THE ART OF TAIJI BOXING (TAIJI QUAN SHU)

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太極拳術
THE ART OF TAIJI BOXING
陳微明
by Chen Weiming
[1925]

[translation by Paul Brennan, March, 2012]

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太極拳術
The Art of Taiji Boxing
乙丑夏五〔鄭〕孝胥
- [calligraphy by] Zheng Xiaoxu, 1925, summer, 5th month

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慎先婣世兄察書
For this study text by the friend of our family, Chen Shenxian [Weiming]:
武當嫡派
“Descended from Wudang”
八十三叟馮煦
- [calligraphy by] eighty-three year old Feng Xu

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老子曰專氣致柔能嬰兒乎莊子曰得其環中以應無窮解此可以讀是編矣乙丑五月陳三立題記
Laozi said: “Focus on your breath and achieve softness. Can you be like a newborn?”
[Daodejing, chapter 9]
Zhuangzi said: “Obtaining the center of the circle, one responds without limitation.”
[Zhuangzi, chapter 2]
Understanding these statements, you can study this volume.
- calligraphy by Chen Sanli, May, 1925

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從其彊梁随其曲傅
“I accepted of those who refused, received of those who contributed.”
[Zhuangzi, chapter 20]
囙以曼衍和以天倪
“All differences of opinion are harmonized by Nature, because it is in all of them.”
[Zhuangzi, chapters 2 & 27]
乙丑大暑胡嗣瑗題
- calligraphy by Hu Siyuan, 1925, peak of summer

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贈微明
A LETTER TO CHEN WEIMING [written in verse but translated here as prose]

世亂知契少索居忽三秋再見豈是夢劇談時忘憂訒言難諧俗嗇己能遠羞書法思白筆文瀾雲川流負米走燕趙未老髮白頭人海百年身與君共夷猶
學書兼學劍日演龍虎勢手揮金剛拳心會太極意直體同射德通變達易義掺柔以制剛所投無不利末世多彊梁捍國賴利器扶陽斯抑隂願君竟其志
我老不足畏君胡不我棄朅來共晨夕覼縷憂患事絮語遣晝長聯床禁夜睡遠遊不忘親投筆苦無地時復勞筋骨豈惟調血氣天涯夢魂中君家幾昆季
漢皋挽征櫂長公與同逰歇浦始停驂對子來绸缪君復恵我碩期至不可留江海有遺子聚散如浮漚天道果如此百年將焉求年年君自富吾衷志誼酬
Close friendship so rare in these crazy times, I’ve lived alone these past three years. If I saw you again I’d think it a dream, then cheerful chat would let me forget my worries. Most don’t want to hear intelligent words, so I hold them in to keep from looking stupid, but once my pen is ready and I can write my thoughts to you, language spills over to flow like clouds and rivers. I’ve moved to Hebei with all I have, and the times have made me grey though not yet old. Though in my life in this world, time with you agreed with me.
     I’ve been training in both pen and sword, daily drilling postures of dragon and tiger, hands wielding the Jingang Boxing, mind contemplating the taiji meaning: body upright as in the archery ritual, adapting in the spirit of the Book of Changes, using softness to deal with hardness, whatever is attempted will succeed. There is much barbarity when eras end [referring to the Qing Dynasty, which was formally replaced by an unstable republic just fourteen years before this was written], and defending the nation depends on sharpening its weapons [here a metaphor for strengthening its people]. That is why you are promoting our health to reduce our sickness, and I hope you succeed in your purpose.
     I’m not afraid of getting old, nor should you worry about me being lonely. You and I used to be so busy in our tasks from morn till eve, then we’d analyze the problems of the times. Our chatter lengthened the day, right up until it was time to sleep. Though we’ve traveled far apart I’ve not forgotten you, and my words ache to have somewhere to go. I keep up my exercises, to maintain my energy if nothing else, but when I think beyond the horizon, I imagine the camaraderie in your school.
     We oared up to a bank of the Han river, during those travels we took together. While resting on the riverside and trying to hitch a ride on a passing carriage, we made our plans for the future. Though blessed by your presence, time cannot last. River flows on, and the meetings and partings of people are but bubbles in the froth of waves. This is the way of things, even a long life too short to find what we seek. May you always feel fulfilled within yourself, and with whole heart I toast to our friendship.
乙丑立秋前一日復園重錄於海上學海樓〔孫乃易〕
- calligraphy by Sun Naiyi [Fuyuan], copied from my original letter while at the Hai building, Shanghai Scholars’ Society, middle of Aug, 1925

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楊健侯先生遺像
Photograph of the late Yang Jianhou

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楊澄甫先生
Yang Chengfu

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著者陳微明
The author, Chen Weiming

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致柔拳社全體攝影
Photo of all members of the Achieving Softness Boxing Society [in its first year]

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PREFACE [BY XU SIYUN]

思允於己酉歲。因張君立識李斌甫。始聞太極拳之名。越八年。陳愼先從廣平楊澄甫學。屢約余。以事不果。未久。澄甫南游。又因愼先識孫祿堂。每以年長難學為憾。祿堂曰。子毋慮。凡學內家拳者。苟尚有氣。卽可學。余意大動。立與愼先請業於楊先生少侯。未數月。少侯之弟澄甫先生自南歸。乃改從先生遊。今六年餘矣。同學前後至衆。或作或輟。惟余與愼先相約。不少間斷。祈寒袒衣。盛暑揮汗。未嘗以為苦也。擊撞創痛。屢起屢僵。未嘗以為恥也。太極拳為體。推手為用。其始循例動作。亦步亦趨而已。久之能不脫。又久之能不抗。由整而散。漸漸能不亂。尤難者。彼此相黏。必求機勢。機勢者。順逆向背堅瑕之區別也。機勢得矣。必求方向。或上或下。或正或隅。得之則如脫彈丸。失之則如撼大樹。方向得矣。必求其時。早則我勢未完。遲則彼覺而變。三者皆得。而又動之至微。發之至驟。引之至長。此則余能知之於心。宣之於口。而不能嫻之於手者也。余見練此者衆矣。皆莫能與澄甫先生抗。先生猶自言如與若祖若伯若父較。必有所未逮。然後歎此藝之精深博大如此。顧余於此藝。有引申者二事。其一則世所共知者。養身是也。交通部許君年近六十。咳唾喘促。乃習斯術。今行步如飛矣。杜姓童子。虛瘠哮脹。從其舅學。今為健兒。其他學一節一式而有效者。不可殫述。蓋有導引之利。而無其弊。故其驗甚明著。其一則世所未知者。養氣是也。吾人之大患。淺率浮躁。恃强任氣。太極拳之要訣。則曰氣沈丹田。又曰心靜神歛。學者先練其身。以次練心。又以次練神。深以測淺。靜以制動。柔以克剛。大之可以應付曲當。小之亦可以全身遠害。是故無老少。無文武。無男女。皆可學。皆當學。學焉而各得其性之所近。不有得於此。必有得於彼。此余所以津津樂道者也。澄甫先生當采余言。以為甚韙於理。屬書之以為太極拳術序乃雜書其意如右。乙丑夏日武進徐思允謹序
In 1909, I began to hear about Taiji Boxing, thanks to Zhang Lishi and Li Binfu. For more than eight years, Chen Weiming learned from Yang Chengfu of Guangping, and he repeatedly invited me to take part but nothing came of it. Then not long after, Yang Chengfu traveled south, but Chen Weiming also knew Sun Lutang. I felt I was too old and it would be too difficult to learn, and Sun told me: “Don’t worry. When it comes to internal styles of boxing, if you can breathe you can learn.” My motivation was greatly roused, and I and Chen went to consult Yang Shaohou. A few months later, Shaohou’s younger brother, Chengfu, returned from the south, and we switched to learn from him.
     Now more than six years later, I have seen students come and go, some who have work at it, others who have given up, but Chen and I have promised each other that we will never interrupt our training. During the winters, the training has made us too warm to wear our coats and in the summers our pores have poured, but we have never felt a sense of hardship. We have suffered injury from sparring and repeatedly succumbed to inefficient rigidity during the exercises, but we have never felt disgraced.
     The solo set is the foundation and the pushing hands is the function. In the beginning, you will follow along with the movements, precisely imitating them, and that is all. After a long time you will develop the ability to never disconnect from your opponent, then after a further time to be able to keep yourself from using resistance against him. Between operating as a whole and as many parts, gradually you will function in an organized way.
     What is especially difficult is for partners to stick to each other. Then they must work at positioning. Positioning is a matter of making distinction between smooth and coarse, moving with and moving against, and strength and weakness. With positioning grasped, they must work at direction, be it up or down, direct or at an angle. When you get it, it is like shooting a bullet. When you miss it, it is like shaking a tree. With direction grasped, they must work at timing. If I am early, my posture will not finish. If I am late, he will sense what I am doing and adjust. If you obtain all three of these things, then also your movement will achieve subtlety, your issuing will achieve suddenness, and your drawing in will achieve extending him. While I can know this in my heart and declare it with my mouth, I am still unable to be skillful with my hands. I see so many who practice it but they are all unable to be a match for Yang Chengfu, and yet he still talks of himself in comparison with his uncles, father, grandfather, and how there are certainly things he has not yet grasped, then sighs at how deep and broad the art is. When I consider what this art means to myself, it has two purposes:
     1. Everyone nowadays is aware that it is a means for nourishing the body. Mr. Xu of the Ministry of Communications is sixty this year, he had a hacking cough and was short of breath, but then he practiced this art and now he walks as if he is flying. A young man by the name of Du was an emaciate asthmatic but then he learned this art from his uncle and he is now an athletic boy. Others who have learned a mere section of it or even just one of its postures have been affected by it. I cannot say enough about it. This exercise is a case of pros without cons, and therefore it is something that would be wise to look into.
     2. What people nowadays are not yet very aware of is that it is a means for nourishing the emotions. Our problem is that we are superficial and in a hurry, and so we rely on strength and get lost in our emotions. The key to Taiji Boxing is: “energy sinking to the elixir field” and “mind calm and spirit concentrated”.
     The student first trains body, then mind, then spirit. The one with depth of skill reads the one with shallow skill, the one who is still controls the one who moves, and the one who is soft defeats the one who is hard. At its best, it can deal with a situation, and at its least, it can keep you from getting hurt. Therefore it makes no difference as to young or old, civil or martial, man or woman, all can learn, and all should learn. Each student will get from it what suits them, and even if they do not get what they expect, they are sure to get something useful out of it, and this is why I am overjoyed to talk about it. Yang Chengfu selected me as one to say something knowledgeable about the theory, to write a preface to The Art of Taiji Boxing and the mix of its ideas as I have stated above.
     - sincerely written by Xu Siyun of Wujin, summer, 1925

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PREFACE [BY GUAN JIONGZHI]

愼先同年。余總角交也。幼同嬉游。長同讀。壬寅又同舉於鄕。嗣後余宦游滬上。遂相別。聞愼先游京師。學內家拳術。心甚慕之。今年愼先來滬。始知其苦功練習者。有七八年之久。余偶述諸友人李君雲書。江君味農。徐君冠南。聶君雲台。王君一亭。沈君惺叔。謝君泗亭。趙君雲韶等。皆欣然約從學。乃知太極拳術。其妙全在不用氣力。而其極難亦在於此。諸君及余。皆年過四五十。手足木强。不能婉轉靈活。然習之數月。亦漸能隨心應手。乃知斯術無一處不合於自然。無絲毫之勉强。余每日聽訟疲勞必休臥片時。今則精神振發。可不復休息矣。諸君中有痔疾及肢體麻木者。亦皆痊愈。人言內家拳術能却病延年。誠非虛語。愼先著太極拳術將付梓。屬作序文。爰略書實事於右。預知此書必可風行海內無疑也。乙丑夏六月關炯
Chen Weiming and I spent out childhood together. We played together when we young, we grew up with the same schooling, and in 1902 we passed the local examinations together. Later I left home to work in Shanghai, and then we lost touch.
     I heard he went to Beijing to learn internal boxing arts and I was very envious. But this year he has come to Shanghai, and I have begun to understand his hard work and training, which has taken up seven or eight of his years. I happened to tell of him to all of my colleagues – Li Yunshu, Jiang Weinong, Xu Guannan, Nie Yuntai, Wang Yiting, Shen Xingshu, Xie Siting, Zhao Yunshao, and so on – and we all joyfully arranged to learn from him. We then understood that the trick to the Taiji boxing art lies in entirely not using strength, and also that this is extremely difficult to do.
     All these gentlemen and myself are more than forty or fifty years old, our limbs were stiff, and we were incapable of moving smoothly and nimbly. But after practicing for several months, gradually we have become more able to move as we wish, and to know that there is nothing in this art that does not conform with naturalness, that it is without the slightest bit of effort. Everyday I get fatigued by presiding over legal cases and I must rest and lay down for a while, but nowadays my spirit has been boosted and I no longer need to rest as much. All of my colleagues have suffered from hemorrhoids or from numbness of the limbs, and they have all been cured of these things. People say internal styles of boxing arts can prevent disease and prolong life, and these are truly not empty words. Chen has written this book for publication and he asked me to write a preface, which I have done with brevity, and all of its words are true. I predict this book is sure to be popular everywhere.
     - Guan Jiong [Jiongzhi], 1925, summer, 6th month

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PREFACE [BY SUN SHAOLIAN]

余童年聞人道武俠事。輙不覺手舞足蹈。樂而忘倦。嘗心慕武當派內家拳術。而生長南邦。不出里門一步。卒無所遇。蘄水陳愼先先生。善太極八卦形意三家。太極為廣平楊澄甫先生所授。楊氏世傳太極。蓋武當嫡派也。今年夏。陳先生來滬。籌辦致柔拳社。甫於報端披露消息。而報名者紛至沓來。余聞之喜出望外。亟入社從先生學。先生蓄道德能文章。曾任淸史館纂修。以楊先生口授之太極拳。筆述成書。多所闡發。稿贈楊先生以酬答之。楊先生藏之數年。不以付梓。余與秦君光昭王君鼎元岑君希天聞之。請先生慫恿出之。以傳於世。先生書往。楊先生欣然寄稿。幷圖五十餘幅。將付刋。先生命誌其崖略。因略道其事實。兼及生平往事。深幸志願之克遂云耳。乙丑六月潔人孫紹濂謹序
When I was a boy, I heard about the humanitarian exploits of martial heroes and it made me almost dance with excitement. I was inexhaustibly obsessed. I admired the internal boxing arts of the Wudang school, but I grew up in the south and had never taken a step out of my village, and so I never had opportunity to encounter any of it.
     Chen Shenxian [Weiming] of Qishui, an expert in the three schools of Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi, had learned Taiji from Yang Chengfu of Guangping, and the Yang family transmission of Taiji was descended from Wudang. This summer, Chen came to Shanghai and founded the Achieving Softness Boxing Society, and from only an announcement in a newspaper, people poured in to sign up and join. I heard about it with delighted surprise and I quickly joined up to learn from him.
     He is a very moral and literate person, having been a compiler of historical records during the Qing Dynasty. What he had learned personally from Yang Chengfu of Taiji Boxing he had committed to writing in a book containing many explanations, the manuscript of which he presented to Yang as a token of thanks. It was in Yang’s possession for many years and never submitted for publication. I and Qin Guangzhao, Wang Dingyuan, and Cen Xitian heard of it, and we asked Chen to publish it and transmit it to the world. Chen wrote to Yang, and Yang was pleased to mail the manuscript, along with more than fifty photographs. It is now about to be published, complete with a record of Yang’s essential points, his detailed instruction, and its background. I feel overwhelmingly lucky to be a part of it.
     - sincerely written by Sun Shaolian of Jie, 1925, 6th month

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PREFACE [BY CHEN WEIMING]

