"Sung" word in taijiquan practice

"Sung" word in taijiquan practice

Postby mls_72 » Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:40 am

Is there not a saying somewhere that Yang Chen fu would repeately tell his students to say the word "sung" constantly during practice.... almost as if it was a taoist mantra to be said 1000 times a day?
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Postby Jamie » Sat Dec 04, 2004 3:53 pm

Hi,


My Shifu does the same thing. He says that sung or relax is the first key to taiji skill and energy. My great grandteacher. Li Ya Xuan wrote an article which includes an explanation of this. I don't have the link in front of me but it can be found on our site dongfangtaiji.5u.com Look at the favorite links page for the article by Li Ya Xuan. There are some cool push hands and forms links on there too.

Take care,


Jamie
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Dec 06, 2004 1:49 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by mls_72:
Is there not a saying somewhere that Yang Chen fu would repeately tell his students to say the word "sung" constantly during practice.... almost as if it was a taoist mantra to be said 1000 times a day?</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Matt,

I have not heard of Yang Chengfu asking his students to say the word “song” during practice. Zheng Manqing wrote in his Thirteen Chapters book that Yang would repeatedly tell his students “at least ten times” each day that you must loosen (yao song), you must loosen completely (yao song jing), you must allow the whole body to loosen open (yao quanshen songkai).

He was repeatedly telling his students to “song,” but that’s different from telling them to say the word “song.”

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:20 am

Greetings to All,

Louis, thank you for the clarification. You reminded me that correct translation plays crucial role in the understanding of masters' words. The task of translating taiji quan language/terms was always quite difficult but it was especially hard in the beginning of the Tai Chi history in the West. I imagine what a challenge it was for the translators when Pr. Cheng started to explain the principles of his subtle art. Surely they were good translators and they did their best but I think the task was too complicated to avoid mistakes.

For example if the word 'song' (sung) or 'songkai' is rendered only as 'to relax' I think it would be something like "spaghetti" type of Taiji. Especially if the translator following the master repeats this word 100 times a day and puts into it only the meaning of relaxation.

This example is not unique. I especially would like to re-explore his writings about internal part of the art. I'll very appreciate it if somebody can tell me when Professor's works in Chinese were published last time and is there any bookshop in the net that sells them overseas?

Thank you,

Yuri



[This message has been edited by Yury Snisarenko (edited 12-06-2004).]
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Postby bamboo leaf » Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:02 pm

("spaghetti" type of Taiji)

what does this term mean? i have herd it used many times. Just wondering what others mean with the use of it.

thanks

david
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Postby Marc Heyvaert » Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:00 pm

It is not a taijiquan movie made in Italy Image

In fact in the video with YZD en YJ that was produced during their first visit in the USA, YZD explains this very well. This video comes with a translation. I will try to scan the text tonight of this fragment and publish it here.

It's about the difference between song1 and rou2. Song1 means relaxed but not weak or soft which is rou2. Cooked spaghetti is rou2 because there is no springlike quality in it.

This is all for now, the text follows later today.

Marc

P.S 1 : I seem to have made a mistake. I remembered rou but not ruan. There is a difference between those. It is ruan that is the spagetthi thing I believe. Anyway the explanation by YZD is clear, perhaps one of the sinologists on this board can comment?

P.S. 2 As promised. But before I publish the excerpt I want to state where I stand regarding copyright. The text is from a booklet with the transcript of all YZD said on the video that is still available from 'A taste of China'. This instructional video was taped in 1990! So it is somewhat of an historical document. Since then video material of the traditional yang style as performed by YJ and (in this case partly) by YZD has become available from other sources as well, but the explanations are generally speaking shorter and the subtitling of very poor quality. Here you get an excellent translation in the bargain, so I can only encourage you to buy the videos. I believe that the quotation that I post here is within the copyright law as it is a quote from the original, only a small percentage of the total text and provided within the context of a discussion.

