you again.

1- Regarding "Xu Ling Ding Jin", I should say that I picked Louis's and translated it into Persian. I think Louis (also Yang Jwing Ming) both used Ling 3 (领) and I did the same. Please note that I only used the current and available English translations, I did not do the English translation myself for all Ten Principles. I think if you elaborate more on how you got the impression that Ling2 is used, I would understand your point more clearly. I should add that Brennan has used Ling2 (靈).

2- I did exactly the same in Persian translation. The word I used " در بر گرفتن/احاطه کردن" means that the chest is enfolded or surrounded.

3- Thanks for your explanation about "Song Yao". I will change it to "Loosening the Waist". As you know Louis has translated "Relax" and Yang Jwing Ming and Brennan as "Loosening", however I think all these three Masters are referring to the same thing, but I agree with you about the choice of words, because loosening might reflect the intended meaning better. However personally I think that both of explanations you mentioned for "relax" and "Loosening" should be done: Minimal use of energy along with correct alignment of the lower back. As for the meaning of Yao, as I know "Song Yao" is a shorter version of "Song Yao, Song Kua" and we should distinguish between the meaning of the two. The text of the principle has considered both Yao and Kua but the title is the shorter version.

4- About the phrase "Drop the Elbows", you are right. also in the explanation of the text it is stated that "the shoulders are relaxed, open and allowed to hang down" (Louis Swaim). But all of the three gentlemen translated it as "Drop the Elbows" except for Mr. Karin. His translation is "Droop the Elbows".

5- You are right in the sense that we should not go so much deep into the abstract about these concepts. However I think Master Yang Chengfu intentionally stated so much about the theory and even compared the power of External Martial Arts with the Internal ones and has referred to the source of power for the internal style as Qi flowing in the Jing-Luo and for the External styles as Li. He could not be more direct on this issue. Here only the text of Master Yang is translated and nothing is added except for some elaboration on the meaning of "man 满" which we previously discussed here. I believe your point of view about this principle is helpful for balancing the tangible and intangible (Yin-Yang) in our minds. But I think Master Yang's emphasis is on the intangible side.


Thanks a lot for your feedback and I look forward to your comments.
Meghdad
Last edited by meghdad on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:09 am

Greetings Meghdad,

1- Regarding "Xu Ling Ding Jin", I should say that I picked Louis's and translated it into Persian. I think Louis (also Yang Jwing Ming) both used Ling 3 (领) and I did the same. Please note that I only used the current and available English translations, I did not do the English translation myself for all Ten Principles. I think if you elaborate more on how you got the impression that Ling2 is used, I would understand your point more clearly. I should add that Brennan has used Ling2 (靈).


The word "lively" is a decent match for 靈 Ling2, but a poor match for 领 Ling3. Translations using 领 Ling3 will typically be "Emptiness leads..." or "An empty neck...." I should add that this is an issue only for scholars or researchers. I am aware of these textual inconsistencies in the literature, but not of any essential difference in Tai Chi practice based on it.

5- You are right in the sense that we should not go so much deep into the abstract about these concepts.

My point was not so much that we should not go into the abstract, but that the abstract should be linked as closely as possible to the concrete. As I mentioned, my understanding of Persian is nearly nonexistent, but when I look at your translation and make an educated guess as to the meaning and structure, it is not clear to me that you used any Persian equivalent of 力 Li4 or 意 Yi4, but just transliterated them. This was not done in the English versions you used. By making this choice as a translator, I just wonder whether it overemphasize these terms as mysterious, foreign concepts, instead of things that we encounter every day all day.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby meghdad » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:16 pm

Dear Audi,

The word "lively" is a decent match for 靈 Ling2, but a poor match for 领 Ling3. Translations using 领 Ling3 will typically be "Emptiness leads..." or "An empty neck...." I should add that this is an issue only for scholars or researchers. I am aware of these textual inconsistencies in the literature, but not of any essential difference in Tai Chi practice based on it.