余幼聞武當派太極拳之名。心慕之而未遇知者。乙卯游燕。得見完縣孫祿堂先生。授以形意八卦。聞友言廣平楊氏世傳太極。丁已秋。訪得楊露禪先生之孫澄甫。不介而往見。問曰。人言太極楊氏最精。而弗輕傳人。然乎不乎。澄甫先生笑曰。非不傳人。願得其人而傳也。吾祖受之河南陳氏。今將歸之陳。君如好之。吾不秘惜。於是從學七年。以澄甫先生口授之太極拳及大小捋諸式。筆之於書。以傳於世。太極拳術。宋張三丰祖師所傳也。稱為武當內家。其異於外家者。舉之略有數端。一動中求靜。與道相合。一純以神行。不尚拙力。一呼吸根蔕。氣沈丹田。一循環無端。綿綿不斷。一不離不距。隨機應變。一專氣致柔。以弱勝强。其術純任自然。無幾微勉强。余年二十餘。軀羸多病。髮白十之三四。自遇孫楊二先生習內家拳術後。精神發越。大異於前。余友有因病習者。雖勞傷痼疾。莫不霍然脫體。誠養生却病之妙術。禦侮其餘事也。余今年創辦致柔拳社於海上。招集文雅之士。共同研習。因印此書。俾學者有所遵循。求其體式之中正。又將王宗岳先生所著太極拳論。加以注釋。附印於後。俾學者知用法之精巧。惟是太極拳式。曲中求直。變動不居。實難以筆墨形容。雖力求簡明。仍恐有不盡之處。閱者諒焉。乙丑夏陳微明識
I heard about the Taiji Boxing of the Wudang school when I was young, but I had not yet met anyone who knew the stuff. In 1915, I traveled to Hebei and got to meet Sun Lutang of Wan county, and I learned Xingyi and Bagua from him. I heard my colleagues say that a Mr. Yang of Guangping inherited Taiji, and so in the autumn of 1917, I visited Yang Luchan’s grandson, Chengfu, meeting him informally, and I asked him, “People say the Yang family’s Taiji is the best but that you don’t lightly teach it to people. Is that the case?”
     Yang smiled and said, “It’s not that I don’t teach it to people. I teach it to people who want it. My grandfather received it from the Chen family of Henan, and now it is about to be returned to a Chen. If you want it, I will not keep it from you.”
     Thereupon I learned from him for seven years, and his oral instruction in the postures of the Taiji Boxing solo set, as well as the large and small rollback, I have committed to writing in order to transmit it to the world.
     The Taiji boxing art was passed down from Zhang Sanfeng of the Song dynasty. It was known as the Wudang internal school and is different from the external school. Here are a few of its features:
     - Seeking stillness within movement, it conforms to the Way.
     - Acting entirely from spirit, it does not emphasize clumsy effort.
     - With the breath as the basis, energy sinks to the elixir field.
     - Cycling without end, there is continuity without interruption.
     - Neither separating nor opposing, it adapts according to the situation.
     - By concentrating the breath and achieving softness, it uses suppleness to overcome strength.
     Its method is pure and natural, without any show of strain. For more than twenty years, I suffered many illnesses and my hair got greyer and greyer, but since meeting Sun and Yang, and after practicing their internal boxing arts, my vitality has been invigorated more than ever before. My colleagues who have practiced it because of illness, despite the debilitating or chronic nature of their illness, have all rapidly sloughed off their bodily sickness. It is indeed a wonderful method of nourishing health and preventing disease, not to mention its use as self-defense.
     This year I have established the Achieving Softness Boxing Society in Shanghai, here assembling refined scholars, and we have studied and practiced together in order to make this book for students so that they may have materials to follow along with and use to correct their postures. I have also made a commentary to the Taiji Boxing essays of Wang Zongyue, included as an appendix, so that students can understand the subtleties of how to apply Taiji. Taiji Boxing postures seek to straighten within their bending, and to transform rather than get stuck in their shape… It is truly difficult to describe in words, and although I have strived to make it simple and clear, still I fear there are parts that are inadequate, and therefore, reader – your pardon.
     - written by Chen Weiming, summer, 1925

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凡例
GUIDE TO THIS BOOK

一太極拳。時時變動方向。說內不得不以東西南北方向表示。俾閱者易明。至練熟後。則不擇方向矣。
- The Taiji boxing set constantly changes direction. Within the instructions, we use “north, south, east, west” as indicators to keep the changes of direction clear for you. Once you are familiar with the set, you will no longer need the directions specified.
一圖式。皆楊澄甫先生所攝影。其中有未備者。余為補之。圖中有須看正面者。不得不改變方向。故以說為主。
- For the postures in the solo set, all the photos are of Yang Chengfu, except where postures are unrepresented by photos, in which they are supplemented by photos of myself. For photos in which it is necessary to see more of what is happening in front, their direction has been adjusted, and thus the text has priority over the pictures.
一順步推手大捋。乃澄甫先生及許君禹生合照。僅四圖。未盡推手之形式。余與致柔拳社助敎陳君志進合照補之。
- For the moving step pushing hands and large rollback, there are only four photos of Yang Chengfu and Xu Yusheng. The remaining pushing hands postures are supplemented by photos of the Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s assistant instructor, Chen Zhijin, and myself.
一推手二人合手之圖。說中分甲乙。右為甲。左為乙。
- The two people in the pushing hands photos are called A and B in the text. A is the one on the right, B on the left.
一大捋四圖。形勢皆備。甲乙可互相變換為之。
- The four photos for large rollback are already designed to exhibit reversal of roles.

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太極拳術目錄
CONTENTS

張眞人傳
A Bio of Zhang Sanfeng
太極拳源流
Origin and Development of Taiji Boxing
太極拳十要
Ten Essentials of Taiji Boxing
太極拳式
Taiji Boxing Postures:
太極起式
[0] TAIJI BEGINNING POSTURE
攬雀尾
[1] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭
[2] SINGLE WHIP
提手
[3] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴亮翅
[4] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS
摟膝抝步
[5] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
手揮琵琶
[6] PLAY THE LUTE
左右摟膝抝步
[7-9] LEFT & RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
手揮琵琶
[10] PLAY THE LUTE
進步搬攔錘
[11] ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉
[12] SEALING SHUT
十字手
[13] CROSSED HANDS
抱虎歸山
[14] CAPTURE THE TIGER & SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
肘底看錘
[15] BEWARE THE PUNCH UNDER ELBOW
左右倒輦猴 
[16] LEFT & RIGHT RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY
斜飛式
[17] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手
[18] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴亮翅
[19] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS
摟膝抝步
[20] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
海底針
[21] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
肩通臂
[22] FAN THROUGH THE ARMS
撇身錘
[23] WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH
上步搬攔錘
[24] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
攬雀尾
[25] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭
[26] SINGLE WHIP
左右抎手
[27] LEFT & RIGHT CLOUDING HANDS
單鞭
[28] SINGLE WHIP
高探馬
[29] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
左右分脚
[30&31] LEFT & RIGHT KICK TO THE SIDE
轉身蹬脚
[32] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
左右摟膝抝步
[33] LEFT & RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
進步栽錘
[34] ADVANCE, PLANTING PUNCH
翻身白蛇吐信
[35] TURN AROUND, WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE
上步搬攔錘
[36] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH 
蹬脚
[37] PRESSING KICK
左右披身伏虎式
[38] LEFT & RIGHT DRAPE THE BODY, CROUCHING TIGER POSTURE
回身蹬脚
[39] TURN BACK, PRESSING KICK
雙風貫耳
[40] DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS
左蹬脚
[41] LEFT PRESSING KICK
轉身蹬脚
[42] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
上步搬攔錘
[43] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉
[44] SEALING SHUT
十字手
[45] CROSSED HANDS
抱虎歸山
[46] CAPTURE THE TIGER & SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
斜單鞭
[47] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP
左右野馬分鬃
[48] LEFT & RIGHT WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE
上步攬雀尾
[49] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭
[50] SINGLE WHIP
玉女穿梭
[51] MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE
上步攬雀尾
[52] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭
[53] SINGLE WHIP
抎手
[54] CLOUDING HANDS
單鞭下勢
[55] SINGLE WHIP, LOW POSTURE
金雞獨立
[56] GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG
倒輦猴
[57] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY
斜飛勢
[58] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手
[59] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴亮翅
[60] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS
摟膝抝步
[61] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
海底針
[62] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
扇通臂
[63] FAN THROUGH THE ARMS
撇身錘
[64] WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH
上步搬攔錘
[65] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
進步攬雀尾單鞭
[66&67] ADVANCE, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL, SINGLE WHIP
抎手
[68] CLOUDING HANDS
單鞭
[69] SINGLE WHIP
高探馬
[70] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
十字腿
[71] CROSSED-BODY KICK
摟膝指襠錘
[72] BRUSH KNEE, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
上勢攬雀尾
[73] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭下勢
[74] SINGLE WHIP, LOW POSTURE
上步七星
[75] STEP FORWARD WITH THE BIG DIPPER
退步跨虎
[76] STEP BACK TO RIDE THE TIGER
轉脚擺蓮
[77] SPIN AROUND, SWINGING LOTUS KICK
彎弓射虎
[78] BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER
上步搬攔錘
[79] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉
[80] SEALING SHUT
十字手
[81] CROSSED HANDS
合太極
[82] CLOSING POSTURE
合步推手
Same-Step Pushing Hands
順步推手
Opposite-Step Pushing Hands
活步推手
Moving-Step Pushing Hands
大捋
Large Rollback
太極拳論註
Commentary to the Taiji Boxing Essays
太極合老說
Taiji Merging with Sayings of Laozi

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太極拳術
THE ART OF TAIJI BOXING

張眞人傳
A BIO OF ZHANG SANFENG

眞人遼東懿州人。姓張。名君實。字元元。號三丰子。又號昆陽。或云姓張。名玉。字君寶。號元元子。宋末時人。生有異質。龜形鶴骨。大耳圓目。身長七尺餘。修髯如戟。頂作一髻。常戴偃月冠。一笠一衲。寒暑御之。不飾邊幅。人皆目為張邋遢。所啖升斗輙盡。或避穀數月自若。延祐間。年六十七。入嵩南。遇呂純陽鄭六龍。得金丹之旨。或云入終南得火龍眞人之傳。秦淮漁戶沈萬山。好善樂施。眞人傳以點石成金之術。元末。居寶雞金臺觀。至正丙午九月二十日。自言辭世。留頌而逝。士民楊軌山。置棺殮訖。臨窆復生。時年百三十歲矣。入蜀至太和山。結茅於玉虛庵。庵前古木五株。嘗棲其下。猛獸不傷。鷙鳥不搏。衆皆驚異。有人問仙術。絕不答。問經書。則論說不倦。常語武當鄕人曰。此山當大顯。明永樂間。勑修武當。眞人隱於傭工。人皆不識。孫眞人碧雲為武當山住持。與眞人來往。多受其敎。永樂帝聞之。遣使屢召不赴。以詩詞託碧雲奏之。後以道授道士丘元靖。不知所終。世傳太極拳術。乃眞人所傳也。
He was from Yizhou in Liaodong. His family name was Zhang, his given name was Junshi, and he was called Yuanyuan, Sanfeng, or Kunyang. It is also told this way: his family name was Zhang, his given name was Yu, and he was called Junbao or Yuanyuanzi.
     He was born during the end of the Song Dynasty [ending in 1279], and born with an unusual nature. He was hunched like a tortoise and had a skeleton like a crane. He had big ears and round eyes. He was more than seven feet tall. His beard was like a trident and his hair was rolled into a bun on top of his head. He often wore a crescent-moon cap or a bamboo hat and patchwork monk’s vest. He dismissed winter and summer in their peak instead of dressing accordingly, nor did he decorate his attire, and everyone saw him as a slob. He would eat no more than a bowlful, or go several months without eating and never look hungry.
     During the reign of Buyantu Khan [1314-1320], when Zhang was sixty-seven he went to Mt. Song to meet Lu Chunyang and Zheng Liulong, obtaining from them their alchemy arts, although it is alternatively told he went to Zhongnan to obtain the teachings from the Daoist Huolong. A fisherman on the Qinhuai river, Shen Wanshan, was a very benevolent person, and so Zhang taught the alchemy art to him.
     While the Yuan Dynasty was drawing to a close [ending in 1368], he dwelled at Golden Tower View in Baoji, until in 1366, 9th month, 20th day, he said he was going to die, then passed away while chanting. The scholar Yang Guishan placed him in his coffin, saw him buried and then resurrected. At this time, Zhang was a hundred and thirty years old.
     He went to Sichuan, then to Mt. Taihe [Wudang], where he built a hut at the Jade Void temple. He would often dwell beyond the five ancient tree trunks in front of the temple, but he was never harmed by wild beasts nor attacked by birds of prey, to the surprise of everyone. When people asked him about magic arts, he never answered them, but when asked about the Confucian classics, he expounded tirelessly.
     It was often being said by the locals at Wudang, “This mountain is illustrious and has received the royal command from Emperor Yongle to be embellished.” Zhang then mixed himself in with the rest of the laborers and nobody could recognize him. Sun Biyun, the abbot of Wudang, received many of Zhang’s teachings during his comings and goings. Emperor Yongle heard about this and repeatedly sent messengers to summon Zhang, but he would not attend upon the emperor, and poetry was applied for Sun to try to win Zhang over with.
     Later he passed the method on to the Daoist priest Qiu Yuanjing. We do not know where it went from there, but the Taiji boxing art that has been passed down to us came from Zhang.

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太極拳術源流
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE TAIJI BOXING ART [first four paragraphs mostly copied from the bio of Zhang Songxi in Book 31 of Records of Ningbo Prefecture]

拳術有內外家之别。外家傳自少林。內家始於宋之張三丰。三丰為武當丹士。徽宗召之。道梗不得進。夜夢元帝授之拳法。厥明。以單丁殺賊百餘。三丰之術。百年後。流傳於陝西。王宗名最著。傳温州陳州同。明嘉靖間。傳於張松溪。松溪恂恂如儒者。遇人恭謹。求其術。輒遜謝。有少林僧數輩。聞其名。至鄞訪之。遇於酒樓。一僧跳躍來蹴。松溪稍側身。舉手送之。僧如飛丸隕空。墮重摟下。幾死。衆僧駭散。松溪傳於四明葉繼美近泉。近泉傳吳崑山周雲山單思南陳貞石孫繼槎。崑山傳李天目徐岱岳。天目傳余波仲吳七郎陳茂宏。雲泉傳盧紹歧。貞石傳董扶輿夏枝溪。繼槎傳柴元明姚石門僧耳僧尾。思南傳王來咸征南。征南搏人。每點其穴。有死穴暈穴啞穴。其術要訣。為敬緊徑切勤五字。明亡。終身菜食。以明此志。識者哀之。至淸傳山右王宗岳。太極拳論宗岳所著也。數傳至河南陳先生長興。蔣先生發。長興授徒數十人。廣平楊先生露禪。名福魁。傾貲從學。居數載。與同門諸人較。輒負。偶夜起。聞隔垣有呼聲。越垣。見廣厦數間。破窗隙闚之。其師正指示提放之術。大驚。於是每夜必竊往。久之。盡得其奥妙。隱弗言。長興以露禪誠實。一日召授其意。所言無不領會。長興異之。謂諸徒曰。傾心授爾。爾不能得。楊生殆天授。非汝等所能及也。厥後。與同門角。無不跌出丈餘。曰吾以報復也。技成乃歸。長興傳楊露禪李白魁陳耕芸諸人。惟露禪最精。傳其子錤鈺鑑及王蘭亭諸人。大先生錤早死無傳。二先生鈺字斑侯。傳萬春全佑侯得山陳秀峯。三先生鑑字健侯。傳其子兆熊兆淸兆元兆林兆祥劉勝魁張義。兆熊字少侯。傳田肇麟尤志學等。兆淸字澄甫。傳武滙川牛春明閻仲雁等。肇麟等亦從學。許禹生亦從少侯澄甫研究。予與徐苕雪陳農先。從澄甫先生學。是編乃澄甫先生口授。予為筆述焉。全佑傳其子艾紳夏貴勳王茂齋。所不知者。尚多遺漏。不及備載。陳微明述
Boxing arts divide into the internal and external schools. The external school was passed down from Shaolin and the internal school started with Zhang Sanfeng of the Song Dynasty, who was an elixirist of the Wudang mountains. Emperor Huizong summoned him, but his route was blocked and he could not get through. That night in a dream, the first Song Emperor gave him the boxing method, and the next day he single-handedly killed more than a hundred bandits. By the time he died, his art had spread to Shaanxi, where Wang Zong was the most famous exponent, who then taught it to Chen Zhoutong of Wenzhou.
     During the reign of Emperor Jiajing [1521-1567], it reached Zhang Songxi. Zhang was as courteous as a Confucian scholar and respectful to everyone he met who sought his art, declining them with modesty. There were many Shaolin monks who heard of his fame and went to his native Yin county in Zhejiang to seek him out. Encountering him in the upper level of a restaurant, one of the monks attacked him with a jumping kick, and Zhang turned his body just slightly sideways, lifting his hand to send him away, and the monk flew off like a shooting star, falling heavily to the lower level and almost died. The rest of the monks were astonished and dispersed.
     Zhang Songxi taught Ye Jimei, called Jinquan, of Siming. Ye Jinquan taught Wu Kunshan, Zhou Yunquan, Dan Sinan, Chen Zhenshi, and Sun Jicha. Wu Kunshan taught Li Tianmu and Xu Daiyue. Li Tianmu taught Yu Bozhong, Wu Qilang, and Chen Maohong. Zhou Yunquan taught Lu Shaoqi. Chen Zhenshi taught Dong Fuyu and Xia Zhixi. Sun Jicha taught Chai Yuanming, Yao Shimen, the monk Er, and the monk Wei. Dan Sinan taught Wang Laixian, called Zhengnan.
     When Wang Zhengnan fought with people, he often poked acupoints, acupoints which caused death, fainting, or muteness. The key to his art lies in five terms: focused, sticky, expedient, precise, potent. From the end of the Ming Dynasty [1644], he spent the rest of his life [dying in 1669] a vegetarian to demonstrate his devotion to the dynasty that had passed, and those who knew him felt sorrow for him. His teaching in the Qing Dynasty reached Wang Zongyue of Shanxi, who wrote the Taiji Boxing essays, and his teaching in turn reached Chen Changxing of Henan, as well as Jiang Fa.
     Chen Changxing taught dozens of people, among them Yang Luchan of Guangping, who was called Fukui, and who spent all the money he had to go learn from Chen. During several years of living there, Yang always lost whenever he sparred with his fellow students. He happened to get up one night and heard shouting from the other side of a wall, which he clambered up to peer over and spied into the wide courtyard. With a damaged window providing a crack for him to peek through, he watched Chen Changxing correcting students in the skill of “lift & release”. He was amazed and thereupon made a point of eavesdropping every night. After a long time, he had obtained its subtleties, but kept it a secret. Chen Changxing saw that Yang was sincere and invited him to learn the theory. When Yang understood everything he was told, Chen found this unusual and said to all of his students: “As much as I love teaching you guys, you’re just not getting it. Yang has natural ability and the rest of you won’t be able to get to his level.” Later when Yang wrestled with his fellow students, they would always stumble more than ten feet away, and he would say, “My turn.” And with his skill complete, he went back home.
     Chen Changxing taught Yang Luchan, Li Baikui, and Chen Gengyun, of which Yang Luchan was the best. He taught his sons – Ji, Yu, Jian – and Wang Lanting. His eldest son, Ji, died young and thus taught no one. His second son, Yu, called Banhou, taught Wan Chun, Quan You, Hou Deshan, and Chen Xiufeng. His third son, Jian, called Jianhou, taught his own sons – Zhaoxiong, Zhaoqing, Zhaoyuan, Zhaolin, Zhaoxiang – as well as Liu Shengkui, and Zhang Yi. Zhaoxiong, called Shaohou, has taught Tian Zhaolin, You Zhixue, and others. Zhaoqing, called Chengfu, has taught Wu Huichuan, Niu Chunming, Yan Zhongkui, and others. Tian Zhaolin learned also from Yang Chengfu, and Xu Yusheng also studied with both Yang Shaouhou and Yang Chengfu. Xu Tiaoxue, Chen Nongxian, and I learned from Yang Chengfu, and I have compiled his oral instructions, recorded from dictation. Quan You taught his son, Ai Shen [Wu Jianquan], as well as Xia Guixun, and Wang Maozhai. Those who I am ignorant of I have mostly left out as I do not feel qualified to make note of them.
     – Chen Weiming

