Dong Yingjie form photos

Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:40 am

Hi Jerry,

what is the "misunderstanding/corruption" theory? Is it that the Yangs crrupted the Chen names? Anyway, my point to Louis is primarily about the relation of the terms to the movement. For Sun style, the name "Three through the back" makes sense. I was really more curious about what "fan through back" meant.

regards,
Steve James
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:49 am

A few Chen style students are fond of the notion that the Chen names are the 'correct' names and the Yang names differ only because Yang Luchan was illiterate and supposedly misunderstood the Chen names and corrupted them, partly because of differences between his native dialect and that of the Chens. I for one find it amazing that a man could spend 15 years studying around 40 different moves becoming an acknowledged expert disciple, and not know what the names were, illiterate or not. It is probably true that many of the variations ultimately originated from dialect differences and the passing of the names as an oral tradition, but to simplify the whole process to 'Yang Luchan misunderstood' is absurd.
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:41 am

Hi Jerry,

ah, yes, well, I agree. Whatever the names are, they are that for a reason. Even if there were dialect differences, if someone lives among a group of people who speak a different dialect, and then learn an art expressed in that dialect, it's unlikely that one will put that in one's own dialect.
YLC would have learned it in the dialect of the people teaching, not his own. Besides, people might confuse pronunciation, but the second generation of Yangs could not have mistaken the "meaning".

If someone went to village to learn today, and stayed for 18 years, he would probably pronounce everything exactly as his teachers had. The only possibility for mistaking the original would start after the second generation. In any case, YLC wouldn't have made a mistake.

regards,
Steve James
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:26 am

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

lan doesn't really mean grasp.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-03-2004).]
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:59 pm

Hi Everybody,

I have no problem with the name because when I perform 'Fan through the Back' it gives me a distinct feeling while my shoulderblades are fanning across my back. I think it's a real possibility that this move might have been central to teaching how to correctly engage the shoulderblades.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Andreas Graf » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:24 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
A few Chen style students are fond of the notion that the Chen names are the 'correct' names and the Yang names differ only because Yang Luchan was illiterate and supposedly misunderstood the Chen names and corrupted them, partly because of differences between his native dialect and that of the Chens. I for one find it amazing that a man could spend 15 years studying around 40 different moves becoming an acknowledged expert disciple, and not know what the names were, illiterate or not. It is probably true that many of the variations ultimately originated from dialect differences and the passing of the names as an oral tradition, but to simplify the whole process to 'Yang Luchan misunderstood' is absurd.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, I agree for some part. On the other hand, a name change might just be a name change. I don't think one can derive any major conclusions from a name change about insights, innovations etc.

[This message has been edited by Andreas Graf (edited 10-04-2004).]
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Postby Andreas Graf » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:30 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
<B> lan doesn't really mean grasp.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-03-2004).]</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know. But that doesn't make the inspiration clearer.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:48 pm

Greetings Andreas,

I’m not sure what Jerry’s point is, but I’m sure he will clarify. For me, the point is that we are talking about figures of speech. In the taijiquan sequence named Lan Que Wei (grasp sparrow’s tail), there is no grasping, and there are no bird’s tails, but the sequence was evidently named what it was named for a reason.

The verb lan3 essentially means “to grasp,” but it has other meanings, including the meanings “to possess,” or “to have control of.” When we talk of a leader “holding the reins of government,” do we question the meaning because she is not physically seated on a horse and grasping its reins? When Mao Zedong is referred to as “The Great Helmsman,” do we question the meaning because he was not an admiral?

When we say, “The cat’s out of the bag,” do we really need to be talking about a cat?

