Sung

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Mar 04, 2001 8:17 am

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

Since the Yang and Chen (Lao Jia) have almost all the same posture names (with the exception of a few that are known as being homophone errors that probably happened during transcription), I was wondering if you have ever thought to compare the "application" of the postures between the 2 styles?

Regards,

Mike Sigman</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Mike,

I’m not qualified to make a comparison of that sort. Your post led me to a question you may be able to shed light on, however. I checked my copy of Shen Jiazhen & Gu Liuxin’s 1963 book, _Chen Shi Taijiquan_, and found the following remark in the “Important Points” section following the descrription of “Jade Maiden Threads the Shuttles”: “It resembles the shuttle on a cloth weaving loom threading swiftly between the two layers of yarn. This is the aptly named ‘threading shuttle jin’ (quan suo jin), which is different from the movements within the later-developing ‘Fair Maiden Threads the Shuttle Turning to the Four Corners’ form.” Do you happen to know what this might be referring to? It appears to me as if quan suo jin may have once been an independent routine or drill, remnants of which are incorporated into the Jade Maiden form. I don’t know enough about Chen style to know if that is what is implied. Any idea?

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Mike » Sun Mar 04, 2001 6:26 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B> I checked my copy of Shen Jiazhen & Gu Liuxin’s 1963 book, _Chen Shi Taijiquan_, and found the following remark in the “Important Points” section following the descrription of “Jade Maiden Threads the Shuttles”: “It resembles the shuttle on a cloth weaving loom threading swiftly between the two layers of yarn. This is the aptly named ‘threading shuttle jin’ (quan suo jin), which is different from the movements within the later-developing ‘Fair Maiden Threads the Shuttle Turning to the Four Corners’ form.” Do you happen to know what this might be referring to? It appears to me as if quan suo jin may have once been an independent routine or drill, remnants of which are incorporated into the Jade Maiden form. I don’t know enough about Chen style to know if that is what is implied. Any idea?
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Hi Louis:

I believe the "Jade Lady" idea comes from Yuh Niuy ("Spring and Autumn" and "Warring States" period 770 B.C.-221 A.D.) in her writing example:

"When fencing, theough highly alert,
The appearance is as calm as a fair lady's"
But when in Action, a vicious Tiger emerges."

And the Shuttling idea is an old one, also. Here is one example from Tang Shun Tze, a scholar who lived approximately 300 years ago:

"Suddenly, he jumps down and stamps his feet with a furious shcck;
Back and forth he moves like a sprite shuttling a loom;
Through a hundred twists and turns he seems boneless,
Slipping through a needle's eye with a slight cock of his head;
Then, up he springs to sit motionless on his pillar of reflection."

The "shuttle" motion in the original Chen style involves a sudden spring across several meters to close the distance with an enemy. The position of one hand is in a forehead guard position from which the "upper hand" in the Yang form derives its position.

So the "shuttle" is usually indicative of a sudden covering of distance in most Chinese martial arts terminology... not just the Chen style.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Mike
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Durango, CO

Postby JerryKarin » Sun Mar 04, 2001 7:11 pm

Mike,

I wouldn't make too much of the 'Jade Lady' idea. It's really an ancient literary trope and appears all over whenever a two syllable phrase for woman or beautiful woman was required. In the current case it probably appears only because in earlier times weaving with a loom was an occupation one would expect for a woman.

I think you are on to something when you talk about movement of the shuttle as sudden, swift and hidden. I don't know if you have ever seen a loom of this type in operation. I happened to view a demonstration of looms like this in Asheville, North Carolina many years ago. The shuttle I saw was a long weight attached to the yarn and it was tapped from the side of the loom with a stick, whereupon it whizzed across the loom at great speed, hidden behind the many strings of the warp (I believe they are called).
JerryKarin
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 7:01 am

Postby Mike » Sun Mar 04, 2001 8:22 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
<B>
I wouldn't make too much of the 'Jade Lady' idea. It's really an ancient literary trope and appears all over whenever a two syllable phrase for woman or beautiful woman was required. In the current case it probably appears only because in earlier times weaving with a loom was an occupation one would expect for a woman. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Jerry:

