Tackling

Tackling

Postby Audi » Sun May 20, 2001 7:28 pm

There is a story in the Chinese lore about either Yang Lu Chan or Yang Cheng Fu meeting a Chinese wrestler in competition and demonstrating his superiority to the wrestler so throroughly at the first touch or two that the match was aborted. I know next to nothing about Chinese wrestling, but I would be curious as to what folks would think would be the appropriate T'ai Chi response to an attempted wrestling-style tackle or one-leg takedown. The normal American-style wrestling response is to sprawl, with the chest, hands, or arms on the opponent's shoulders so as to remove the feet from harm's way.

I have occasionally pushed with people who retreat very low and far to the rear and have wondered how they would counter an attempt to seize their lead foot or to lift their knee. Does anyone think that this is just a question of proper sticking/adhering energy?

Respectfully submitted,
Audi
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Postby gene » Mon May 21, 2001 10:53 pm

Hi Audi:

Some wrestlers (as you know, since you used to wrestle) are awfully quick and the answer of course depends on how low and at what angle they shoot. With that qualification, since the highest form of martial art is not being there, I vote for stepping left or right and allowing the opponent to spend force in a vacuum. (It works for bullfighters!) If the opponent is not very good and comes in waist high, you might have a look at the second Golden Rooster Stands On One Leg - retreat and bring the knee up into the opponent's face or upper body. While this is a "hard" application, I don't think it's force against force, because by the time you apply the strike the opponent will already have spent his force (hopefully). One observation: In wrestling, the goal after the sprawl is to gain an advantage on the ground and eventually get the pin and win the match. The goal in self-defense is much different.

Gene
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Postby DavidJ » Tue May 22, 2001 12:53 am

Hi Audi,
Such a sequence as you gave where a Tai Chi master met with a wrestler and after contact, didn't have a match, is attributed to the Chen Master Chen Fake.
It is mentioned in this month's Tai Chi magazine, vol. 25 No. 2 on page 19.
David
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Postby Audi » Sat Jun 02, 2001 9:39 pm

Hi Gene, David, Steve, and others,

David, I read the same article about Chen Fa Ke, but forgot about it. For some reason, I still recall a similar story about Yang Lu Chan. I have a similar confusion about a mad-dog story, where one source talks about Yang Lu Chan and another about Chen Fa Ke dispatching a rabid dog with one kick or blow. Thanks for the correction. I apologize if I did not get the source right in this case.

Another inspiration for my question was reading about a U.S. martial arts school that draws inspiration form Jeet Kun Do and takes a very dim view of the "current state of Asian martial arts" and concepts like qi. They focus on three aspects of fighting: Western boxing techniques for long distance punching, American wrestling for fighting from a clinch, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for grappling on the ground.

As a thought exercise, I have viewed their claims from my T'ai Chi perspective. I have to say that I agree that T'ai Chi is somewhat lacking in not addressing ground fighting, but attribute this to its possible origin or development as a battlefield martial art, where fighting on the ground is likely suicide.

To avoid having to fight on the ground, many view avoiding being tackled or having one's legs seized as a critical skill. Many of those who like grappling claim that most street fights end up involving grappling.

As for the effectiveness of a grappling attack, I have looked both to my Karate and wrestling experience for guidance. My Karate had no hand-to-leg techniques I can recall, but frequently during sparring, one partner would grab the other's kicking leg. Although we did not drill this, I found the position devasting for the kicker, since his or her root was gone and completely under the control of the other person.

The only technique I found that occasionally worked well in this position was to place the leg under control on my opponent's abdomen, "hop forward" to thrust the toes of my formerly standing leg behind the Achilles tendon of my opponent's lead leg, and then scissor my legs to topple the opponent over backwards. I do not pretend that this sounds much like T'ai Chi.

Gene, although dodging is a time-honered martial technique, I have always wondered whether it is consistent with T'ai Chi's connecting, adhering, and sticking philosophy. I have also wondered whether this is a point on which T'ai Chi and Aikido, for instance, differ. I can cite no authority, but it seems to me that dodging is completely yin, does not engage the opponent's force, does not really transform the opponent's energy into anything, and does not lead to continuity or control of movement. Do you have an opinion from this perspective?

At least in wrestling, I also recall that dodging seemed to present two defects. First, the attacker usually would spread his arms wide so that "escaping" purely by dodging was usually not possible. Moreover, a good shooter would usually retain an ability to pump his legs. While doing this, covering a 12-foot distance in two or three steps to seize one or both legs of the defender was really not a problem.

