Conscious Movement

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:24 pm

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

I hope you’ll share some information about the writings of Ming dynasty thinkers you found. Image</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Yuri,

Outside of the Yang Forty Chapters use of “conscious movement,” I first came upon the term zhijue yundong a few years ago when I was reading a book about the late Ming thinker, Wang Fuzhi, in a book by Alison Harley Black, _Man and Nature in the Philosophical Thought of Wang Fu-chih_ (1989, University of Washington Press). Wang Fuzhi was a very advanced thinker. Although he was grounded in the Neo-Confucian tradition from the Song and Ming periods, he was in many respects quite innovative and iconoclastic. His thought was empirical, rational, and down-to-earth; some say he helped lay the groundwork for modern Chinese materialist thinking. Black keys in on a phrase Wang Fuzhi used in a commentary he wrote on Mengzi: zhijue yundong zhi lingming “the light of ordinary intelligence.” Black states, “The phrase translated as ‘ordinary intelligence’ [zhijue yundong] is repeatedly used by Wang Fuzhi to denote the mind’s basic powers of perception and ‘movement.’ It [the larger phrase] literally means something like ‘clarity or efficacy of the activities of knowledge and awareness,’ that is, of the basic or ordinary cognitive activities characteristic of all knowing creatures. . . .” (p. 195)

When I first encountered this, I immediately thought of its recurrence in the Yang Forty, and wondered if Wang had been the source of the idea as used by the Yang Forty author. However, Wang’s vast writings remained unpublished until the mid-1800s, so it is unlikely they would have been available to the author of the Yang Forty.

More recently, I discovered that the Song Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi (1130-1200) also used the phrase zhijue yundong in his own commentary to Mengzi. In what context did Zhu Xi use the zhijue yundong phrase? It was his commentary on Mengzi 6A, containing a debate between Mengzi and a fellow named Gaozi, in which Mengzi basically shreds Gaozi’s view of human nature using brilliant logic. Without getting into the whole dynamic of the debate, I’ll just say it’s about what in modern sociological terms may be termed “nature vs. nurture”—what is inherent in human nature, what is the role of environment, educational guidance, etc. Zhu Xi uses the phrase zhijue yondong several times. For example, when Gaozi states: “Life is what we call nature,” Zhu Xi comments, ‘“Life” refers to that by which a person senses and moves (zhijue yundong). In all of Gaozi’s theory of human nature, this is his main point. It is somewhat similar to present day Buddhists’ assertion that “actions are life.”’ I’m not very certain of this last phrase (zuoyong shi xing zhe), zuoyong being “actions, use, process, function,” etc, but here it is evidently a special Buddhist term.

Whatever the intricacies of the argument, I think there is substantial evidence that Zhu Xi may have been the source of inspiration for the use of the “conscious movement” phrase in the Yang Forty Chapters. Adding to that evidence is the presence of other terminology in the Yang documents (and other taiji classics) that appear to have been directly borrowed from Zhu Xi, and the fact that Zhu Xi’s use of the phrase appears in a commentary to a debate about innate human capabilities—the very subject of Yang Forty text #3, which discusses “natural endowment” and the need for its recovery through attention to “conscious movement.”

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:39 am

Greetings Louis,

Thank you for the elaboration about the other sources of “conscious movement” phrase. I found that passage of Gaozi and Mengzi discussion with the commentary you mentioned. I think it’s valuable for the general understanding of the term “conscious movement”. The conclusion I made - this term is used in the Yang Forty Chapters to point out the idea which is similar to the subject of that dialog between Gaozi and Mengzi, namely the issue of “nature vs nature”, as you put it, or "nature and nature". I understand that my remark is cloudy, but I am still pondering the subject and not ready yet to formulate it clearly.


Besides Neo-Confucian terms in the Chapters you mentioned above there are terms there related to daoist double cultivation with associated theories (jin4xing4 & li4ming4, for example) as well. So I think they just used everything for a textual explanation that they had at hands, so to speak. Because they had enough knowledge about those matters.

