Conscious Movement

Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:11 am

Louis, indeed it's interesting how old military tactics and taiji theory correlate with each other. I didn't know that there was such a thing as "qi of the troops". That makes some Wu Yuxiang's metaphors more understandable. Thanks!

However I must confess that Lewis's work you quoted seems somewhat a mess to me. Emotions, xueqi (animal energies), cosmic qi – everything are mixed. He tries to sort the notions out but in my opinion without much success (I could see only these little extracts, maybe I am wrong). In my view, Daoist approach to qi (represented here by Zhuang-zi), Confucian school approach to qi – each requires analysis. After that we can speak more definitely how these two schools of thought affected taiji-quan. But anyway Lewis's work is really interesting.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
Could this be the source of gudang?

". . .as hard and soft stroke each other, {That is, they urge each other on, meaning the way yin and yang stimulate each other.} the eight trigrams activate each other. {That is, they impel each other on, referring to the activation that allows change to fulfill its cyclical nature.} It [the Dao] arouses things with claps of thunder, moistens them with wind and rain." (Lynn, p. 48)
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not sure, but it's a fascinating phrase.

Take care,
Yuri




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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:14 pm

Greetings Yuri,

The impression you received of Lewis’ work as mixed-up is more likely due to my picking out the quotes I found useful. I wanted in particular to call attention to what he calls a denial of heroism in early Chinese military texts; that is, a de-emphasis of personal courage and heroics in favor of collective organization. His book of course does a much better and more in-depth job of developing these themes. I recommend it! Another study of similar themes from a different angle that I recommend is by Lisa Raphals, _Knowing Words: Wisdom and Cunning in the Classical Traditions of China and Greece_.

My own opinion is that qi is just qi. Different traditions have done their best to brand it and spin it to suit their needs, and that continues to this day.

On the quote from the Xicizhuan, “gang rou xiang mo, bagua xiang dang,” I went back to look at it because I remembered that it contains the dang4 graph that appears in the term “gudang.” I had forgotten that it’s followed by the graph gu3, in the phrase “. . .arouses things with claps of thunder.” There they are, right next to each other! Sometimes Chinese expressions that survive in the modern language in the form of chengyu and compounds have their origins in just this sort of chance clustering of words. Whether that’s true in the case of gudang remains unclear.
By the way, in the Lynn translation that I posted, the words in braces {. . .} are the commentary of Han Kangbo (died, c.e. 385), who was a disciple of the great Han dynasty scholar Wang Bi.

Here’s a link to the text of the Xici commentary in Big 5: http://www.chineseclassic.com/13jing/yi/ch65.htm

And to this great index of classical text links:
http://www.chineseclassic.com/index.htm

Take care,
Louis


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Postby ShowHong » Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:22 am

Hi Louis and Jerry,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">...of the language and the quaint conventions of the writing system versus very down-to-earth explanations based on everyday language. – Jerry </font>


It is hard for Chinese to see that distinction as well. As far as I know until the last couple of decades or so there was not such a thing as everyday (verbal) language that was written in Chinese. Whatever was spoken when put on the paper was modified in some way and became written or reading material instead of the original spoken language. I had refused to watch Chinese movie for many years because I could not stand watching/hearing movie characters carrying on a conversation by reciting written script.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
... I don’t expect anyone to accept my interests or share my curiousity, but I don’t see any harm in expressing my views. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But holding a view on something you don’t quite understand does carry some risk of harm to your practice. One can only practice what he knows. If what he knows or what he thinks he knows is off the mark, so will be what he practices. This is why the admonition that deviation of a little bit will result in an error miles apart from the real thing. The masters that I know of all emphasize that understanding of the principle is centrally important in learning the art of Taichi and some of them even go so far as to say that understanding is more important than practice.

I am not really interested in what “qi yi gudang” means since it is not part of the principle. It is a commentary describing how the author felt of his practice. It is about the outcome, not the principle and, therefore, I don’t believe it contains any ‘how to’ information that helps us in practice. It certainly contains the author’s understanding and misunderstanding of what’s going on and how things work. It may have been right or worked for the author but unless you understand what’s going on and how things work the same way as the author, you are not going to understand the same phrase in the way that worked for the author. So what is right for the author is likely not right for the reader.