I agree with you generally, but I think one of the most famous quotes in a martial context comes from the one I gave. It is very famous.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> <B>
I think you are on to something when you talk about movement of the shuttle as sudden, swift and hidden. I don't know if you have ever seen a loom of this type in operation. I happened to view a demonstration of looms like this in Asheville, North Carolina many years ago. The shuttle I saw was a long weight attached to the yarn and it was tapped from the side of the loom with a stick, whereupon it whizzed across the loom at great speed, hidden behind the many strings of the warp (I believe they are called). </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Woof! I know of that whereof you speak! Image

When I was learning the Chen Lao Jia for about the 4th time and from the most qualified teacher yet, he told me that a really good practitioner should be able to cover about 12 feet in the shuttle jump.

Regards,

Mike
Mike
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Durango, CO

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Mar 04, 2001 8:38 pm

Greetings Mike,

Neat! Where did you find the Tang Shunzhi quote? Here's Douglas Wile's version of Tang Shunzhi's (1507-1560) "Song of the Omei Taoist's Martial Art," appearing on p. 13 of his _T'ai Chi's Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Martial Art_:

Suddenly a vertical kick shoots straight up,
Smashing cliffs and scattering sand.
Back and forth, the celestial Weaving Maid throws the divine shuttle,
As devils and demons flap their green sleeves.
Wheeling around and pointing with his finger, the chariot of the sun stops in its track.
Withdrawing his head and drilling diagonally, he pierces with needle eyes.
With a hundred bends of the waist, he seems utterly boneless,
And giving free expression to his energy, hands grew from his entire body.
~~~

Interestingly, this seems to be the source for several bits of language associated with taijiquan. Yang Chengfu used this "utterly boneless" phrase in his narrative of "Turn Body Sweep Lotus," as well as reference to the entire body being hands, a recurrent theme in Yang literature.

Tang was a warrior-general, known for his successful campaigns against Japanese pirates along the coast.

Great stuff!

Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Mike » Sun Mar 04, 2001 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>

Neat! Where did you find the Tang Shunzhi quote? Here's Douglas Wile's version of Tang Shunzhi's (1507-1560) "Song of the Omei Taoist's Martial Art," appearing on p. 13 of his _T'ai Chi's Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Martial Art_:

Suddenly a vertical kick shoots straight up,
Smashing cliffs and scattering sand.
Back and forth, the celestial Weaving Maid throws the divine shuttle,
As devils and demons flap their green sleeves.
Wheeling around and pointing with his finger, the chariot of the sun stops in its track.
Withdrawing his head and drilling diagonally, he pierces with needle eyes.
With a hundred bends of the waist, he seems utterly boneless,
And giving free expression to his energy, hands grew from his entire body.
~~~

Interestingly, this seems to be the source for several bits of language associated with taijiquan. Yang Chengfu used this "utterly boneless" phrase in his narrative of "Turn Body Sweep Lotus," as well as reference to the entire body being hands, a recurrent theme in Yang literature.

Tang was a warrior-general, known for his successful campaigns against Japanese pirates along the coast.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Hi Louis:

Bill Chen (Chen Tse Yu) and I translated and editted some of this stuff in around 1983-84 when we were doing some stuff for Liang Shou Yu. Bill is Chinese and yet speaks idiomatic English quite well, so I think his *sense* of what the translations mean is pretty accurate (I checked syntax and grammar against the actual meaning in order to not distort).

Regards,

Mike
Mike
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Durango, CO

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Mar 04, 2001 11:48 pm

Greetings Mike,

Even though the exact lines of filiation elude us, it's fascinating to find these traces of what must have been precursors to the art of taijiquan. Here's another line from the writings of Tang Shunzhi, quoted on p. 12 of Wile's _Ancestor's_ book:

"The reason for postures in the martial arts is to facilitate transformations. . . . Forms contain fixed postures, but in actual practice there are no fixed postures. When applied they become fluid, but still maintain their structural characteristics."

This strikes me as *very* applicable to taijiquan!