[QUOTE]
The Essential Points were stated above. Next we shall discuss the approach for training. One of the approaches of training is fang song (let loose or relax). From this fundamental approach, we begin our practice.
"Let loose" in everyday life is easy to explain. lt's not so simple in taijiquan training. This is because taijiquan uses the philosophy of yin and yang and is concemed with the transformation and changes in these two concepts.
Fang song is an approach of training. It is a strategy; it is not something tangible. Today there are many practitioners of Yang style taijiquan, and unfortunately many have not fully comprehended the meaning of fang song, and they misinterpret its meaning. This is because song (relax or loosen) and ruan (soft) were put into the same category. Many think that song is ruan. What we consider as song is not ruan. Song requires that the joints and the muscles be intentionally letting loose, and extended. This is loosened up and extended out. Extended. [He illustrates.) It is not ruan. It is not this way nor this way. If it is this way, it will be difficult to express the jin.

[SNIP]

By following the idea of -using your mind to relax, you will attain power naturally. You should intentionally let loose. Similarly to what I mentioned in the Ten Essentials-sink the chest and lift the back; sink the shoulder, drop the elbow, settle the wrist, and extend the fingers-it is not necessary to use forceful muscular strength. When you can sink the shoulder, drop the elbow, settle the wrist, and extend the fingers, you will have power without the need to exert forceful muscular strength. You simply let loose-relax and extend. You will have power without the need to exert forceful muscular strength. You will attain power naturally. Without having to think about it, you will have jin.

[SNIP]

What is meant by song is not the song that means "slack and soft," it is the song that means loosen and extend."
Now let's discuss the differences between rou (gentle yielding) and ruan (soft). Ruan is generally defined as empty, that is, hollow. Rou, on the other hand, is ductile. For example, when we practice, if we do it this way, it appears hollow (empty). Therefore, the extension is done this way. It should be this way. But not like this. Not this way.
One must be extended. If we extend this way, the blood circulation is smooth and the body is comfortable. In this strike, the body is comfortable and smooth. All these movements are smooth.
When the waist moves, the hips and the torso move, then express to the fingers. This way is smoother.
Everyone should comprehend fully the meaning of fang song, let loose, in practice. One should be loose and extended, not loose and soft. I hope you will pay attention to this during practice. We require this kind of song: loose and extended. Not this one.

Extended, you see. When done this way, it will be more comfortable. "Press" is also very comfortable. But it doesn't matter which posture you are doing, it should all be like this. You should let loose in 'Fist under the Elbow" and in "Repulse Monkey." Extend, settle the palm, lift leg, and step backward. Fast or slow, the principle is the same. When doing it faster it's still the same. Strike forward with speed. We do it slowly, we do it with jin.
lt doesn't matter whether it is -Slant Flying" or "Part The Wild Horse's Mane." Of course the physical movements are not the same. "Slant Flying" requires a large step, to here. 'Part The Wild Horse's Mane" is primarily a ward off, which steps forward. However, they both need the walst movement and both need to be extended.
Power reaches the four extremities of the legs and hands. Doing it this way is more appropriate.
The training approach of fang song is to let loose; once we can distinguish it clearly, that is good.

[SNIP]

In rou and ruan, the distinction is this: ruan (soft) is hollow or empty, whereas rou (gentle yielding), is ductile.
Fang song can be explained with the iron and steel analogy. Raw iron is processed under high temperature melting and other processes, then converted into steel. If we compare the raw iron to li, then the high temperature melting (refinement process) is analogous to fang song. High temperature melting turns the raw iron into liquid. lt is then refined until it becomes steel. This refining process is an approach to make steel; likewise,fang song is an approach, a method, analogous to the high temperature melting refinement process, required in turning iron into steel.
We compared localized li (forceful muscular strength) to raw iron. After high temperature melting or refinement processes, the fang song process, it is converted into steel, into what we call jin.

[SNIP]


We conclude this topic here.

[END QUOTE]


[This message has been edited by Marc Heyvaert (edited 12-06-2004).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:22 pm

I have to mention it...
I keep hearing the song from that car commercial, over and over in my head. The one that goes, "Zoom, zoom, zoom"....
Now replace "Zoom" with "Sung"....
A new mantra!

What can I say, I have these funny little fits. I TRY to control them but....
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:36 pm

"a movie made in Italy" :-))))

"Zoom, zoom, zoom…." :-) I can't stop laughing…


David, I share Marc's comment on "spaghetti type" completely. Sometimes I couldn't displace my teacher's hand when he was standing in certain taiji posture with song in his body.

