Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby Yeung on Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:18 am

赞八卦三十六歌诀 Zàn bāguà sānshíliù gējué

掌法拳法与兵议, Zhǎng fǎ quánfǎ yǔ bīng yì,
传出日久或忘记。 Chuán chū rì jiǔ huò wàngjì
我歌八掌三十六, Wǒ gē bā zhǎng sānshíliù,
字字句句有真意。 Zì zìjù jù yǒu zhēnyì.
(傅永辉 Fu Yong Hui, 1987)

Praise the thirty-six songs of Bagua:

Palm and fist methods for military discussions,
When spread over time can be forgotten,
I sing the thirty-six songs of eight palms,
Every words and sentences have true meaning.
(Translated by Yeung, 1st August 2020)

The translation of the 36 songs is available in the following link:

https://www.internalartsinternational.c ... gua-zhang/
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby johnwang on Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:32 pm

This thread remind me a 8 steps praying mantis book that I have. In that book, it talks about a lot of theory, but no picture, no detail step by step description.

Sometime I just don't understand. If you write a book, you want to share information. Without picture, video, and detail step by step description, it's very difficult to transfer your knowledge.

Unless you just want to build up your personal reputation. You don't real want to share information.

When I say, "I wish the sky has a handle so I can pull the sky down. I wish the earth has a handle so I can lift the earth up." I may have used many words, but I have said nothing - empty words.
I'm still allergic to "push".
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby Yeung on Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:58 am

The translation of the 36 songs is from the book entitled "The essentials of Baguazhang" by Gao Ji Wu, Tom Bisio:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/462 ... -gua-zhang

They did not have the song of praise so I translated it for those practice Baguazhang from Fu Yonghui's book.

Theory and practice go hand in hand, and videos and photos are useful as well. But this is a forum for discussion and not a place for teaching. The author of the 36 songs is not know from both books by Fu and Li Tianji (1988) in Chinese. I personally do not agree to everything that is said in it, but this can be a good starting point for discussion.
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby Tom on Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:27 am

I use the 36 Songs a lot in rap battles.
Needless to say, this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disregard it. ;D
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby Tom on Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:41 am

Yeung wrote:The author of the 36 songs is not know from both books by Fu and Li Tianji (1988) in Chinese. I personally do not agree to everything that is said in it, but this can be a good starting point for discussion.


The best translation (with context) of the 36 Songs and 48 Methods in English IMO is "A Shadow on Fallen Blossoms" by Andrea Falk.

http://www.thewushucentre.ca/book-translations/bagua-books-and-videos/a-shadow-on-fallen-blossoms.html

Andrea is a highly-skilled baguazhang practitioner and teacher with decades of practical training and a wide network of sources within the CIMA community informing her extensive research for this work.

The author of the 36 Songs and 48 Methods is in fact known. The Pakuachang Journal, Vol. 6 No. 1, summarizes:

As far as documented evidence of the philosophical connection between the martial art Ba Gua Zhang and the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing is concerned, the first known occurrence of the ba gua philosophy as it relates to the martial art of Ba Gua Zhang appeared in an unpublished text called Ba Gua Zhuan Zhang Hui Lan written by Zeng Xing San (1862-1951). Zeng Xing San, who was also known as Zeng Zeng Qi (曾增啟), was a well known Manchurian scholar who worked in the Palace of Su and began his study of Ba Gua Zhang with Yin Fu. Zeng was highly educated and in the imperial examinations he had reached the second highest level of achievement. While Zeng was studying with Yin Fu, he was taken to see Dong Hai Chuan on many occasions and discussed the principles of the art with Dong. After the fall of the Qing government (1911), Zeng Xing San was out of a job and thus had a lot of time on his hands. To occupy himself, Zeng began to write down all that he learned from Dong Hai Chuan and Yin Fu. In his manuscript, Zeng used the theory of the Yi Jing to explain the martial art of Ba Gua Zhang. This book was also the first known book to contain the 36 songs and 48 methods of Ba Gua Zhang. His handwritten manuscript was later given to his friend Guo Gumin (郭古民).

