Front Leg in Bow Stance

Postby Michael » Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:06 am


I'll have to look over your post more later but just a couple of brief comments at the present.

I do not know many who take English as being as "absolute" as you take it to be. I think in general usage it is pretty "relative". A "full" bucket could be filled to the brim where no more volume could be added. But in normal use If I tell my son to fill the bucket with water to water some shrubs.."full" could easily mean that which can be transported without spilling(too much). If filled to the brim, it would not be as soon as one lifted it and moved it. No longer "full" but it still is. I think these comments apply to taiji in a number of ways concerning tranition and usage. An actual "full" bucket has no real use.

English is very relative. "Absolutism" is useless.

Considering the arms and legs combination of "empty" and "full"...Shen's words actually speaks pretty clear to me for the first time. NOt to say I can describe it. I think Louis mentioned "intent" with empty and full. In forms practice I think this is key. If peng has an "upward" component it must be empty as not to lead ones root upward. If a downward motion of the hand is considered "full" it is because one has to direct more "energy" into that movement as it seems to me to be directed towards one root. There are a few things I could say about structure and the necessity of using more energy into a downward or lower horizontal movements, but I think you could guess at those.

The corresponding empty or full leg makes some sense to me for the first time in all but one case, that of Brush knees. Here the front leg and the downward motion of the hand/arm is on the same side. But here again it could be a "relative" transition. I have to work on this one. In empty/solid stances the downward hand motion of a right hand, the energy flows to that back left foot as in White Crane. What was empty so to speak now fills at the same rate the opposite hand "fills". The leg on the same side as the hand must empty to "fill" as the situation then changes and the low hand goes up and emptys. The empty leg now will usually step forward(or back) and receive more weight and process of transition begins again.

That was probably confusing. It confused me. I am not saying that this is "right" or anything, just an attempt at explaining something I feel.

Lots to consider.

My best.

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 01-24-2004).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:24 am

Good points by both Audi and Michael. I'm not sure I follow some of Audi's examples and I will have to read them more carefully and consider them. Note that black and white can also be relative in Chinese, ie 'darker', 'lighter'. In this respect they are not different from tall and short, heavy and light. As I mentioned earlier, there is a strong tendency for compounds formed of two polar opposites to work rather differently than the two in isolation.
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Postby tai1chi » Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:33 pm

Hi Audi,

I think your appraisal of the conceptual differences between "full" and "empty" are on point. I think the question is conceptual because the matter is not: i.e., however defined, when we take steps, (all) our legs alternate in function.

Ther's no doubt that the leg that is stepped upon carries the weight. When both are stepped upon --i.e., when we stand-- both legs carry our weight. Here, though, I am interested in the way that the 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, 50/40, 50/50 and even 0/100 conceptualizations come into play. I mean, only the 0/100 formulation seems to satisfy the idea of absolute fullness or emptiness. Yet, even then, we know that those who advocate that idea also have to alternate their legs when they move.

I know that, for example, Wushuer is familiar with the 0/100 concept. I wonder whether that means that there is no "shifting" of the weight. Anyway, my point there is only that these questions are about conceptualization, not actuality.

Audi, I also wanted to address some of what you say about the Sunzi.

"In other words, Sunzi sees the opposition as one of black and white ( represented grammatically by “Heibai”), where grey is disregarded or not allowed."

I think that Sun is not being philosophical, or arguing the theory of "emptiness" and "fullness." He is approaching it from a strategic and tactical point of view. Every enemy/fortification --like every thing-- has full and empty (i.e., strong and weak) points. That is an absolute, in the sense that there is always a "strongest" and a "weakest" point: Not, as I think you suggest, that there is a point that is either totally full or totally empty. Indeed, as I read Sun, he is saying precisely the opposite of absolute fullness or emptiness. For example, he says, does he not that "intelligence" (which is what I think Jerry was arguing first: i.e., the ability to distinguih full and empty) makes all absolutes relative. For example, one can turn an enemy's strength into a weakness or, and this might be applicable to tcc, one can turn one's weakness into a strength.

Anyway, hope you all are having great New Years,

Steve James

Despite this, I find an opposition of “relative heaviness” contrasted with “relative lightness” (represented grammatically by “zhongqing”) much easier to fit into Shen’s description."
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