Secondly, dodging forced you to leave your initially weighted foot behind and vulnerable. Although the shooter and the dodger appeared to be doing mirror image things, in many ways it was not really so. The shooter needed to sink only slightly to store up power for a shoot, whose speed was limited only by leg power. To be safe, the dodger had to spring upward, vertically pivot the legs out of harms way, and fall back to earth no faster than the speed of gravity.

Since this was rarely a successful defense, I recall dispensing with any sense of dodging, but simply trying to maintain the correct contact with my opponent's hands or shoulders and "kicking" my legs backward out of the way into a sprawl. That way, I did not have to wait for my legs to land to have leverage. Again, what I propose is, of course, not consistent with T'ai Chi.

On another thread, Steve James mentions grabbing to defend against a striker and striking to defend against a grabber. This sounds interesting, but seems to reflect different thinking from the Chen Fa-Ke story and perhaps involves using "force against force." It also sounds quite demanding of precision, since you may get only one strike to stop what might feel like an oncoming freight train. Also, the penalty for failure may be complete loss over one's control over contact with the ground.

I suppose a defense may have something to do with maintaining enough upward ward off energy on the opponent's hands and arms. This might make the attacker feel incapable of sinking or at least vulnerable to a following strike if he or she tried too hard to disconnect from the sticking.

I have no answers, but was curious what others might come up with. Thank you all for the responses.

Happy practice,
Audi
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Postby gene » Tue Jun 12, 2001 8:00 pm

Audi:

I'm afraid I don't have good answers to the questions you have raised, but I can tell you what I think. Sticking, connecting and adhering, to me, are methods of sensing the opponent's intention and causing him to go further than he would like to go, enabling you to gain advantage. I don't think these concepts should be limited to physical contact, though - I prefer to think of them as sticking, connecting and adhering to the opponent's intention, not necessarily his body. In fact, I think the highest form of art is not being there at all. If a person lunges at you to tackle, and you can sense the intention, evade, and allow him to spend force uselessly, then I believe you have followed the highest taiji principle of all, which is never to oppose force with force. I agree with you that in certain situations, especially against a good shooter, stepping left or right may not work. But I have used these methods to good effect in applications classes - although, now that I think of it, I have not only moved my feet, but used my front hand to assist in pushing the attacker to the ground. I have done this best when I have moved quickly and lightly, not taking my feet very high off the ground, and not leaping - and also, when I have begun the movement while the opponent is still at safe distance. (I also think that part of the reason for not getting out of the way can be that a person becomes transfixed and immobilized by the attacker's intention to take him to the ground.) As the old sentiment goes, I do not move until my opponent moves, but when he moves, I have already moved first. As to the yin/yang question, stepping left or right is primarily yin, but if it causes the opponent to uproot himself, I think it's good taiji. I keep thinking of one of Napoleon's rules of infantry combat: When the opponent is in the process of destroying himself, do not interfere. Although, I think Napoleon may have been a Chen stylist.

Best regards,

Gene
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Postby Audi » Sat Jun 30, 2001 11:57 pm

Hi Gene,

Thanks for your further response. By the way, I forgot to congratulate you on your article in the next-to-last edition of T'ai Chi magazine. It was nice to see a friend recognized and see a picture of your new inspiration.

In your last post you mentioned using your front hand to assist your opponent to the ground. Do you recall whether your front hand principally contacted the opponent's body or his or her hands and arms at the most decisive or powerful part of the movement?

Also, do you recall whether you were urged to maintain an erect posture even as the opponent fell? One of my questions is whether responding to an attempt to seize my legs would ever involve (1) leaning into the opponent, wrestling-style, (2) doubling over somewhat (as I have read or seen in many versions of Needle at Sea Bottom, for instance), (3) squatting with thighs parallel to the ground, or (4) who knows what.

As for the necessity of physical contact versus "not being there at all," I would really be very curious as to what others may have to say or what you might have to add. I would particularly be interested if anyone relates "not being there at all" to any specific T'ai Chi energies or strategies or simply advocates this idea on general principle.

I was reading the other day from T’ai Chi Ch’uan Ta Wen and found some passages bearing on our discussion that I would like to share. Before excerpting from the passages, I will explain my understanding of the “authority” of this work for the benefit of anyone reading who may not be familiar with it.