That “qi yi gudang” is not part of the principle is further evidenced by its language. For simplicity sake let’s use “move” to stand for ‘gudang”. “qi yi gudang” essentially means “it is good that qi moves” or, almost equally possible, “it is good that qi is moved”. What is principle or is understood as principle by the author would have been expressed with a straight forward statement if not an imperative. It would have been ‘do this’ or ‘this must be so’ instead of ‘it is good that…’. When it comes to principle there is no room for choice.

To make things worse, exactitude in the use of language had never been high on the priority list for Chinese. So even though the most likely meaning for ‘qi yi gudang’ is ‘it is good that qi moves’, it could be easily taken as ‘it is good that qi is moved’ which is then understood by practitioners as an encouragement that they should move whatever is called qi in their practice. The latter finds an example in Chen Wei-Ming’s writing you have cited. But these two meanings are diametrically different and both cannot be correct.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So, I don’t know where any of these authorities got their drum-like or wave-like imagery for gudang, or why they didn’t just ignore all that stuff and just speak plainly. </font>


I heard this quote, perhaps from Dostoyevski, ‘First art imitates life, then life imitates art.’ After a few iterations life is as fake as it can be. Same could be said of language and the reality which language can only represent less than exactly. Here ‘gudang’ is, at the beginning, only a description or a label of something and end up as if it were something real (it somehow became, in Chen Weiming’s hands, “Jin of gudang” which can be used or mechanistically responsible to achieve some result) and in deciphering what it may mean we miss the real thing it tries to stand for. I tend to think that basic human nature/frailty is involved here - the inability to simply say ‘I don’t know’, blame it all on Adam and Eve.

The way I read it, Yang Luchan’s commentary is not really trying to interpret ‘qi yi gudang’, rather, it is simply his take on the same or similar experience. Be careful who you take to be authority. I have come to the conclusion through studying Taichi that those who are in the know tell what reality is or is like, those who are not often try to interpret what is told and those who are even less fortunate would mistake interpretation for the real thing. Since language can only imitate reality at best, interpretation of language can rarely get the interpreter to knowing the reality. Knowing comes through experiencing the reality. Perhaps this is why Taichi masters do not teach the classics and yet insist that the classics are very important and students should study them.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">... or why an early 20th century term for “transversal wave” was coined as “hengdang bolang.” </font>


“Transversal wave” now has an exact counter part in Chinese “heng bo”, which is the same as “hengdang bo” or “hengdang bolang”. “Heng” is transverse and “bo” is wave. What is transversal in transversal wave is the direction of the oscillation being perpendicular to the direction the wave travels. “Hengdang” expressed openly the “oscillation” part that is by definition implied in “transversal wave”. “Bo” is meant here to be a specific terminology for a general or abstract idea of wave. “Bolang”, which can be substituted by ‘bo’ alone, is the tangible and readily observable wave of water and the experiment to demonstrate basic properties of wave is usually done using water waves. So its use in the early days is understandable. “Dang” is the short hand for “tsendang”, vibration/oscillation, of which the motion of a swinging pendulum is a ready example.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It’s probably that I just don’t understand your meaning, but I can’t see how anything involving movement, especially interactive movement with another, would have “nothing to do with sensing/perceiving.” In order to follow the other’s movement, wouldn’t sensing/perceiving be a prerequisite? </font>


Let’s look at an example that often shows up at some point in the discussion of martial arts – one should move with the opponent like a piece of cork in the water moving with water. That piece of cork moves up and down, to and fro, as water moves without the apparent need for sensing/perceiving. Granted I am not that piece of cork and have no way to know absolutely that cork does not posses the ability of sensing/perceiving but suffice it to say that this phenomenon can be explained satisfactorily without invoking a proposition that sensing/perceiving on the part of the cork is necessary.

I am not trying to say that some cognitive function or our central nervous system is not involved but that the sensing/perceiving as we commonly know it is not part of and does not explain Taichi interaction. Besides, there is really no need for the understanding how our mind works in learning Taichi just like musicians don’t need to understand how mind works to learn and gain marvelous skills of playing their instruments.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I’m not sure who is doing the correlating. By that do you mean the early taijiquan authorities, who sort of accidentally correlated the acoustic sense with the sense of touch? I’m not clear if that’s what you mean. I wonder, though, if to say that the “physical mechanism” was unknown prior to scientific discoveries about the workings of the nervous system might reflect a modernist bias. For thousands of years humans used their senses, achieving great feats of understanding, engineering, architecture, music, movement arts, etc., but without the benefit of knowing anything about neurons, neurotransmitters, dendrites, or axons. Does this mean that they didn’t “know” how their senses worked? </font>


Bias is deviation from the truth or reality, irrespective of when the truth or reality becomes known to human beings. Indeed humans have known and made use of a great deal of their senses which are theirs to experience and experiment. But the same is not true for the media through which our senses come to being, such as light and sound, until the development of modern science. Humans achieve great feats in using their senses without knowing anything about the nervous systems so can Taichi practitioners without the need of knowing anything about intention/sensing/perceiving or how our mind works.

