taiji classics playing hands, part 1

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taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby everything on Fri May 18, 2018 10:10 pm

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... -classics/
ESSENTIALS OF PLAYING HANDS [PART 1 (a commentary to the Song as well as the beginning of early version of Understanding How to Practice)]

解曰。以心行氣。務沈著。乃能收歛入骨。所謂命意源頭在腰隙也。
意氣須換得靈。乃有圓活之趣。所謂變轉虚實須留意也。
立身中正安舒。支撑八面。行氣如九曲珠。無微不到。所謂氣遍身軀不稍癡也。
發劤須沈著鬆静。專注一方。所謂静中觸動動猶静也。
往復須有摺叠。進退須有轉換。所謂因敵變化是神奇也。
曲中求直。蓄而後發。所謂勢勢存心揆用意。刻刻留心在腰間也。
精神提得起。則無遲重之虞。所謂腹内鬆静氣騰然也。
虚領頂劤。氣沈丹田。不偏不倚。所謂尾閭正中神貫頂。滿身輕利頂頭懸也。
以運氣運身。務順遂。乃能便利從心。所謂屈伸開合聼自由也。
心為令。旗氣為旗。神為主帥。身為驅使。所謂意氣君來骨肉臣也。
To clarify [the exercise of playing hands]:
Use your mind to move energy. You must get the energy to sink. It is then able to gather into your spine. The Song says: “The command coming from your lower back.”
Your mind must perform alternations nimbly, and then you will have the qualities of roundness and liveliness. The Song says: “You must pay attention to the alternation of empty and full.”
Your posture must be straight and comfortable, so as to brace in all directions. Move energy as though through a winding-path pearl, penetrating even the smallest nook. The Song says: “Energy will flow through your whole body without getting stuck anywhere.”
When issuing power, you must be calm, relaxed, and still, so as to concentrate it in one direction. The Song says: “In stillness, movement stirs, and then in moving, seem yet to be in stillness.”
In the back and forth [of the arms], there must be folding. In the advance and retreat [of the feet], there must be variation. The Song says [itself quoting Sunzi]: “The magic lies in making adjustments based on being receptive to the opponent.”
Within curving, seek to be straightening. Store and then issue. The Song says: “In every movement, very deliberately control it by the use of intention.” And also: “At every moment, pay attention to your waist.”
If you raise your spirit, then you will be free from worry of being slow or weighed down. The Song says: “If there is relaxation and stillness within your belly, energy is primed.”
With your headtop pressing up naturally and energy sinking down to your elixir field, there will be no leaning in any direction. The Song says: “Your tailbone is centered and spirit penetrates to your headtop, thus your whole body will be nimble and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended.”
Use energy to move your body. You must get the energy to be smooth. Your body can then easily obey your mind. The Song says: “Let bending and extending, contracting and expanding, happen as the situation requires.”
Your mind makes the command and the energy is its signal flag. Your spirit is the general and your body is the army. The Song says: “Mind is sovereign and body is subject.”
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby Yeung on Sat May 19, 2018 12:49 am

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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby HotSoup on Sat May 19, 2018 6:12 am

@everything, do you feel these texts actually help you improve your push hands skill? I am trying to focus on the practical side of things, and the more I do so, the more I realize that what is written in this sort of writings is quite obvious if one is instructed by a knowledgable teacher, but useless in terms of acquiring the actual skill. Like, the knowledge of how to structure one's body doesn't automatically enable them to manipulate other people's center.

To generalize even more, the level of applicability of the Classics is still somewhat beyond me. If one studies from someone knowing what they're doing, they will have the right understanding of what "You must get the energy to sink. It is then able to gather into your spine." actually means: it's a practical skill in its own right. If one doesn't have a competent instructor, reading the Classics won't really help, because it's not something that can be learnt from a book, like math of physics. Or is it? Is there anyone out there who is known for being able to successfully gain any physical skills just by reading the Classics (or any other MA treatises for that matter)?
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby everything on Sat May 19, 2018 8:33 am

This won't be the answer you are looking for, but I'll try.

To do something like yield and borrow, you can do that with zero knowledge of taiji classics and energy work. Just look at those rugby GIFs I posted. ANYONE with moderate athletic abilities can learn some moderate skill levels here.