As I understand it, the version of the book that I have is an English translation by Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo and Robert W. Smith (slightly rearranged or reedited) of a work entitled T’ai Chi Ch’uan Ta Wen (Questions and Answers on T’ai Chi Ch’uan) written by Chen Wei-Ming, a student of Yang Cheng Fu. Chen Wei-Ming apparently wrote the book based on what he learned in Yang Cheng Fu’s classes.

Here is the first passage I found interesting, from page 26. I think it may illustrate some of your views:

“Q: Can you have listening energy without sticking?
A: Perhaps. The internal school has three levels: Ching [Spelled Jing in Pinyin. I think the reference is to “essence”] transforms to Ch’I [qi], Ch’I transforms to Shen [spirit], and Shen transforms to Hsu [xu] (emptiness). If one reaches the first level the body becomes strong and outside forces cannot penetrate. If one reaches the second level this practice transforms the body so that it instantly responds to the mind. If one reaches the third level then one forgets the opponent and self, the body and mind do not exist but become empty. Reaching this level you are able to control your opponent without touching him.”

On page 30, there is the following passage, which I also think may illustrate some of your views:

“Q: Can you listen to [the opponent’s] chin [jin] [power/energy/strength] without actually adhering to him?
A: Generally, when I stick to him I can hear him and he can’t push me because I can listen to his chin. If I don’t stick to him and he pushed me out, it is because I cannot feel his “nonstick chin.” Exceptional practitioners, however, can hear the opponent’s energy without actually touching him.”

On pages 31-32, there is the following passage, which I have heavily redacted and which illustrates one of my points:

“Q: How do you use Taichi’s free fighting?
A: Taichi’s free fighting must be nourished by the listening energy of push-hands. Only when you have this energy can you use free fighting correctly. If you can’t stick with your opponent then you don’t know t’ing chin [ting jin] (listening energy) and your free fighting will be only external boxing’s blocking and disconnecting. Each movement will then be incorrect….In short, Taichi free fighting is different from other martial arts because it is based on adherence and listening whereas the free fighting of the other martial arts lacks these sensibilities.

The following series of questions and answers on pages 32-33 goes to the heart of my original post, but provides some ambiguity:

“Q: Suppose you meet a fighter of another school and his hands and feet are so quick that you cannot stick to him. What do you do?
A: Other martial arts maintain a certain distance while fighting. But if the distance is too far apart the opponent will not be able to reach me. If he wants to hit me the distance between us must close so that the arms and legs can reach. When he closes you can stick and use listening energy. Then, if he is fast, you are fast; if he is slow, you are slow. At this moment you can’t be afraid. Simply stick—there is no danger. Only if you do not have listening energy will he have the advantage.

“Q: But what if the listening energy of your opponent is the same as yours: Can one still use free fighting?
A: It would be difficult to apply. This is because both are able to listen and neither will disconnect. If one does separate and effectively uses free hand fighting it means his level is higher. A good Taichi practitioner will stick with the opponent and not allow him to use the free hand. Therefore sticking with the hands is very important. Don’t disregard it!”

It was having once read thoughts like these that led me to consider my original post. Having also read elsewhere that tackling and grappling may be involved in many self-defense situations, I was unsure what T’ai Chi theory would have to say on the matter.

Any comments or questions would be welcome.

Best regards,
Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jul 01, 2001 11:19 pm

Greetings Audi,

You seem to keep coming up with issues that I feel compelled to comment on! I apologize to other discussants if the following tangent is tedious and arcane, but Audi, you seem to have an appreciation of these language matters, so here goes.

I’ve read some of the Chinese text for Chen Weiming's _Taijiquan Da Wen_, and compared the original with the Lo/Smith translation.

In the Smith/Lo translation, tingjin often appears as a nominal phrase: "listening energy." This is fine. The Chinese indeed do often use it this way, and a good parallel term in English might be "discernment." The emphasis in the nominal usage is on the skill of the practitioner in discerning something. In English we speak of a musician's "ear." carpenter’s “hand” or an architect's "eye" in similar fashion—the information that is the object of the discernment is not expressed, but implied. But a close look at the actual wording in the Da Wen text reveals that tingjin is only rarely used nominally there. The Smith/Lo rendering, I discover, is rather free in many sections. Take, for example the quotation from Yang Chengfu halfway down p.32:

"In free fighting there is no one set way; it all depends on circumstances. If you know listening energy you know a hundred ways, but if you don't know t'ing chin, even if you know many techniques, you will not be able to use them." --Smith/Lo, p. 32

In the second sentence of the Chinese text, "tingjin" is preceded by the character "hui" (able to) in the first instance, and "bu hui" (not able to) in the second instance. Clearly, then, ting functions as a verb in both cases, taking the object "jin."