Take care,

Yuri




[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 03-27-2006).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:22 pm

Hi Yuri,

Just to clarify one point, it’s “nature vs. NURTURE,” nurture being “to nourish, educate; training, upbringing,” etc., or what the early Chinese thinkers called “yang3 sheng1” (nurturing life).

I understand the point that you are making. Most Chinese intellectuals of the late imperial period were conversant with Zhu Xi; he was largely responsible for codifying the “Four Books” as the essential curriculum for advancement in the civil exams system. So it would not be surprising to find any writer of the time drawing upon the available discourse. My interest is more about why these particular terms are used in such a concentrated and pointed manner in the Yang Forty Chapters.

The best I can do is point to the likely sources of these phrases and terms. What remains to be explored is what they are doing in the Yang texts, and what their significance is.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-27-2006).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:06 pm

Hi Louis,

For me, the term conscious movement implies movement that is itself conscious, or movement that is fully imbued with consciousness.

Let me back up and start with what is not conscious movement, in my view. HereÕs my current understanding (always subject to revision, of course): when one moves AND thinks about arm shape, or weight transfer, or application, or anything else, this is consciousness OF movement, but not conscious movement. In order to be aware of something from the ÒoutsideÓ of the thing itself, one has to in some way separate the internal observer from that which is being observed. For example, if one is Òwatching oneselfÓ there is a sense of partitioning consciousness into the part that is watching and the part that is doing/perceiving/moving/whatever.

IMO, this kind of consciousness of movement is not conscious movement. Rather, it is one of the stages on the path to conscious movement. It is the Òinformation gatheringÓ stage of exploring the self and the world.

Borrowing a quote about exploring the world from Joseph AdlerÕs essay ÒVarieties of Spiritual Experience:?Shen in Neo-Confucian DiscourseÓ that you linked to (http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/F ... uality.htm ):

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Xhu Xi: ÒBy basing [this contact [with the world]] on the principles already known, none will fail to increase and complete [his knowledge], and so to seek to reach its ultimate limit. When he reaches the point where he has exerted effort for a long time, one day [everything] will suddenly interpenetrate (guantong). Then the external and internal, subtle and gross [qualities] of all things will be apprehended, and there will be no unclarity in the total substance and great functioning of our mind.(51) This is called the investigation of things. This is called the perfection of knowledge.(52)Ó </font>


I experience conscious movement as the unification of movement with consciousness. Now, I canÕt move consciously all the time, and some of my tai chi practices are more conscious than others (!) but here are some generalizations: When I doing what I understand as conscious movement, I am not doing anything at all. I am being the movement. I am aware of all of the details without emphasis on any single one. In this state, it becomes very difficult to distinguish between things. The duality of either/or is gone. ÒBoth-andÓ doesnÕt really seem to apply either in the sense of A+B+C+D. ItÕs not even ABCD because thatÕs still too linear. ItÕs more like an energy field or a body of water that contains the components of A, B, C, and D but cannot be parsed without losing the greater meaning of the whole.

On a really, really good day, all the movements blend together until thereÕs only one movement. My body becomes a single unit of awareness. Information received through touch (the wind through my fingers, the clods of earth under my shoes, the gnat on my forearm) registers as equal to vision (usually primary for me) or proprioception and even less tangible modes of sensing/knowing that are not normally active in my everyday states of consciousness. I am listening/looking/feeling inside, outside, and beyond all at once. And all of my senses are heightened in a way thatÕs not my usual way of operating in the world.

Again from the Adler article:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Zhang Zai, the source of much of this theory, said:
ÒBy enlarging one's mind one can enter into all things in the world. As long as anything is not yet entered into, there is still something outside the mind.... The mind that leaves something outside is not capable of uniting itself with the mind of Heaven. Knowledge coming from seeing and hearing is knowledge obtained through interaction with things....(47)

When the mind's capacity for psycho-physical intercourse with things -- its ability to penetrate, enter into, or pervade things, even in some cases the minds of others(49) -- is developed to the highest degree, it is called "spiritual" (shen), or "spiritual clarity" (shenming).Ó </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Conscious movement is the middle stage on the way to this expanded awareness. Conscious movement within the self leads to conscious movement of others. When the mind expands enough to incorporate others but still distinguish between self and other, understanding of others follows naturally. When the mind expands enough that the distinction between self and other is completely irrelevant, then this is the level of mastery, wherein the self creates the world. Movement is utterly conscious but the body itself is a collaborator in an orchestration of consciousness that moves the world.

