Metaphors

Postby Audi » Sat Oct 20, 2001 10:27 pm

Hi Louis,

Here is a further explanation of my difficulty with the significance of "reserving strength."

First, I did not understand the passage to be referring to "reserving one's own strength," but rather to the opponent "reserving his strength" in response to one's own actions.

It seems that Cheng Man-Ch’ing is advocating not using excessive force in “leading,” because “otherwise, the other may know I’m leading him, then reserve his strength (xu qi li) and not advance.” Here then, the fact that the opponent “reserves strength” appears to be something you do not want to happen. But then when CMC says: “Reserving his strength, his position has already become a retreat,” it sounds like having the opponent “reserve strength” actually turns to your advantage.

Which do I want the opponent to do, “reserve strength” or “not reserve strength”; and why does that therefore support not using “excessive” force?

Perhaps my confusion comes with equating “withdrawing” earlier in the passage with “reserving strength.” I am interpreting “otherwise” as meaning: “if I use excessive force” and “may” as meaning: “will have the opportunity to.” I suppose “otherwise” might have a different reference and be interpreted as: “if I use only appropriate force,” and “may” might mean: “is permitted to.”

Does this make things any clearer?

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby psalchemist » Thu Oct 16, 2003 9:22 pm

Greetings Louis,

I am not sure if this quite fits the description of this topic...
You called it an 'aphorism'...
but I am not sure where exactly this question should be placed...
so I will make a leap and put it here...

While re-reading your post in the 'YI IN TAIJI'/Theories and principles thread (10-09), I was halted by the Chinese phrase you expressed:
"Yong yi, bu yong yi".

You translated this as "use mind intent not strength". From what I have deduced upon examination, it seems to repeat the same qualities:

Yi means mind intent...

Does Yong mean use?

If so...how does the final part of the phrase translate?

Bu yong yi...it seems to repeat the same statement of 'yong yi'...

SO what does BU mean?

I am working towards improving my non-existant Chinese vocabulary.

Would it be possible to please translate the exact words for me, one by one?

Thank-you,
best regards,
Psalchemist. Image
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:22 pm

Greetings Ps,

Actually, the phrase is:

“Yong yi bu yong li.”

The last character is different. Yes, yong here is a verb meaning “to use.” Yi is a noun, meaning “mind-intent,” “intention,” or “conscious intent.” Bu is a negative particle, here meaning “not,” or “don’t.” Li here is a noun meaning “strength,” “force,” or “power.” (The compound “yongli” can also mean, “to extert oneself.”) The notion of an “exact” translation from one language to another is kind of elusive. Various word-for-word translations are therefore possible, one rough one being:

Use intention; [do] not use strength.

I hope that helps.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby psalchemist » Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:51 pm

Greetings Louis,

Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for, thanks for the specific details, much obliged. Image

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby psalchemist » Fri Oct 17, 2003 8:59 am

Greetings Louis, Audi,

I have been pondering...

"Yong Yi,Bu Yong Li"
[ "Use intent, (do) not use strength" ]


and was wondering how some of this Chinese phrasing could be worked with...


Yong Jin, Bu Yong Li
[Use refined strength,(do) not use crude strength] -

(DavidJ was speaking of the crude and the refined in the 'Yi in Taiji' thread)

or

Yong Yi, Bu Yong Chuei
[Use intent,(do) not use fist]

(Perhaps in a more symbolic manner)...Is this type of symbolism employed in the Chinese language?

Are the phrases I have attempted viable?
Do they translate correctly?
Or am I saying the 'blue cow stands on it's head'(early morning humor, very sorry)...Translations are not always evident, direct, or literal, this is why I am making a point of refining my understanding of the intricacies of the Chinese verbiage.

Thanks for your assistance,
Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-17-2003).]

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-17-2003).]
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Wushuer » Wed Oct 22, 2003 9:39 pm

Sorry, I have been asked to remove the former content of this post by the person who sent it to me.
The content I posted here was sent to me in confidence, though in my defense I was not told that until after I posted it here, and I have been asked to remove it until the copywrited material is released publicly.
My apologies to everyone and please carry on with this wonderful discussion and ignore this if you haven't read the previous content of this posting.
Those that did read it, esecially if you made a copy of it, I am asking you to please not distribute the content until after the book mentioned here is released in it's translated form in the U.S.A.
Thank you.
Again, I apologize to everyone.



