Dong Yingjie form photos

Postby JerryKarin » Tue Sep 28, 2004 4:28 pm

Yang Zhenduo pronounces it bi4, but his books have the character for 'back'. People have tried to propound explanations hingeing on dialect differences and Yang Luchan's supposed illiteracy, but I do not think those explain many of the differences, which to my mind result from a large inventory of variants of traditional names which predate the Yangs and probably the Chens as well. Some of the changes made by the Yangs were intentional, such as Lan Que Wei.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Sep 28, 2004 4:32 pm

Greetings Jeff,

Your linguistics background probably puts you in a better position than mine to assess the role of dialect pronunciation on naming variants. My sense of it is that variant names are most likely individual masters’ nicknames or pet names for movements that eventually took hold. You know how word play is valued in Chinese culture, and it may be that renaming a form, and perhaps playing with words close in sound or meaning, was a way of appropriating the art under one’s mantle (or coat). Way back on this board there was some discussion of a theory that some of the Yang form names were mis-pronunciations of earlier Chen names due to dialect variation. A classic example in that theory is the Yang form Ru Feng Si Bi (Like Sealing, As if Closing) resulted from a mis-hearing of the Chen form name, Liu Feng Si Bi (Six[ty] Sealing, Four[ty] Closing). I find that theory problematic on several grounds. First, the Chen form in question shares little resemblance to the Yang form, secondly, the Yang name has solid semantic grounding in the actual functionality of the form with that name, and thirdly, we have little in the way of evidence that confirms which form names were recorded and standardized, by whom, and when, in their respective traditions.

Here’s an old post from that earlier board discussion that addresses the specific form name you mention:

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000016.html

I certainly agree that these variants, whether across lineages or within them, make for some fascinating speculation.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 09-29-2004).]
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:05 pm

Greeting Louis,

You wrote, > You know how word play is valued in Chinese culture, and it may be that renaming a form, and perhaps playing with words close in sound or meaning, was a way of appropriating the art under one?s mantle (or coat). <

The name 'Two Birds Flying' is funny, because the move is in a place in the first section held by 'Grasping the Sparrows Tail' to the Right and then to the Left. It's like the Sparrows were no longer Grasped.

Regards,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 09-28-2004).]
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Postby Andreas Graf » Thu Sep 30, 2004 10:38 pm

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

I agree that the action you describe is part of the movement, but I¡¯m not certain that it accounts for the name of the form, ¡°Fan Through Back.¡± I think the name is more likely based on the two arms¡¯ </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It might also be a name variant of the original Chen style posture "shan tong bei", where "shan" is "shan3", "flash". It is a quick movement in the laojia yi lu.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:07 am

Hi Andreas,

You wrote: ‘It might also be a name variant of the original Chen style posture "shan tong bei", where "shan" is "shan3", "flash". It is a quick movement in the laojia yi lu.’

Yes, I mentioned the “flash through the back” name appearing in the Chen yilu further up in the thread. These variant names seem to be all over the map, and again, I don’t think we can definitively say which name may have derived from which, since we don’t know when they were first written down, etc.

It could be that Tong Bei Quan influenced all of the variant Taijiquan names for that form. Here’s an explanation for the name of the martial art called Tong Bei Quan (I can’t find the link to the site at the moment):

“Tong means unobstructed, open, pass through, joined up, or connect something together; bei means arms or back. Tongbei means both arms and back connect together so that the arm can be longer, internal force can be passed through smoothly, and qi can be developed to the hands.”

I learned just a little Tong Bei many years ago from Alex Wong. I just remember it as quick, powerful, flashing motions, but I never learned it well enough to say much more about it.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:27 am

Andreas,

Here’s more from a different site: http://www.tongbei.homestead.com/Principle.html

See this passage on the terminology:

‘It is also important for martial arts researchers and historians to understand that the term "tongbei" is used elsewhere in Chinese martial arts. Many styles use this word to convey the concept of lengthening the arms and relaxing the shoulders. It is also used to describe a specific practice involving the back and arms (e.g., Fan Through the Back - Shan Tongbei in Taiji Quan). There are also other styles of martial arts that include Tongbei as part of their name, like the style Hongdong Tongbei.’