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太極拳術十要
TEN ESSENTIALS OF THE TAIJI BOXING ART
楊澄甫口授
dictated by Yang Chengfu
陳微明筆述
recorded by Chen Weiming

一虛靈頂勁
1. FORCELESSLY PRESS UP YOUR HEADTOP

頂勁者。頭容正直。神貫於頂也。不可用力。用力則項强。氣血不能通流。須有虛靈自然之意。非有虛靈頂勁。則精神不能提起也。
By “press up your headtop” is indicated that the appearance of your head is upright and spirit penetrates to your headtop. You must not use exertion. If you use exertion, your neck will be straining, and energy and blood will be unable to flow through. There must be an intention of being forceless and natural. If you do not have this quality of forcelessly pressing up your headtop, then spirit cannot be raised.

二含胸拔背
2. CONTAIN YOUR CHEST & PLUCK UP YOUR BACK

涵胸者。胸略內涵。使氣沉於丹田也。胸忌挺出。挺出則氣擁胸際。上重下輕。脚跟易於浮起。拔背者。氣貼於背也。能含胸。則自能拔背。能拔背。則能力由脊發。所向無敵也。
To “contain your chest” means your chest is slightly shrugged inward, causing energy to sink to your elixir field. Your chest must not stick out. If it sticks out, then energy will swarm to your chest area, resulting in your upper body being heavy and your lower body being light, and your heels will easily float up. To “pluck up your back” means energy sticks to your back. If you can contain your chest, then you will automatically be able to pluck up your back. If you can pluck up your back, then you can issue power from your spine and be invincible.

三鬆腰
3. LOOSEN YOUR WAIST

腰為一身之主宰。能鬆腰。然後兩足有力。下盤穩固。虛實變化。皆由腰轉動。故曰命意源頭在腰隙。有不得力。必於腰腿求之也。
The waist is the controller of the whole body. If you can loosen your waist, then your feet will have strength, and your stance will be stable. The transformations between empty and full all come from the turning of your waist. Thus it is said [in the Thirteen Dynamics Song] that the “command comes from your lower back”, and if you do not have the advantage, the problem “must be in the waist and legs, so look for it there”.

四分虛實
4. DISTINGUISH BETWEEN EMPTY & FULL

太極拳術以分虛實為第一義。如全身皆坐在右腿。則右腿為實。左腿為虛。全身坐在左腿。則左腿為實。右腿為虛。虛實能分。而後轉動輕靈。毫不費力。如不能分。則邁步重滯。自立不穩。而易為人所牽動。
In the Taiji boxing art, distinguishing empty and full is of prime importance. If the weight is on your right leg, your right leg is full and your left leg is empty. If the weight is on your left leg, your left leg is full and your right leg is empty. If you can distinguish empty and full from each other, movements will be light and nimble, not at all strenuous. If they cannot be distinguished, your steps will be heavy and sluggish, your stance will naturally be unstable, and it will be easy for an opponent to pull you off-balance.

五沈肩墜肘
5. SINK YOUR SHOULDERS & DROP YOUR ELBOWS

沈肩者。肩鬆開下垂也。若不能鬆垂。兩肩端起。則氣亦隨之而上。全身皆不得力矣。墜肘者。肘往下鬆墜之意。肘若懸起。則肩不能沈。放人不遠。近於外家之斷勁矣。
To “sink your shoulders” means your shoulders loosen and hang down. If they cannot loosen and hang, they will end up lifting, then energy will also follow them upward, and your whole body will have no strength. To “drop your elbows” means an intention of loosening your elbows to drop them downward. If your elbows are lifted up, your shoulders cannot sink, and you will not send the opponent far. It would be more like the interrupted power of external styles.

六用意不用力
6. USE INTENTION, NOT EXERTION

太極論云。此全是用意不用力。練太極拳。全身鬆開。不使有分毫之拙勁。以留滯於筋骨血脈之間。以自縛朿。然後能輕靈變化。圓轉自如。或疑不用力。何以能長力。蓋人身之有經絡。如地之有溝洫。溝洫不塞而水行。經絡不閉而氣通。如渾身殭勁。充滿經絡。氣血停滯。轉動不靈。牽一髮而全身動矣。若不用力而用意。意之所至。氣卽至焉。如是氣血流注。日日貫輸。周流全身。無時停滯。久久練習。則得眞正內勁。卽太極論中所云。極柔軟。然後能極堅剛也。太極功夫純熟之人。臂膊如綿裹鐵。分量極沈。練外家拳者。用力則顯有力。不用力時。則甚輕浮。可見其力。乃外勁浮面之勁也。外家之力。最易引動。故不尚也。
A Taiji essay [Li Yiyu’s Five-Word Formula (not included in Chen’s book but appearing later in his third book)] says: “This is entirely a matter of using intention, not exertion.” When practicing Taiji Boxing, your whole body should be loosened. If you do not allow there to be the slightest bit of clumsy effort clogging up the spaces between your muscles and bones, vessels and meridians, and which would tie you up in knots, then you can be nimble and adaptable, rounded and unhindered. You may ask: “If one does not exert oneself, how can one get stronger?” A person’s body has energy channels like irrigation canals. When a canal is unblocked, the water can move, and when the channels are not closed off, energy can flow. If your whole body is stiff, it is as though the channels have been filled in, and thus the energy and blood become stagnant, the movement becomes awkward, and your whole body will be affected by but the tug of a hair. If you use intention instead of exertion, then wherever your intention goes, energy will arrive. If energy and blood are flowing, everyday coursing through, circulating through your whole body without a moment of stagnation, then after practicing for a long time, you will obtain genuine internal power. Another Taiji essay [Understanding How To Practice] says: “Extreme softness begets extreme hardness.” One who is skilled in Taiji has arms like silk wrapped around iron and they feel very heavy. When practitioners of external styles use exertion, it is obvious they are exerting themselves, and when they do not use exertion, they are very light and floating. It can be seen that their strength is an external and superficial strength. The strength of external styles is the easiest to take advantage of, therefore do not esteem it.

七上下相隨
7. YOUR UPPER BODY & LOWER COORDINATE WITH EACH OTHER

上下相隨者。卽太極論中所云。其根在脚。發於腿。主宰於腰。形於手指。由腳而腿而腰。總須完整一氣也。手動腰動足動。眼神亦隨之動。如是方可謂之上下相隨。有一不動。卽散亂矣。
The meaning of this is stated in a Taiji essay [Essays, part 1]: “Starting from your foot, issue through your leg, directing it at your waist, and expressing it at your fingers. From foot through leg through waist, it must be a fully continuous process.” Your hands move, your waist moves, your feet move, and even your gaze also goes along with the movement. If it is like this, then you can say your upper body and lower are coordinating with each other, but if there is one part that is not moving with all the rest, then you are in disorder.

八內外相合
8. INSIDE & OUT JOIN WITH EACH OTHER

太極所練在神。故云神為主帥。身為驅使。精神能提得起。自然舉動輕靈。架子不外虛實開合。所謂開者。不但手足開。心意亦與之俱開。所謂合者。不但手足合。心意亦與之俱合。能內外合為一氣。則渾然無間矣。
Taiji training is all about the spirit. Therefore it is said [in an earlier version of Understanding How to Practice]: “Your spirit is the general and your body is the army.” If your spirit can be lifted, naturally the movement will be nimble. There is nothing more to the solo set than emptiness and fullness, and expansion and contraction. Expansion is not only a matter of hands and feet. The intention also expands. Contraction is not only a matter of hands and feet. The intention also contracts. If you can merge inside and outside into a single unit, there will be entirely no distinction between them.

九相連不斷
9. THE MOVEMENTS ARE LINKED TOGETHER WITHOUT INTERRUPTION

外家拳術。其勁乃後天之拙勁。故有起有止。有續有斷。舊力已盡。新力未生。此時最易為人所乘。太極用意不用力。自始至終。綿綿不斷。周而復始。循環無窮。原論所謂如長江大河。滔滔不絕。又曰運勁如抽絲。皆言其貫串一氣也。
In external styles of boxing arts, their strength is only the clumsy strength of acquired habit. Therefore there is a start and a stop, a continuing and an interrupting. It is when old force is spent and new force is not yet initiated that is the easiest moment for an opponent to take advantage of. Taiji uses intention, not exertion, and so from beginning to end, it is continuous without interruption, recycling endlessly. A primary text [Essays, part 1] says: “It is like a long river flowing into the wide ocean, on and on ceaselessly.” It is also said [in Understanding How to Practice]: “Move energy as if drawing silk.” These words describe a continuous flow throughout.

十動中求靜。
10. WITHIN MOVEMENT, SEEK STILLNESS

外家拳術。以跳躑為能。用盡氣力。故練習之後。無不喘氣者。太極以靜御動。雖動猶靜。故練架子。愈慢愈好。慢則呼吸深長。氣沉丹田。自無血脈僨張之弊。學者細心體會。庶可得其意焉。
External styles of boxing arts look upon jumping and posing as ability. Practitioners spend all of their energy, and therefore after practicing are always panting for breath. Taiji uses stillness to control movement, and although moving, seems yet to be in stillness. Therefore when practicing the solo set, the slower the better. When it is slow, your breath will be deep and long, energy will sink to your elixir field, and there will naturally be no excessive rise in heart-rate. Students who are attentive and realize through experience will all get the idea.

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太極拳式
TAIJI BOXING POSTURES

攬雀尾
[1] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL

向南正立。兩足平行分開。與兩肩齊。眼向前視。兩手下垂。此太極未動之形式也。如第一圖。
Stand straight, facing south. Your feet are parallel and are shoulder-width apart. Your eyes are looking forward. Your hands are hanging down. This is the posture in Taiji before there is any movement. See photo 1:

兩手毫不着力。向前向上提起。提與胸平。手心向下。兩臂稍屈。不可太直。與腰同時下沉。左手轉至丹田。手心向內。向前伸出。(此卽是掤)略與胸齊。右手同時向右向下分開。手心向下。五指向前。左足同時斜向前進。此時全身坐在左腿。右足伸直不動。左實右虛。如第二圖。
Without using any effort at all, your hands go forward and upward, lifting to chest level, palms downward. Your arms are slightly bent and must not be too straight. As your waist sinks, your left hand arcs toward your elixir field, palm inward, then extends forward (This is the ward-off posture.) to about chest level, while your right hand spreads away downward to the right, palm downward, fingers forward. Your left foot at the same time advances diagonally forward and the weight shifts to your left leg, your right leg straightening but the foot not leaving its location. Your feet are left full, right empty. See photo 2:

右手隨腰。同時轉至左手處。手心隨轉向上。左手亦隨腰轉。手心隨轉向下。兩手如捧一圓球。右足往西邁。足尖正向西。與左足略成丁字形。右手左手隨腰隨右腿。同時向西圓轉。右手在前。左手在後。右手心向上向內。左手心向下向外。如抱圓球。眼亦隨向西視。此時全身坐在右腿。左腿伸直。凡兩足之距離。人之長短不同。以各人之最適處為度。
Your right hand goes along with your waist and arcs toward your left hand, palm turning upward, while your left palm turns downward, and the two hands are as if holding up a ball. Your right foot steps to the west, toes pointing to the west, and is slightly making a T shape with your left foot. Your hands, going along with your waist and right leg, in unison arc to the west, right hand in front, left hand behind, right palm upward and inward, left palm downward and outward, as if holding a ball. Your eyes follow along to look to the west. The weight is now on your right leg and your left leg is straight. Generally the distance between the feet, since everyone’s height is not equal, will be whatever seems most suitable to each person.
右手與左手。隨腰往右圓轉。右手心隨轉向下。左手心隨轉向上。右手在上。左手在下。與腰同時往回收。全身坐在左腿(此卽是捋)左腿變實。右腿變虛。如第三圖。
Your hands go along with your waist and arc to the right, right palm turning downward, left palm turning upward, right hand above, left hand below. They then withdraw with your waist, the weight shifting to your left leg (This is the rollback posture.), which becomes full as your right leg becomes empty. See photo 3:

右手隨動。手心隨轉向上向內。左手隨動。手心隨轉向下向外。左手心距離右手脈門二寸許(此卽是擠)兩手同時向西擠出。腰亦隨之前進。至右腿變實。左腿變虛。如第四圖。
Your right palm turns upward and inward while your left palm turns downward and outward. Your left palm is about two inches from your right pulse. (This is the press posture.) Your hands in unison press out to the west. Your torso advances along with the movement until your right leg becomes full and your left leg becomes empty. See photo 4:

兩手與腰與腿。同時往回鬆。兩手收回時。略向上提。手尖向前。手心向下。收至左腿坐實。兩手復同時往西按出。兩手心向外。手尖向上。垂肩墜肘。畧與胸齊。(此卽是按)右腿復實。如第五圖。
Your hands, waist, and legs loosen to the rear in unison. When your hands withdraw, they slightly lift, fingers forward, palms down, withdrawing until the left leg has become full. Your hands in unison then push out to the west at about chest level, palms outward, fingers upward, with shoulders and elbows dropped. (This is the push posture.) Your right leg is again full. See photo 5:

單鞭
[2] SINGLE WHIP

兩手與腰與腿復同時往回鬆。右手屈回。如畫一小圓規。復往西鬆直。五指旋卽垂下。變為吊手。左手與右手同時屈回。由左而右。如畫一大圓規。轉至右肩時。手心向內。右足向西者。將足跟轉使〔轉動使足尖〕向南。全身坐在右腿上。此時左足亦同時向東邁去。足尖畧偏於北。此時右足跟亦同時轉動。足尖略向東南。全身坐在左腿上。左腿變為實。左手隨動隨轉。變成朝外。往東變成單鞭與左足同一方向。右腿伸直。眼神隨之。如第六圖。
Your hands, waist, and thighs withdraw in unison, your right hand bending in and drawing a small circle which then extends it to the west and with the fingers coiled downward to make a hanging hand, while your left hand bends in and draws a larger circle which takes it from left to right, and by the time it reaches your right shoulder, the palm is inward. Your right foot has turned to the west [east], turning on the heel to point the toes to the south, with the weight on your right leg. Now your left foot steps to the east, toes slightly turning toward the north, your right heel turns, toes slightly to the southeast, and the weight shifts to your left leg, which becomes full. Your left hand goes along with the movement and faces outward, going to the east to make the SINGLE WHIP posture in the same direction as your left foot, your right leg straightening, your gaze following along with the left hand. See photo 6:

提手
[3] RAISE THE HANDS

左足跟轉向南。左右兩手同時相合。隨腰轉向西南。右手略前。左手畧後。兩手心相對。沉肩墜肘。須鬆開捧起。不可有夾勁。右足同時提向西南。後跟點地。足尖畧翹起。眼神亦隨之。此式左腿為實。右腿為虛。如第七圖。
Your left heel turns to point the foot south as your hands close toward each other and your waist turns to the southwest. Your right hand is slightly forward, left hand slightly behind, palms toward each other. Sinking your shoulders and dropping your elbows, your arms must loosen and prop up, and cannot have a pincering energy. Your right foot at the same time lifts to the southwest, heel touching down, toes slightly lifted. Your gaze follows along with the movement. In this posture, your left leg is full, right leg empty. See photo 7:

白鶴亮翅
[4] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS

右足略進半步蹋實。使足尖向東南。全身隨坐在右腿上。兩手與腰同時而轉。右手轉下。手心向上。左手轉上。手心向下。兩掌斜對如抱圓球。隨卽分開。右臂隨腰向西南往上提起。眼神隨之。提至右手心轉向外。眼神漸漸轉向東。左手同時往左分。轉至手心向下。左足隨提前。足尖點地。正對東向。此式右腿變實。如第八圖。
Your right foot slightly advances a half step and flattens out, but make the toes point to the southeast, and the weight then shifts onto your right leg, your hands arcing with the turning of your waist, right hand arcing downward, palm up, left hand arcing upward, palm down, the palms facing each other diagonally as if they are holding a ball. They promptly spread apart, your right arm going along with the movement of your waist, lifting to the southwest, your gaze following, your right hand lifting until the palm has turned outward, your gaze gradually turning to the east. Your left hand at the same time spreads away to the left, turning until the palm is downward, your left foot lifting forward, toes touching down, pointing to the east. In this posture, your right leg becomes full. See photo 8:

摟膝抝步
[5] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE

腰往下鬆。右手心轉向後。隨腰下垂。往後圓轉而上。轉由右耳邊按出。左手同時隨腰而上。由胸前往右。摟至左膝外。手心復向下。左足同時隨往東邁。腰隨手前進。至左腿變實。如第九圖。
Your waist loosens downward and your right hand, palm to the rear, goes along with your waist and hangs down, arcs to the rear, upward, and pushes out from beside your right ear. Your left hand at the same time goes along with your waist upward, to the right, and from in front of your chest, brushes to the outside of your left knee, palm again downward, while your left foot steps to the east and your waist advances along with the pushing hand until your left leg becomes full. See photo 9:

手揮琵琶式
[6] PLAY THE LUTE

右足略提起隨落下。右手隨身之落勢。收回在後。左手隨身。提起在前。兩手心相對。如抱琵琶。沉肩墜肘。鬆開捧起。不可有夾勁。左足隨身收近。足跟點地。足尖翹起。右腿仍實。如第十圖。
Your right foot slightly lifts then comes down. Your right hand goes along with your body and lowers, withdrawing to the rear, while your left hand lifts forward, and the palms are toward each other as if holding a lute. Sinking your shoulders and dropping your elbows, your arms must loosen and prop up, and cannot have a pincering energy. Your left foot goes along with your body and withdraws, heel touching down, toes lifted. Your right leg is still full. See photo 10:

摟膝抝步
[7] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE

仍鬆腰。左手摟膝。右手往後圓轉。隨身往前按出。左腿變實。如前第九圖。
Again loosen your waist, your left hand brushes past your knee, your right hand arcs to the rear and pushes out forward along with your body, and your left leg becomes full. Review photo 9.

左摟膝抝步
[8] LEFT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE

左足跟轉〔轉動使足尖〕向東北。腰下鬆。左手心轉向外。隨腰下垂。往後圓轉而上。轉由左耳邊按出。右手同時隨腰而上。由胸前往左。摟至右膝外。手心向下。右足隨往東邁。腰隨手前進。至右腿變實。左摟膝與右摟膝無異。惟左右不同耳。如第十一圖。
Your left heel turns to point the toes to the northeast, your waist loosens downward, and your left hand, palm outward, goes along with your waist and hangs down, arcs to the rear, upward, and pushes out from beside your left ear. Your right hand at the same time goes along with your waist upward, to the left from in front of your chest, and brushes to the outside of your right knee, palm down, your right foot stepping to the east, and your waist advances along with the pushing hand until your right leg becomes full. There is no difference between the left and right versions of this posture apart from left and right. See photo 11:

又變〔右摟膝拗步〕手揮琵琶式。
手揮琵琶如前第十圖
[9&10] Change again to RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE, then to PLAY THE LUTE as in photo 10.

進步搬攔錘
[11] ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH

由琵琶式。兩手心相對。隨腰往左轉。左手轉至手心朝下。右手轉至手心朝上。左手在上。右手在下。右手轉至左脇際握拳。又隨腰往右鬆。藏於右脇間。此時右腿同時提起點一步〔提起前進一步〕。使足尖朝東。全身坐於右腿上。左手亦同時隨腰往前探出。如第十二圖。
From PLAY THE LUTE, your hands, palms toward each other, go along with your waist and arc to the left, your left hand turning until the palm is down, your right hand turning until the palm is up, left hand above, right hand below. Your right hand arcs until by your left ribs and grasps into a fist, then goes along with your waist and loosens to the right to be placed by your right ribs. At the same time, your right leg lifts and takes a step forward, toes pointing to the east, and the weight shifts to your right leg, your left hand going along with your waist and extending forward. See photo 12:

右足跟轉向東南坐實。左手隨往左搬攔右拳隨卽打出。左手如扶右手脈門。手尖向上。左足亦同時前進坐實。如第十三圖。
Your right heel turns to point the foot to the southeast and the weight shifts onto it, your left hand doing a parrying block to the left while your right fist strikes forth, your left hand seeming to wipe along your right pulse, fingertips up. Your left foot at the same time advances and the weight shifts to it. See photo 13:

如封似閉
[12] SEALING SHUT

左手旋穿出右肘。手心向上。兩手隨腰往後抽。左手心貼住右臂。漸移漸分。至兩掌近於胸際。此時右腿變實。然後兩掌復隨腰前按。至左腿變實。如第十四圖。
Your left hand twists and threads under your right elbow, palm up. Your hands go along with your waist and withdraw to the rear, your left palm staying close to your right arm, and gradually they spread apart until the palms are close to your chest. Your right leg has now become full. Then your palms again go along with your waist and push forward until your left leg becomes full. See photo 14:

十字手
[13] CROSSED HANDS

左足跟轉向南。兩手先往上分開。向下圓轉。後又由下而上。復合為斜十字。右足隨右手同時移近左足。平行而立。此式面向南方。如第十五圖。
Your left heel turns to point the foot south as your hands arc first upward, then spread to the sides, then downward, and then come up from below to again come together in an X shape. Your right foot, coordinating with your right hand coming inward, shifts to be close to your left foot, and you stand with your feet parallel. This posture faces south. See photo 15:

抱虎歸山
[14] CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN

右手向西北。左手向東南分開。右足隨右手往西北邁步。此時全身尚坐在左腿。左手分開後。旋卽轉上。由耳邊向西北按出。腰亦隨之前進。卽坐在右腿上。右手分開後。同時轉至脇下。下垂。手心向外。如第十六圖。
Your right hand goes to the northwest and your left hand spreads aside to the southeast. Your right foot goes along with right hand and steps to the northwest. The weight is now on your left leg. After your left hand spreads aside, it arcs upward and pushes out to the northwest from beside your ear. Your waist advances along with the movement and the weight shifts to your right leg, and once your right hand has spread to the side, it at the same time arcs until below the ribs and hangs down, palm outward. See photo 16:

右手復轉上手心轉向下。至左手處。兩手隨腰捋回。坐在右腿上。兩手復擠出。按出。與攬雀尾同。
Your right hand then arcs upward, palm turning down, until by your left hand, and then both hands go along with your waist and roll back, the weight shifting to your right leg, then the hands perform press and push, same as in CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL.

肘底看錘
[15] BEWARE THE PUNCH UNDER ELBOW

兩手按出後。如單鞭式。右手鬆直。手指稍垂。不必成為吊手。左足略提起落下。足尖轉向東南。右足隨提起往南邁。與左足相離二三尺許。足尖亦向東南。左手轉至右肩時。不成單鞭。與右手同時隨身隨步畫一大圓規。左手畫至左邊。復轉回至胸際向東伸出。手心朝南。右手同時畫至胸前時。遂握拳收回。藏於左肘下。左足同時提至右足前。足跟點地。足尖翹起。此式面正向東。如第十七圖。
After the hands push out, it is like the SINGLE WHIP posture. Your right hand loosens vertically and the fingers slightly hang, but must not fully form a hanging hand. Your left foot slightly lifts and comes down with the toes turned to point southeast. Your right foot lifts and steps to the south, about two or three feet from your left foot, toes also pointing southeast. When your left hand arcs to your right shoulder, it does not make the SINGLE WHIP posture, but moves in unison with your right hand and, going along with your body and step, draws a large arc. Your left hand arcs to the left side, returns to be in front of your chest, then extends to the east, palm facing to the south. Your right hand at the same time arcs in front of your chest, then grasps into a fist and withdraws under your left elbow. Your left foot at the same time lifts in front of your right foot, heel touching down, toes lifted. This posture faces directly east. See photo 17:

倒輦猴
[16] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY

右拳旋鬆開。由左肘下。往後圓轉而上。由右耳邊按出。如摟膝抝步。而左足同時往後退步。使全身坐於左腿上。右足尖轉向正東。如第十八圖。
Your right fist twists and opens, going from below your left elbow to the rear then arcing upward, and pushes out from beside your right ear, as in BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE. Your left foot at the same time retreats, the weight shifts to your left leg, and your right foot turns so the toes point to the east. See photo 18:

左手亦同時往後圓轉而上。由左耳邊按出。而右足往後退步。使全身坐在右腿上。左足尖轉向正東。如第十九圖。
Your left hand at the same time goes to the rear then arcs upward and pushes out from beside your left ear, your right foot retreating, the weight shifting to your right leg, your left foot turning to point east. See photo 19:

兩手如輪。一來一往。左手出則右腿實。右手出則左腿實。或退三步。或退五步。或退七步。至右手按出。
The hands are like a wheel, one coming, one going. When your left hand goes out, your right leg fills, and when your right hand goes out, your left leg fills. Do three, five, or seven steps, ending with your right hand pushing out.

斜飛式
[17] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE

右手案出後。腰向左鬆。全身坐在左腿上。右手隨腰向左向下。左手由左圓轉而上。使兩掌相合。左手心朝下。右手心朝上。如抱圓球。右手旋隨右足向西南分開。在上。左手向東北分開。在下。右手心仍在上。左手心仍在下。全身坐在右腿。眼神亦向西南。如第二十圖。
After your right hand pushes out, your waist loosens to the left, the weight is on your left leg, your right hand goes along with your waist downward to the left, and your left hand arcs upward from the left, causing the palms to close toward each other, left palm down, right palm up, as if holding a ball. Your right hand arcs along with your right foot, spreading away upward to the southwest, left hand spreading away downward to the northeast, right palm still up, left palm still down. The weight shifts to your right leg. Your gaze is to the southwest. See photo 20:

提手
[18] RAISE THE HANDS

左足略起。復落下。兩手收回相合。作提手式。右足亦略收回。如前第七圖。
Your left foot slightly lifts then comes down, and your hands withdraw and close toward each other, making the RAISE THE HANDS posture, your right foot also slightly withdrawing. Review photo 7.

白鶴亮翅。如前第八圖。
[19] WHITE GOOSE SHOWS ITS WINGS – review photo 8.

摟膝抝步如前第九圖。
[20] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE – review photo 9.

海底針
[21] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA

右足不動。右手隨腰收回。復隨腰向下垂。手尖下指。手心向左。左足亦同時收回。足尖點地。左手仍在原處。眼神仍向前看。如第二十一圖。
Your right foot staying where it is, your right hand goes along with your waist and withdraws, then goes along with your waist and hangs down, fingers pointing down, palm facing to the north. Your left foot at the same time withdraws, toes touching down. Your left hand remains where it was. Your gaze continues forward. See photo 21:

扇通臂
[22] FAN THROUGH THE ARMS

右足不動。兩手隨腰提起。右手提至額上。手心向外。左手提至胸際。向前按出。左足與左手同時前進。全身坐在左腿上。如第二十二圖。
Your right foot staying where it is, your hands go along with your waist and lift, right hand lifting until above your forehead, palm to the south, left hand lifting to your chest area and pushing out to the east. Your left foot advances with your left hand and your weight shifts to your left leg. See photo 22:

撇身錘
[23] WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH

左足轉向南。全身仍坐在左腿。左手曲肘西轉。右手曲肘東轉。左手掌心向外。右手握拳。拳心向下。如抱物狀。眼神亦轉向西。左足不動。兩手隨腰圓轉向西。右手隨腰往下鬆。藏在脇下。拳心向上。左手繞右拳上。往西按出。右足同時西轉。足尖朝西。坐實右腿。如第二十三圖。
Your left foot turns to point south, the weight remaining on your left leg, and your left arm bends at the elbow and arcs to the west while your right arm bends at the elbow and arcs to the east. Your left palm is outward and your right hand grasps into a fist, center of the fist downward. It is like embracing an object. Your gaze turns to the west, your left foot stays where it is, and your hands go along with your waist and arc to the west, your right hand going downward to be placed below your ribs, center of the fist upward, your left hand coiling over your right fist and pushing out to the west. Your right foot at the same time turns to the west, toes pointing west, and the weight shifts to your right leg. See photo 23:

上步搬攔錘
[24] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH

右拳由脇下提起。同左手隨腰往左收回。由下而上。如畫一橢圓。此時左腿坐實。右足略提起落下。足尖向西北坐實。進左步。左手搬攔。打右拳。與進步搬攔錘同。
Your right fist lifts from below your ribs, your left hand going along with your waist and withdrawing to the left, and goes up from below as if drawing an ellipse, while the weight shifts to your left leg. Your right foot slightly lifts then lowers with the toes pointed northwest and then the weight shifts onto it. Advancing your left foot, your left hand does a parrying block, and then strike with your right fist. It is the same as ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH.

進步攬雀尾單鞭
[25&26] ADVANCE, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL, SINGLE WHIP

左足跟轉向西南。右拳鬆開。同左掌隨腰往下鬆。坐實左腿。右足前進。右手心朝上。左手心朝下。變為攬雀尾式。隨又變為單鞭。如前第三第四第五第六等圖。
Your left heel turns to point the foot to the southwest. Your right fist opens and goes along with your waist to be under your left palm. With the weight on your left leg, advance your right foot, right palm upward, left palm downward, and perform CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL, then SINGLE WHIP. Review photos 3-6.

抎手
[27] CLOUDING HANDS

單鞭之後。右手吊手。鬆開變為掌。手心朝下。隨腰往下往左圓轉。轉至左肩前。手心轉向內。復往右轉。隨轉手心隨轉向下。須鬆鬆捧起。務令極圓。右足隨右手往東。橫移半步。左手同時。亦鬆開。手心朝下。隨腰往下往右圓轉。轉至右肩前。手心轉向內。復往左轉。隨轉手心隨轉向下。鬆捧如右手。左足隨右手往東橫移一步。兩手圓轉如輪。右手至左肩前。左手伸直。左手至右肩前。右手伸直。抎右手。眼神與腰隨往右。抎左手。眼神與腰隨往左。抎右手坐右腿。抎左手坐左腿。如第二十四二十五兩圖。
After SINGLE WHIP, your right hanging hand opens and becomes a palm facing downward, and going along with your waist, arcs downward and to the left until in front of your left shoulder, palm turned inward, and then it arcs to the right, palm turning downward, and must loosely prop up. Try to make the movement very round. Your right foot goes along with your right hand to the east, taking a half step across. Your left hand at the same time loosens to be palm down, and going along with your waist, arcs downward and to the right until in front of your right shoulder, palm turned inward, and then it arcs to the left, palm turning downward, loosely propping up like the right hand. Your left foot goes along with your right hand to the east, taking a half step across.
     The hands arc like a wheel. When your right hand is in front of your left shoulder, your left hand is extended. When your left hand is in front of your right shoulder, your right hand is extended. When clouding with your right hand, your gaze goes along with it to the right. When clouding with your left hand, your gaze goes along with it to the left. When clouding with your right hand, the weight shifts to your right leg. When clouding with your left hand, the weight shifts to your left leg. See photos 24 & 25:

此抎手或三步或五步或七步。卽變為單鞭。
Do it three, five, or seven times, then change to SINGLE WHIP.