Thanks for your elaboration on "Xu ling ding jin". As you know well this is one of the most difficult phrases to translate and therefore there will always be discussions around its possible translations. Personally I believe that what is important about these difficult phrases is not the translation of the title but how well its meaning is explained in plain terms. Although the title must be translated as accurate as possible. In one of the instructional videos from Master Chen Xiao Wang he used this wording for the same principle, "头自然领起 - tóu zìrán lǐng qǐ ", which seems more clear. However the choice of words always matter and I think different words are used to emphasize different issues by different masters.


when I look at your translation and make an educated guess as to the meaning and structure, it is not clear to me that you used any Persian equivalent of 力 Li4 or 意 Yi4, but just transliterated them. This was not done in the English versions you used. By making this choice as a translator, I just wonder whether it overemphasize these terms as mysterious, foreign concepts, instead of things that we encounter every day all day.


You have well pointed out what I have done in translating "Yong Yi Bu Yong Li". I have not translated the two words "Yi" and "Li". I had several reasons to do so and I have done this only in this one among the Ten Essentials. I think some words should not be translated and the same Chinese word should be used. I have done this for other words like "Shen" or "Jing Shen" and some others. The most important reason is that sometimes the equivalents of these kind of words in the second language (here Persian) have a long history and there are so many stories attached to them. As soon as you use them in translation the mind of the reader associates the meaning with these stories and this is where the problem occurs. The original intention of the Chinese word might not be associated with these concepts and stories. This is rooted in cultural background of each language and the history, beliefs and experiences of the people of that country. So I believe in these cases it is better to leave it as it is and try to convey the meaning by explaining the word. I should add that this problem is only related to "Yi". However I did the same for "Li" with the intention of highlighting the Jin and Li continuum, to draw the attentions to the fact that force in Taijiquan is more refined that normal force and strength we experience. I would like to know your opinion about this issue.

Best Regards,
Meghdad
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Audi » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:49 am

Hi Meghdad,

What we are discussing is a problem inherent to all translations. Often what we must do is choose the least bad option rather than the best option. I cannot tell you what is best in English, let alone in Persian. I just want to be clear about some of the implications.

Although the title must be translated as accurate as possible. In one of the instructional videos from Master Chen Xiao Wang he used this wording for the same principle, "头自然领起 - tóu zìrán lǐng qǐ ", which seems more clear.

I think this phrase means: "The head leads up naturally." This is about the same as saying: "The head should be held as if suspended from above," which is, more or less, what the Yangs typically say. These renderings do not, however, capture the thought of "liveliness" appropriate to the other Chinese version of the phrase.

Recently I was trying to explain this concept to a student and picked two postures from the form: Single Whip and Brush Knee. In Single Whip, he did not turn his head far enough to directly face the Tiger's Mouth of his left hand. To me, this indicated a lack of liveliness and a weakening in the expression of his spirit that led to a dispersion of power. In Brush Knee, his eyes captured only two of the techniques, rather than all four, which indicated that his understanding of the meaning of all the movements of the posture was not quite right. These are minor problems in once sense, but what I teach is push hands. In push hands, a minor problem can be the difference between a technique working and it not working.

In English, I do not particular like the word "intent" as a translation for Yì 意. In my internal dialog with myself, I prefer the verb "to mean." In other words, I ask myself what do I mean by positioning my limbs a certain way or what is my purpose in doing it precisely in that manner. According to my understanding, at the middle level of trying to "understand energy" (懂劲), we should move with conscious awareness, and so every part of our body should have meaningful movement. I would think that there would be some way to express this in Persian without triggering too many other associations. Perhaps you need a phrase or a change in the part of speech. For instance, I like talking to my students about what they mean be bending their elbows in a particular fashion, but not about the "meaning" of doing so, even though Yì 意 can range as far as having that significance.

However I did the same for "Lì" with the intention of highlighting the Jin and Li continuum, to draw the attentions to the fact that force in Taijiquan is more refined that normal force and strength we experience. I would like to know your opinion about this issue.

