The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:11 pm

HI, Louis
This one is for you. Based on your understanding and mine.
What is the difference between:
1. Taking a full step; and
2. Taking a solid step?



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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:39 am

Greetings CD,

The difference, to the extent I can answer your question, is that you have used different words for the same thing. Also, "taking a step" whether you call it a full step or a solid step, implies a process, not a state. The taijiquan practitioner doesn't only need to distinguish empty and full in fixed postures, but should do so when moving, correct? When you move from a rear-weighted stance to a front-weighted stance -- or the reverse -- the degree of muscle loading in the legs gradually changes. You might say one leg is "emptying" and the other leg is "filling." Moreover, the muscle loading is not only changing in the legs, but throughout the entire body – in the muscles of the abdomen, back, and torso. I'm sure you know that even when one foot is barely in contact with the ground, there is still some weighting in that foot. As soon as that foot leaves the ground, only then is there no weight in that foot, and when it is no longer in contact with the ground the muscle-loading profile of the entire body changes, and the center of gravity is affected. So distinguishing empty and full (分虛實) as a practice encompasses much more than just having most of the weight in one foot or the other in a static posture.

Your question, however, reminds me that serious taijiquan practice goes well beyond noticing if this foot is full and the other is empty. Li Yiyu (李亦畬; 1832–1892) offered good food for thought on the deeper implications of empty and full in taiji theory with the following illustration.

xushi tu.jpeg
xushi tu.jpeg (17.99 KiB) Viewed 827 times

The accompanying text that Li Yiyu wrote for the chart is:

左虛右實圖解

  實非全然站煞,實中有虛;虛非全然無力,虛中有實。上圖舉一身而言,雖是虛實之大概,究之週身,無一處無虛實,又離不得此虛實。總要連絡不斷,以意使氣,以氣運動。非身子亂挪,手足亂換也。虛實即是開合,走架、打手著著留心,愈練愈精,功彌久,技彌巧尚矣.
--李亦畬

My translation:
Full does not mean to completely stand firm; within full there is empty. Empty does not mean completely without strength; within empty there is full. The above chart speaks in reference to the whole body, and although it addresses emptiness and fullness in its broad dimensions, when we delve more minutely into the entire body, there isn’t a spot without empty and full, nor can one depart from this empty and full. One must keep them constantly conjoined, using the mind intent to employ the qi, and using the qi to mobilize movement. One must not let the body shift chaotically, nor let the hands and feet exchange in confusion. Emptying and filling, then, are just like opening and closing, so that in going through the form, or playing hands with a partner, you must engage your mind/heart in each and every movement. With more practice there will be greater refinement. The longer your efforts accumulate, the more your skills will be esteemed.
—Li Yiyu

Take care,
Louis
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:59 am

Greetings! Louis
Thank for the translation! Your Chinese are pretty good.
The explanation in the cited diagram are following the yin-yang principles as all Tai Ji practitioners are familiarized with.

Here is a better diagram with a complete explanation:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_a5d90c390102v71f.html

  四、腿部注明“屈”,是指膝关节而言。左懒扎衣的起势身躯重心在右腿,支撑全身,是实,然而又不可“全然站煞”,站得过死、过实。要“实中有虚”,精神贯注,自胯至膝至足关节肌肉都要松沉,体重落于足心涌泉穴。足心要虚,有吸引地心之意,故 《虚实开合图》注明“脚悬”。左腿虽虚,也要“一波三折”膝部微曲,有上提之意,足尖(脚前掌)点地,是虚,但虚也非“全然无力”,足尖着地处要有腾挪之势,上与胸部相系相副,故图中注明“提脚”。


In the diagram, he used two classic terms in describing the feet for 虚实:
提腳 and 腳悬
It took me awhile to figure it out. May I ask how would you interpret them?