O Sensei, founder of Aikido said it like this:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"I am the Universe ... when an enemy tries to fight with me, the universe itself, he has to break the harmony of the universe. Hence, at the moment he has the mind to fight with me, he is already defeated." Ð as quoted by George Leonard, The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei, New York: Dutton, 1999, p. 28. </font>


HereÕs to consciousness,
Kal
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:47 am

Greetings Kal,

Yes. You’ve stated this very well.

You wrote: ‘In order to be aware of something from the “outside” of the thing itself, one has to in some way separate the internal observer from that which is being observed. For example, if one is “watching one’s self” there is a sense of partitioning consciousness into the part that is watching and the part that is doing/perceiving/moving/whatever. . . . IMO, this kind of consciousness of movement is not conscious movement.’

It is precisely that kind of objectification of experience that “conscious movement” overcomes. I do not think there is anything mystical or other-worldly about this kind of experience at all, but I think it is easily identified with mystical-like experience because one temporarily loses one’s sense of self—the sense of “I am doing X.” This can take place in any activity that requires a certain sustained focus, such as playing an instrument, hiking up a rocky path where your feet just seem to place themselves automatically in the right spot, painting, bicycling, or anything that might be considered to be skillful activity. It just happens that taijiquan provides a particularly good avenue for attaining and cultivating that state. Sitting meditation is also an efficient means to cultivate that experience.

By the way, one of the Zhu Xi quotes that you cited from the Alder essay is paraphrased in the Taijiquan Treatise: ‘Nevertheless, without an exertion of effort over time (yong li zhi jiu), one will not be able to suddenly have a thorough understanding of it (guantong).’ It’s from Zhu Xi’s commentary on the Da Xue (Greater Learning).

Take care,
Louis
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Postby fol » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:10 am

This won't help with Neo-Confucian origins, but is a follow-up to Bob. There's a commonplace model in skills training of various kinds that learning proceeds in stages:

unconscious incompetence
conscious incomptence
conscious competence
unconscious competence

Here the English word "consciousness" is being deployed precisely because it is reflexive: "conscious incompetence," for example, is both consciousness that the performance is inadequate and also consciousness of oneself (self-consciousness, reflexive) as incompetent. (We all know what this is like!)

From what you're saying, Louis and Kalamondin, the Chinese term seems to be less reflexive?--maybe more like the English "mindful," which doesn't extend to self-mindfulness or even a mind separate from what's mindful? If so, maybe "conscious" is not a great English translation, and "conscious movement" more like what the learning model calls "unconscious competence"?
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:27 am

Greetings fol,

I like your four-stage progression, and I think it aptly applies to the learning of skilled activity. I agree that stages two and three imply self-consciousness. However, with stage four, although you are not self-conscious, there is indeed consciousness. So I would be inclined to call it unselfconscious competence. Some disciplines call it pure consciousness.

Consciousness is actually a good translation of the Chinese term zhijue, but perhaps not in the Lockean connotation of the term as self-defining knowledge or introspection. Zhijue rather refers to perception, awareness by means of the senses, and therefore it is interactive with and responsive to stimuli.

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-29-2006).]
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Postby Rich » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:05 am

Hi all,

Interesting watching this one pan out. I've had some thoughts, but I've held back to let them ferment a little before jumping in.

To my mind, conscious movement is a process of refining movement and intention until the two are instantaneous and unseparated.

For example, to begin with movement is haphazard, and the consciousness only knows about part of it. We are not aware in the beginning that an arm is stuck out way too far, or our shoulders are hunched up, or our backside is stuck out. Only when corrected do we become aware of these errors, and as we recieve a correction, we become more aware of these parts of our bodies. Gradually we incorporate these parts of ourselves into our body awareness. This takes persistant conscious effort, and is one level of meaning to the phrase. Another meaning is conscious as opposed to unconscious (i.e become aware that our arm is too straight, rather than remaining unaware)

Then there is the consciousness of the intention of the movements - the applications that drive the postures. We incorporate this aspect into each part of each movement, while still ironing out the errors, the wasted energy, the inneficiencies. To begin with this is painstaking and the applications take time, thought and effort to become smooth. We add another layer of consciousness to our form and with it we are driven to repeat the first layer for further refinement. So we have another meaning here, as in "conscious of the movement's purpose".