My rendering of the Yang Chengfu quotation would be:

"Taijiquan's sanshou follows opportunity and responds to changes (sui ji ying bian); there is no fixed method. If you are able to ting jin, then upon hearing one, you'll know a hundred*; if you are unable to ting jin, although [you may have] many techniques, they will still be of no good use."

Interestingly, Smith/Lo translate with a bit more fidelity on the previous page, when they render, "If you are unable to stick [nian], you can't listen to his strength (bu neng ting ren zhi jin). If you can't listen to strength you can't follow in any direction, and therefore can't use free fighting." (actually, "follow in any direction" is spelled out with a lot more specific detail in the orig.)

Another passage where Lo/Inn have nominalized tingjin is in the sanshou material you quoted from p. 31, where they have “listening energy” and “this energy.” My rendering below is to demonstrate the verbal usage of ting in the original Chinese—a transitive verb taking jin as its object. In the final sentence, tingjin does appear to be nominal, although an argument might be made that the “how to” is assumed based on the preceeding wording.

"The more than 70 forms of taijiquan are all sanshou. Given this sanshou, then, why is it necessary to also practice the method of tuishou? It might be said that the transformations (bianhua) of taijiquan's sanshou all come from the transformations of tuishou. If you are able to ting jin (neng ting jin), then you will apply the methods of sanshou, and do so appropriately. If you do not adhere to the opponent, and do not know tingjin (zhi tingjin), then your use of san shou will merely be like the patterned strikes of waijia boxers, and will not necessarily be appropriate." (my trans., cf. Smith/Lo, p. 31)

I’ve noticed that the nominalization of verbal constructions is fairly common in Chinese speech and writing. This comes in part, I think, from a common rhetorical device in which the speaker mentions a term and then asks, “What is tingjin?” or “What is meant by tingjin?” This almost invariably results in a sort of formula or convention that unfortunately comes across in English as though the subject is some kind of “quantity”—a “something” one either has or does not, rather than an action one takes or a process one engages in.

*Note: The phrase, "wen yi zhi bai," is a chengyu meaning the ability to extrapolate or infer the situation based upon the information at hand.

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 07-02-2001).]
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Jul 08, 2001 12:17 am

Hi Louis,

my I ask about your Chinese background? I am
only a beginner in learning Chinese and
I stumbled over two points:

>In the second sentence of the Chinese >text, "tingjin" is preceded by the >character "hui" (able to) in the first >instance, and "bu hui" (not able to) in >the second instance. Clearly, then, ting >functions as a verb in both cases, taking >the object "jin."

If I am not mistaken, you can, e.g. say
"Wo hui Yingwen" - I know how to speak Chinese. That does not make Yingwen a verb/nominal combination IMHO. Are you sure
a prefix of "hui" implies a verb?


>I’ve noticed that the nominalization of >verbal constructions is fairly common in >Chinese speech and writing. This comes in >part, I think, from a common rhetorical >device in which the speaker mentions a >term and then asks, “What is tingjin?” or “>What is meant by tingjin?” This almost >invariably

Isn't it that verb/object combination can
simply have different functions in different contexts? E.g. "fanyi" can mean
"translator" or "to translate", depending
on the context?

Regards,

Andreas
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:38 am

Greetings Andreas,

You wrote:
‘If I am not mistaken, you can, e.g. say "Wo hui Yingwen" - I know how to speak Chinese. That does not make Yingwen a verb/nominal combination IMHO. Are you sure a prefix of "hui" implies a verb?’

Well, Yingwen would actually be English (Chinese would be Zhongwen, Zhonguo hua, Guoyu, Hanyu, etc.). One often says, “Wo hui shuo Yingwen,” with the verb “shuo”—“to speak.” This would be “I know how to speak English.” But yes, one can also say “wo hui Yingwen”— “I know English,” or “I’m able in English,” or “I understand English.”

I’m not arguing that tingjin is never a nominal term: “listening energy.” But ting is a verb, and even “listening” is a kind of verbal noun (a gerund). So I’m just trying to demonstrate tingjin is something that one does as opposed to something that one has. I suppose that the more one does it, the more one has of it, but the doing is crucial, wouldn’t you agree?