單鞭
[28] SINGLE WHIP

右手抎直時。隨變為吊手。左手遂變為單鞭。左足亦略向東北。如前單鞭一樣。
When your right hand clouds and extends, it then becomes a hanging hand, your left hand changes to the SINGLE WHIP posture, and your left foot goes slightly to the northeast, same as before.

高探馬
[29] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE

左手隨腰收回。藏於左脇下。手心朝上。右手同時曲肘。由耳邊捧出。手心朝下。左足亦同時收回。足尖點地。腰收回時。隨收隨往上提。故曰高探馬也。此式右腿實。如第二十六圖。
Your left hand goes along with your waist and withdraws to be placed below your left ribs, palm up. At the same time, your right elbow bends and the hand braces outward from beside your ear, palm downward. Your left foot at the same time withdraws, toes touching down. While your waist withdraws, rise up, hence the name RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE. In this posture, your right leg is full. See photo 26:

右分腳
[30] KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE

就原式右手心朝下。左手心朝上相對。右手在上。左手在下。隨腰由右往左往下圓轉。左足同時隨腰隨兩手。往東北邁步。兩手由下又往上相合作十字。眼神向東南。此式左腿變實。右足提起。足尖下垂。向東南踢出。足背須平。兩手同時兩邊分開。右手向東南。左手向西北。兩掌俱坐起手腕。手指向上。此式須渾身鬆開要有頂勁。不然則不穩矣。如第二十七圖。
From the previous posture, your right palm faces down and your left palm faces up so they are toward each other, right hand above, left hand below. They go along with your waist from right to left and down, turning in an arc. Your left foot at the same time moves along with your waist and hands, stepping out to the northeast. Your hands go up from below, coming together to make an X shape, your gaze going to the southeast. Your left leg now becomes full and your right foot lifts, toes hanging, then kicks out to the southeast, and the back of the foot must be flat. Your hands at the same time spread apart to both sides, right hand to the southeast, left hand to the northwest, both palms sitting up in the wrists so the fingers are up. In this posture, your whole body must loosen and there should be an energy of pressing up. If not the case, it will not be stable. See photo 27:

左分脚
[31] KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE

右足踢出。旋卽收回。右手由右往左。與左手手心相對。左手在上右手在下同時隨腰由左往右往下圓轉。右足同時隨腰隨兩手。往東南邁步坐實。兩手由下圓轉往上相。合作十字眼。神向東北左。足提起足。尖下垂向東北踢出。足背須平。兩手同時兩邊分開。右手向西南。左手向東北。兩掌俱坐起手腕。手指向上。與右分腳同。如第二十八圖。
After your right foot kicks, promptly withdraw it, your right hand going from right to left while your left hand comes in so the palms are toward each other, left hand above, right hand below. At the same time, they go along with your waist from the left to the right and down, turning in an arc. Your right foot at the same time moves along with your waist and hands, stepping to the southeast, and then the weight shifts fully onto it. Your hands arc upward from below, coming together to make an X shape, your gaze going to the northwest. Your left foot lifts, toes hanging, and kicks out to the northeast, and the back of the foot must be flat. Your hands at the same time spread apart to both sides, right hand to the southwest, left hand to the northeast, both palms sitting up in the wrists so the fingers are up. It is the same as on the other side. See photo 28:

轉身蹬腳
[32] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK

兩手相合作十字。左足收回。仍提起。足尖下垂。右足跟轉向北。兩手分開。左手朝西。右手朝東。左足蹬出。足心朝外。足尖朝上。此式身雖朝北。而眼神則隨向西看。如第二十九圖。
Your hands join to make an X shape and your left foot withdraws, still raised, toes hanging down. Your right heel turns to point the foot north. Your hands spread apart, left hand facing west, right hand facing east, and your right heel presses out, sole facing outward, toes up. In this posture, although your body is facing north, your eyes are looking to the west. See photo 29:

左右摟膝抝步
[33] LEFT & RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE

左足蹬出後。旋收回。足尖下垂。全身坐在右腿。左足前邁。左手摟膝。右手按出。復換步。右手摟膝。左手按出。與前皆同。惟中間無琵琶式耳。看第九第十一圖。
After your left foot presses out, it withdraws, toes hanging down, your weight on your right leg. Your left foot steps forward, your left hand brushes by your left knee, and your right hand pushes out. Then switching sides, your right hand brushes by your right knee and your left hand pushes out. It is all the same as before, except without the PLAYING THE LUTE posture. Review photos 9 & 10.

進步栽錘
[34] ADVANCE, PLANTING PUNCH

右足尖轉向西南。左手摟膝。左足前邁。右手〔同時隨腰平轉一小圓規〕卽由腰間向下打出。如第三十圖。
Your right toes turn to point to the southwest [northwest]. Your left hand brushes past the knee as your left foot steps forward. Your right hand at the same time goes along with your waist in a level arc, making a small circle, and strikes downward from beside your waist. See photo 30:

翻身白蛇吐信
[35] TURN AROUND, WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE

翻身白蛇吐信。與撇身錘相同。惟方向不同。左足轉向北。全身坐在左腿。左手曲肘東轉。右手曲肘西轉。左手掌心朝外。右手掌心向下。如抱物狀。眼神亦轉向東看。左足不動。兩手隨腰圓轉向東。右手隨腰往下鬆。藏在脇下。手掌心朝上。與撇身錘不同者。惟右手用掌不握拳。
左手繞右掌上。往東按出。右足同時東轉。足尖朝東。
This is the same as WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH, except the direction is different. Your left foot turns to the north, the weight remaining on your left leg, and your left arm bends at the elbow and arcs to the east as your right arm bends at the elbow and arcs to the west, left palm outward, right palm downward, as if embracing an object. Your gaze turns to the east, your left foot stays where it is, and your hands go along with your waist and arc to the east, your right hand going downward to be placed below your ribs, palm up. It is the same as WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH, except your right hand uses a palm instead of a fist. Your left hand coils over your right palm and pushes out to the east. Your right foot at the same time turns to point the toes east.

上步搬攔錘
[36] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH

右足跟轉向東南。全身坐在右腿上。兩手隨腰往回收。圓轉而上。右手向前打拳。左手隨之。以掌扶右腕。掌心朝南。左腿同時前邁變實。與前第十三圖相同。
Your right heel turns the foot to the southeast and the weight shifts to your right leg, your hands going along with your waist by withdrawing and arcing upward. Your right hand strikes forward as a fist, your left palm wiping by the right wrist, palm to the south. Your left foot at the same time steps forward and becomes full. Review photo 13.

蹬腳
[37] PRESSING KICK

左足跟轉向北。兩手相合。作十字。全身坐在左腿。右腿提起蹬出。兩手隨之分開。與轉身蹬脚同。惟左右脚不同耳。此式身向北。眼向東看。如第三十一圖。
Your left heel turns to point the foot north, both hands join to make an X shape, the weight shifts onto your left leg, and your right leg lifts and presses out, your hands spreading apart. It is the same as in TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK, except that left and right have switched feet. In this posture, your body is squared to the north, your gaze looking to the east. See photo 31:

左右披身伏虎式
[38] LEFT & RIGHT DRAPING THE BODY, CROUCHING TIGER POSTURE

右足收回。垂足尖。落於左足處。左手往右。與右手同時。隨步隨腰。往下往左。圓轉而上。握拳。手心朝外。右手由丹田而上至胸際。握拳。手心朝內。左手在額之上。右手在胸之下。上下相對。兩手轉時。左足同時往西橫移。全身坐在左腿。右腿伸直。此式面向正北。如第三十二圖。
Your right foot withdraws, toes hanging down, comes down beside your left foot, and your left hand goes to the right, and in unison with your right hand, as well as going along with your step and waist, goes downward and to the left, and arcs upward, grasping into a fist, center of the fist outward, while your right hand goes from the area of your elixir field to your chest area, grasping into a fist, center of the fist inward. Your left hand is above your forehead and your right hand is below your chest, aligned with each other above and below. While your hands arc, your left foot shifts across to the west and the weight shifts to your left leg, your right leg straightening. This posture faces north. See photo 32:

左足尖轉向東北。兩手〔仍握拳〕隨腰右轉。向於東南。左手由上往左圓轉而下。轉至胸際。手心朝內。右手由下往右圓轉而上。轉至額上。手心朝外。右足同時〔提起邁步〕隨腰轉向東南。全身坐在右腿。左腿伸直。此式面向東南。如第三十三圖。
Your left foot turns to point northeast, and your hands, still grasped into fists, go along with your waist and arc to the southeast, your left hand going to the left from above, arcing downward to your chest area, center of the fist inward, your left hand going to the right from below, arcing upward to be above your forehead, center of the fist outward. Your right foot at the same time lifts and, going along with your waist, steps to the southeast, and the weight shifts to your right leg, your left leg straightening. This posture faces southeast. See photo 33:

回身蹬腳
[39] TURN BACK, PRESSING KICK

左足跟復轉向北。身亦隨之。兩手相合。作十字。左腿坐實。右腿蹬出。兩手分開。與翻身蹬腳相同。
Your left heel again turns to point north, your body again going along with it, both hands join to make an X shape, the weight shifts fully onto your left leg, and your right leg presses out, your hands spreading apart. It is the same as in TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK.

雙風貫耳
[40] DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS

右足蹬出後。旋收回。仍提起。足尖下垂。左足跟轉向東北。兩手相合。手心轉向內。合至右膝處。復往下兩邊分開。手心漸轉。向上向外向前。相對圓轉而至前面。兩手握拳相對。拳心向外。兩手合至右膝時。右腿隨腰往下鬆。隨鬆隨轉。向東南邁出。全身坐在右腿。左腿伸直。如第三十四圖。
After your right foot presses out, it withdraws, remaining lifted, toes hanging down, and your left heel turns to point the foot northeast. Your hands close toward each other, palms turning inward, closing until they reach your right knee area. Then they go downward and spread to the sides, palms gradually turning, and then they go upward, outward, and forward, arcing toward each other until in front of your face, grasping into fists facing each other, centers of the fists facing outward. Once your hands have closed to your right knee, your right leg goes along with your waist in loosening downward and steps out to the southeast, and the weight shifts to your right leg, your left leg straightening. See photo 34:

左蹬腳
[41] LEFT PRESSING KICK

右足跟轉向南。兩手相合。作十字。全身坐在右腿。左腿向東蹬出。與前轉身蹬腳相同。惟此面向南耳。
Your right heel turns to point the foot to the south, both hands join to make an X shape, the weight shifts onto your right leg, and your left leg presses out to the east. It is the same as in TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK, except that this time your body is facing south.

轉身蹬腳
[42] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK

左腿蹬出後。收回。仍提起。不落下。全身隨右足尖轉向北。左足落地。全身坐在左腿。兩手復相合作十字。右腿蹬出。與翻身蹬腳相同。
After your left leg has pressed out, it withdraws but stays lifted and does not yet come down, and your whole body goes along with your right foot as it turns around toward the north. Your left heel now comes down, the weight shifts onto your left leg, both hands again joining to make an X shape, and your right leg presses out. It is the same as in TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK.

上步搬攔錘
[43-46] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH

右足蹬出後。仍收回。足尖下垂。落下。足尖向東南。坐實右腿。左手搬攔。右手打拳。與前皆同。如封似閉十字手抱虎歸山同前。
After your right foot presses out, again withdraw it, toes hanging down. It comes down with the toes pointing to the southeast, the weight shifts onto it, then your left hand does a parrying block, your right hand strikes as a fist, and all is as before. See SEALING SHUT, CROSSED HANDS, and CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN, which are all the same as before.

斜單鞭
[47] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP

由十字手。右手向西北左手向東南分開。右足隨右手往西北邁步。此時全身尚坐在左腿。左手往西北擠出按出與抱虎歸山皆同。惟雙手按出後。左足往南邁。左手亦往南成單鞭式。斜單鞭與單鞭相同。惟方向向南耳。如第三十五圖。
From CROSSED HANDS, your right hand goes to the northwest, your left hand spreading away to the southeast, while your right foot steps to northwest. The weight shifts to your left leg and your left hand pushes out to the northwest. All the rest is the same as in CAPTURE THE TIGER, except that after both hands perform the push posture, your left foot steps to the south and your left hand goes to the south to perform SINGLE WHIP. DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP is the same as SINGLE WHIP, except the direction is to the south. See photo 35:

野馬分鬃
[48] WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE

右手隨腰往左。與左手相合。右手在下。手心向上。左手在上。手心向下。全身坐在左腿上。右足提起。往西北邁去。右手隨右足往西北分開在上。左手同時往東南分開在下。右手心仍向上。左手心仍向下。全身坐在右腿。眼神亦向西北。此式與斜飛式相同。惟前手略低耳。如第三十六圖。
Your right hand goes along with your waist to the left, your hands closing toward each other, right hand below, palm up, left hand above, palm down. With the weight on your left leg, your right foot lifts and steps out to the northwest. Your right hand spreads away upward to the northwest while your left hand spreads away downward to the southeast, right palm still up, left palm still down, and the weight shifts to your right leg. Your gaze is to the northwest. This posture is the same as DIAGONAL FLYING, except that the forward hand is slightly lower. See photo 36:

換式。左手隨腰往右。與右手相合。左手在下。右手在上。左手心朝上。右手心朝下。左足提起。往西南邁去。左手隨左足往西南分開在上。右手同時往東北分開在下。眼神亦隨向西南。如第三十七圖。
To change sides, your left hand goes along with your waist to the right, your hands closing toward each other, left hand above, right hand below, left palm up, right palm down. Your left foot lifts and steps out to the southwest, your left hand spreading away upward to the southwest while your right hand spreads away downward to the northeast. Your gaze follows along to the southwest. See photo 37:

此是左右野馬分鬃。或三次。或五次。至右分鬃。換下式。
This is WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE on both sides. Do it three or five times, changing to the next posture from the right side.

上步攬雀尾
[49&50] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL

左足向前邁半步。左手隨左足同時向南捧出。右手略向北圓轉。手心轉至向下。又轉至左手處。卽成攬雀尾之起式。以下均與攬雀尾相同。
單鞭如前。
Your left foot takes a half step forward, your left hand at the same time going out to the south to prop up, and your right hand slightly arcs to the north, palm turning downward, then arcs to the area of your left hand to complete the initial posture of CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL, the rest of which is the same as before, then SINGLE WHIP as before.

玉女穿梭
[51] MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE

由單鞭式。左足跟轉向南。右足收回。落左足前。足尖向西。左手轉出右脇外。左足向西南邁出。左手心向上。挨著右臂。向上捧。隨捧。手心隨轉向外。而至額上。右手由左手之下。隨腰隨步按出。此式全身坐在左腿。如第三十八圖。
From SINGLE WHIP, your left heel turns to point the foot to the south, your right foot withdraws, coming down in front of your left foot, toes to the west, and your left hand arcs to the outside of your right ribs. Your left foot steps out to the southwest and your left hand, palm up, moves close to your right arm and props up until above your forehead, palm turned outward, while your right hand below pushes out along with the movement of your waist and step. In this posture, the weight is on your left leg. See photo 38:

左腿坐實。足跟轉向西南。右手轉出左脇外。手心向上。右足提起。向東南邁出。右手心向上。挨著左臂。向上捧。隨捧手心隨轉向外。而至額上。左手由右手之下隨腰隨步按出。此式全身坐在右腿。如第三十九圖。
Your left leg sits full, the heel turns to point the foot to the southwest [northwest], and your right hand arcs to the outside of your left ribs, palm up. Your right foot lifts and steps out to the southeast, and your right hand, palm up, moves close to your right arm and props up until above your forehead, palm turned outward, while your left hand from below your right hand pushes out along with the movement of your waist and step. In this posture, the weight is on your right leg. See photo 39:

復坐實右腿。進左步。兩手如前。向東北捧出按出。如第四十圖。
The weight again on your right leg, advance your left foot while your hands are as before, propping up and pushing out to the northeast. See photo 40:

復坐實左腿。足跟轉向東南。右足提向西北邁步。兩手轉向西北捧出按出。如第四十一圖。
The weight again on your left leg, the heel turns to point the foot to the southeast, your right foot lifts and steps out to the northwest, and your hands arc to the northwest to prop up and push out. See photo 41:

上步攬雀尾單鞭
[52&53] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL, SINGLE WHIP

左足向前進一步。左手向南捧。變為攬雀尾單鞭。
Your left foot advances a step, your left hand propping up to the south. Perform CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL and SINGLE WHIP.