[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 10-23-2003).]
Wushuer
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 7:01 am

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:50 pm

Hi Wushuer,

I did happen to see your post before you removed it, and I’m familiar with the original Wu Gongzao essay in which he references Archimedes’ explanation of the lever. Yes, I think that fits in nicely with this discussion. Wu Gongzao evidently was very interested in mechanics, as his writings are sprinkled with references to more modern Chinese terms for notions such as leverage, fulcrum, center of gravity, etc. These concepts, however, were not unknown in traditional China. The concept of the lever was enunciated very clearly in the Mohist Canon, c. 300 B.C., even earlier than Archimedes. Also, one of the words for “leverage” (quan2) used in the Canon was also frequently used in early bingfa (militarist) books, such as Sunzi’s Art of War, and Sun Bin. The militarists often used the concept metaphorically for “positional advantage,” so Archimedes’ remark “Give me a place to stand and I can move the earth” would have sounded familiar to those early theorists. The Mohists were by and large from the class of craftsmen and engineers, and they left behind a rich body of mechanical knowledge. A.C. Graham’s reconstruction and study of the Mohist canon, _Later Mohist Logic, Ethics and Science_, long out of print, has finally been reissued by the Chinese University Press. I’ve got my copy on order.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Wushuer » Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:19 pm

Louis,
I'm glad you saw it, I was hoping you would.
However, as mentioned, my "contact" sent that to me, I was drooling and just HAD to get some of that knowledge out to SOMEONE, THEN I saw the second e-mail, explaining that they had been given this passage, along with others, from the ongoing translation in confidence AND that it was copywrited material that wasn't intended for general release, yet. They had only forwarded it to me because...
Well, let's just say we're "close" and leave it at that for now, as I'm not getting ANYONE in trouble with Sifu or Si Kung.
I, of course, freaked out and thankfully was able to get back here and at least change the posting to something else before, hopefully, too much harm was done.
Again, I had NO idea this wasn't allready out there as I recieved it with no warning to keep it's content to myself until further notice.
That said, I at least didn't type out the energy explanations, which were the REAL meat of this text.
Clearest explanation of the Eight Energies I have ever seen or heard. Absolutely beautiful and even in the context of being translated to english it made more sense to me than ANYTHING else I know of in existance.
I know you have the original, chinese, version of Wu Kung-Tsoa's Gold Book, it must be so much clearer in the original context. If it made this much sense to me in english, I can't imagine how it must be in the original language.
Sigh.
Makes me wish I had a head for languages. I can't even speak proper english though, I have no hope at any dialect of chinese.
I simply can't wait. I have had my order in for the english translation of Master Wu's book since it was first announced.
The date keeps getting moved back. We're now up to "sometime in 2004". That's a bit general, but if it's the best they can do..
I'd rather wait and know that Sifu Eddie, Si Kung Wu Ta Sin and the rest of the Wu family are happy with it before I get an unofficial translation that may not hold the context well.
Well, one member of the Yang Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association got his hands on the copy. I e-mailed this off to my instructor with the explanations intact, as we just happened to be given an "assignment" in class last week to do research on Peng and Lu.
Imagine how ecstatic I was to recieve pure gold in my e-mail like that after getting that kind of assignement!
I have also asked him to keep it to himself for the time being, though. We'll be talking about it in class tonight, believe me.
Speaking of which, I'M OUTTA HERE! It's time to go to class.
I'll make it good for everyone.

cheers.
Wushuer
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 7:01 am

Postby psalchemist » Fri Oct 24, 2003 11:42 pm

Greetings Louis, Audi, all,

I really have no idea where to post this particular question...

It concerns the Chinese origins of a certain posture title, which seems slightly obscure in literal meaning.

Translated into english terms, I have heard this described as "High pat on horse with piercing palm".

How would you translate the original Chinese expression (Kao tan ma ?) ...directly?
Any other pertinent 'background' information would be welcome as well.

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

I am also looking for similar material on the title of the form posture I know named as "Snake spits tongue" - "Pei xi tu chin?"