Gradually we refine our movement and our understanding to the point where we gain the "shenming". We reach a level of understanding and ability that are fused and well tempered. At this point, the conscioussness moves and the body moves. The body moves (by the force of another perhaps) and so our conscoussness moves. This is another meaning to the phrase. "movement driven directly by consciousness" or "movement initiated by perception".

Loius' references to other skills are apt. For example, I am a musician and a potter and can relate well to this with regards to skill at an instrument or with clay. The stages of refinement apply to these skills also (as well as riding a bike, or dancing, or whatever) - diligence, patience, payoff. A good example would be how years ago, I used to have to consciously will my fingers to do my bidding, cursing them for their clumsiness. I would have to work and work and work to play a peice without hashing it up somewhere along the way. Nowadays, I can pick up a guitar and let go. My fingers do the work by themselves. Or more precisely, wherever my mind goes, my fingers make it happen - I don't have to tell them anything, they just follow my mind without pause (on a good day!). I don't even need a piece of music in mind - I can spontaneously make one up by letting go and allowing my hands to take over. I was doing just that the other day when it struck me that this is what conscious movement and "shenming" is (at least, in MY understanding).

So, to sum up, the term "conscious movement" has several interlinked meanings, I think. Some apply to the process of learning and refining and growing, and another apllies to the goal of that work, the resulting skills aquired.

It seems to me that everyone is on the same track here, just finding different ways to express it, or focusing in on specific aspects of the picture.

Hope this is of use,

Regards,

Rich
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Postby Rich » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:20 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
According to the author of the Yang Forty text #3, it involves the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and that all of these are natural abilities. ...But, the author says, we have lost, and must regain these abilities, and it is a difficult task. What is the author getting at?</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Louis,

All of these things are indeed natural abilities, as is movement - it's all in our design spec! But if you stop to think about it, all of these senses/abilities are normally quite dulled in the average human being. Living divorced from nature, we don't really listen, or see, or smell, taste, touch. If you go out with one of these senses/abilities in mind you will notice what I mean. Try going out and just listening, for example. You'll hear much more than you thought you were able to. If you do this persistently, your natural hearing ability will start to return to you. The same goes for movement. Persistently focus your attention on it and it will improve.

Regards,

Rich
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:52 pm

Greetings Rich,

Re: ". . .it's all in our design spec!"

I would have to take issue with that one point, but you may be privy to some information I don't have.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Rich » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:21 am

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

Re: ". . .it's all in our design spec!"

I would have to take issue with that one point, but you may be privy to some information I don't have.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Louis,

If you're taking that as a reference to the idea of 'intelligent design', you can breathe a sigh of relief - I don't have any special information on that!

Regards,

Rich
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:04 pm

Greetings Rich,

You caught my drift. I am wary of all teleological assumptions. I hasten to add that I agree with your post!

Take care,
Louis
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Postby ShowHong » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:27 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Greetings,
.........
I am struck, though, by the strong and repeated emphasis placed on the concept of “conscious movement” in the opening texts of the Yang Forty chapters. I think these are among the most profound taiji documents we have. As Chee Fatt states, development of taiji skill can only take place if one is “conscious of every inch of the movement.” So what, exactly, does that entail? Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Louis,

Long time no see. Great that you have noticed this phrase ‘zhijue yundong’. I see this being the single most significant contribution of the Yang Forty Chapters to the body of knowledge of Taichi. No doubt this phrase is appropriated from writings of other Chinese tradition but it is twisted quite a bit for its use in discussing the fundamentals of Taichi.

I am not a sinologist. You know more Chinese classics than I do. I probably had gone through the literature you cited many years ago during my schooling but don’t have a clear memory of it. So I am responding based only on a very direct and simplistic view of what zhijue yundong could mean in the Chinese classics.