抎手。
[54] CLOUDING HANDS

如前。或三次。或四次。或五次。
As before – three, four, or five times. [The explanation before said “three, five, or seven”.]

單鞭下勢
[55] SINGLE WHIP, LOW POSTURE

單鞭式如前。左手按出後。身隨腰收回。往下坐在右腿上。愈低愈好。低至左腿伸直。身不可太俯。頭仍要有頂勁。左手隨腰略收。轉而向下。至左足腕處。右手仍為吊手。如第四十二圖。
The SINGLE WHIP posture is as before. After your left hand pushes out, your body, going along with your waist, withdraws, goes downward, and sits on your right leg, the lower the better, lowering until your left leg is straight. Your body must not lean too far and your head should maintain an energy of pressing up. Your left hand goes along with your waist and slightly withdraws, arcs, and goes downward until by your left ankle. Your right hand is still making a hanging hand. See photo 42:

金雞獨立
[56] GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG

全身已坐在右腿。腰向前進。隨進隨提。使全身坐在左腿。左手隨身向上。至與肩齊處。而往下按。右手隨右腿往前提起。右腿提至膝與腹平。足尖下垂。右手提至肘與右膝相合。手心向左。手尖朝上。與右眉齊。如第四十三圖。
With the weight on your right leg, your waist advances forward. Go along with the advancing and correspondingly lift, making the weight shift to your left leg. Your left hand goes along with your body upward, until at shoulder level, then pushes down. Your right hand goes along with your right leg as it comes forward and lifts upward until the knee is level with your abdomen, toes hanging down. Your right hand lifts, elbow and knee closing toward each other, palm to the left, fingertips upward and at eyebrow level. See photo 43:

右足旋向後退半步。使全身坐在右腿。左手隨左足上提。左膝與腹平。足尖下垂。左肘與左膝合。手心向右。手尖朝上。與左眉齊。右手同時而往下按。如第四十四圖。
Your right foot returns to the rear a half step, then the weight shifts onto it. Your left hand goes along with your left foot as it lifts upward, knee level with your abdomen, toes hanging down. Your elbow closes toward your knee, your palm is to the right, fingertips upward and at eyebrow level. Your right hand at the same time pushes down. See photo 44:

倒輦猴
[57] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY

右手往下按後。手心向前。往後圓轉。左足同時往後退。使全身坐於左腿。右腿伸直。右手從右耳邊按出。左手亦同時往後圓轉。由左耳邊按出。而右足往後退步。皆如前式。兩手如輪。隨轉隨退。或三次。或五次。或七次。看十八十九兩圖。
After your right hand has pushed downward, the palm turns forward and arcs to the rear as your left foot retreats. Shift the weight to your left leg, your right leg straightening, while your right hand pushes out from beside your right ear and your left hand arcs to the rear, which then pushes out from beside your left ear as your right foot retreats. All is as before. The hands are like a wheel, turning along with the retreat. Do three, five, or seven steps. Review photos 18 & 19.

斜飛式。提手上勢。白鶴亮翅。海底針。扇通臂。撇身錘。上步攬雀尾。單鞭。抎手。單鞭。高探馬。皆如前。
[58-70] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE, RAISE THE HANDS, WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS, [BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE,] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA, FAN THROUGH THE ARMS, WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH, STEP FORWARD, [PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH, ADVANCE,] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL, SINGLE WHIP, CLOUDING HANDS, SINGLE WHIP, RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE

十字腿
[71] CROSSED-BODY KICK

由高探馬坐實左腿。左手由右臂之上穿出。手心朝上。右手在左脇下。手心朝下。左足隨左手向東邁去。左手伸出後。隨卽屈回向西。手心朝外。右手仍在左脇下。手心朝下。眼神隨向西看。左足尖同時轉向南。仍坐實左腿。如第四十五圖。
From RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE, the weight shifts fully onto your left leg, your left hand threads out over your right arm, palm up, your right hand lowers to your left flank, palm down, and your left foot goes along with your left hand by stepping out to the east. Once your left hand has extended, promptly withdraw it and turn around to the west, palm outward, right hand still at your left flank, palm down, and your gaze goes along with the movement to look to the west. Your left toes at the same time turn to point south, but the weight remains on your left leg. See photo 45:

兩手隨卽分開。右腿蹬出。
Your hands then spread apart and your right leg presses out.

摟膝指襠錘
[72] BRUSH KNEE, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH

右腿蹬出後。落下坐實。〔足尖向西北右手下鬆隨腰隨右腿轉一圓規轉至腰際握拳〕左手摟膝。〔左足前進〕右拳向前向下打出。坐實左腿。如第四十六圖。
After your right leg presses out, it lowers and your weight shifts onto it, toes pointing northwest. Your right hand loosens and, going along with your waist and your right leg, makes a circle which takes it to your waist, where it grasps into a fist. Your left hand brushes your [left] knee, your left foot advancing, and your right fist strikes downward to the west, your weight shifting to your left leg. See photo 46:

上勢攬雀尾
[73] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL

右拳鬆開。與左手右腿同時向上向前。變攬雀尾如前。
Your right fist opens and goes upward and forward with your left hand while your right leg steps forward. Perform CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL as before.

單鞭下勢如前
[74] SINGLE WHIP, LOW POSTURE (same as before)

上步七星
[75] STEP FORWARD WITH THE BIG DIPPER

由單鞭下勢。腰身前進。坐實左腿。兩手隨腰往前〔握拳〕。相交作斜十字形。右足隨向前邁。足尖點地。如第四十七圖。
From SINGLE WHIP, LOW POSTURE, advance your torso forward and shift the weight onto your left leg. Your hands go forward, going along with your torso, grasping into fists, and cross to make an X shape while stepping your right foot forward, toes touching down. See photo 47:

退步跨虎
[76] STEP BACK TO RIDE THE TIGER

右足復向後退。坐實。兩手分開。右手在上。手心朝外。左手在下。手心朝下。左足卽隨之退回。足尖點地。此式略如白鶴亮翅。惟身略低。兩手更開。如第四十八圖。
Your right foot then steps back and sits full. Your hands spread apart, right hand above, palm outward, left hand below, palm downward, while your left foot withdraws, toes touching down. This posture is slightly similar to WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS, except here your body is slightly lower and your hands are farther apart. See photo 48:

轉腳擺蓮
[77] SPIN AROUND ON THE FOOT, SWINGING LOTUS KICK

左足提起。右足尖向南向西轉動。全身卽隨之轉一圓規落下。坐實左腿。兩手隨身而轉。隨轉隨合。此時面復向東。右足提起。由左擺右。兩手由右擺左。稍拍足背。如第四十九圖。
Your left foot lifts, your right toes turning to point south then west, your whole body turns a full circle, your foot comes down, and the weight shifts fully onto your left leg. Your hands go along with your body during the turn, closing toward each other. When you are again facing east, your right foot lifts and swings from left to right, while your hands swing from right to left, slightly slapping the back of the foot. See photo 49:

灣弓射虎
[78] BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER

拍後。兩手隨腰隨右足向右向下圓轉。又由下而上。轉向東北。作射虎勢。右足落下坐實。右拳在額上。左拳伸出。如第五十圖。
After the slaps, your hands go along with your waist and right foot, arcing to the right and down, then go up from below, arcing to the northeast, making a posture of shooting a tiger. The weight is on your right foot, your right fist is above your forehead, and your left fist is reaching out. See photo 50:

上步搬攔錘
[79] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH

由射虎式。右手向下鬆。手心朝上。左手向右鬆。手心朝下。兩手心相合。隨腰往左鬆。變為搬攔錘。與前相同。
From SHOOT THE TIGER, your right hand relaxes downward, palm slightly up, and your left hand relaxes to the right, palm slightly down, the palms toward each other. Then they go along with your waist and loosen to the left, and change to PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH, same as before.

如封似閉十字手均如前
[80&81] SEALING SHUT and CROSSED HANDS are both as before.

合太極
[82] CLOSING POSTURE

由十字手往下按。歸於起勢為合太極。如第一圖。以上所列各式。學者循序漸進。每日學之。至多不能過二三式。務求規矩悉合。不可貪多。初學之時。每式不能不斷。至學完後漸求聯合一氣。以前所列注意十事。均須刻刻體驗。習之一二年。後天之力化盡。先天自然之內勁漸長。原譜所謂以心行氣。務令沈着。乃能收斂入骨。練習架子。以神斂氣沈為主。久之練氣入骨。則渾圓綿柔沈重堅剛。兼而有之。
From CROSSED HANDS, push downward to return to the BEGINNING POSTURE, thus making the CLOSING POSTURE. Review photo 1.
     All of the postures above are to be learned one at a time. Learning every day, you cannot absorb more than two or three of them in a day. Strive with each for a standard of quality and do not be obsessed with quantity. When beginning to learn this, every posture will inevitably have an issue of stop-and-start, but once you have learned the whole thing, gradually strive to link them as a single flow. Pay attention to the preceding ten requirements, for always you must experience them in order to learn them. After a year or two of practice, habitual effort will be melted away and the innate naturalness of internal power will gradually grow. A primary text [Understanding How to Practice] says: “Use the mind to move energy. You must get the energy to sink. It is then able to collect in the bones.” When practicing the solo set, the main thing is that the spirit concentrate and the energy sink. After a long time, you will train the energy to enter the bones, and then you will have both an unbroken roundness and a heavy solidity.

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推手
PUSHING HANDS

推手者。所以求其用也。他種拳術。雖亦有二人對手者。然不過十餘式。再多不過數十式耳。而來者其法不一。何能執定法以應之哉。太極推手。則有掤捋擠按採挒肘靠八字。此八字所以練其身之圓活。二人黏連綿隨。周而復始。如渾天之球。斡旋不已。而經緯弧直之度。莫不全備。將此一身。練為渾圓之一體。隨屈就伸。無不合宜。則物來順應。變化而無窮矣。此所謂萬法歸一。得其一而萬事畢矣。
Pushing hands is the means by which we train applicability. In other boxing arts, although there are two-person exercises, they are nothing more than lots of postures and then lots more postures. But when being attacked in a variety of ways, how could you then have a stable method of response?
     In Taiji pushing hands, there are the eight techniques of ward-off, rollback, press, push, pluck, rend, elbow, and bump, and the training of these eight will make the body nimble. Two people stick to each other and move along with each other, cycling round and round like the endless rotation of the sky. With the proper degree of crissing and crossing, bending and straightening, you will always be prepared, using the whole body, training the principle of being rounded all over. “Comply and bend then engage and extend.” With everything appropriate, then whatever the attack, you will adapt to it, transforming limitlessly. This is known as countless methods returning to a single principle. By obtaining the One, everything is taken care of.

合步推手
SAME-STEP PUSHING HANDS 

甲乙二人對立。甲左足在前。右足在後。乙左足在前。右足在後。此為合步推手。
Two people face each other, A [Chen Weiming in black] and B [Chen Zhijin in white], each with their left [right] foot forward and right [left] foot back, thus pushing hands with the same step as each other.
甲左足。乙右足。要平行相對。甲右足。乙左足。其距離寬窄。則各人長短不同。未能拘定。總以身體前進後退。得機得勢。毫不覺費力為度。甲乙各出右手。以手腕背相黏。此謂之掤。如推手第一圖。(先出左手亦然。)
A’s left foot and B’s right foot are on the same line. The width [i.e. length] of their step depends on their individual height and is not restricted. Always when advancing and retreating, be correctly positioned to gain the upper hand, and let the standard be: not the slightest feeling of effort. A and B each put out their right hand and stick to each other with the back of the wrist. This is a ward-off. See photo 1 (Starting with the left hand would also be like this.):

甲右手隨腰往回收。以左手腕黏於乙右手之肘處。亦同時往回捋。此謂之捋。如推手第二圖之甲。
A’s right hand goes along with his waist, drawing back to the rear, and he uses his left wrist to stick to B’s right elbow, at the same time rolling back to the rear. For the rollback, see A in photo 2:

乙被甲捋。則身傾於左方。似不得力。而乙之右手。隨甲捋之方向送去。以左手掌補於右肘灣處。向前擠去。此之謂擠。如二圖之乙。
B is being rolled back by A, causing his body to incline to the left side so he cannot generate any power, but while B’s right hand goes out along the direction of A’s rollback, he uses his left palm to assist at the bend of his right elbow and presses forward. For the press, look above at B in the same photo.
甲被乙擠。似不得力。卽含胸。以左手心黏乙左手背。往左化去。則乙擠不到身上矣。如第三圖之甲。
A is being pressed by B, but B cannot generate any power because A hollows his chest and uses his left palm to stick to the back of B’s left hand and neutralize it to the left so B’s press cannot get to him. See A in photo 3:

甲之右手。同時按乙右肘處。兩手同時向前按去。此之謂按如第四圖之甲。
A’s right hand at the same time pushes on B’s right [left] elbow and both hands push forward together. For the push, see A in photo 4:

乙又被甲按。似不得力。則仍以右手隨腰往回收。以左腕黏甲右肘。往回捋。如四圖之乙。
B is now being pressed by A, but A cannot generate any power because B withdraws his right hand, moving along with his waist, and uses his left wrist to stick to A’s right elbow. Look above at B in the same photo.
乙捋甲擠。如第五圖。
B rolls back, A presses. See photo 5:

甲擠乙掤。如第六圖
A presses, B wards off. See photo 6:

乙按甲又捋。如第七圖。
B pushes, A again rolls back. See photo 7:

周而復始。循環無端。
掤捋擠按。掤字在前。如元亨利貞之元。仁義禮智之仁。蓋兼乎三德也。蓋擠時須掤。按時捋時亦須掤。掤者。如手捧物之意。如擠按捋時不能掤。則彼力近我身矣。掤者。使兩手臂如圓體之面。使彼力在圓球面上。圓球一。動則其力化去。若不掤則彼力到圓球之心矣。或謂化敵擠時。兩手掤起。謂之掤亦通。掤捋擠按。二人循環為之。按時擠時坐前腿。不可太過膝。掤時捋時坐後腿。前進後退。腰如車輪。上下相隨。原論曰。掤捋擠按須認眞。上下相隨人難進。任他巨力來打我。牽動四兩撥千斤也。
And then the movements recycle endlessly…
     Of ward-off, rollback, press, and push, ward-off takes precedence, like the powerful in “powerful, flowing, penetrating, and constant” and the compassion in “compassion, justice, morality, and wisdom”, joining with the other three virtues. When doing press, push, or rollback, there also must be ward-off.
     Ward-off is like the hand is propping something up. If when I press, push, or rollback, I cannot ward-off, then the opponent’s power will come near me. Ward-off causes the hands to be like the surface of a sphere, and makes it so that when the opponent’s power is on this surface and the sphere moves, his power is thus neutralized. But if there is no ward-off, his power reaches through to the center of the sphere, or in the case of neutralizing his press with my hands warding off by lifting, the ward-off posture would also be broken through.
     Ward-off, rollback, press, and push are cycled round and round by the two people. When pushing and pressing, the weight is on the front leg, but you must not go too far beyond your knee, and when warding off and rolling back, the weight is on the back leg. While advancing and retreating, the waist is like a wheel, and the upper body and lower coordinate with each other. A primary text [Playing Hands Song] says: “Ward-off, rollback, press, and push must be taken seriously. With coordination between above and below, it is difficult for the opponent to find a way in. I will let him attack me with as much power as he likes, for I will tug on his movement with four ounces of force moving his of a thousand pounds.”

換步
SWITCHING FEET

換步者。甲坐左腿。進右步。乙坐右腿。退左步。是之謂換步。反之。乙進左步。甲退右步亦可。
To switch feet, A shifts his weight onto his left leg and advances with his right foot, while B shifts his weight onto his right leg and retreats with his left foot. This is how to switch the feet. To reverse, B advances with his left foot and A retreats with his left foot.

換手
SWITCHING HANDS

換手者。甲被乙捋時。不補擠而捋回。乙卽補擠。手卽換矣。
To switch hands, when A is rolled back by B, he does not perform press but instead withdraws with a rollback and B performs press, and thus the hands have been switched.

順步推手
OPPOSITE-STEP PUSHING HANDS

順步推手者。甲左足在前。右足在後。乙右足在前。左足在後。謂之順步推手。如第八第九圖。
In opposite-step pushing hands, A [B – Xu Yusheng in black] has his left foot forward, right foot behind, while B [A – Yang Chengfu in white] has his right foot forward, left foot behind, thus the name. See photos 8 & 9:

略備形式。手法均與合步推手相同。不必重述。
The postures are only displayed in brief because the hand method is the same as in the same-step pushing hands, and so it is not necessary to repeat it.