In English, I am more or less happy with rendering "Lì" as "strength" and "Jìn" as "power" or "energy." Grand Master Yang Zhenduo, for instance, has talked about "Jìn" as being simply "trained 'Lì.'" What we train, however, is more than just "Jìn" or "power," since we stress training from inside to outside. What we train most is "Nèi Jìn" or "internal power," rather than "Wài Jìn or "external power." We often use the term "Jìn" as shorthand for "Nèi Jìn," but I think it is good to maintain the distinction. Typically, Master Yang Jun uses the word "energy" when he talks about "(Nèi) Jìn," but I do not think he is trying to set up an English definition.

I think I lost the equivalent of 2-3 years worth of training by thinking of many of the Chinese terms as only philosophical terms, rather than concrete ones. One of the things that initially impressed my most about the Yangs was how practical they seemed. Because of my experience, I tend to favor translations that are as simple and direct as possible. Others, with a different background, might go the other way.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:05 pm

Audi wrote:I think I lost the equivalent of 2-3 years worth of training by thinking of many of the Chinese terms as only philosophical terms, rather than concrete ones. One of the things that initially impressed my most about the Yangs was how practical they seemed. Because of my experience, I tend to favor translations that are as simple and direct as possible. Others, with a different background, might go the other way.

Take care,
Audi


Greetings Audi,

I'm not really comfortable with a hard and fast distinction between what you call "only philosophical terms" and "concrete ones." The important variable, in my view, is experience. My studies of Chinese thinking (what might be called philosophy) is that it is by and large reflective of, and a way of navigating, concrete experience. In fact, that's in part what attracted me to Chinese "philosophy" at an early age -- the fact that it was practical, pragmatic, and rooted in concrete to a much greater degree than what Western philosophy tends toward. This is also why I've often tried to make the point that the taiji classics are "experiential" texts, and that if we read them striving to embrace that understanding, they will come to amplify our own experience of taijiquan practice. If the language is sometimes arcane and "philosophical" we must remind ourselves that the language being used was the bread and butter of the individuals who wrote down those experiences. If we want to understand the texts, it is useful to strive to understand the discursive context.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:44 pm

When I discuss this particular maxim from TCC I like to use the wisdom of a Scott Adams "Dilbert" comic strip character, The Pointy Haired Boss.
He sums this expression up in one very short, concise statement: "Work smarter, not harder."

A Tai Chi Chuan teacher of mine used to say, and I'm paraphrasing here, obviously, but I think I'm fairly close (I heard this a few hundred times, at least): "Talk is cheap. People talking theory, everybody can do it. If they sit there and talk theory they can talk for years with you. But let's put your money where your mouth is." He would then ask us to show him, not tell him, how whatever particular concept we were working on is done.
That has stuck with me over the years and I would much rather someone show me that they understand a concept than simply quote words back to me.
"Work smarter, not harder" is obviously nothing but words. However, they convey the meaning of this concept, and in English, more clearly than saying "Use Yi, do not use Li" could ever hope to do for an English speaker.
For one thing, "Use Yi, do not use Li" is only half a translation! At best.
The Google Translate translation for the Chinese characters "用意不用力" is actually; "Intention to force" and not "Use Yi, do not use Li".
So now we have another, and even more confusing, translation for this same set of characters.
It's alphabet soup!
I don't want to get caught up in translation, too much gets lost.
The idea, as I understand it, is not to use brute force against an opponent in order to overcome him, instead to think and be aware of the situation as it is unfolding in order to use the best strategy to overcome him.
Or...
"Work smarter, not harder".

Bob
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby meghdad » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:16 pm

Dear Bob,
Thanks for your feedback and elaboration. Personally I think what you explained about "Work smarter, not harder" contains wisdom. However I should add that although one is free to interpret as he or she likes or thinks, it is not possible to write down the principle like this: "用意不用力: Work Smarter, not harder". It's a nice try but I'm sure you agree that this is just a personal interpretation.


The idea, as I understand it, is not to use brute force against an opponent in order to overcome him, instead to think and be aware of the situation as it is unfolding in order to use the best strategy to overcome him.
Or... "Work smarter, not harder".