If you want to do that, no, you do NOT need to read this.

If you want to be like Fedor, you should train like he did.

However if you start to get interested in "internal" as in the intersection of Taoist energy work and IMA, you have to look at this as seriously and as literally as possible.

Why do you think they wrote this?

To fuck with us?

Read the Sun writings.

He is super clear he is sincerely trying to help others.

If you start to work on the very first three lines, and they start to make sense to you, then things become even more interesting.

If you almost willfully misinterpret this text as some weird abstruse Chinese, you miss the mark by a thousand miles. That isn't me trying to be a jerk. So sorry if this seems unclear or lecturing.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby Ron Panunto on Sat May 19, 2018 8:43 am

The Classics are guideposts for correct training.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby windwalker on Sat May 19, 2018 9:07 am

everything wrote:This won't be the answer you are looking for, but I'll try.

To do something like yield and borrow, you can do that with zero knowledge of taiji classics and energy work. Just look at those rugby GIFs I posted. ANYONE with moderate athletic abilities can learn some moderate skill levels here.

If you want to do that, no, you do NOT need to read this.

If you want to be like Fedor, you should train like he did.

However if you start to get interested in "internal" as in the intersection of Taoist energy work and IMA, you have to look at this as seriously and as literally as possible.

Why do you think they wrote this?

To fuck with us?
This may not be the response your looking for.

My teacher can do many of things talked about in stories of old..

He is now 94 I started training with him and his group some 10yrs back....He cant speak english but others in the group can and often translate as needed...With his style of teaching even if one could directly talk to him it didnt matter.....
His way in answering questions was come here try it....or feel this.... :P

I brought a copy of the classics written in Chinese and English thinking I could use these as points to ask questions from or talk about....He looked at laughed and gave it back to me saying " this will make you crazy, there are things written that are not correct. Better to practice, in time you will understand" . .


Read the Sun writings. You might want to consider the time and why of his writings.

He is super clear he is sincerely trying to help others.

If you start to work on the very first three lines, and they start to make sense to you, then things become even more interesting.

If you almost willfully misinterpret this text as some weird abstruse Chinese, you miss the mark by a thousand miles. That isn't me trying to be a jerk. So sorry if this seems unclear or lecturing. You've stated that you cant do some of it, if so how do you know "your" interpretation is correct
as you say not trying to be a jerk, what testing method do you use to test the interpretation
Last edited by windwalker on Sat May 19, 2018 3:00 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby windwalker on Sat May 19, 2018 9:19 am

everything wrote:Read the Sun writings.

He is super clear he is sincerely trying to help others.

I.


As a young man Sun Lu Tang was very interested in the practical applications of his fighting arts, something that is still reflected in the basic structure of Sun Taiji. He fought in a number of challenge matches and worked as a guard and bodyguard.

However, later in his career he claimed that the martial arts were really for health maintenance and self-cultivation.

He famously told his students that if they wanted to fight they should “get a gun.”

A number or reformers during this period concluded that for the martial arts to survive they had to become more appealing to educated middle class individuals. Sun’s emphasis on health and self-cultivation was one way of accomplishing this goal.

His theories about the martial arts, the value of health and qigong training, and the intrinsic connection between boxing and Daoism continued to gain adherents.
https://chinesemartialstudies.com/2013/ ... ts-part-i/

Why do you think they wrote this?

To fuck with us?


The answer to this question might lie in the times that
it was written and the life of the one who wrote it.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby Bao on Sat May 19, 2018 10:55 am

HotSoup wrote:...do you feel these texts actually help you improve your push hands skill? I am trying to focus on the practical side of things, and the more I do so, the more I realize that what is written in this sort of writings is quite obvious if one is instructed by a knowledgable teacher, but useless in terms of acquiring the actual skill.


The classics are perfectly practical and helpful. You just need to understand what the words mean.

The Song says: “The command coming from your lower back.”


Perfectly practical. Use the lower back to support and control movements

When issuing power, you must be calm, relaxed, and still, so as to concentrate it in one direction.


Perfectly practical. Focus your movement into one point.