But it is not about senses anyway. The commonality between Taichi listening and aural listening is not in the sensing part or neural physiology, rather, it lies in the mechanical aspect of listening. Taichi is about interaction that is carried out with movement and so movement is central to what Taichi is about. If aural listening is relevant to Taichi listening it is the mechanical movement in the process of aural listening that is responsible for the correlation and is not known to the ancient. In our aural listening system the ears transform the vibration of the air into neuronal electrical pulses and our brain turns this signal into aural perception of sound. Conversely we may say that brain listens to the neural signal from the cochlea, cochlea listens to stapes, stapes listens to incus, incus to malleus, malleus to tympanic membrane and tympanic membrane to the movement of the air. Tympanic membrane listens to the movement of air by moving in synch with the air, malleus listens to tympanic membrane by moving in synch with tympanic membrane, incus listens to malleus by moving in synch with malleus and so on. The listening that goes on in the middle ear is essentially nothing but movement, without our intention or cognition being involved. Each part moves in synch, without butting or disengagement, with the source of movement that is in contact with the part. This listening that goes on in the middle ear could serve as an ideal model of Taichi listening, albeit in a very limited scope. Since the hearing apparatus in the middle ear are passive devices – they don’t move on their own, what actually happens is that the vibrating air moves the tympanic membrane, which then moves malleus, which then moves incus and so on. Similarly in Taichi listening, the other person pushes, say, your wrist and moves your forearm, the upper arm then let itself be moved by the forearm and in the process moves the shoulder, the shoulder in the same fashion is moved and moves the upper torso and so on until the movement is transmitted all the way down to the feet. Perfect listening is when this chain of movements occur in synch and transmit efficiently without butting or disengagement, i.e., in the fashion of zhijue yundong as characterized by Prof. Cheng Man-Ching. This is another way of seeing how zhijue yundong relates to ting – both zhijue yundong and ting manifest in “nian lian tie swei” and “bu diou bu ding” which is essentially moving in synch with the source of movement, without excess or insufficiency. But what is this zhijue when sensing/perceiving is not in the picture? This ‘zhijue’ in ‘zhijue yundong’ is what Wu Cheng-Ching called ‘knowing with the body’, in contrast to ‘knowing with the mind’. ‘Knowing with the mind’ is the sensing/perceiving as we commonly know and not only is it inferior to ‘knowing with the body’ neither is it appropriate nor sufficient for Taichi as pointed out by Wu Cheng-Ching. Wu also equates ‘knowing with the body’ to ‘dong jin’ – that body moves in the fashion of ‘zhijue yundong’ as if it knows how to move without thinking of the brain is what ‘dong jin’ is about.


Sincerely,
Show-Hong

[This message has been edited by ShowHong (edited 06-23-2006).]

[This message has been edited by ShowHong (edited 06-23-2006).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:56 pm

Greetings Show-Hong,

Thank you for a fascinating post. I’m pressed for time today, so I can’t respond to all of your points, but I do have some thoughts on your last remarks:

You wrote: “But what is this zhijue when sensing/perceiving is not in the picture? This ‘zhijue’ in ‘zhijue yundong’ is what Wu Cheng-Ching called ‘knowing with the body’, in contrast to ‘knowing with the mind’. ‘Knowing with the mind’ is the sensing/perceiving as we commonly know and not only is it inferior to ‘knowing with the body’ neither is it appropriate nor sufficient for Taichi as pointed out by Wu Cheng-Ching. Wu also equates ‘knowing with the body’ to ‘dong jin’ – that body moves in the fashion of ‘zhijue yundong’ as if it knows how to move without thinking of the brain is what ‘dong jin’ is about.”