As for my Chinese background, I had numerous years of training as an undergrad and as a grad student, including the requisite overseas study. I remain happily an amateur, in the ‘to love’ sense of the word. I’m prone to mistakes, I’m sure.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby gene » Thu Jul 12, 2001 7:07 pm

Hi Audi:

Sorry for the delay in responding. Once again, I don't have good answers for your excellent questions. I certainly don't think my success at evading a tackle was related to high level taijiquan, as discussed in the quotes you cite. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every so often.

I don't remember whether I was leaning when I stepped left. I think my right (front) hand touched the back of my partner's right shoulder as he tried to grab low. More as a guide than a real push.

Here are two interesting quotes from the April 2001 issue of T'ai Chi:

1. From Graham Horwood's article, at page 44: "An attack is yang. Therefore, if it is received in a yin manner, the yang attack will be negated by this receptive posture, just as the toreador redirects the charge of the bull with the yin action of his cape."

2. From Zhang Yun's article, at page 36: "Basically, Taijiquan skills depend on your sensitivity. If you lose contact with your opponent (this does not mean just physical contact, but also mind and Shen, spirit), you cannot feel him anymore, so that you cannot apply your taijiquan skills." Note the definition of contact to include more than physical contact.

The opponent's body is just a manifestation of his intention. That's why we want to adhere and stick - to get more information about his intention. But if we can work with his intention at the source, without physical contact, why not do so? Minimum effort, maximum results. Four ounces, a thousand pounds.

Best regards,

Gene
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Postby Audi » Sat Jul 21, 2001 9:04 pm

Hi Louis, Gene, Andreas, and others,

Louis, thank you very much for comments. I was aware of the grammatical possibilities you raised, but have always been unsure as to how much they were respected by translators.

Your greater point, morever, is an excellent one I believe. The more experience I get in T'ai Chi the more I believe that T'ai Chi is something one does or practices more than something one learns. The mystery is in the depth of the understanding, not in its initial discovery. Most of what I now treasure are things that I think can be learned in single day of hard study with a good teacher. All the years do is deepen the understanding and help make connections between various phenomena.

By the way, as far as grammar goes, I find it interesting that "jin" can either mean the opponent's energy or the practitioner's, depending on whether phrases like "ting jin" (sensing energy) are interpreted as gerund plus object (listening to energy) or participle plus noun (energy which listens). I used the verb "sensing" in the first instance to make this ambiguity clearer.

Gene, I see your point about mental and spiritual energies; however, I interpreted his references as additive and not indicating alternatives. As a result, I interpreted Zhang Yun as saying: "You must not only touch the opponent physically, you must also touch his or her mind and spirit and not lose touch with any of these."

Take care all,
Audi
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Jul 22, 2001 7:15 pm

Hello Louis and Audi,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Greetings Andreas,

verbal noun (a gerund). So I’m just trying to demonstrate tingjin is something that one does as opposed to something that one has. I suppose that the more one does it, the more one has of it, but the doing is crucial, wouldn’t you agree?
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was basically just wondering about the
grammatical reasoning you did to show that
tingjin is a verb. It didn't and still does
not sound conclusive to me.
From a practical perspective, you sure do
listen.

I think some translational quirks come from
the tradition of translating "jin" with
"energy". I think this is suboptimal for
several reasons. Some of these can be found
here:
http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/articles/jumin_transljin_en.html


Regards,

Andreas
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jul 24, 2001 3:01 am

Greetings Andreas,

You wrote:

“I was basically just wondering about the
grammatical reasoning you did to show that
tingjin is a verb. It didn't and still does
not sound conclusive to me.”

I'm not sure how conclusive it is either. I can only say that my remarks are based, among other things, on a close reading of Chen Weiming's text, and on the fact that in some related sentences in the section in question, ting is unmistakably a verb taking jin as an object, as for example where the Smith/Lo translation (p. 31) reads:

"If you are unable to stick [nian], you can't listen to his strength [bu neng ting ren zhi jin]. If you can't listen to strength [bu neng ting ren zhi jin] you can't follow in any direction, and therefore can't use free fighting."

As for the interview article you linked, I'm wondering if the process of translating from Chinese to German to English may have created some problems. For example, there is a misquote of the taijiquan aphorism, "Yong yi, bu yong li" (Use mind/intent, not strength) as "Yong jin, bu yong li." Perhaps this is just a typing error?

I actually like the suggested German word "kraft" for jin, insofar as it means "strength, force, or power." I would point out, however, that although the English word "craft" comes from the German root "kraft," it seldom carries this meaning of "strength," but rather "skill, dexterity" or an occupation or activity involving those qualities.