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby JerryKarin » Mon Mar 05, 2001 12:13 am

Hmmn Louis this is something that bothered me about your book too. You translate ding4 shi4 as 'fixed posture', which isn't wrong, but it needs way more explanation. There is an important concept taught by the Yangs and Fu Zhongwen of the ding4 shi4 or ending posture which should be tested to see if it is able to stand up against force. The idea is you must be conscious, at least in the beginning, of a structure set up by each move. When you apply them, of course now we are out of the realm of training and no longer considering ending postures or structures. I think that is what the quote you mentioned is on about. But you can only abandon or transcend the formal ending postures and structures if you had them to begin with. I think this is actually what Gu Liuxin was talking about in the introductory essay to Fu Zhongwen's book when he said that Yang Chengfu 'tuo1 gui1ju4 er2 he2 gui1ju4' 'conformed to the rules even while breaking them'. This whole clause unfortunately got lost in the published translation.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 03-04-2001).]
JerryKarin
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 7:01 am

Postby tai1chi » Mon Mar 05, 2001 12:43 am

Hi Mike, Louis, Jerry,

Mike, you wrote:

"I think one of the most famous quotes in a martial context comes from the one I gave. It is very famous."

I was wondering, were you referring by any chance to the legend of "Ah Ching" or the "Maiden of Yueh"? I often point out that legend --of her blinding the impolite guards by using stick techniques taught to her by her uncle, the white ape. Anyway, I was wondering whether you were referring to that, something similar, or the Tang stuff that Louis provided?

Best,
Steve James
tai1chi
 
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 7:01 am
Location: NY

Postby Mike » Mon Mar 05, 2001 12:56 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Even though the exact lines of filiation elude us, it's fascinating to find these traces of what must have been precursors to the art of taijiquan. Here's another line from the writings of Tang Shunzhi, quoted on p. 12 of Wile's _Ancestor's_ book:

"The reason for postures in the martial arts is to facilitate transformations. . . . Forms contain fixed postures, but in actual practice there are no fixed postures. When applied they become fluid, but still maintain their structural characteristics."

This strikes me as *very* applicable to taijiquan!

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Hi Louis:

I think that there is a grave misunderstanding about Taiji as being very different from "other Chinese martial arts". In fact, when I read Doug Wile's book and saw that he was taking sayings common to many Chinese martial arts and attributing those sayings as indicators they were precursors to Taiji.... I was a little surprised.

Just as a simple example, the saying of "4 ounces deflects 1,000 pounds" (I know the Chinese units are different)... that saying is a common one in Chinese martial arts and is not unique to Taiji. A number of the sayings of Taiji can be found in other arts that are not at all like Taiji, in other words.

Another one from the writings of Yuh Niuy is

"Weak and exposed in appearance;
But powerful when unleashed.
One's reactions may start afterwards,
But the response arrives there first."

I can give a number of other examples. In the "selling" of Taiji using the "classics", I think that Wu Yu Xiang used a lot of the common martial sayings that indicated a "high level" martial art (of any style) in order to put the best foot forward. Westerners take these common sayings and attribute to them the essence of Taiji. It's not true. Some things delineate Taiji; somethings simply delineate a typical high-level Chinese martial art. Image

Regards,

Mike
Mike
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Durango, CO

Postby Mike » Mon Mar 05, 2001 1:05 am

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

I was wondering, were you referring by any chance to the legend of "Ah Ching" or the "Maiden of Yueh"? I often point out that legend --of her blinding the impolite guards by using stick techniques taught to her by her uncle, the white ape. Anyway, I was wondering whether you were referring to that, something similar, or the Tang stuff that Louis provided?


</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

During the "Spring and Autumn" and the "Warring States" periods (770 B.C. - 221 A.D., the king of the Zhou kingdom ordered a sword contest. A young woman by the name of Yuh Niuy emerged from three thousand swordsmen as the ultimate victor in a seven-day contest. Her sword methods and philosophies were passed down for a thousand years. Some of her writings expound timeless Chinese martial arts philosophies.

I know of the "legend" you're talking about, Steve, but Yuh Niuy is an extremely famous person in Chinese martial history.