I think I have a fundamentally different understanding of sensing and perceiving than yours. To me, all sensing and perceiving is of the body. One Western thinker who worked hard to break down the false dichotomy of mind and body was Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The online encylopedia Wikipedia has an informative page about his works, where you can find the remark, "when Merleau-Ponty says that 'all consciousness is perceptive consciousness' he recognises a primordial interrelation of perceiving and perceived, something which is sometimes expressed as the reversibility of touching and being touched. Similarly, in his discussion of the body, Merleau-Ponty suggests a corporeal consciousness and corporeal intentionality."

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:27 am

Greetings Show-Hong,

You wrote: "I am not really interested in what “qi yi gudang” means since it is not part of the principle. . . .It is about the outcome, not the principle and, therefore, I don’t believe it contains any ‘how to’ information that helps us in practice.. . .
That “qi yi gudang” is not part of the principle is further evidenced by its language. For simplicity sake let’s use “move” to stand for ‘gudang”. “qi yi gudang” essentially means “it is good that qi moves” or, almost equally possible, “it is good that qi is moved”. What is principle or is understood as principle by the author would have been expressed with a straight forward statement if not an imperative. It would have been ‘do this’ or ‘this must be so’ instead of ‘it is good that…’. . . ."

In the “qi yi gudang” phrase, the word yi carries the meaning “yingdang,” “yinggai,” or “bixu,” (should, ought to, must), so it is prescriptive or imperative here. In any event, I’m kind of baffled by the suggestion that we needn’t be interested in those parts of the taiji classics that don’t clearly provide “how to” information. If that is the case, there’s not much there to consider.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:39 pm

Greetings Show-Hong,

I am still deliberating about your assertion that ‘qi yi gudang’: “is not part of the principle. . . .It is about the outcome, not the principle and, therefore, I don’t believe it contains any ‘how to’ information that helps us in practice.. . .”

First of all, you are the first person I’ve ever seen make a case that “yi2” is not an imperative in this construction. Do you have some sort of evidence to support your claim? Similarly, I’m not clear what the basis might be for your assertion that “qi yi gudang” is commentary rather than part of the original document. I do agree that it is about the author’s personal experience. In fact I think that most of the taijiquan classics are just that—experiential documents.

Next, I find the distinction between so-called “principle” or “how to information” and “outcome” somewhat artificial and meaningless. Jerry made a similar distinction a while back about “drawing silk” (chousi), saying it was not a “cause,” but an “effect,” and therefore, apparently, not an important enough concept to require much consideration. I did not find that convincing. An outcome or an effect, after all, could be said to be a goal. It is something that we aspire to in our practice. If early masters and taijiquan authorities went to the trouble of recording their experiences, no matter how oblique or arcane their recorded thoughts may be, I think we would do well to weigh their words carefully and ponder them. I was trained from an early age to think critically, so I’m not advocating that we blindly follow taiji classics as some sort of canonical body of precepts or inviolable decrees, but only that we give them careful and due consideration. Those guys have been dead for a long time; we can’t learn from them directly, but we can ponder their surviving written records.

Looking carefully at “principles” and “outcomes” or “causes” and “effects,” brings me to an early taijiquan document by Li Yiyu, “Essentials of the Practice of Form and Sparring,” which contains the term gudang in the midst of a series of contingent propositions: “if you want to Z, you must first Y; if you want to Y, you must first X,” and so forth. Since gudang appears within the series, Li Yiyu evidently viewed gudang as both cause and effect. Would it therefore qualify as a “principle?” The Wu Jianquan descendant, Wu Gongzao, left a document of ten practice essentials. One of essentials this document addresses is gudang. I don’t know if that qualifies it as a principle, but Wu Gongzao evidently thought it was important.

Take care,
Louis



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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:25 pm

Greetings,

Show-Hong, forgive me all the comments, but you’ve provided lots of grist for my mill.

You wrote: “As far as I know until the last couple of decades or so there was not such a thing as everyday (verbal) language that was written in Chinese. Whatever was spoken when put on the paper was modified in some way and became written or reading material instead of the original spoken language.”