Lazily tying my coat,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:17 pm

Hi Louis. Agreed, the language used is often fanciful or even contrived. I do make sense out of lan here as 'restrain', 'inhibit', 'block', or even 'trap' the birds tail.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:24 pm

I also agree that the names are generally more mnemonic than descriptive. Which is why the variations don't make a heck of a lot of difference.
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Postby Andreas Graf » Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:48 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
For me, the point is that we are talking about figures of speech. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well yes, but it seemed to me that in the discussion above, a bit more was read into names. Basically I agree with you. E.g., the renaming of "jingang daodui" to "jingang chu miao" in CXW's 19 form might be a certain figure of speech Image

[This message has been edited by Andreas Graf (edited 10-04-2004).]
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:52 pm

Hi,

I thought about editing my last post for clarity, but I lost the message and I am 'lan' --but maybe I mean just lazy. Anyway, if the question is "what does/did lan que wei" mean is quite different from whether YLC knew what the Chens meant. I'm not a Chinese linguist, but "dialects" are often mutually intelligible within a language group. Homophones and phonetic cognates often become the most familiar words in the different vocabularies. They become the "false friends" that native speakers chuckle at when outsiders misuse the terms. It's hard for me to believe that YLC would have made that sort of mistake *only* for tcc terminology. Besides, if this were something entertained in a linguistic journal, the various dialectical shifts would be catalogued. I.e., they would be as predictable as ... Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico dropping the "s" at the end of words; or German speakers who fail to pronounce "th". But, my point is that it would be consistently demonstrable. It wouldn't be that someone made that level of error only once or twice.

A linguistic "map" of the names of the Yang forms could be constructed. The differences from the Chen names --assuming the pronunciation of Chenjiagou, specifically, and comparing it specifically to the pronunciation of Nanquan. That would produce "evidence."

Of course, there is the possibility of "coincidence." In my long lost post, I pointed out that a Guyanese writer might write BOY as "bai" if he were trying to reflect his dialect of English. Otoh, a Jamaican writer might write "bwoy"; or Flavor Flav might write "boiyee." A reader, unfamiliar with the dialects, would need an illustration of what was meant. But, after that, he wouldn't confuse a "bwoy" with a "buoy", or a "bai" with a "bay." My argument is that the type of error that might be attributed to YLC is one that *only* a literate person with no exposure to the actual referent of the term could make.

Btw, I'm not arguing one way or the other all for the origin of the term, or that YLC was the innovator. Do either of the terms appear elsewhere in Chinese literature (Louis?).

cheers,
Steve James
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Tue Oct 05, 2004 6:54 am

The fact that "lan que wei" is a special technique of Yang style (and Yang based styles) for me is obvious. It has the core difference from "lan zha yi" of Chens. Therefore it had been named differently.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Oct 05, 2004 7:03 pm

Greetings Yuri,

Yes, that’s the crux of it, I think. An analogy comes to mind, although it may not resonate readily with everyone. Some of the incredible innovations of American jazz musicians of the 1940s and ‘50s included taking the basic structure of current pop tunes, and then altering them rhythmically or melodically as new vehicles for artistic expression. For example, Dizzy Gillespie took the song, “How High the Moon?”, stripped it down to the foundational chord structure, wrote a new melodic line with a more complex rhythmic architecture, and in the process created something fresh and hip. He named it “Groovin’ High,” which gives a wink to the tune from which it derived. It was based on “How High the Moon,” but it was something new and different, so it had its own name.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:01 am

Greetings Louis,

Your analogy illustrates much and reflects my own thoughts on taiji. I have a friend who worked at one time as an engineer at cars service station. He was excellent in testing the cars. He could almost immediately identify the problem of the machine. When I asked him how he mastered it he said that he had disassembled his own car once on pieces and then had assembled them again. "After that", he said, "I know how cars break down and how they can be fixed". BTW he studied taiji too and was excellent in it as well…

My example has a little different meaning but it's consonant with your idea. Concerning the comparison of the styles, I like one of Gu Luxin's interesting flashbacks. He said that he didn't understand some features of Yang Chengfu style before he got to Chen Fake's class. Some explanations and demonstrations of CFK helped him to better understand YCF.

Take care,

Yuri


[This message has been edited by Yury Snisarenko (edited 10-06-2004).]
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