Regards,

Mike
Mike
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Durango, CO

Postby tai1chi » Mon Mar 05, 2001 1:19 am

Hi Mike,

yes, she's very famous, as is the contest. I was just wondering if you'd ever heard the legend I mentioned related specifically to the "Jade Lady Threads Shuttles." This was in reference to the specific performance of the series. Anyway, just a point of interest.

Best,
Steve James
tai1chi
 
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 7:01 am
Location: NY

Postby JerryKarin » Mon Mar 05, 2001 1:23 am

Gee this Yuh Niuy is so famous I never heard of her! The Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods together is a pretty darn long period, over 500 years. Where exactly are you getting the story from, Mike? Without the Chinese characters for her name or some more information it is pretty difficult to find anything about her. The translation of 'writings' by her which you cite bear all the earmarks of recent apocrypha. Very few writings attributed to individuals of the time period (even as broad as both spring and autumn and warring states) survive.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 03-04-2001).]
JerryKarin
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 7:01 am

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:08 am

Hi Jerry,

The dates are a bit misleading, I think. The story of Yue Nu, "the maiden of Yue" actually recounts an exchange between this woman warrior and the king of the state of Yue4. The story is from a book entitled Wu-Yue Chunqiu (The Annals of Wu and Yue), compiled in the later Han (206ce-221ce). The story may recount alleged events from the Warring States period or earlier, but you know how unreliable these things can be. You can find references to the story and the source in Wile's _T'ai Chi's Ancestors_, pp. 3-4, and in Barbara Davis' translation of Chen Weiming's _Taiji Sword_, pp. xi-xii. I can email the Wu-Yue Chunqiu title in Hanzi if you're interested. Hope this helps.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:48 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by JerryKarin:
[B]Hmmn Louis this is something that bothered me about your book too. You translate ding4 shi4 as 'fixed posture', which isn't wrong, but it needs way more explanation. There is an important concept taught by the Yangs and Fu Zhongwen of the ding4 shi4 or ending posture which should be tested to see if it is able to stand up against force. The idea is you must be conscious, at least in the beginning, of a structure set up by each move. When you apply them, of course now we are out of the realm of training and no longer considering ending postures or structures. I think that is what the quote you mentioned is on about. But you can only abandon or transcend the formal ending postures and structures if you had them to begin with. I think this is actually what Gu Liuxin was talking about in the introductory essay to Fu Zhongwen's book when he said that Yang Chengfu 'tuo1 gui1ju4 er2 he2 gui1ju4' 'conformed to the rules even while breaking them'. This whole clause unfortunately got lost in the published translation.

Hi Jerry,

I’m not sure I see what the problem is with “fixed posture” as a translation of dingshi. How would you translate it? Wile’s rendering in the quoted passage (and I’m assuming “dingshi” or “dingdian” in the original) is “fixed posture” and he and I arrived at this rendering independently. I think that’s what they are, but it’s also a kind of artificial designation. We are taught to perfect these dingshi, to hold them and guage our equilibrium and stability, yet the transitions are every bit as important. After all, when we push hands aren't we testing our equilibrium to see if “it is able to stand up against force?” In this case, we are moving, and there is no “fixed posture,” but the structual requirements remain. I can see the value of rendering dingshi as “ending posture,” since the gerund suggests action, and continuation of action. I opted for translating dingshi and dingdian (fixed point) literally, and for explaining the "non-fixedness" of “fixed,” using one of my favorite Fu Zhongwen quotes that “as each movement reaches a fixed point, one must accomplish what is called ‘seems to stop, does not stop’.” I’ve found this kind of “seems/is not” “is/is not” language to be a very characteristic rhetorical device in Chinese argumentation.

Now as to the “tuo guiju er he guiju” phrase in the Gu Liuxin introductory, man, I think you nailed me on that! Buhaoyisi! I don’t know where my head must have been. It’s funny, too, since it’s just the kind of rhetorical device I just mentioned. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-05-2001).]
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

PreviousNext

Return to Tai Chi Theory and Principles

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 0 guests