This is interesting. When I was a grad student at Berkeley, I took a philosophy seminar outside of my field with Professor Hans Sluga. He named the seminar “text theory,” and the jumping off point of the course was the thesis that texts are essentially different from speech. It seems a simple premise, but it led me to a lot of revelations about the written word. Texts are different from speech because the productive process behind one is different from the productive process behind the other. I recall there was a linguist in the seminar who had tape recorded some random group conversation at a family occasion, then transcribed it to a written record. It was almost incoherent as a text, but to the participants in the conversation I’m sure it was just ordinary “everyday language.” So your observation that “Whatever was spoken when put on the paper was modified in some way. . . ,” is true in most cases, not just in Chinese scenarios. To be sure, until the baihua movement in early 20th century China, the distinction between written and spoken language was huge, but in any language, “vernacular literature” is something of an oxymoron. When it comes to specialized texts such as the early taiji classics, it’s extremely tenuous to attempt to interpret them in a context of “ordinary language.” Even those texts or parts of texts that are identifiable as coming from “oral tradition” cannot honestly be regarded as examples of plain speech. On the other hand, they can be regarded as belonging to a unique category of trade or craft language, highly codified as “koujue” or knack formulae, meant to sort of stick to your mental palette, something to ponder and revisit and absorb over time.

Finally, regarding your cork analogy: “That piece of cork moves up and down, to and fro, as water moves without the apparent need for sensing/perceiving. Granted I am not that piece of cork and have no way to know absolutely that cork does not posses the ability of sensing/perceiving but suffice it to say that this phenomenon can be explained satisfactorily without invoking a proposition that sensing/perceiving on the part of the cork is necessary.”

The explanation for the cork’s behavior would work with regard to the cork, but it would not work for the behavior of a living human being or animal. The physics would be entirely different. Zheng Manqing seemed to make reference to this in his Thirteen Chapters, 13:12. Here’s my translation:

“Using a cord of four ounces, [one can] lead (qian) a thousand pound ox to the left or right as one wishes. She may want to flee, but she cannot succeed. Now in leading, [one must] lead precisely [by] the nose. If one leads by her horn or her leg, it won’t do (or, ‘she won’t move’: bu xing ye). This leading is done in accordance with its method (yi qi dao) and in accordance with its location (yi qi chu). Hence, the ox can be lead with a four ounce cord. If it were a thousand pound stone horse, could one still lead it using an old rotten four ounce rope? Impossible! This is a difference in effect between the animate and the inanimate.”

I would add, it is a difference between the sensate and the insensate.

Take care,
Louis


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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:06 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
When it comes to specialized texts such as the early taiji classics, it’s extremely tenuous to attempt to interpret them in a context of “ordinary language.” So your observation that “Whatever was spoken when put on the paper was modified in some way. . . ,” is true in most cases, not just in Chinese scenarios. To be sure, until the baihua movement in early 20th century China, the distinction between written and spoken language was huge, but in any language, “vernacular literature” is something of an oxymoron. When it comes to specialized texts such as the early taiji classics, it’s extremely tenuous to attempt to interpret them in a context of “ordinary language.” </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree, almost totally. First of all, there seems to be an assumption that written Chinese has throughout history been a kind of artificial language, widely separated from the vernacular. I believe that is false. At various times what has been written was actually pretty close to everyday language. In addition, although things you read in a 'literary language' such as what you might find in the NY Times today are different from spoken language, these still follow the same fundamental rules of grammar (and even phonology) as the spoken language. The 'Literary Chinese' of the taiji 'classics' is no exception. Although there may be phraseology reminiscent of classical Chinese, these texts are language, not code. Basically they are written in modern Chinese with a slight literary bent. Ordinary people can understand them. I reject utterly the notion that these are somehow codes and puzzles with meaning uncertain, or up for grabs, or to be divined by reference to the graphs used, etc.

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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:40 pm

Greetings Jerry,

We will probably continue to disagree on the fine grain details of this issue, and we are probably both right.

I think that our conclusions come from different analytical standpoints.

Your quote of my words has a tautology that was not there originally.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:31 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
I disagree, almost totally. First of all, there seems to be an assumption that written Chinese has throughout history been a kind of artificial language, widely separated from the vernacular. I believe that is false. At various times what has been written was actually pretty close to everyday language. In addition, although things you read in a 'literary language' such as what you might find in the NY Times today are different from spoken language, these still follow the same fundamental rules of grammar (and even phonology) as the spoken language. The 'Literary Chinese' of the taiji 'classics' is no exception. Although there may be phraseology reminiscent of classical Chinese, these texts are language, not code. Basically they are written in modern Chinese with a slight literary bent. Ordinary people can understand them. I reject utterly the notion that these are somehow codes and puzzles with meaning uncertain, or up for grabs, or to be divined by reference to the graphs used, etc.
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Though I agree with you that the language of taiji classics basically is how you described it but from the other hand there is one point that makes it a bit special. Family's martial art was considered as the most precious jewel that must be kept from outsiders very earnestly. As we know in the traditional schools there was a ritual (Baishi) for the student who was going to become an indoor disciple. Only after that the student was accepted to some secrets of the style. Thereby usually most students hadn't been let into the all nuances. This leads me to a thought that there might be a covert meaning/phrases practically in any quanpu (martial art texts) in the family of martial experts.