That at least is the story related by the late Li Ziming, disciple of Liang Zhen Pu.

Technically Zeng might be regarded as the compiler of oral instruction given by Dong Haichuan, or even more likely as interpreted by Yin Fu or other senior disciples and passed down to Zeng (DHC died when Zeng was only 20).
Needless to say, this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disregard it. ;D
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby johnwang on Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:44 pm

Yeung wrote:Theory and practice go hand in hand, ... but this can be a good starting point for discussion.

步入裆兮是准绳。Bu Ru Dang Xi Shi Zhun Sheng.
Walk forward between the opponent’s legs.

This is one good example that sometime people just touch the surface and don't want to get into detail. From the text, one may learn why but one can't learn how.
Last edited by johnwang on Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby edededed on Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:43 pm

Different books have different objectives.

- Some are meant to actually teach something from the basics. These will be self-explanatory and have lots of details. (It takes the most effort and the most generosity to write these.)
- Some are meant to be just an outline of important principles, which need to be explained in more detail. (I think that the 36 songs go here.)
- Some are meant to just be a list to avoid forgetting. (I think that most quanpu go here.)
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby johnwang on Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:40 pm

edededed wrote:Different books have different objectives.

- Some are meant to actually teach something from the basics. These will be self-explanatory and have lots of details. (It takes the most effort and the most generosity to write these.)
- Some are meant to be just an outline of important principles, which need to be explained in more detail. (I think that the 36 songs go here.)
- Some are meant to just be a list to avoid forgetting. (I think that most quanpu go here.)

If you want to publish a research paper such as "Matrix sorting is faster than bubble sorting", do you suppose to include:

- What is matrix sorting?
- Why matrix sorting is faster than bubble sorting?
- What's the data to support your research?

It's 21th century now. Every research will need solid data to support it.
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby edededed on Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:11 pm

I agree - this kind of habit also helps to train people to write in a comprehensive way, including everything that is needed.

But in the old days, it was not as easy - I sure would not want to write a long document with a brush and ink (without the ability to even erase mistakes) :P In recent times, some people have tried to write more comprehensively about these arts.

The 36 songs of bagua were at any rate never intended to be published publicly. So perhaps they can be compared to a professor's private notes for his student.

johnwang wrote:If you want to publish a research paper such as "Matrix sorting is faster than bubble sorting", do you suppose to include:

- What is matrix sorting?
- Why matrix sorting is faster than bubble sorting?
- What's the data to support your research?

It's 21th century now. Every research will need solid data to support it.
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby Yeung on Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:48 am

Thank you Tom for the information on Zeng Zeng Qi, and that confirms the authenticity of the 36 songs as a later development of Bagua practitioners. There lots of faults in the 36 songs and I think this forum might be a good place to look into them. Some of the quotes are clearly from other systems, and some are just not workable. So it is interesting to look at the what, how, and why questions with focus to the 36 songs, maybe the the 48 methods as well.
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:26 am

Yeung,

The songs that made it into the hands of Guo Gumin are pretty basic. There’s a lot more songs than those. In seminars with my teacher (who was forced to memorize them by heart) he answers a lot of people’s questions with “Oh, there’s a song that answers that!”, then recites it, and goes over the details.

The songs from Shi Jidong are more detailed and give a little glimpse into how much more thorough the actual songs are.
Here’s a translation I did of them, and then some from Joseph Crandall: http://bloguazhang.blogspot.com/p/translations.html


.
Last edited by D_Glenn on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thirty-six songs of Bagua

Postby Yeung on Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:19 am

Thank you D_Glenn, it is very helpful to sort out what is available in English. In Li tianji's book entitled Wudang Jueji (1988), he recorded many songs on Baguazhang pp. 617-716. The problem is that he quoted very few references. I am doing a review on Baguazhang related to the idea of use no brute force as suggested by Sun Lutang.
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