--Louis
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Oct 03, 2004 4:17 pm

Hi Louis,

I am aware of the "Tong Bei" arts and the general meaning of the expression. What I intended to say is that when you look at the Yang form and the Laojia Yilu, "shantongbei" is pretty much at the same position in the form and you can see how both movements are related. So I don't think the naming is coincidentally the similar.


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

Here’s more from a different site: http://www.tongbei.homestead.com/Principle.html

See this passage on the terminology:

‘It is also important for martial arts researchers and historians to understand that the term "tongbei" is used elsewhere in Chinese martial arts. Many styles use this word to convey the concept of lengthening the arms and relaxing the shoulders. It is also used to describe a specific practice involving the back and arms (e.g., Fan Through the Back - Shan Tongbei in Taiji Quan). There are also other styles of martial arts that include Tongbei as part of their name, like the style Hongdong Tongbei.’

--Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 03, 2004 6:18 pm

Greetings Andreas,

I’m not all that convinced about the similarity between the movements of the Chen and Yang sequences named Shan Tong Bei. I do think that a broader point could possibly be made that in both cases, a more general martial arts principle—tong bei—a penetrating and connecting through the arms and back, is an objective the sequence. The sequences themselves, however, are substantially different. I also observe that the Yang form name, “Fan Through Back” is semantically grounded in the action of the arms—a fanning out from a hinge point in the spine. To me this suggests that the Yang form name reflects innovation rather than mere derivation.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby tai1chi » Sun Oct 03, 2004 8:36 pm

Hi Louis,

you wrote:

"I also observe that the Yang form name, “Fan Through Back” is semantically grounded in the action of the arms—a fanning out from a hinge point in the spine. To me this suggests that the Yang form name reflects innovation rather than mere derivation."

In terms of the motion, "a fanning out from a hinge point," the Yang style seems to emphasize one side of the hinge. I.e., it's not an equal "fanning", or am I mistaken. There's a photo on the site http://www.taichiyangfamily.it/albumfotografico.htm

The fanning action is not equal, not nearly as equal as in "Cross Hands." I bring that up only because, it seems that the "fan" might be more a conceptual than a mechanical analogy.

Would you also mind clarifying what you mean by "derivative"? Are you arguing that the Yangs created an entirely new connotation for the movement "Fan through back?" If so, then, isn't it among a number of connotations cerived from an earlier source? It's not likely that they would have been unaware of the earlier names. But, I'm curious why they might choose to keept the same names, if they wanted to express an entirely new concept.

A photo of Chen Fake doing "Shan Tong Bei" (which is translated as "Flash the Back" can found at http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/chenfake1.html

regards,
Steve James


[This message has been edited by tai1chi (edited 10-03-2004).]
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:31 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by tai1chi:
<B>....

A photo of Chen Fake doing "Shan Tong Bei" (which is translated as "Flash the Back" can found at http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/chenfake1.html
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, there are variations in Chen style as well. If you look at those of the 19th generation doing laojia, flash through the back looks different than on CFK's picture.
Also, you it might be a shift of timing where the "end" of the posture is set in Yang and Chen. You might want to look into the next movement after the Yang "fan through back" posture.
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:03 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B> I also observe that the Yang form name, “Fan Through Back” is semantically grounded in the action of the arms—a fanning out from a hinge point in the spine. To me this suggests that the Yang form name reflects innovation rather than mere derivation.

Take care,
Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, we might reach the limit on what is conveyable in written form, but "a fanning out of the arms ..." seems to fit several postures in Taiji. So to me there seems to be no innovation in priniciples. And must admit I don't see how a lot of innovation in a name change like that......
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:08 pm

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

Here’s an old post from that earlier board discussion that addresses the specific form name you mention:
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The post is an interesting one. But I am wondering, as the story of YLC and the bird does not involve him grasping the tail IIRC, why it was named like that....
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:14 pm

Greetings Steve,

You wrote: “. . .it seems that the "fan" might be more a conceptual than a mechanical analogy.”