This explanation is logical and is similar to Sunzi advice about knowing yourself and the enemy. As for this principle I think it is a small part of the whole picture. I quote Master Yang Jun explaining about this principle

This principle points to what is the starting point for our motions. It doesn’t mean you don’t use your energy (Jin), but energy and force (Li) are different........Muscles provide force (Li), but energy (Jin) comes from the tendons....Energy goes through a process of refinement, becoming more tempered and springlike......After you have been training it becomes energy. Energy still comes from force; you can’t really separate the two.....When we study Taijiquan we talk about energy, very seldom do we talk about strength....

our focus (in training) is on the process of changing force into energy......

the training process of refining strength into energy in Taijiquan is very clear, it starts from being able to relax and make yourself supple...

You have to understand why we want to use the mind rather than force. In Taijiquan we have two special requirements. One is that you must be rooted, stable, and balanced. The other is that the energy must be unified. If you want to be rooted, you have to sink Qi downwards. To unify the energy you cannot just put strength into local areas. The whole body needs to be relaxed in order to unify. That’s the basic idea of why we want you to use your mind rather than force. If you want to get the proper result, your energy must be unified, otherwise it’s just local strength.

*I added the words in parenthesis for further clarification according to the main text.

and a quote from Master Yang Zhengduo:

Relaxation and training should both be conscious (or purposive). That is just what our predecessors meant by “consciously (purposely) relax and unconsciously (unintentionally) create hardness”


Concluding from these two quotes I think that the main purpose of this principle, "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力", is that "we should consciously [by using Yi], refine Li into Jin." This conforms with the main text by Master Yang Chengfu.

Translation is a tool to convey original meaning to people of another language. The main purpose though is conveying the meaning and not the translation itself, "translation" should not be considered the goal. Otherwise we might be trapped in oversimplification. I would like to end with Mr. Bertrand Russell's beautiful massage:

When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and solely at what are the facts.



Dear Louis,
I very much agree with you saying that Chinese people have historically prevented abstraction and most of the time have tried to write down what it is directly applicable. This is one of the interesting characteristics of Chinese thoughts and philosophy.


Thanks and Best Regards,
Meghdad
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:49 pm

Meghdad,

No matter how many times I re-read your post I don't see anything that goes against my use of the expression "Work smarter, not harder" as a method to help my students understand this concept.
First off, it introduces levity into the learning process.
Most folks I teach read Dilbert and are aware of the origin of the expression. Those that aren't are told right away where I get that from. It never fails to get a laugh.
Second, I don't ever tell anyone that this is what the Chinese expression says, what I tell them is that ONE interpretation of this idea can be to "Work smarter, not harder".
Which, reading through Yang Laoshi's explanation, still works very well for me.

When you are conveying to others the meaning of, "Use Yi, do not use Li", do those words alone equal out to all of the teaching Yang Laoshi conveys in the posting you have copied here?
Does telling students, "Use Yi, do not use Li" immediately convey all of this concept as expressed by Yang Laoshi?
No?
Strange...
That's what happens with me too.
When I introduce, and then continue to teach, my students to understand this idea I have to spend a lot of time explaining the concept. In order to do so I have to find expressions and ideas that most of my students will understand. This one seems to work the best, so far at least.
It doesn't do me, or them, any good to simply keep repeating "Use Yi, do not use Li" unless I spend the time to then explain what "Use Yi" actually means and also what "Li" is and how it works as well, and then explain not to use Li.
One of the many things I then explain is that at least part of this concept boils down to "Work smarter, not harder".
And...
Going back to the whole idea of translation...
I don't see that my paraphrased translation is too far off anyway, not at all.
用意不用力 comes out to "Use intent (one site said "meaning", same thing I guess), not force"
So all you have to do is leave out the "er"s from the words and you get, "Work smart, not hard"
That seems fairly close, at least to me.
We could change it up a tad to, "Use your mind, not your muscle".
And, I do. I say that as well. It sort of skips over the whole idea of using tendons, ligaments and fascia as opposed to using muscle, but then again...
So does, "Use Yi, do not use Li".
I don't see the bit about not using muscle anywhere in there.
And looking at "Use your mind, not your muscles"...
Yep. Once again it's fairly close.
So...
Where was I going again?
Oh, yeah.
"Work smarter, not harder".
I like it, it is nearly as good of a translation as the more commonly used one and it conveys the idea in a manner that most English speaking people can understand fairly clearly and fairly quickly.