In addition, how with you translate this line?
图中虚线之处表示“虚”,实线之处表示“实”
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:55 pm

Louis Swaim wrote:Greetings CD,

The difference, to the extent I can answer your question, is that you have used different words for the same thing. Also, "taking a step" whether you call it a full step or a solid step, implies a process, not a state. The taijiquan practitioner doesn't only need to distinguish empty and full in fixed postures, but should do so when moving, correct? .....

Louis


Louis,
Yes, you are correct! The taijiquan practitioner doesn't only need to distinguish empty and full in fixed postures, but should do so when moving. However, the argument of the OP was about a proper translation for 虛實(xu shi). I guess you have not answered my question that was particular addressed to you.
HI, Louis
This one is for you. Based on your understanding and mine.
What is the difference between:
1. Taking a full step; and
2. Taking a solid step?


This is your understanding 虛實. is empty and its complement is full ().
This in my understanding is solid and its complement is hollow ().

In ordinary daily language, taking a full step or a solid step is the same thing. As a taijiquan practitioner, taking a full step or a solid step has a big difference. For instance, taking a full step has the implication of the distance between the feet. Taking a solid step(實步) is to have the sole fully in contact with the ground which is a solid foot(實足 or 實腳).

I have no problem understand when empty and full were translated for 虛實. It is ok to say take a full step(實步); but it is kind of awkward when we say take an empty step(虛步). IMO It sounds much more straight forward in saying take a solid step(實步) or a hollow step(虛步).

Anyway, at this point of the argument is insignificant if one's mind has already been made up to please oneself.


Let nature take its course,
Wu Wei
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:11 pm

Greetings CD,

You wrote:
In the diagram, he used two classic terms in describing the feet for 虚实:
提腳 and 腳悬
It took me awhile to figure it out. May I ask how would you interpret them?