The Song says [itself quoting Sunzi]: “The magic lies in making adjustments based on being receptive to the opponent.”


Perfectly practical. Adjust to your opponent like a mirror.

“At every moment, pay attention to your waist.”


Perfectly practical. Keep attention to the waist. It must support all of your actions all of the time.

Use energy to move your body. You must get the energy to be smooth. Your body can then easily obey your mind. The Song says: “Let bending and extending, contracting and expanding, happen as the situation requires.”


Perfectly practical. Move smoothly with smooth movements. Be light and agile. Then you can adjust to every slight movement of the opponent.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby everything on Sat May 19, 2018 11:26 am

It's interesting because these "classic" writings mainly come from Wu Yuxiang, who studied with Yang Luchang and also Chen Qingping (Zhaobao style). Hao learned from Wu style, and Sun Lutang learned from Hao style. The writings then influence people from all styles, but we could say Wu is kind of the connection to Chen, Yang, Wu, Hao, and Sun. They are all pretty consistent in what they say when you read Hao and Sun. For example (I'm adding the emphasis):

TAIJI BOXING’S SOLO SET & PLAYING HANDS (by Hao Yueru)

太極拳不在樣式而在氣勢,不在外面而在內。平日行功走架,須研究揣摩空鬆圓活之道,要神氣鼓蕩,全身好似氣球,氣勢貴騰挪,身體有如懸空。兩手無論高低屈伸,一前一後,一左一右,皆能靈活自如。兩腿不論前進後退,左右旋轉,虛實變換,無不隨意所欲。日久功深,有不知手之舞之,足之蹈之之境。明白原理,練熟身法,善於用意,巧於運氣,到此地步,一舉一動,皆能合度,無所謂不對。
[Section 1]
Taiji Boxing lies not in the postures, but in the energy, not on the outside, but on the inside. When practicing the solo set, it is necessary to study and contemplate the methods of emptiness, relaxation, roundness, and liveliness. Your spirit and energy should be activated, your whole body seem like a balloon, energy should be ready to move, and your body seem suspended from above. Your hands, regardless of being high or low, withdrawn or extended, one forward while the other is back, or one to the left while the other is to the right, should always be able to move nimbly and smoothly. Your legs, regardless of advancing or retreating, turning to either side, or alternating between empty and full, should always follow your mind’s wishes.
Over time your skill will deepen and there will be the condition of being unaware of the movements of your hands and feet. Understand the principles, become well-versed in the body standards, perfect the use of intention, and become skillful at moving energy – when this condition is achieved, every movement can be done to the proper degree, and there will not be a moment in which anything is incorrect.


Essentially he gives a characterization of the art itself. His characterization is essentially the same as Wu's and Sun's writings. Notice how much they all talk about sinking and moving energy (and elsewhere) and being able to do this until it's an unconscious ability. They almost always mention this advice at the very beginning of their writing. For some reason, people quite literally ignore all of this. Here is what Sun says about taiji before he goes into postures, feet/waist, etc., etc.:

Once conceived, a person is imbued with a nourishing primordial energy, which does not veer in any direction from its function, for it is balanced and does not leak away. It is perfect and complete. It is genuine active energy, so it is considered an energy of centered harmoniousness. This energy tends to fill the limbs and bones, no place where it is not there, no moment when it is not so, both internally and externally, flowing unceasingly.
Consequently the expanding and contracting, movement and stillness of this art come from this energy. The marvels of releasing and extending, gathering and shrinking, come from this energy. Expanding is [releasing,] extending, and movement. Contracting is gathering, shrinking, and stillness. Expanding is active. Contracting is passive. Releasing, extending, and movement are active. Gathering, shrinking, and stillness are passive. Expanding and contracting are a continuous movement of passive and active, a taiji continuousness.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby Bao on Sat May 19, 2018 1:03 pm

It's interesting because these "classic" writings mainly come from Wu Yuxiang, who studied with Yang Luchang and also Chen Qingping (Zhaobao style). Hao learned from Wu style, and Sun Lutang learned from Hao style.


