Translation Questions: Deng, Cheng, and Bow Stances

Translation Questions: Deng, Cheng, and Bow Stances

Postby Audi » Wed Mar 07, 2001 5:54 am

In the video Yang Zhen Duo and Yang Jun produced, Yang Zhen comments that in a bow stance, the back leg should perform "deng1" and the front leg should perform "cheng2." As he gives his explanation, he rocks his center of gravity back and forth between the legs, alternatively bending his knees. What exactly is he driving at?

If I heard the tones correctly, I presume "deng" is the word that means "ascend" or "mount" as in "deng1 tai2" (mount a platform, come on stage). I am guessing that "cheng" is the word that is represented by a character that has the child radical in the middle with three horizontal strokes throught it and that means "bear/carry/receive". Are these the right words and the right meanings?

From Yang Zhen Duo's motion, I had assumed he was advocating a certain dynamic tension between the legs, but I remember a posting in one of the more vigorous discussions on this board that implied that "lively tension" was a feature of Chen style, and not Yang style. I do not wish to start a style war, but would like enlightenment on what practice is being advocated by "deng" and "cheng."

I would also like to acknowledge Louis Swaim's interesting, but brief discussion of the importance of "deng" in Fu Zhongwen's Book. I will let try to let him speak for himself, but his comments seem to look at this word as expressing the importance of equally distributing pressure on the back foot or of pushing from the heel in Fu Zhongwen's practice. These seem fair points, but seem somewhat different from what Yang Zhen Duo seemed to be getting at in his demonstration.

Any thoughts?

Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Mar 07, 2001 7:59 am

Greetings Audi,

You wrote: "If I heard the tones correctly, I presume "deng" is the word that means "ascend" or "mount" as in "deng1 tai2" (mount a platform, come on stage). I am guessing that "cheng" is the word that is represented by a character that has the child radical in the middle with three horizontal strokes throught it and that means "bear/carry/receive". Are these the right words and the right meanings?"

I believe the words are actually deng4 cheng1. Deng4 is the same character as the deng1 you mention, but with the foot radical on the left side. In common parlance it means to "step" or "tread," but has an idiomatic meaning in taijiquan with regard to stance methods which connotes to me a sort of active engagement of the leg's musculature. Cheng1 (not the one you describe) means "to support" or "prop up." In a Yang Zhenji passage on empty steps that I recently posted, cheng1 appears in the compound "zhicheng," again meaning a sustaining or propping-up force.

Jerry translated an excellent passage from Yang Zhenduo's book using this terminology, and I'm fairly certain it's the same topic you are describing from the video. Jerry's trans. can be found on this site under Taiji Info>Essays>then open "Bow Steps: Two Important Points." I believe Jerry uses "pushing" for deng and "resisting" for cheng, which work quite well in the context. Perhaps he can elaborate further.

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-07-2001).]
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Postby Audi » Fri Mar 09, 2001 4:47 am

Louis,

Thanks for the reply. I went back to the section of the video, studied the transcript, and agree that your interpretation is correct. At one point, Yang Zhen Duo even uses his fingers to show the interaction of the force vectors (my term, not his).

By the way, I paid attention to the tones this time, since I had not listened to the Chinese for a year or so, and definitely heard "cheng1" this time. I realize that I had earlier misheard a drop in pitch in one of the repetitions as the beginning of a second tone, and this had become fixed in my memory.

As for "deng," it still sounds to me like a pretty clear first tone, but my track record has not been good. By the way, I just received Yang Zhen Duo's book and noted the character you mention with the foot radical in the passage Jerry had picked out.

Language issues, aside, I still wonder a little about what if any sensations the legs should share. When the Yangs pick up their legs, for instance, between Lifting Hands and White Crane, I think I see something going on. Perhaps it is just the same lengthening that they usually demonstrate in the arms.

Thanks again for your correction and added information.

Audi
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