Use it, don't use it. Up to you.
I am simply relating my experience and giving a suggestion, I don't feel for one second that anyone else has to do it the same way I do in order for their teaching to be effective.

Cheers,
Bob
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby meghdad » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:17 am

Dear Bob,
Thanks for your further elaboration. I did not say that this phrase you are using does not work, I mentioned it contains wisdom and for sure some people can make a good sense out of it. Therefore I have no problem with it. However I say that it is an interpretation and it interprets a part of the whole. So I believe it can be useful. However I do not think of it as a proper translation for the principle. I should add that this discussion started around my translation of this principle in Persian. I did not do the translation in English and I have used existing English translation, however I did the same in Persian and transliterated these two words as you can see in the below link. I'm not saying this is the best thing to do but I think it might work better at least in the long run.

http://taijiquan.ir/index.php/world/201 ... 05#dahasl6

The method of teaching and how to make sense of different principles for others and for oneself is a broader issue. One can use many examples, quotes, phrases to help them understand it better. There is no limit to it as long as the examples reflect the meaning to some degree. As for the translation I think it is more limited and thus the choice of words is limited as well.


Another issue I want to mention is that quoting from Masters is very useful and makes things more clear. This is reference and you can see this happening a lot wherever there is a discussion, for example scientific articles. In case of such discussions as ours it helps the reader to be able rely on what is being said.

In the end I should say that I'm open to change, after testing it and see if enough people are making good sense out of this translation or not, and whether the result would conform to initial intention.

保重,
Meghdad
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:10 am

Greetings all,

For me, 用意不用力 means: "Pay attention to your purpose in moving in the way you do to achieve your aim, not to increasing your force to try to achieve it." This is not a true translation, however.

A few days ago I happened to catch a brief post-fight interview of a Portuguese-speaking MMA fighter. I was surprised because, while he was speaking Portuguese, he used the English word "performance" as he was saying that he was more or less satisfied with his performance during the fight. I associate such "code switching" between languages more with educated white-collar professionals, than with MMA fighters; however, when I considered it, I realized that this concept of "performance" was actually critical to his training and might not have been as easily rendered in Portuguese. The word "performance" in such a context is a very specific word, without really being a philosophical one. Saying that you are satisfied with you performance has a different nuance than saying you like your results or you like how you behaved. Asking how a machine performs invokes a comparison with anticipated outcomes, while asking how well a machine operates does not.

Similarly, the concept of 意(yì)("intent" or "what you mean") is for me something very specific. I see it in myself and others several times in every posture. It is why you do what do. At the beginning, we all move in a particular way in order to copy our teachers movements and instructions externally. Later, this is insufficient, we have to move from the inside according to our martial purpose and internal principle. This is why "spirit," "intent," and "Qi" are related and why even the direction of your gaze has tangible effects on how your energy is expressed.

If, for instance, you do the Push posture with the intent of maximizing the strength in your arms, you will have little power. If you do it with the intent of receiving the energy from the legs, waist, and torso, according to the principles, you will move them differently and have a lot of power. If you try to copy the movement externally, you will make slight internal mistakes and still fail to achieve nearly the full potential of what Push can be.

Of course, none of my views actually answers the question of how to translate 用意不用力 into English or Persian, but I think they may inform the choices translators make in doing so.

Take care,
Audi

Take care,
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby feng » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:22 am

"Use Yi, do not use Li", Yi in here means the meaning of the each movement of Tai Chi, Li means muscle power. So this sentence means: If you truly understand each movement's meaning(how to defense or attack) of Tai Chi, then you can relax muscle to practice Tai Chi or use less muscle power to practice Tai Chi.
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:57 pm