Besides I believe that taiji quan inherited something from the old daost martial arts which was in conjunction with daoist theories. Everyone who tried to translate any daoist classic knows how difficult it can be.

Here is one example of very metaphorical and condensed old martial art manual that some modern researchers bond with taiji quan (in some books it's even included in Yang style manuals http://blog.readnovel.com/blog/htm/do_showone/tid_2089.html):

Ì«¼«È­ÕæÒå¸è¾÷ÊÚÃܸ裺

ÎÞÐÎÎÞÏó£¬È«Éí͸¿Õ£¬
ÍüÎï×ÔÈ»£¬Î÷ɽÐüí࣬
»¢ºðÔ³Ãù£¬ÈªÇåË®¾²£¬
·­½­ÄÖº££¬¾¡ÐÔÁ¢Ãü¡£

If though we translate it I very doubt that anybody will understand it. At least it's true for me Image

I accept that probably it might be in relation with "qi yi gudang".




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Postby shugdenla » Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:59 am

Not a scholar but "yi qi gudang" is alluding to yiqi as root/buoyancy necessary for the outward (peng!) movement/energy to push a thing away. No yi qi so the yi qi gudang falls flat!
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:06 am

Greetings Yuri,

Yang Jwing-ming translates that, unattributed, as "Song of the Real Meaning" in his book, _Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, Vol. One: Tai Chi Theory and Tai Chi Jing_. Here's his translation:

"No shape, no shadow.
Entire body transparent and empty.
Forget your surroundings and be natural.
Like a stone chime suspended from West Mountain.
Tigers roaring, monkeys screeching.
Clear fountain, peaceful water.
Turbulent river, stormy ocean.
With your whole being, develop your life."
--p. 238

Years ago I made a note on the page, writing in the characters for Li Daozi, a guy from the Tang dynasty. I don't remember where I got that. I don't think it has much to do with taijiquan, except perhaps as some distant genetic material.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:52 am

Greetings Louis!
Thanks for the given translation.


"No form, no shape. The entire body -- penetration and emptiness"
- some members of the forum will like that


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I don't think it has much to do with taijiquan, except perhaps as some distant genetic material.</font>


Are you speaking about the whole text?
Well, probably .. I did not live at that time.
I made my conclusion after reading some commentaries (one is in the brackets[] in the linked page I pointed above ) and after meeting some people who studyed in China for awhile.


Image



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Yuri Snisarenko
 
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Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:01 am
Location: Russia

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:23 pm

Greetings Yuri,

Re: “This leads me to a thought that there might be a covert meaning/phrases practically in any quanpu (martial art texts) in the family of martial experts.”

I suppose it hinges on what you mean by “covert.” To be sure, training information was closely guarded to sort of protect the copyright, and until the twentieth century such things were not openly published, but I think there is some exaggeration about the role of “secrets” in martial arts. Sometimes texts and manuals are referred to as “mijue,” (secret formulae), but I think this just indicates something like “tricks of the trade” or “key information.”

Also, as you suggest, koujue (oral formulae) played a crucial role in transmission of teachings to initiated Daoists, but this practice was not exclusive to Daoism. Koujue were also used in trades and crafts such as carpentry and masonry to impart valuable information in a form that was catchy and memorable.

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

Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:58 pm

Louis, I agree. Taiji masters throughout the world know and practice these, so to speak, "secrets" or maybe better to say "proper techniques" and transmit them further to their disciples. And of course there are no any mysteries codes or puzzles in the martial arts texts. But we see that sometimes there is no direct explanation of the key things either. No need to go far for an example – let's take "qi yi gudang". Nobody actually could say with certainty what it is. Of course well-known masters know it. But they don't post on internet discussion boards Image Without doubt many things were revealed in the past 50 years. I am thankful to Zheng Manqing that he wrote in the book about inner work. In my opinion it has daoists roots. Any stirring about it in the taiji community? Nothing at all, to my knowledge.
Yuri Snisarenko
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:01 am
Location: Russia

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