活步推手
MOVING-STEP PUSHING HANDS

活步推手者。甲乙二人對立。均左足在前。右手相黏。甲捋乙。右步略騰起落下。左步退於右步之後。右步復退於左步之後。乙擠甲。左步略騰起落下。右步進於左步之前。左步復進於右步之前。甲掤乙按乙擠乙。左步略騰起落下。右步進於左步之前。左步復進於右步之前。乙掤甲捋甲。右步略騰起落下。左步退於右步之後。右步復退於左步之後。乙又掤甲按甲擠甲。步如前甲。甲又掤乙捋乙。步如前乙。二人往來練之。二人或換步。或換手。均可。活步推手。難以圖形表示。其擠按均與順步推手同。惟動步耳。以上推手。無論合步順步。進退步。均須時時練習。不可間斷。久之自能懂勁。敵意從何方而來。稍觸卽知矣。
In moving step pushing hands, both people face each other with their left foot in front, right hands connected.
     When A rolls back B, A’s right foot slightly lifts and comes down, his left foot retreats behind his right foot, and his right foot then retreats behind his left foot.
     When B presses A, B’s left foot slightly lifts and comes down, his right foot advances in front of his left foot, and his left foot then advances in front of his right foot.
     When A wards off, pushes, and presses B, A’s left foot slightly lifts and comes down, his right foot advances in front of his left foot, and his left foot then advances in front of his right foot.
     When B wards off and rolls back A, B’s right foot slightly lifts and comes down, his left foot retreats behind his right foot, and his right foot then retreats behind his left foot.
     B now wards off, pushes, and presses A, using the same footwork as A before, and A now wards off and rolls back B, using the same footwork as B before. The two people go back and forth, and may switch steps and switch hands as they please.
     Moving-step pushing hands is harder to demonstrate in photographs. Its pressing and pushing are the same as in the opposite-step pushing hands, except with moving steps.
     The pushing hands exercises above, regardless of same-step, opposite-step, or advance & retreat, must all be practiced frequently and consistently. After a long time, you will be able to identify energies, and whatever direction the opponent decides to attack from, you will know from the slightest touch.

大捋
LARGE ROLLBACK

大捋者。採挒肘靠四隅也。二人南北對立。甲向南。乙向北。俱左足在前。甲乙右手腕相黏。乙捋甲肘。乙右步向西南邁去。作騎馬式。右手攏甲腕。左手腕黏甲之肘。與小捋相同。甲左足向東南邁去。須與乙兩足成正三角形。右足卽向乙之襠內插進。正對乙之正面。右手往前鬆勁。左手扶於右肘灣內。眼神對乙之面。右肩卽靠於乙之胸前。甲即不能立住而跌出矣。
乙見甲至。卽以左膊隨腰往下一沈。甲卽不能靠入。以右手向甲面一閃。一閃卽挒意。
甲若不變。卽被乙挒。或被乙左膊擠出。故甲速以右腕接乙右腕。右足收至左足處。翻身。右足往東南邁去。左手捋乙之肘。形勢與乙第一次捋時相同。乙隨進左步。右步向甲襠內插進。靠入。如甲第一次靠相同。甲被乙靠。速以左手採住乙之左手背。速含胸。左足逃出於乙右足之前。乙如不變。甲兩手卽可將乙按出。乙速以左手腕黏甲左手腕。右足收至左足處。以右手捋甲左肘。左足向西北邁去。甲速進右步。與乙兩足成正三角形。左足向乙襠內插進靠之。乙見甲至。以右膊隨腰往下一沈。甲卽不能靠入。以左手向甲面上一閃。甲速以左手腕接乙左手腕。左足收至右足處。翻身。左足往東北邁去。右手捋乙之肘。乙隨進右步。左足向甲襠內插進靠入。此四隅俱全。若隨捋。或逃腿。或單手閃。均可隨意。如大捋四圖。第一圖甲捋乙靠。
Large Rollback is pluck, rend, elbow, and bump – the “four corners”. Two partners face each other standing on a north-south line, partner A facing south, partner B facing north, both with their left foot forward and right wrists sticking together.
     B rolls back A’s elbow, stepping his right foot to the southwest, making a horse-riding posture, with his right hand holding A’s wrist and his left wrist sticking to A’s elbow. This is the same as the small rollback.
     A steps out his left foot to the southeast, and there must be a triangle shape made in relation with B’s feet. He promptly steps his right foot between B’s legs, directly in front of B. His right hand goes forward with relaxed power, his left hand assisting inside the bend of his right elbow. His gaze is to B’s face. He promptly bumps his right shoulder into B’s chest so that B will be unable to stand firmly and will stumble away.
     When B sees A arriving, he promptly sinks his left arm downward, going along with his waist, making A unable to come in with his bump, and uses his right hand to do a flashing palm toward his face, which has the rending intention.
     If A does not change, he may receive B’s rending or be pressed by his left forearm, therefore A quickly uses his right wrist to catch B’s right wrist and withdraws his right foot to his left foot, turning his body. He steps his right foot to the southeast and rolls back B’s elbow with his left hand. The posture is the same as when B rolled back A’s elbow the first time.
     B then steps his left foot forward, then steps his right foot forward between A’s legs, and comes in with a bump, same as when A bumped B the first time.
     While A is being bumped by B, he quickly uses his left hand to pluck B’s left wrist, quickly hollowing his chest, and pulls away his left foot to be in front of B’s right foot. If B does not change, A can push him out with both hands.
     B quickly uses his left wrist to stick to A’s left wrist and withdraws his right foot to his left foot. He uses right hand to roll back A’s left elbow, stepping his left foot to the northwest.
     A quickly steps his right foot forward, making a triangle in relation to B’s feet, and step his left foot between B’s legs to do a bump.
     When B sees A arriving, he sinks his right arm downward along his with waist, making A unable to come in with his bump, and uses his left hand to do a flashing palm toward A’s face.
     A quickly uses his left wrist to catch B’s left wrist and withdraws his left foot to his right foot, turning his body. He steps his left foot to the northeast and roll back B’s elbow with his right hand.
     B then steps his right foot forward and then steps his left foot between A’s legs to do a bump.
     When these “four corners” have been trained to perfection, then whether you are rolling back, evading with a leg, or doing the single-handed flashing palm, you can do them all as you please.
     Large rollback is displayed in the four photos below. Photo 1 – A [Yang Chengfu] rolls back, B bumps:

第二圖甲靠乙挒。
Photo 2 – A bumps, B splits:

第三圖乙靠甲單手採逃腿。
Photo 3 – B [on the left] bumps, A does a single-hand pluck and evades with his leg:

第四圖甲靠乙逃腿雙手按。
Photo 4 – A [on the right] bumps, B evades with his leg and does a double-hand push:

略備形式。甲乙轉換。或以乙為甲。以甲為乙均可。其應用之規矩。雖詳細說明。而其巧妙。仍非口傳心授不可。
When you have gotten somewhat used to the postures, A and B switch roles, B becoming A and A becoming B. How to do it has been explained here in detail, but to be skillful at it requires personal instruction.

-

太極拳論
TAIJI BOXING ESSAYS
陳微明注
with commentary by Chen Weiming

[part 1]

一舉動。週身俱要輕靈。
Once there is any movement, your entire body should be nimble and alert.
不用後天之拙力。則週身自然輕靈。
If you are not using habitual crude effort, your whole body will naturally be nimble and alert.
尤須貫串。
There especially needs to be connection from movement to movement.
貫串者。綿綿不斷之謂也。不貫串則斷。斷則人乘虛而入。
To be connected is called “continuous without interruption”. If your movements do not connect, there is interruption between them. When there is this interruption, your opponent can take advantage of the gap and get through.
氣宜鼓盪。神宜內歛。
Energy should be roused and spirit should be collected within.
氣鼓盪則無間。神內歛則不亂。
When energy is roused, there are no gaps. When spirit is collected within, there is no confusion.
無使有凸凹處。無使有斷續處。
Do not allow there to be protrusions or pits anywhere, breaks in the flow anywhere.
有凹處。有凸處。有斷時。有續時。此皆未能圓滿也。凹凸之處。易為人所制。斷續之時。易為人所乘。皆致敗之由也。
If there are areas of your posture that sink in or stick out, or if there are moments in which your movement comes to a halt and has to start up again, in both cases you cannot be rounded and full. Places where you sink in or stick out are easy for the opponent to manipulate, and the time between halting and starting over is easy for the opponent to take advantage of. Both will be a source of failure.
其根在腳。發於腿。主宰於腰。形於手指。由脚而腿而腰。總須完整一氣。向前退後。乃得機得勢。
Starting from your foot, issue through your leg, directing it at your waist, and expressing it at your fingers. From foot through leg through waist, it must be a fully continuous process, and whether advancing or retreating, you will then catch the opportunity and gain the upper hand.
莊子曰。至人之息以踵。太極拳術。呼吸深長。上可至頂。下可至踵。故變動其根在脚。由脚而上至腿。由腿而上至腰。由腰而上至手指。完整一氣。故太極以手指放人。而跌出者。並非僅手指之力。其力乃發於足跟。而人不知也。上手下足中腰。無處不相應。自然能得機得勢。
Zhuangzi said [Zhuangzi, chapter 6]: “An authentic man breathes with his heels [as opposed to most people who breathe only with their throats].” In Taiji Boxing, the breathing is deep and long. You can either breath up to your head or down to your heels. Therefore when you move, start from your foot. From your foot it goes up through your leg, from your leg up to your waist, and from your waist up to your fingers in a fully continuous process. Therefore in Taiji, when your fingers are used to send away an opponent and he falls, it is not only due to the strength of your fingers, it is power that was undetectably initiated from your heels. Above are the hands, below are the feet, and in between is the waist. When all are coordinated with each other, you will naturally be able to catch the opportunity and gain the upper hand.
有不得機得勢處。身便散亂。其病必於腰腿求之。
If you miss and your body easily falls into disorder, the problem must be in your waist and legs, so look for it there.
不得機。不得勢。必是手動而腰腿不動。腰腿不動。手愈有力。而身愈散亂。故有不得力處。必留心動腰腿也。
If you do not catch the opportunity and do not get the upper hand, it must be that your hands are moving but your waist and legs are not moving. If your waist and legs are not moving, your hands will use that much more effort, causing your body to fall that much further into disorder. Therefore to keep from using effort anywhere, you must make sure to be moving your waist and legs.
上下前後左右皆然。凡此皆是意。不在外面。有上卽有下。有前卽有後。有左卽有右。
This is always so, regardless of the direction of the movement, be it up, down, forward, back, left, right. And in all of these cases, the problem is a matter of your intent and does not lie outside of you. With an upward comes a downward, with a forward comes a backward, and with a left comes a right.
欲上欲下。欲前欲後。欲左欲右。皆須動腰腿。然後能如意。雖動腰腿。而內中有知己知彼。隨機應變之意在。若無意。雖動腰腿。亦亂動而已。
If you want to go up, down, forward, back, left, or right, you must always move your waist and legs, and then you will be able to do as you please. Yet even though you move your waist and legs, inside you have to know yourself and know your opponent, for therein lies the meaning of adjusting according to the situation. If you have no intent, then even though you move your waist and legs, it will be merely a disordered movement.
如意要向上。卽寓下意。若將物掀起而加以挫之之力。斯其根自斷。乃壞之速而無疑。
If your intention wants to go upward, then harbor a downward intention, like when you reach down to lift up an object. You thereby add a setback to the opponent’s own intention, thus he cuts his own root and is defeated quickly and certainly.
此言與人交手時之隨機應變。反復無端。令人不測。使彼顧此而不能顧彼。自然散亂。散亂則吾可以發勁矣。
When sparring, I adjust according to the situation, constantly and endlessly, so the opponent cannot figure out what I am doing. This will cause him to watch only himself and cease paying attention to me, which will naturally lead him into being disordered. Once he is in disorder, I am free to issue power.
虛實宜分淸楚。一處自有一處虛實。處處總此一虛實。週身節節貫串。無令絲毫間斷耳。
Empty and full must be distinguished clearly. In each part there is a part that is empty and a part that is full. Everywhere it is always like this, an emptiness and a fullness. Throughout your body, as the movement goes from one section to another there is connection. Do not allow the slightest break in the connection.
練架子要分淸虛實。與人交手。亦須分淸虛實。此虛實雖要分淸。然全視來者之意而定。彼實我虛。彼虛我實。實者忽變而為虛。虛者忽變而為實。彼不知我。我能知彼。則無不勝矣。週身節節貫串。節節二字。以言其能虛空粉碎。能虛空粉碎。則處處不相牽連。故彼不能使我牽動。而我穩如泰山矣。雖虛空粉碎。不相牽連。而運用之時。又能節節貫串。非不相顧。如常山之蛇。擊首則尾應。擊尾則首應。擊其背則首尾俱應。夫然後可謂之輕靈矣。譬如以千斤之鐵棍。非不重也。然有巨力者。可持之而起。以百斤之鐵練。雖有巨力者。不能持之而起。以其分為若干節也。雖分為若干節。而仍是貫串。練太極拳。亦猶此意耳。
When practicing the solo set, empty and full should be clearly distinguished. When sparring, empty and full must still be clearly distinguished. Although empty and full should be clearly distinguished, you also should be completely aware of the way you are being attacked so as to deal with it properly. When he is full, I am empty. When he is empty, I am full. Fullness suddenly transforms to become emptiness. Emptiness suddenly transforms to become fullness. He does not understand what I am doing but I can understand him, and thereby I always win.
     The connecting of the movement through your whole body from one section to another indicates the ability to empty and dissolve. If you can do that, then no sections will jam each other up. In this way he cannot affect my movement and I will be as stable as Mt. Tai. Although you empty and dissolve and no sections are getting stuck to each other, when you move you can nevertheless connect all sections and have them cooperate with each other. It is like the snake of Mt. Chang: strike its head and its tail responds, strike its tail and its head responds, or strike its middle and both head and tail respond. This is the epitome of being nimble and alert.
     Think of an iron pole weighing a thousand pounds. Every bit of it is heavy, but if you are very strong you can lift it up with one grab. Then consider an iron chain weighing only a hundred pounds. Even if you are very strong you cannot lift it up with one grab because it is separated into many sections. Now although it is separated into many sections, they are still connected. Practicing Taiji Boxing is the same as this idea.
長拳者。如長江大海。滔滔不絕也。
Long Boxing: it is like a long river flowing into the wide ocean, on and on ceaselessly…
太極拳亦名長拳。楊氏所傳有太極拳。更有長拳。名目稍異。其意相同。
Taiji Boxing is also called Long Boxing. The Yang school teaches a Taiji Boxing solo set and also a Long Boxing solo set. Although the names are somewhat different, their meaning is the same.
十三勢者。掤捋擠按採挒肘靠。此八卦也。進步退步右顧左盻中定。此五行也。掤捋擠按。卽坎離震兌四正方也。採挒肘靠。卽乾坤艮巽四斜角也。進退顧盻定。卽金木水火土也。
The thirteen dynamics are: warding off, rolling back, pressing, pushing, plucking, rending, elbowing, and bumping – which relate to the eight trigrams:

☴☲☷
☳ ☱
☶☵☰

and advancing, retreating, stepping to the left, stepping to the right, and staying in the center – which relate to metal, wood, water, fire, and earth: the five elements. Warding off, rolling back, pressing, and pushing correspond to , , , and in the four principle compass directions [meaning simply that these are the primary techniques]. Plucking, rending, elbowing, and bumping correspond to , , , and in the four corner directions [i.e. are the secondary techniques]. Advancing, retreating, stepping to the left, stepping to the right, and staying in the center correspond to the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
太極拳各式。及掤捋擠按已見前。
Each of the postures in Taiji Boxing, such as ward-off, rollback, press, push, and so on, have been explained in previous sections.
原書注云。以上係武當山張三丰祖師所著。欲天下豪傑。延年益壽。不徒作技藝之末也。
A note in Yang’s original document says:
“The above relates to the writings of Zhang Sanfeng of Mt. Wudang. He wanted all the heroes in the world to live long and not merely gain skill.”