Feng,
I do agree with your thoughts on this, it's a good way of thinking of this expression.
This week I was working with one of my students on pushing hands and I was pretty amazed at the amount of tension he was holding in his wrists.
I'm pretty big on "flexible wrists" in TCC, well I'm big on "flexible everywhere" but you've got to start somewhere I usually start my students out with the idea of keeping the wrists flexible since most people are "hand centered" in their thinking.
If I can get someone to understand to keep their wrists flexible and also to understand why that's valuable then they usually figure out that the rest of the body has to follow suit as well.
Also, nine times out of ten the hands are the first point of contact with an opponent.
But I digress.
I stepped back from the pushing hands and I asked him to give me his arm.
I lightly grasped his wrist then I applied very mild Chin Na to it, which dropped him to one knee like a stone.
I did it a couple of times and each time he got even more tense in the wrists, most likely from knowing it was going to hurt.
No, I wasn't hurting him but there is some pain involved in Chin Na (he's one of my intermediate students, he's used to working with me, I wasn't picking on him).
I then had him take my wrist and attempt to apply Chin Na against me.
Because I keep my wrists loose and flexible his twisting of my wrist was entirely ineffective.
He tried quite a few times to apply Chin Na against my wrist joint, with the same result every time.
He asked what he was doing "wrong".
I told him that he was doing nothing wrong, he was applying the movements correctly against me.
So...
Why wasn't he able to apply against me?
Loose and flexible wrists do not allow the necessary tension to be applied to the next joint up the chain to respond to the applied torque from the twisting.
So by using my mind to keep myself loose and flexible I am able to overcome to force applied against me.
Of course, an opponent who can sense where I do hold tension in my body will always be able to apply some form of force against that tension.
Which is why I can apply against my student but he cannot apply against me.
I'm not in any way claiming to be invincible to Chin Na, there are those who can find my tension and apply against it.
Those are the people I like to train with!
Because when I find where I'm holding tension in my body I can then begin the process to remove it.
But for me the best way to start that process is to get my student to relax the wrists.

Bob
Bob Ashmore
 
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby meghdad » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:15 pm

Dear Friends,
I was reading one issue of the Association journal and came across a question asked by Mr. Mike Lucero from Master Yang. Since it is about the same topic that we are discussing I thought it might be useful to mention it here:

What is the meaning of "use intent rather than force?
Master Yang: let the body relax while practicing Tai Chi. Use your mind to lead the movement because where your mind goes, qi goes with it, and also goes the energy. When you do not use force, your body will be light, and your movements will become more natural. After you practice for a while and reach a higher level of mastering Tai Chi, your mind will become clear and centered. Your mind and body movements will become one. At that stage, your body will be able to perform Tai Chi movements without thinking.


Dear Audi,
I liked the story of the MMA fighter and I got your point. If I want to use this story to explain my intention I should say although there are quite suitable and close translations for Yi and Li in Persian Language, I thought they might not have the same weight due to the associations they might trigger in the readers mind. Besides a Taiji practitioner is already exposed to many Chinese words when reading books, listening to Masters and so on. Therefore I think in this context it only makes the reader more curious about the real meaning of Yi and also would stress the meaning of Jin when reading more about Li. Anyway, I know it might not work this way for all readers but hope it would do for most.


Take care,
Meghdad
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Re: a question about "Use Yi, do not use Li, 用意不用力"

Postby yslim » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:21 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:Feng,

So...
Why wasn't he able to apply against me?
Loose and flexible wrists do not allow the necessary tension to be applied to the next joint up the chain to respond to the applied torque from the twisting.
So by using my mind to keep myself loose and flexible I am able to overcome to force applied against me.
Of course, an opponent who can sense where I do hold tension in my body will always be able to apply some form of force against that tension.
Which is why I can apply against my student but he cannot apply against me.
I'm not in any way claiming to be invincible to Chin Na, there are those who can find my tension and apply against it.
Those are the people I like to train with!
Because when I find where I'm holding tension in my body I can then begin the process to remove it.
But for me the best way to start that process is to get my student to relax the wrists.

Bob


HI BOB,

THIS IS VERY GOOD. NO, IT IS BETTER THAN GOOD! YOU GOT MY EGO CORNERED IN MY NEUTRAL. FROM MY NEUTRAL I SALUTE TO THEE.

CIAO,
YSLIM, SPEECHLESS VIRGO
yslim
 
Posts: 134
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Location: Monterey,Ca. USA

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