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-24-2003).]
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Audi » Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:47 pm

Greetings Psalchemist,

My best current guess is that “Kao t’an ma”/“Gao tan ma” (“High Pat on Horse”) means “tall stretching horse.” “Gao tan ma chuan zhang” is the variation that appears towards the end of the form, which adds the meaning “pierce/piercing palm.” Other interpretations are possible. We discussed some of them a couple of years ago. Here is a link:

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000019.html.

This was posted under the Barehand Forum.

As for “White Snake spits out tongue,” where are you getting your spellings from? As you know, I am a language nut and would be curious to know the source. In Pinyin, this posture would be spelled: “Bai she tu xin.” Literally, it means: “White Snake spits out message/information/letter.” In one of Yang Jwing Ming’s books, he says that “message” is understood in martial arts circles to mean “poison.” There is no Chinese reference to “tongue” as far as I can determine.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby psalchemist » Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:57 pm

Greetings Audi,

Thanks for the reply to my translations query.

I will investigated the link you provided above, I'm sure it will also be helpful.

To answer your question, before I go off reading...

You asked:
<As for "White snake spits out tongue" Where are you getting your spellings from? As you know I am a language nut and would be curious to know the source> Audi

Actually there is a good reason you may have found my spelling of "Pei xi tu chin" unidentifiable...

I used to have a list of the Chinese commands accompanied with the english translations, but have been unable to locate them for the last couple of months. Image

I am going by memory mostly, and some poorly transcribed notes right now.

SO... "Bai she tu xin" turned into "Pei xi tu chin" because I am writing from pronounciation( more precisely what I have guessed it must sound like)...Even worse, from my memory of the innaccurate pronounciation.

SO... "She" turned into "Xi" and "Xin" turned into "Chin"...sorry for the mess.
I thought the "Pei" might be white/right, though? Are these simply two different dialects?

As for the source of my list...It was given me by a distant colleague a long time ago.
When I recieved it though, unfortunately I had neglected to ask it's "original source" or which Chinese dialect it was presented in, and so cannot provide an answerr to those questions.

It is a Yang style long form...that is all I really know of it.

The erroneous translations derive from my poor memory of that list.

Beyond that, I have also collected different english expressions with almost every new text I encounter, which I have undoubtedly muddled in with the mixture.

I had printed out the long form from this discussion board, several months back, but these must be with the other ones I "have"...lost. From now on I will stick to the Yang style long form as supplied by the Yang association on this board to avoid any misspellings or difference in dialect in future.

You also asked where the term "tongue" was retrieved...I must have remembered it from this same list of commands which is featured at the opening of this website (under the heading 'forms') It is listed as "White Snake Spits out Tongue"

Thanks for the corrections,
Sorry for the confusion,
Psalchemist.


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-26-2003).]
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:58 pm

Hi Psalchemist,

In the received Yang Chengfu form, the posture named High Pat on Horse appears explicitly twice. (In Xu Yusheng’s record of the form he learned from Yang Jianhou, it appears in a couple of additional sections as transitions.) The second occurrence in the YCF form adds the Piercing Palm. I don’t think the Piercing Palm was always specifically named, and may be a comparitively modern naming convention.

The other posture you mention is, as Audi points out, “bai3 she4 tu3 xin4 (or shen1). The issue of the last character is interesting. I have read Chinese sources (for example, the Jingxuan taijiquan cidian) that state that the intended meaning is the image of a snake sticking out its tongue, but that meaning is not immediately apparent from the character. The “message” or “signal” meaning is plausible. It could also be a regional variant for “tongue”; there is some graphic support in the character, as the yan (speech) element depicts something issuing vertically from a mouth. Another possibility is an alternate meaning for xin4, pronounced “shen1,” which is a variant for another shen character with the meaning “to stretch.” This would imply something like “the White Snake spits and stretches.”

The “White Snake” could have some symbolic significance since in popular culture the white snake is sometimes one of the forms that demonic characters take in plays and stories. I’ve also seen that White Snake was a name for a sword—whether a historical or mythological sword I don’t know.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby psalchemist » Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:12 pm

Greetings Louis,

Many interesting variances in expression and creative points to ponder. Image

Thanks for the assistance,
Greatly appreciated,
Psalchemist.
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Audi » Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:56 pm

Greetings Louis,

I have recently been puzzled by the use of the word “bu” in the phrase “yong yi bu yong li” (“Use mind intent not use force”). Why is this not “bie2”? Without this particle, is it not more natural to interpret this phrase with conditional meaning, i.e., “if you use mind intent, you won’t be using force”?