Marc, I am looking forward to see that explanation. Sounds very interesting.

Yuri
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:58 pm

When I think of "sung", I can't help but image a leather whip.
It can bend and twist in any way required without losing it's integrity if pushed around, but when it's drawn back and set properly it seems to pull energy into itself from nowhere, then you focus your mind and release it accurately at one single point of your choosing...
The energy is nearly unstoppable and devestating in it's delivery.

"Sung, sung, sung"

Bob
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:40 pm

Greetings Marc,

“In rou and ruan, the distinction is this: ruan (soft) is hollow or empty, whereas rou (gentle yielding), is ductile.”

Thanks for posting these transcripts from Yang Zhenduo’s presentation. I think today I’ve learned a new word: “ductile,” or I just hadn’t keyed in on it before. So it’s something like malleable, flexible, pliable, and yielding. The contrast with ruan is interesting. When you buy doufu in a Chinese market, you usually have a choice between firm and soft varieties. The soft kind is called “ruan,” and I generally don’t buy that kind. When I try to stir-fry with ruan doufu, it crumbles and becomes mushy. The firm kind of doufu is yielding and pliable, but it maintains its integrity better when cooked.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:19 pm

So I wasn't too awful far off with the leather whip analogy then.
Glad to see it.
I say this because one of the sentences I found at dictionary.com used in the description of "ductile" is:
"they soaked the leather to made it pliable".
Not definitive, but I find some comfort in it after giving my thoughts on sung as above.

Here's the main definition:
duc·tile ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dktl, -tl)
adj.
Easily drawn into wire or hammered thin: ductile metals.
Easily molded or shaped. See Synonyms at malleable.
Capable of being readily persuaded or influenced; tractable.

I liked this one, too:
capable of being drawn out or hammered thin <ductile metal> —duc·til·i·ty /"d&k-'til-&t-E/ noun plural -ties

While I don't think this was exactly what the Grand Master had in mind, I DID feel like I'd been pounded out flat and left to dry after Master Yang Jun's seminars here in Louisville!!!

Bob
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Postby bamboo leaf » Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:05 am

I asked this because often I see many people practicing taiji in the park where I practice.
On line this term along with others is used to describe differences in peoples taiji from their own. Usually with bad connotations.

I think often times, different masters emphases different aspects, until one develops a sense of their own taiji, the differences in others may be taken as incorrect instead of developmental stages.

My own style is very soft, and low compared to many others I see in the park. Its also very fluid some might even call it spaghetti.

What I see, look for in others is degrees of awareness in their movement. Light, agile approaching emptiness but not quite. To achieve this one really has to be very, soft.

Like mmmm spaghetti, hold the meat balls please. Image

david


[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 12-06-2004).]
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:10 am

Speaking of noodles and meat balls; Taiji folk in Beijing never get tired of making the pun on the two near homophones, sōng and sóng.


"In Taiji we should be sōng, not sóng!"


(“sóng”: 1) semen; 2) worthless, spineless weakling who fears everything; a ‘limp dick’)


I can imagine Yang Luchan coming to Beijing with an accent telling everyone the secret of his art lies in being ‘sóng’! Dare anyone try to correct him?

Jeff
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:51 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Marc Heyvaert:
<B>Fang song can be explained with the iron and steel analogy. Raw iron is processed under high temperature melting and other processes, then converted into steel.

...

High temperature melting turns the raw iron into liquid. lt is then refined until it becomes steel. This refining process is an approach to make steel; likewise,fang song is an approach, a method, analogous to the high temperature melting refinement process, required in turning iron into steel.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

One more time I understood that what seemed to be clear as daylight to me, actually, I think I don't truly know.

Marc, many thanks for sharing that explanation.
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:13 am

This is an interesting conversation on the differences between song and song.

I thank you all, I believe I have gleaned some clarity on the matter.

So that's why those sailors are always singing!

Image

Zoom, zoom, zoom

Image

Psalchemist~
(Certainly glad for anonymity after that! Image )

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 12-07-2004).]
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