In those philosophical/literature discourse, zhijue yundong represents the basic attributes or manifestation of human life. All four characters are nouns. ‘Zhi’ is knowing (of something) and ‘jue’ is having a sense (of something). ‘Zhijue’ are two different degrees of feeling/sensing/cognition, two together are to represent the whole spectrum of human’s ability to receive information from the environment (hence, vision, hearing, smell, taste and so on are all included). This perhaps is counted as the mind/mental/Shin component. Similarly, ‘yundong’ are two different stages of moving/movement, as described in #3 of the Yang Forty Chapters, and the two together are to represent the living organism’s ability to move and to physically endeavor. This probably is counted as the body/material/Wu component. So, zhijue and yundong together represent the fundamental attributes of life or living process. Therefore, translation of zhijue yundong in this context should be conscious(ness) and mobility instead of conscious movement, and has little relevance to what it is to mean when used in the context of Taichi.

In the Yang Forty Chapters zhijue yundong is first accepted as it’s original meaning being the naturally endowed ability, comes with life. But then it does a nice spin around and use zhijue for their root meaning of ‘knowing’ and ‘having a sense of something’ instead of a general representation of sensing/cognition ability. Further, they are used as adjectives to qualify yundong. In this context, it no longer means conscious(ness) and mobility, instead, conscious movement is appropriate translation.

In my view, conscious movement is much too vague for zhijue yundong. The Yang Forty Chapters essentially uses zhijue yundong to define movement in Taichi. Simply, in Taichi all movement is a consequence of knowing and all details of the movement is known by the practitioner. Zhijue yundong is yundong (movement) based on zhijue (knowing). On the other hand it is easier to say what is not. Zhijue yundong is not a pattern of movement no matter how smoothly it has been rehearsed, it is not a reaction of reflexive movement no matter how spontaneously it is delivered, nor is it based on feeling of movement being natural. In this sense it is not really part of our natural endowment, and this is why in Wang Tzong-Yue’s Taichi Chuan treatise it differentiates Taichi skill that must be studied in order to learn from other skills based on strength and speed that come as physical endowment of the body. It is therefore safe to say that zhijue yundong sets Taichi apart from all other disciplines of martial arts. In Taichi, this zhijue is primarily about the body and of the body. Not that a person’s intellectual cognition is not involved but zhijue of movement is experiential, without similar experience in other common human activities there will not be adequate vocabulary to intellectually describe or process it. Therefore, it is very difficult to evaluate exactly what counts as knowing intellectually. As corroboration, in Wu Cheng-Ching’s ‘Chuan Lun’, see Wile’s ‘Lost Tai-chi….’ p. 128 or p. 45, it is said that knowing with the body is superior to knowing with the mind/intellect.

If this knowledge as you said is so profound, it is a puzzle why it had not shown up prominently in YCF’s teaching. Even if YCF taught it only to the indoor students, we could expect it to show up in at least in the teaching of some of those students. The only mention of zhijue yundong out side of Yang Forty that I have encountered is in Prof. CMC’s New Method of Self Study. Curiously enough this mention is skirted around in Hennessy’s translation and its significance is missed altogether in his work. In the Chinese edition of this book, p. 32, in the introduction/discussion of the first Grasp Sparrow’s Tail Left Wardoff, it says ‘the emphasis of practicing push hands is primarily on sticking, connecting, adhering, and following; neither disconnect nor resist; go back and forth without stop; then you will approach the stage of zhijue yundong, which is the most advanced mode of movement (yundong)’. There is no mention where CMC got his idea but it is possible that he got it from /through YCF since YCF clearly understood this ‘movement by knowing’ being the very core of Taichi even though he did not appear to have used this terminology. In the last chapter of CMC’s Thirteen Treatises he listed 12 essentials that he learnt from YCF. #11 describes what is supposedly YCF’s take on the meaning of ‘shu ren zhen’ from the first verse of Da Shou Ge (Song of Push Hands). Instead of rendering it ‘must be conscientious/serious/diligent’ according to the common usage of ‘ren zhen’, this phrase is taken apart with each character assumes its root meaning – ‘ren’ is ‘recognize’ and ‘zhen’ is ‘truth/truthfulness’. #11 essentially admonishes, according to YCF/CMC, that (when doing) Peng, Lu, Ji, and An, (practitioners) must recognize truthfully (what is Peng, what is Lu, what is Ji, and what is An), which requires the ability of movement based on knowing for its successful execution. In my view, this is YCF’s single most significant insight/contribution. According to CMC, ‘shu ren zhen’ was not thoroughly understood even after long and arduous study of the classics without illumination from YCF’s insight.

