I am currently pressed for time so I will have to be brief. I will try to squeeze as much in as I can before I must dash.
I think I made it clear that I was saying that this is how I, me, myself and only me, myself and I understood the practice.
Maybe I did misunderstand what Bill had to say about it. I have misunderstood things before and will again in the future, that's for certain. I will ask for clarity when he returns.
I think Cheefat may have hit the nail pretty squarely on the head with his assesment of the situation. My understanding of form requirements to know myself was, and still is, less than perfect. Learning to pay more attention to myself quickly lead, as I stated, to knowing my opponent more clearly.
So the practice was to get to know my opponent, just from inside myself out to him.
I was speaking only of the mindset of the practice of PH's as I was lead to understand it, not how PH's should be viewed by every person on the planet at all times, again I tried to make that clear but apparently failed.
If you pay attention to yourself, how you are standing, how you are thinking, what you are feeling, and become clear on those things first, then you will learn to understand your opponent better.
I bow to the classics, certainly. However, they are subject to interpretation and I've heard quite a few differeing translations and interpretations of the one you mention, some which seem to contradict themselves. I would not dream of making a judgement on the matter myself. I will leave that for those with the knowledge and understanding to do so, which I do not have.
If knowing yourself leads to a better understanding of your opponent... and in my experience and seemingly that of others it does, then we're working towards a common goal but from a different angle.
Since the goal is the same and only the path of understanding to reach the goal is different, we are certainly not that far apart.
I was most assuredly joking when I spoke of any impending danger to myself by Bill. I intended to place a smiley face there so that would be clear to others, but I forgot.
Bill has never pounded me into the ground like a tent stake, though I'm sure he's been tempted to on more than one occaison...
We joke around about that kind of thing, between ourselves, and so I joked here.
I hope I made myself clear, and will mention it again in the hopes of further clarity...
The above is how I understand this concept.
I tried to be clear that my understanding is imcomplete and suspect. Some of you seem to have missed that...
From extremem hardness comes extreme softness. This is a common expression. I believe it, but that in no way makes it true.
Form your own conclusion on the subject.
The second half of the statement was unequivocably mine and not a classic.
While I study the classics, I find that in terms of reality they only form an underlying philosophy and are often suspect to use as a firm, unequivocable guide for action.
I'm not disparaging the classics of TCC, I'm more making the point that if you fix your mind on one interpretation of them, and slavishly follow it without question, you are likely setting yourself up for a long, hard row to hoe.
Those who can speak and interpret Chinese have a hard time using the TCC classics as a guide, so I would fail miserably in any such attempt. Every single person has their own version of what they believe the classics say, much less what they mean. So the question you are left with when it comes to the classics is this:
Who do you beleive?
Unfortunately, since I can barely converse coherently in my native language, I must go the route of reading every last translation and even more interpretations of each translation to my native language in a search for clarity.
But this falls short of the intended goal for many reasons, not the least of which is because the classics are steeped in chinese culture, so while they may make perfect sense to someone who is in tune with that culture, those of us who were raised in other places, with a differing culture, sometimes cannot even imagine what they are trying to convey.
The process of translation in and of itself is an inexact science, at best. One person claims it translates to this set of words, another claims it says something entirely different. Each of these translators will then offer his unique interpretation of his own translation and claim that his is certainly much more correct than any other, and then others come behind them and interpret that same translation to English or French or Spanish or Japanese or Russian or Slavic, in their own way. Each of the people who then read a translation to a different language than Chinese will find an entirely different meaning in the classics, as well. So an English translation will convey an entirely different meaning to an English speaker than say a French translation will to a French speaker. The Chinese stays the same, but even two interpretors of the same language will come up with differing translations, how do we reconcile the fact that a Frech translation will convey an entirely different meaning of the exact same classic because it's in yet another language and being interpreted differently by a different culture?
It goes on forever and, unfortunately, I don't believe any of them are accurate. Not one. Not even a translation and intreptation to Cantonese from Mandarin will render you an entirely accurate picture.
I have limited time at present, so I will stay away from the fact that even two people who can read the original text in it's original language will interpret the same thing differently...
Oh, I just did that. Sorry.
So while I pay attention to the classics, I have found it much more conducive to real life practice to stick with what my instructor tells me. I have much less problems with interpretation that way. He speaks English, I speak English, so translation is not a problem. However, interpretation may be and that's where some problems lie.
I don't think I misintepreted what he told me, my PH's partner certainly sees this the same way I do, mostly, and I don't think we're both misreading the instruction.
I saw what Bill was teaching from the perspective I mentioned above. To learn through PH's how to understand myself while performing TCC. I concentrated on that and amazingly enough I found how to understand my opponent better, not completely by a long shot as I'm not even completely understanding myself yet, but better.
So the exercise worked in this fashion to reach the goal we are all stating, to come to a greater understanding of an opponent through training PH's. My interpretation of what I was taught to understand may be faulty, but if it was and is then it was a fortunate circumstance that I misunderstood, because it lead to a greater understanding of my art.
I did my best to pass on to you my mindset, my experience and how I reached that understanding and also did my best to convey that I felt that my understanding may be suspect but if so it worked.
We all have to decide for ourselves what is best. I only mentioned it in an endeavor to help others to maybe come to a better understanding as well.
Take my advice or don't as you see fit.
Thank you all for your comments and insights. I truly enjoy learning with you.
Please understand and never forget, I am a mere rank amateur at Yang family TCC. Take anything I say with a grain of salt and the understanding that I can only express my opinions and understandings, not that of others.
In no way is anyone to ever interpret what I say as carved in stone, now or ever. My understanding will change with time, as will everyones, and what I think is accurate today will turn out to be only one layer of the onion that I have managed to peel back. Later on I will peel back another layer and from that my understanding will change.
This is natural and expected.