Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:59 pm

Greetings Martin,

Yes, I saw the Praying Mantis kaihuachui link as well, but outside of the Bafa mijue I've never encountered 開花捶 as a term of art in taijiquan. That makes me wonder if Tan Mengxian had a Praying Mantis connection.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby Audi » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:38 pm

Greetings all,

"How to explain zhou?
Within this method are the Five Elements.
Yin and yang divide into above and below.


Martin and Louis, could either of you explain what the Five Elements/Phases have to do with Zhou, or why "above" and "below" are singled out? Also, what are the "six jins" that are referred to?
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:43 pm

Greetings Audi,

Re: Martin and Louis, could either of you explain what the Five Elements/Phases have to do with Zhou, or why "above" and "below" are singled out? Also, what are the "six jins" that are referred to?

Those are good questions, and honestly, I don’t know the answers. The wuxing wording seems almost like a perfunctory bow to traditional cosmology, but no hint is given to how it applies to zhou. Yang Jwing-Ming, by the way, aims for a more generalized way of translating wuxing in this document’s sentence 方法有五行: “Its methods have five possibilities.” (Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style, p. 19) In a way, that kind of demystifies it and plausibly makes wuxing merely a trope for “adaptability” and for making the technique fit the context. One could argue that’s always been the point of wuxing analogical thinking. For reference, Wile translates that line: “Our method must be reckoned by the Five Elements.” (T’ai-chi Touchstones, p. 34) As to the lines about “above and below,” and “six jins,” I’m baffled as to the meaning.

I see that Martin asked some questions about the phrase 開花捶 on another forum, and received some good answers. Someone pointed out that 開花 does in fact appear in a couple of early taijiquan documents by Li Yiyu as a counter when the opponent has neutralized one’s application of zhou (see Wile, Lost T’ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch’ing Dynasty, pp. 52, 54 / 131, 132; Yang Jwing-Ming, Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu and Li Styles, pp. 78-79, 87-88). Someone also made the point that chui 捶, while it can be a fist, really applies to the action involved rather than literally a fist. For example, in the Yang form, Turn Body and Strike, zhou comes into play as you turn following Fan Through Back, then zhou is followed by a back fist, or even by an open back-hand strike. Doug Woolidge, by the way, translates 開花捶 as ‘“blossoming flower” pound’ (Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan, p. 127).

The big question for me remains, who was Tán Mèngxián 譚夢賢?

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby extrajoseph » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:12 pm

黄文叔按:谭梦贤氏,为民国初年陆军大学之前辈,于文学、军学、技术,皆有深刻之研究,独到之领悟。素为儕辈所推重。尤其是太极一门,曾经多年苦练,遍访名师而述于右。非一般学太极者所能道也。

楊家太極拳各藝要義 - 黃文叔著
出版社:国术统一月刊社 出版日期:1936
简介:本书为《武术偶谈》及《各艺要义》之合刊本:《武术偶》包括练武之目的、练拳十则、推手十则、武当剑名称等。《各艺要义》包括十三势行功心解、太极拳名称、太极长拳名称及太极剑歌等。附:历代剑侠名人表等5篇。
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby extrajoseph » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:35 pm

谭系少侯先生早年弟子.
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:56 pm

Greetings extrajoseph,

Thank you for this information. I’ve found a downloadable pdf of Huang Wenshu’s 1936 book, and look forward to delving into that.

So, roughly,

According to Huang Wenshu, Mr. Tan Mengxian was a senior in the National Defense University of the early Republic whose deep study of literature, military studies, and technology all reflected original insights held in high esteem by his peers. In the school of taiji in particular, he underwent years of intensive training, both asking questions of famous masters and relaying [their teachings]. There was no aspect of taiji with which he was not conversant.

You also relate that Tan Mengxian was an early disciple of Yang Shaohou. Very cool!

All of this is good to know. 感謝!

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby extrajoseph » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:57 pm

Hi Louis,

Glad to be of assistance. You will find Tan gave a preface to Huang's book in which he wrote about the three essentails for Taijiquan from his point of view.

I enjoyed reading your translations, thank you,
XJ.
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby dragon x » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:32 pm

:D martin2 i would like to also welcum you to this forum and give you a big hug also. i have been here for about a year and i am already findin you knowledgeable. may we meet in other discussions. 8)

heping/peace 8)
....The Millstone moves but the mind does not .....
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby DPasek » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:45 pm

I do not really have specific insights on this song, and the following is purely speculation, but it may encourage further discussions.

In Taijiquan, the five phases are generally linked with weight shifts &/or stepping, and therefore may be being used here as a reference to forward, back, left and right, and with the additional reference to above and below, may then sum to the six directions (i.e. the XYZ of three dimensional space). The ability to use the elbow in all directions (i.e. ‘six energies’ or six directions) may result in ‘interlinked movements’ and ‘endless applications’, but it does not seem to me to be particularly profound or insightful. Also, I could not guess why the six directions may be specifically referenced for zhou since the six directions (also called swallow/spit, open/close, float/sink), to my understanding, is a general principal that should always be applied (in all of the ‘thirteen postures’), as is the reference to clearly distinguishing empty and full.

Is there anything specific to the use of the elbow being referred to in this song, or is this song merely repeating general Taijiquan principles?

Dan
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby DPasek » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:05 pm

Stuart Alve Olson (T’ai Chi According to the I Ching, 2001, p. 74) interprets the ‘six energies’ in this song as referring to “adhering, sticking, neutralizing, seizing, enticing, and issuing.”
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby martin2 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:34 pm

About the six jin:

My first impression was - this is the sevens songs - peng,lü, ji, an, cai, lie -

and then comes zhou in the traditional order.

So may be it is meant like that - first the first six jin and then zhou is coming.

Anyway - it is true - except the kai hua chui not much insight about zhou.

Some of the other songs are much interesting in my opinion.

All the best

Martin
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Re: Cai, Lie, Zhou, and Kao

Postby DPasek » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:16 pm

Hi Martin,

I have thought that zhou (and kao) could be used to express other energies in Taijiquan, and in Chen style I have been taught to use peng, lu, ji and an when doing knee-to-knee exercises (Note: I consider zhou to be primarily an indication of a change in range from the typical hand/wrist contact to the elbow/knee range; kao would be changing to the torso range of shoulder/chest/back/hips). From this perspective, you could be correct in interpreting the ‘six energies’ as referring to peng, lu, ji, an, cai and lie. While it would not be particularly common to grab (cai) with the elbow, I suppose that it is possible to trap someone in the bend of the elbow (or knee) in order to ‘grab’ them. More common would be using the elbow (or knee) when applying torque (lie).

Dan
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