This idea of zhijue yundong is not really a new addition to the Taichi principle described in the classics or unique to the Yang’s Forty Chapters. It is imbedded in and, therefore, can be deduced from the principle/definition of Taichi as described in Wang Tzong-Yue’s Taichi Chuan treatise. In Wang’s treatise it states that Taichi effectiveness is based on the ability of knowing better than the other guy but without further delineation of how this works or how this is linked to the other aspects of the principle that are described in the article. The phrase zhijue yundong, a very clear and concise terminology, in the Yang Forty Chapters fills this gap nicely. Zhijue yundong, movement based on knowing, is what it takes to interact with the other person so that there is neither excess nor insufficiency, neither resistance nor disconnect, and ultimately a fly cannot alight neither can a feather.

Sincerely,
Show-Hong
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:43 am

Greetings Show-Hong,

I appreciate your thoughtful analysis of the “zhijue yundong” terminology in the Yang Forty Chapters. I find your thinking much in accord with my own on this, and you’ve given me still more to ponder.

One idea you presented:
“This idea of zhijue yundong is not really a new addition to the Taichi principle described in the classics or unique to the Yang’s Forty Chapters. It is imbedded in and, therefore, can be deduced from the principle/definition of Taichi as described in Wang Tzong-Yue’s Taichi Chuan treatise.”

This is why I noted the congruence of several documents with the progression found in Wang Zongyue’s treatise: “From careful investigation and experience (zhuoshu), one may gradually realize how to comprehend energy (dongjin). From comprehending energy, you will obtain by degrees spiritual illumination.” It would appear that the zhijue yundong idea is effectively a commentary, paraphrase, or amplification of zhuoshu, or zhaoshu (close familiarity with gesture/touch), from the line in Wang Zongyue’s classic. Yang Chengfu’s reference to the same progression in the Push Hands section of his Essence and Applications book substitutes the phrase “jue jin” (to sense energy) in the head position where zhuoshu or zhijue yundong appear elsewhere. I think they all refer to the same thing, but each casts a slightly different light on the matter.

Here is my rough translation of a portion of Meng Naichang’s commentary on the “Bamen wubu yong gong fa” terxt from the Yang Forty:

~~~
Zhijue yundong refers to the function of the sensory organs in comprehending objective phenomena. In Zhu Xi’s essay on the Zhong Yong, he refers to the purified awareness of the heart/mind (xin zhi xuling zhijue). The meaning of yundong is the turnings and active movements of the body. . . . This text points out that zhijue yundong is also a kind of innate ability in one’s personal sensation of movement in every part of one’s body. Note: Because of taijiquan’s fangsong attribute, the body and limbs are drawn out, thereby enhancing one’s abilities in sensing and perceiving, and resulting in extraodinary adroitness and sensitivity. This aspect becomes especially evident in tuishou training, and the so-called “jianwei zhizhu” tingjin comes from this training.* This text makes clear that there is nothing mystical involved here, but is based on innate abilities that have been enhanced through cultivation. However, for it to transform into a conscious process (zijue guocheng) “is very difficult to attain in myself.” One must undergo serious and arduous training.
—Meng Naichang, Taijiquanpu yu mipu jiaozhu, 1993

* The chengyu Meng Naichang uses, “jianwei zhizhu” comes from the Han Feizi, and means “see the seedlings, know the result.” That is, from an ability to perceive the slightest emergent details, one can ascertain the developing tendencies.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby qiphlow » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:44 am

GREAT DISCUSSION!

for me, i like to keep it simple: moving on purpose. much of our movement during our day is automatic, and our form practice can get that way as well if we're not paying attention. so, as i like to remind beginner students (and myself): "move on purpose!"
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