I apologize if we touched on this before. If we did, I do not recall your response.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Oct 27, 2003 12:21 am

Greetings All,

The other day I had the good fortune of finding a new copy of Wu Tunan’s book, _Taijiquan zhi yanjiu_ (A Study on Taijiquan), first published in 1984 while Wu was still alive and active, and now reissued in 2003, by Commercial Press in Hong Kong. Wu Tunan began studying with Wu Jianquan at the age of 12 in 1897, and also studied with Yang Shaohou. He practiced regularly until he died at the age of 105. As T. Y. Pang wrote, he probably practiced taijiquan longer than any other individual. Wu was a scientist, and always considered himself a taijiquan amateur. He did a great deal of research into the history and theory of the art, which he had assembled into a manuscript he planned to publish, but the manuscript was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The current book was compiled by his student, Ma Zhiqing, from written materials of Wu’s and from interviews Ma conducted with Wu.

Wu had some strong and controversial views about taijiquan’s origins. For example, although he acknowledged that Yang Luchan learned his art in Chen village, Wu never considered the art currently promoted as Chen style taijiquan to be the clear genetic forebear of Yang Luchan’s art, and he always insisted that what Chen practitioners do is paochui (cannon fist).

I’ve done a rough translation of a brief passage from Wu’s book in which he criticizes what he considers some misuse of terminology. I’m posting it here in the Metaphors thread because he specifically identifies the use of some taiji terms as metaphorical.

~~~
Drawing Silk Energy: Illogical

In the early sixties the Beijing physical education committee convened a conference to discuss “chousijin (drawing silk jin) and chansijin (reeling silk jin).” But to speak of this subject in these terms was fundamentally illogical. The two characters, chou si, are found in Wang Zongyue’s “Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures,” and there they serve as a metaphor. He says,

“mobilize energy (jin) as though drawing silk.”

If you pull the silk abruptly it will break, when you pull it improperly, the silk won’t come out. This is a metaphor for training the energy (jin) of taijiquan. It cannot be excessively forceful, nor excessively fragile; it has to be just right. These kinds of metaphors are numerous, such as: “mobilize jin that is like well tempered steel,” “as though drawing a bow,” and “issue jin as though releasing an arrow.” There are some people, then, who have illogically contrived to make the words chou si be regarded as a designation for a kind of jin, even mistakenly giving explanations of some sort of “chousijin.” We should ask, then, if it were possible to also have some sort of “releasing arrow jin,” or “well tempered steel jin”—wouldn’t that be laughable?

Since they invited us to attend the conference, we were compelled to go and have a listen. At that time though, if one had said thay were being illogical, wouldn’t that have disrupted their assembly?

Now as for [the notion] of chansijin being advanced by someone from Chen village, and even claiming that its essence had been mentioned in the Yaodian chapter of the Book of Documents (Shang Shu), well I’ve studied the Five Canons and the Thirteen Classics since my youth. The Yaodian is the first chapter of the Book of Documents, whose subject matter is the accomplishments of King Yao. There is absolutely no mention of the phrase [chansijin]. So how could one forcefully drag [the term] into taijiquan, only to draw support from the concept of chansijin in order to fit taijiquan into paochui? Although paochui has undergone some stylistic changes, and has been crowned with the name of taijiquan, I believe the taijiquan enthusiasts of China and the world should be able to appreciate the distinction.
—Wu Tunan, Taijiquan zhi yanjiu, p. 53.
~~~

Notes: The phrase I’ve translated as “illogical” is “butong wenli.” It’s rather stronger than “illogical” in connotation, meaning “with no understanding, ungrammatical,” etc. Clearly Wu was objecting to the confusion of the concept “chou si” with the term “chansijin.” The term I’ve translated as “metaphor” is “biyu,” which means metaphor or analogy.

Comments?

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 10-28-2003).]
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1336
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: No registered users and 2 guests