Friday, September 29, 2017

Tai Chi/ Taiji - The Exact Clear Method - Translation by Scott Rodell

Tàijí zhǐmíng fǎ (tàijí quán shǐyòng fǎ, Yáng Chéngfu)
The Exact, Clear method in Taiji
quoted from Yang Chengfu’s Taijiquan Applications, trans. Scott M. Rodell


Yòngjìng bùduì, bùyòng lì bùduì, mián ér yǒu gāng duì;
diū bùduì, dǐng bùduì, bù diū bù dǐng duì;
zhān bùduì, bù zhān bùduì, bù jí bù lí duì;
fú bùduì, zhòng bùduì, qīng líng sōng chén duì;
dǎn dà bùduì, dǎn xiǎo bùduì, dǎn yào zhuàng ér xīn yào xì duì;
dǎ rén bùduì, bù dǎ rén bùduì, jiāng dí zhì xīnfú du

Using internal power is not correct, not using muscle strength is not correct, soft but with hardness is correct;
to lose (contact) is not correct, to resist the flow* is not correct, to not lose contact and not resist is correct;
to stick is not correct, to not stick is not correct, not too close not too far is correct;
floating is not correct, sinking is not correct, agile and spirited, loose and sunk is correct;
being bold is not correct, being timid is not correct, being courageous with the mind finely focused is correct,
hitting people is not correct, not hitting people is not correct, the rival controlled so that he’s heart submits is correct.

Some Notes and commentary-
The title of this brief treatise is difficult to render into nice sounding English. The literal idea is that these words clearly outline the correct way to practice taijiquan. Douglas Wile chose to translate the title as, “The Method of Achieving Perfect Clarity in T’ai-chi.”
In the second line, I translated the character dǐng as “resist the flow.” It could also be translated as butting, as in banging one’s head forward. The meaning of dǐng here is to move in opposition to the direction of force. The idea of this line being that one should listen to the duifang and neither resist his or her actions or pull away dodging them, but rather to join with the action’s momentum using it to one’s own advantage. The third line reinforces and adds detail to the previous line pointing out that simply sticking to the duifang is not correct. There is an optimal distance for any set of techniques. One has to be at the correct distance in order to effectively apply the techniques trained in taijiquan. The phrase, “bù jí bù lí,” is a common expression in vernacular Chinese simply meaning, “not too close or too far.”

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