By and large, I understand and agree with what Chen Jumin says in the interview, but it is unclear to me why he objects to the word "energy" for jin, when he says in the closing lines, "Energy? You cannot say this. It's a strength skill."

My knowledge of German is almost non-existent. In the interview, was the word appearing as "energy" the German word "energie" or perhaps "tatkraft?" Is there a significant semantic difference between these two words? The "tat" prefix seems to imply "activity"--actions or deeds of some kind. I'm just curious about the entailments, and how they may differ from English entailments of the word "energy" (which are several ).

Again, there is no indication in the interview about what Chen Jumin objects to in the translation of jin as "energy." Just as in his statement (with which I'm in full agreement) that "You always need muscles for movement.", I would suggest that you always need energy for "a strength skill." In other words, you cannot have movement, strength, or skill without energy. Isn't this obvious?

My own translation of the word jin is "integrated strength/sensitivity." However, in my opinion there are many instances in traditional taijiquan writings where the word energy (in English) works just fine for translating jin, if one understands energy here in the sense of kinetic energy. It really depends upon the context. To really be semantically careful about things, I would not make an unqualified statement that jin as it is used in the taiji context means “energy,” but rather that jin is a particular instance of, and a particular configuration or disposition of, energy. Skill, of course (and the required mind intent: "yi") is a prerequisite for jin. But to translate jin as "skill," in my opinion, would not be strictly correct either. Jin is rather the product of a process involving skill. Hence the aphorism, "Yong yi, bu yong li."

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 07-24-2001).]
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Postby Audi » Sun Aug 05, 2001 8:52 pm

Hi Louis and Andreas,

I just came back from a Yang family seminar on Long Island which 95% of which Yang Jun taught in English. Although I am sure he does not hold himself out as an authority on English vocabulary, his explanations in English were exceedingly clear and often much simpler and more direct than many explanations I have heard from native English speakers.

During the seminar, he used the words "energy" and "power" where I would have expected to hear the Chinese word "jin." Mostly, he would be explaining that a particular movement would lack energy or power if not accompanied with proper waist movement or weight shifts.

Since nouns almost never have one-to-one correspondences between languages, I am slowly coming to the opinion that although I would explain each of the words "qi," "li," and "jin" using a variety of English words, it might be best in translation to reserve "energy" for "qi," "strength" for "li," and "power" for "jin." To my understanding, "strength" and "power" have a similarly vague relationship to each other as do "li" and "jin," with the connotation in each case that "power/jin" requires an element of "strength/li," but is not limited by it at all. A powerful technique may require little use of strength, but some is always required. A powerful technique also focuses on something about the manner of execution, rather than on the raw strength of the practioner. (Physically strong practitioners can have weak techniques.) Lastly, "power," like "jin" is also something that can be refined and can be applied to subtler activities, such as listening, understanding, etc.

As for German, I think that "Kraft" does indeed have a slightly wider connotation than "strength." In the case of "dong jin," for example, a compound like like "verstaendniskraft" might be acceptable, whereas "understanding strength" seems forced to my English speaking ear. I think "power" includes most of the meanings of "macht" plus some of the meaning of "kraft." The only issue I might have with translating "dong jin" as "understanding energy" is that it leads to confusion with "qi"; hence I think I now prefer "understanding power."

Take care,
Audi
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Aug 08, 2001 6:48 pm

I spoke briefly with Yang Zhenduo about ting jing and dong jing. Our conversation was a little hurried so I wasn't able to get a conclusive statement from him but he seemed to be agreeing when I asked him if it was so that ting jing is not really a type of jing, but rather, listening to the opponent's jing .

As to the whole fracas about how to translate jing or jin - and Audi has touched on this elsewhere recently - I think there will always be some mismatch between words in western languages and Chinese terms like qi, jin . So when you translate you are making compromises with this, and accepting translation conventions or equivalents which then build into a kind of technical terminology in the language which you are translating into. Most of these things are taiji technical terms in Chinese; they will inevitably be technical terms in the western languages they are translated into. Some people feel that their choice of rendering is holy and everyone else is wrong. These are generally people who have great confidence in their martial arts knowledge and ability and little or no knowledge of the Chinese language. The difficulty with this sort of thing is that they are conveying their own, personal, current understanding of the art, rather than translating. I have no quibble with people giving their interpretations. The difficulty comes when they confuse relaying their current understanding with the process of translation, which is different.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-08-2001).]
JerryKarin
 
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