Well, the fact that it’s an analogy necessarily makes it conceptual, doesn’t it? The movement resembles the opening of a fan, but of course mechanically the arms do not attach from a hinge in the spine. It is more a case of using the imagery of an opening fan to facilitate a feeling of connection between the two arms “through the back.” Also, I don’t think the fact that the movement is asymmetrical makes the fan imagery any less applicable.

What I mean when I say that the Yang form is not “mere derivation,” is that while aspects of the form, and some of the form names, may certainly have derived from the Chen tradition, it is evident that something other than derivation occurred, given the obvious differences in the appearance and logic of the forms. While both Chen and Yang have sequences called “Shan Tong Bei,” The character “shan” is different for the two traditions. There is nothing “fan-like” in the Chen movements, while, arguably, there is something “fan-like” in the Yang movements. So the name is not only different, it reflects a different rationale for naming a different type of movement.

Does this clarify my meaning? I’m not trying to discount the genetic connection between the two traditions, but I am suggesting that there can be evolution and innovative development within a tradition, even if it originally derived from another tradition.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby tai1chi » Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:58 pm

Hi Louis,

"Well, the fact that it’s an analogy necessarily makes it conceptual, doesn’t it?"

Hmm, ok,but that may be water under the bridge.

"The movement resembles the opening of a fan, but of course mechanically the arms do not attach from a hinge in the spine. It is more a case of using the imagery of an opening fan to facilitate a feeling of connection between the two arms “through the back.”"

Sure, but I am just trying to suggest that the interpretation of the analogy depends on how it is conceptualized. For ex., your interpretation combines the idea of a "fan" with the idea of "through the back." The interpretation seems to be that mechanical action of a fan is correlated to the mechanical action "of" the back, not "through" it. By the way, I have no problem whatever with that description.

I posted the link to Jarek's site with Chen Fake doing "Shan Tong Bei." He translates it as "Flash Through Back" (iirc). Perhaps someone who studies Chen style might be able to suggest what the analogy is. Does something "flash" through the back --which could even imply a different image for a "fan" going "through the back." But, that might be over-literal.

"Also, I don’t think the fact that the movement is asymmetrical makes the fan imagery any less applicable."

I agree. I guess I am arguing that "fan" has more than one association.

"What I mean when I say that the Yang form is not “mere derivation,” is that while aspects of the form, and some of the form names, may certainly have derived from the Chen tradition, it is evident that something other than derivation occurred, given the obvious differences in the appearance and logic of the forms."

Oops, I certainly do agree that the Yangs were innovative. But, I was thinking about the actual names. I really don't know how closely the various styles follow the idea of "Shan Tong Bei". I was just saying that the name, itself, probably (since I could never say for sure) has the same origin. So, I consider their derivations to be the same. You are far more knowledgeable on Chinese language than I. However, in this case, I think it'd be unlikely that the Yangs deliberately re-invented old names or accidentally came up with names that were like the older ones.

Again, I do agree that the Yang interpretation of the names as manifested in the form is their own innovation.

regards,
Steve James
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:59 pm

In the Wu style (the other Wu, not Wu Jianquan) this is termed San1 Yong3 Bei4. San is 'three', yong is the top part of tong, bei is 'back'. If we are to believe the misunderstanding/corruption theory of the origin of these names, Wu Yuxiang was also illiterate but came up with yet another set of characters for this move. In Sun style this is also called San1 ('three') tong bei, with the second and third characters same as Yang style. Sun Lutang must have been illiterate too. In Chen style there is also another variation: Shan3 tong2 bei1 ('flash same engraving'). Oh dear, some of the Chen family must have been illiterate! There is also a tradition of Shan1 'mountain' for the first character and of using either 'back' or 'arm' for the third character. The fact that this sort of thing occurs for most of the move names, in sword and sabre names as well as barehand, and that there exist variations within each style, suggest that the misunderstanding/corruption theory which a few Chen students are so fond of may not hold water, and that there probably were numerous variations passed down from hundreds of years ago, as well as some creative wordplay in recent times. It never fails to amaze me how insistent some people are about the Chen to Yang corruption theory, and yet these people have usually never taken a good look at all the name variations out there.


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-03-2004).]
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