In addition, how with you translate this line?
图中虚线之处表示“虚”,实线之处表示“实”
~~~
提腳 would be "lifted," or "lifting" foot
腳悬 would be the foot is "suspended" (that is, as though it's "hanging")

The other line is from something the blog writer wrote, so I'm not sure what was intended. I would translate it: In the chart, "empty" is indicated outside the dotted line; "full" is indicated outside the solid line.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:22 pm

Greetings! Louis,
It's time for me to say you are somewhat facile on this one. :P :D
The translations 提腳 and 腳悬 are correct but I asked you how do you interpret them. In the diagrams, the first term is labeled at the left foot and the second is labeled right foot. Hence, it would mean that both feet are hanging in the air. Does that make sense?

图中虚线之处表示“虚”,实线之处表示“实”
Your translation:
The other line is from something the blog writer wrote, so I'm not sure what was intended. I would translate it: In the chart, "empty" is indicated outside the dotted line; "full" is indicated outside the solid line.


May I ask why you had translated one of the character is full and the other is solid? Why not translate both either full or solid? BTW This is the trap I was wishing that you would fall into! :)

Anyway, I think you had taken the character (place) as (outside).
Here is my translation:
In the diagram, in place of the hollow line(虚线) which indicates hollow. In place of the solid line(实线) which indicates solid.



Let nature take its course,
Wu Wei
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:07 pm

CD,

I'm honestly more interested in Li Yiyu's text that the schematic drawing itself, which is more open to interpretation, and rather idiosyncratic. Moreover, there are various versions of the chart. Some publications combine the left/right drawings into one chart. Some include the annotations “虛也” and “實也” to either side. The one I posted includes the annotation “變足” below the "feet," implying that what is being represented is not a static posture, but movement and change. I would just note that consistent with Li Yiyu's way of thinking, a "full" foot in contact with the ground would include the intention of lifting; an empty foot would be suspended if not in contact with the ground.

As for my translation of the blog writer's line, "dotted line" and "solid line" are conventional translations of 虛線 and 實線. Those terms are quite distinct and apart from the individual terms 虛 and 實.

Thanks for catching my error on 處 vs. 外. I was reading quickly, and 簡體字 is not my favorite way to read Chinese.

No need to lay any traps. I'm not inclined to fall into them.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:28 pm

Louis Swaim wrote:CD,
.....I would just note that consistent with Li Yiyu's way of thinking, a "full" foot in contact with the ground would include the intention of lifting; an empty foot would be suspended.


Louis

  四、腿部注明“屈”,是指膝关节而言。左懒扎衣的起势身躯重心在右腿,支撑全身,是实,然而又不可“全然站煞”,站得过死、过实。要“实中有虚”,精神贯注,自胯至膝至足关节肌肉都要松沉,体重落于足心涌泉穴。足心要虚,有吸引地心之意,故 《虚实开合图》注明“脚悬”。左腿虽虚,也要“一波三折”膝部微曲,有上提之意,足尖(脚前掌)点地,是虚,但虚也非“全然无力”,足尖着地处要有腾挪之势,上与胸部相系相副,故图中注明“提脚”。



According to the Mr. Li's description about 脚悬 and 提脚, the former(脚悬) is fully in contact with the ground and the latter(提脚) is partially in contact with the ground. The classic is very deceiving if one doesn't read it carefully. I had fallen into the trap at first. :cry: That was why I said it took me awhile to figure it out.
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:39 pm

Those aren't Li Yiyu's words, but the blogger's commentary/interpretation. I don't know who writer is of the blog that you posted.

Louis
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:41 pm

Those are Li Yiyu's own words.
Here is a better diagram of Li Yiyu's with a complete explanation:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_a5d90c390102v71f.html

  四、腿部注明“屈”,是指膝关节而言。左懒扎衣的起势身躯重心在右腿,支撑全身,是实,然而又不可“全然站煞”,站得过死、过实。要“实中有虚”,精神贯注,自胯至膝至足关节肌肉都要松沉,体重落于足心涌泉穴。足心要虚,有吸引地心之意,故 《虚实开合图》注明“脚悬”。左腿虽虚,也要“一波三折”膝部微曲,有上提之意,足尖(脚前掌)点地,是虚,但虚也非“全然无力”,足尖着地处要有腾挪之势,上与胸部相系相副,故图中注明“提脚”。
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:09 pm

Again, the "explanation" is modern commentary by some blogger. It doesn't even resemble the kind of writing that Li Yiyu handed down. Have a look at the heading of the blog: 清末李亦畲的《虚实开合图》研究 -- Research on the late Qing [dynasty's] Li Yiyu's xushi kaihe chart.
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:32 pm

Here’s a link to a page of some classic taijiquan texts, including some by Li Yiyu. The chart and Li’s explanation are at the very bottom. https://taijidc.wordpress.com/%E5%A4%AA ... %E5%85%B8/

To my knowledge that’s all Li Yiyu wrote about the chart. I first encountered it in the book by Tang Hao 唐豪 and Gu Liuxin 顧留馨, Taijiquan yanjiu 太極拳研究 (Research into Taijiquan). It also appears in Shen Shou’s Taiji Quanpu 沈壽, 太極拳譜.
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:10 pm

Louis Swaim wrote:Again, the "explanation" is modern commentary by some blogger. It doesn't even resemble the kind of writing that Li Yiyu handed down. Have a look at the heading of the blog: 清末李亦畲的《虚实开合图》研究 -- Research on the late Qing [dynasty's] Li Yiyu's xushi kaihe chart.


It is difficult to read his chart without a good explanation from a knowledgeable individual.

So, are you suggesting that because it was a modern commentary by some blogger, thus it should be invalidated and discarded its content entirely? May I ask are you judging the book by its jacket?
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:36 pm

Hi CD,

I think I've been pretty clear, and I've said what I want to say.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:27 am

Back to the OP...
So, why spend all these effort arguing which foot is solid or hollow. Well, it is a serious business for Tai Ji teachers as well as student. If a person knows which one is the solid foot, then, instantly one would know a yang state was attained in a particular position. Thus it saves a lot of time for unnecessary explanation. Also, the centroid was known where it was located. Indeed, a smooth transition will take place in every practice.
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