Chen Qingping also practiced Chen Small Frame and this is what Wu Yuxiang’s style is based upon. They are very similar. There might be a Zhaobao influence, but not more than Yang. CQP probably had quite a good Chen influence on Zhaobao style. Sun Lutang learned the old Wu before the modern Hao. But he also studied with the Yang family. IMO later Sun style was also influenced by the philosophy of Yang style.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby HotSoup on Sat May 19, 2018 2:24 pm

Bao wrote:
HotSoup wrote:...do you feel these texts actually help you improve your push hands skill? I am trying to focus on the practical side of things, and the more I do so, the more I realize that what is written in this sort of writings is quite obvious if one is instructed by a knowledgable teacher, but useless in terms of acquiring the actual skill.


The classics are perfectly practical and helpful. You just need to understand what the words mean.



I didn't write anything that was supposed to mean that the Classics seemed cryptic to me. Seems like you took it reversed: what's covered by the Classics is the essence of proper teaching. If one is taught properly, the Classics are far from being any sort of revelation, it's just what one already learnt/is learning from their teacher, anyway. If there's no teacher, the Classics won't help. In either case, its helpfulness appears overrated.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby HotSoup on Sat May 19, 2018 2:33 pm

Bao wrote:
It's interesting because these "classic" writings mainly come from Wu Yuxiang, who studied with Yang Luchang and also Chen Qingping (Zhaobao style). Hao learned from Wu style, and Sun Lutang learned from Hao style.


Chen Qingping also practiced Chen Small Frame and this is what Wu Yuxiang’s style is based upon. They are very similar. There might be a Zhaobao influence, but not more than Yang. CQP probably had quite a good Chen influence on Zhaobao style. Sun Lutang learned the old Wu before the modern Hao. But he also studied with the Yang family. IMO later Sun style was also influenced by the philosophy of Yang style.


TBH, it's doubtful that Chen Qingping practiced anything but Chen Xiaojia. If any sort of MA had existed in Zhaobao town before he moved in, its almost impossible to find its traces in what is called Zhaobao Taijiquan nowadays. Good Zhaobao Taiji with proven lineage transmission, like below, is almost indistinguishable from other Xiaojia lines:

Last edited by HotSoup on Sat May 19, 2018 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby Bao on Sat May 19, 2018 3:03 pm

HotSoup wrote: If there's no teacher, the Classics won't help. In either case, its helpfulness appears overrated.


Well it’s certainly not an instruction booklet. The classics were not written to instruct non practitioners, it was written for already initiated.

HotSoup wrote:TBH, it's doubtful that Chen Qingping practiced anything but Chen Xiaojia.


Agreed. I would assume that it was he who brought Tai Chi to the village. Maybe it did mix together with local practice and gongfu. Who knows? Legend or not, Jiang Fa is an interesting name. Maybe he really brought some kind of internal there earlier.... ??? :-\

Why people claim Zhaobao as source for Wu Yuxiang style instead of Chen Xiaojia is peculiar. Maybe it’s lack of knowledge or maybe it’s political. Something developed by the Daoist semi-mythological Jiangfa might be better for branding as it reinforces the Daoist heritage. ... :P
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby everything on Sat May 19, 2018 8:31 pm

Definitely not a how to manual. I have the exact opposite view of the rating, though. It seems like no one even reads these writings when they are written by some of the founders of the major styles (or commentaries on the supposed Wang Zongyue writing) and give the fundamental essence. That seems a bit odd. Then people argue about derivative or unrelated things (such as on RSF all the time) when the essentials were already given, and it appears various style (all non Chen???) founders articulated the same art and same points.
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Re: taiji classics playing hands, part 1

Postby Trick on Sat May 19, 2018 11:46 pm

everything wrote: For some reason, people quite literally ignore all of this.

I have not met many Taij peoples in the west, and i have never bothered reading the classics until now in what you have posted, their writings seem very clear to me and i think they could serve as a clear guidance for the serious Taiji student. I have met many Taiji people here in China and they all are serious in their practice wether it's just for recreational purpose or more advanced purposes, maybe many in the "west" are not too serious in their practice and many quit early on without even actually have tried......Those Taiji classics seem as an interesting read, maybe I will try them out but then it seem I already got the classics in me now so I just go on with my practice, practice makes perfect 8-)
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