[part 2]

太極者。無極而生。陰陽之母也。
Taiji is born of wuji, and is the mother of yin and yang.
陰陽生於太極。太極本無極。太極拳。處處分虛實陰陽。故名曰太極也。
Yin and yang [the passive and active aspects] are generated from taiji [the grand polarity], which comes from wuji [no polarity]. In Taiji Boxing, every part of your body divides into either empty or full, i.e. passive or active. That is why this boxing art is called Taiji.
動之則分。靜之則合。
When there is movement, the passive and active aspects become distinct from each other. When there is stillness, they return to being indistinguishable.
我身不動。渾然一太極。如稍動。則陰陽分焉。
When my body does not move, it is a taiji all over. Once it moves even a little bit, then passive and active become distinguishable.
無過不及。隨屈就伸。
Neither going too far nor not far enough, comply and bend then engage and extend.
此言與人相接相黏之時。隨彼之動而動。彼屈則我伸。彼伸則我屈。與之密合。不丢不頂。不使有稍過及不及之弊。
When connecting and sticking to an opponent, adapt to his movement and act according to it. When he bends, I extend. When he extends, I bend. I closely join with him, neither running away nor crashing in. Do not let yourself even slightly commit the errors of either going too far nor not far enough.
人剛我柔謂之走。我順人背謂之黏。
He is hard while I am soft – this is yielding. My energy is smooth while his energy is coarse – this is sticking.
人剛我剛。則兩相抵抗。人剛我柔。則不相妨礙。不妨礙則走化矣。旣走化。彼之力失其中。則背矣。我之勢得其中。則順矣。以順黏背。則彼雖有力而不得力矣。
If he is hard and I am hard, then we are both resisting each other. If he is hard and I am soft, then we are not obstructing each other. Unobstructed, there is yielding and neutralizing. When I yield and neutralize, his power goes off center and his energy turns coarse, while my posture remains centered and my energy stays smooth. By sticking to his coarse energy with my smooth energy, then even if he has strength, he will have no access to it.
動急則急應。動緩則緩隨。雖變化萬端。而惟性一貫。
If he moves fast, I quickly respond, and if his movement is slow, I leisurely follow. Although there is an endless variety of possible scenarios, there is only this single principle [of yielding and sticking] throughout.
我之緩急。隨彼之緩急。不自為緩急。則自然能黏連不斷。然非兩臂鬆淨。不使有絲毫之拙力。不能相隨之如是巧合。若兩臂有力。則喜自作主張。不能捨己從人矣。動之方向緩急不同。故曰變化萬端。雖不同。而吾之黏隨。其理則一也。
My speed depends on his. When it does not come from myself, I am automatically able to stick and connect continuously. But if my arms are not fully relaxed, and if I am not keeping myself from allowing the smallest bit of awkward effort, then I will not be able to follow him and thereby skillfully close on him. If my arms use effort, then I am getting distracted by the pleasure of acting from myself and will be incapable of letting go of myself to follow him. Because the movements change their direction and speed, “there is an endless variety of possible scenarios”. Although they are different, my sticking and following is a constant principle.
由着熟而漸悟懂勁。由懂勁而階及神明。然非用力之久。不能豁然貫通焉。
Once you have ingrained these techniques, you will gradually come to identify energies, and then from there you will work your way toward something miraculous. But unless you practice a lot over a long time, you will never have a breakthrough.
着熟者。習拳以練體。推手以應用。用力旣久。自然懂勁。而神明矣。
“Ingraining the techniques” means practicing the solo set to train the essence and the pushing hands to apply it. With “a lot of practice over a long time”, you will naturally come to identify energies and then become miraculous.
虛靈頂勁。氣沈丹田。不偏不倚。忽隱忽現。
Forcelessly press up your headtop. Energy sinks to your elixir field. Neither lean nor slant. Suddenly hide and suddenly appear.
無論練架子及推手。皆須有虛靈頂勁。氣沈丹田之意。不偏不倚者。立身中正。不偏倚也。忽隱忽現者。虛實無定。變化不測也。
Regardless of practicing either the solo set or the pushing hands, in both cases you must have the intentions of pressing up your headtop and of energy sinking to your elixir field. To “neither lean nor slant” means to stand straight and balanced rather than leaned or slanted. To “suddenly hide and suddenly appear” means your emptiness and fullness are not constant and that your changes are unpredictable.
左重則左虛。右重則右杳。 
When there is pressure on the left, the left empties. When there is pressure on the right, the right disappears. [Due to the different contexts of “empty” and “disappear”, this section is referring to facing an opponent with your right side forward, left foot behind.]
此二句。卽解釋忽隱忽現之意。與彼黏手。覺左邊重。則吾之左邊。與彼相黏處。卽變為虛。右邊亦然。杳者。不可捉摸之意。與彼相黏。隨其意而化之。不可稍有抵抗。使之處處落空。而無可如何。
These two sentences expound upon the concept of “suddenly hide and suddenly appear”. When sticking hands with an opponent, if I feel some pressure on my left side, then the place on my left side where he is sticking to me promptly changes to become empty. The situation on my right side is the same, but to “disappear” means that he cannot figure out what I am doing. When sticking with an opponent, I go along with his intention and neutralize it. I must not even slightly resist but instead make him always land on nothing, and then there is nothing he can do.
仰之則彌高。俯之則彌深。進之則愈長。退之則愈促。
When looking up, it is still higher. When looking down, it is still lower. When advancing, it is even farther. When retreating, it is even nearer.
彼仰則覺我彌高。如捫天而難攀。彼俯則覺我彌深。如臨淵而恐陷。彼進則覺我愈長而不可及。彼退則覺我愈偪而不可逃。皆言我之能黏隨不丢。使彼不得力也。
When he looks upward, he perceives me to be still higher, like touching the sky but having difficulty reaching it. When he looks downward, he perceives me to be still lower, like facing an abyss and fearing falling into it. When he advances, he perceives me to be even farther away and cannot get to me. When he retreats, he perceives me to be even nearer and cannot get away from me. All of these words are about my ability to stick and follow without disconnecting, making the opponent unable to use his power.
一羽不能加。蠅蟲不能落。人不知我。我獨知人。英雄所向無敵。蓋由此而及也。
A feather cannot be added and a fly cannot land. The opponent does not understand me, only I understand him. A hero is one who encounters no opposition, and it is through this kind of method that such a condition is achieved.
羽不能加。蠅不能落。形容不頂之意。技之精者。方能如此。蓋其感覺靈敏。已到極處。稍觸卽知。能工夫至此。舉動輕靈。自然人不知我。我獨知人。
“A feather cannot be added and a fly cannot land.” These words describe the idea of being without resistance. Once your skill is refined, you can be like this. When your awareness and sensitivity are extreme, the slightest contact will tell you everything about the opponent. When you can get your skill up to this stage, your movements will be nimble and you will naturally have the quality of “he does not understand me, only I understand him”.
斯技旁門甚多。雖勢有區別。槪不外壯欺弱。慢讓快耳。有力打無力。手慢讓手快。是皆先天自然之能。非關學力而有為也。
There are many other schools of boxing arts besides this one. Although the postures are different between them, they generally do not go beyond the strong bullying the weak and the slow yielding to the fast. The strong beating the weak and the slow submitting to the fast are both a matter of inherent natural ability and bear no relation to skill that is learned.
以上言外家拳術。派別甚多。不外以力以快勝人。以力以快勝人。若更遇力過我快過我者。則敗矣。是皆充其自然之能。非有巧妙如太極拳術之不恃力不恃快而能勝人也。
These words address external styles of boxing arts, of which there are many different branches. They do not go beyond using strength and speed to win. If I try to win by way of strength and speed, then when I face someone stronger and faster than me, I will lose. It would all come down to a matter of natural ability rather than skillful ingenuity as in Taiji Boxing’s non-reliance on strength and speed to be able to overcome opponents.
察四兩撥千斤之句。顯非力勝。觀耄耋能禦衆之形。快何能為。
Examine the phrase “four ounces moves a thousand pounds”, which is clearly not a victory obtained through strength. Or consider the sight of an old man repelling a group, which could not come from an aggressive speed.
太極拳之巧妙。在以四兩撥千斤。彼雖有千斤之力。而我順彼背。則千斤亦無用矣。彼之快乃自動也。若遇精於太極拳術者。以手黏之。彼欲動且不能。何能快乎。
Taiji Boxing’s ingenuity lies in the use of four ounces to move a thousand pounds. Even if the opponent has a thousand pounds of force, my energy is smooth while his energy is coarse, rendering his thousand pounds useless. Although his speed is generated by his own actions, if he encounters an expert in the Taiji boxing art, the hands will be sticking to him so much that when he wants to take action he cannot, and being unable to act he certainly cannot act very fast.
立如平準。活似車輪。
Stand like a scale. Move like a wheel.
立能如平準者。有虛靈頂勁也。活似車輪者。以腰為主宰。無處不隨腰運動圓轉也。
To stand like a scale means to have the quality of forcelessly pressing up your headtop. To move like a wheel means to use your waist to control the movement. With every part complying with your waist, the movement will be rounded.
偏沈則隨。雙重則滯。
If you drop one side, you can move. If you have equal pressure on both sides, you will be stuck.
何謂偏沈則隨。雙重則滯。譬兩處與彼相黏。其力平均。彼此之力相遇。則相抵抗。是謂雙重。雙重則二人相持不下。仍力大者勝焉。兩處之力平均。若鬆一處。是謂偏沈。我若能偏沈。則彼雖有力者。亦不得力。而我可以走化矣。
What does this mean? If you stick to the opponent with equal strength on both sides of your body, then once he opposes your strength, you will be resisting each other. This is what is meant by being equal on both sides. Being equal on both sides, you will freeze up each other’s movement and winning will return to a matter of who is strongest. If your strength on both sides is equal but then one side is loosened, this is the meaning of dropping one side. If I let go on one side, then even if the opponent has strength, he can do nothing with it and I can neutralize him.
每見數年純功。不能運化者。率自為人制。雙重之病未悟耳。
We often see one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations and is generally under the opponent’s control, and the issue here is that this error of double pressure has not yet been understood.
有數年之純功。若尚有雙重之病。則不免有時為人所制。不能立時運化。
If you have practiced hard for many years but still make the error of double pressure, then you will inevitably sometimes be under the opponent’s control, incapable of neutralizing fast enough.
若欲避此病。須知陰陽。黏卽是走。走卽是黏。陰不離陽。陽不離陰。陰陽相濟。方為懂勁。
If you want to avoid this error, you must understand passive and active. In sticking there is yielding and in yielding there is sticking. The active does not depart from the passive and the passive does not depart from the active, for the passive and active exchange roles. Once you have this understanding, you will be identifying energies.
若欲避雙重之病。須知陰陽。陰陽卽虛實也。稍覺雙重。卽速偏沈。虛處為陰。實處為陽。雖分陰陽。而仍黏連不脫。故能黏能走。陰不離陽。陽不離陰者。彼實我虛。彼虛我又變為實。故陰變為陽。陽變為陰。陰陽相濟。本無定形。皆視彼方之意而變耳。如能隨彼之意。而虛實應付。毫釐不爽。是眞可謂之懂勁矣。
If you want to avoid the error of double pressure, you must understand passive and active, i.e. emptiness and fullness. If you slightly sense double pressure is happening, promptly drop one side. The empty area is passive. The full area is active. Although passive and active separate into distinct areas, there is still no disconnecting with the opponent, and thus you are able to stick and to yield. “The active does not depart from the passive and the passive does not depart from the active” means that when the opponent is full I am empty, and once he becomes empty I change my emptiness into fullness. Therefore passive changes into active and active changes into passive, passive and active exchanging roles without any solid pattern, and always changing due to observation of the direction of the opponent’s intention. If you can go along with the opponent’s intention and then respond with emptiness or fullness without at all mistaking which one fits where, you are then accurately identifying energies.
懂勁後。愈練愈精。默識揣摩。漸至從心所欲。
Once you are identifying energies, then the more you practice, the more efficient your skill will be, and by absorbing through experience and by constantly contemplating, gradually you will reach the point that you can do whatever you want.
懂勁之後。可謂入門矣。然不可間斷。必須日日練習。處處揣摩。如有所悟。默識於心。心動則身隨。無不如意。技日精矣。
Once you are identifying energies, it can be said that you have graduated kindergarten. But you must not rest on your laurels and give yourself a break from it, but must instead continue to practice every day, contemplating every part of it. As you come to grasp it more and more, absorbing the experience of it into your mind, then mind will act and body will comply, all will happen as you will it, and your skill will daily improve.
本是捨己從人。多悞舍近求遠。
The basic of basics is to forget about your plans and simply respond to the opponent. We often neglectfully ignore what is right in front of us in favor of something that has nothing to do with our immediate circumstances.
太極拳不自作主張。處處從人。彼之動作。必有一方向。則吾隨其方向而去。不稍抵抗。故彼落空。或跌出。皆彼用力太過也。如有一定手法。不知隨彼。是謂捨近而求遠矣。
In Taiji Boxing, you do not act from yourself but always according to the opponent. Since his movements will be in some direction, I go along with him in the same direction and send him away along it instead of even slightly resisting against his direction. Thus his attack lands on nothing and he stumbles away all because he himself has used too much power. When you are intent on using a particular technique and are consequently not aware of and not going along with the opponent, this is what is meant by ignoring what is right in front of you in favor of something that has nothing to do with your immediate circumstances.
斯謂差之毫釐。謬以千里。學者不可不詳辨焉。
For such situations it is said: “Miss by an inch, lose by a mile.” You must understand all this clearly.
太極拳與人黏連。卽在黏連密切之處而應付之。所謂不差毫釐也。稍離則遠。失其機矣。
In Taiji Boxing, when you stick and connect to the opponent, you will respond to the area that you are most closely connecting to, and so it is said that you are not to “miss by an inch”. To slightly separate is to be greatly separated, for you then lose connection with the timing.
此論句句切要。並無一字敷衍陪襯。非有夙慧。不能悟也。先師不肯妄傳。非獨擇人。亦恐枉費工夫耳。
This essay contains one crucial sentence after another and does have a single word that does not enrich and sharpen its ideas. But if you are not smart, you will not be able to understand it. The founder did not lightly teach the art, not just because he was discriminating over accepting students, but also because he did want to go to the effort only to have it wasted.
太極拳之精微奧妙。皆不出此論。非有夙慧之人。不能領悟。可見此術不可以技藝視之也。
Taiji Boxing’s refined subtleties all manifest in this essay. From the notion that unless you are a smart person you will be incapable of making sense of it, it is apparent that this art cannot be looked upon as just a skill.

十三勢歌
[part 3] THIRTEEN DYNAMICS SONG

十三總勢莫輕視。命意源頭在腰隙。
變轉虛實須留意。氣遍身軀不少滯。
靜中觸動動猶靜。因敵變化示神奇。
勢勢揆心須用意。得來不覺費工夫。
刻刻留心在腰間。腹內鬆淨氣騰然。
尾閭中正神貫頂。滿身輕利頂頭懸。
仔細留心向推求。屈伸開合聽自由。
入門引路須口授。工夫無息法自休。
若言體用何為準。意氣君來骨肉臣。
想推用意終何在。益壽延年不老春。
歌兮歌兮百卌字。字字眞切義無遺。
若不向此推求去。枉費工夫貽歎息。
Do not neglect any of the thirteen dynamics,
their command coming from your lower back.
You must pay attention to the alternation of empty and full,
then energy will flow through your whole body without getting stuck anywhere.
     In stillness, movement stirs, and then in moving, seem yet to be in stillness,
for the magic lies in making adjustments based on being receptive to the opponent.
In every movement, very deliberately control it by the use of intention,
for once you achieve that, it will all be effortless.
     At every moment, pay attention to your waist,
for if there is complete relaxation within the belly, energy is primed.
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.
     Pay careful attention in your practice
that you are letting bending and extending, contracting and expanding, happen as the situation requires.
Beginning the training requires personal instruction,
but mastering the art depends on your own unceasing effort.
     Whether we are discussing in terms of theory or function, what is the constant?
It is that mind is sovereign and body is subject.
If you think about it, what is emphasizing the use of intention going to lead you to?
To a longer life and a longer youth.
     Repeatedly recite the words above,
all of which speak clearly and hence their ideas come through without confusion.
If you pay no heed to those ideas, you will go astray in your training,
and you will find you have wasted your time and be left with only sighs of regret.
十三勢歌之意。前已講明。故不復注解。
The concepts within the Thirteen Dynamics Song have already been explained in the previous sections, and therefore will not be repeated with further annotation here.

十三勢行功心解
[part 4] UNDERSTANDING HOW TO PRACTICE THE THIRTEEN DYNAMICS

以心行氣。務令沈着。乃能收斂入骨。以氣運身。務令順遂。乃能便利從心。
Use mind to move energy. You must get the energy to sink. It is then able to collect in your bones. Use energy to move your body. You must get the energy to be smooth. Your body can then easily obey your mind.
以心行氣者。所謂意到氣亦到。意要沈着。則氣可收斂入骨。並非格外運氣也。氣收斂入骨。工夫旣久。則骨日沈重。內勁長矣。以氣運身者。所謂氣動身亦動。氣要順遂。則身能便利從心。故變動往來。無不從心所欲。毫無阻滯之處矣。
“Use mind to move energy” means that the energy arrives where the intent goes. The intent should sink, then energy can collect in your bones instead of moving around. With the energy collecting in your bones, if you work at it for a long time your bones will daily become heavier and the internal power will grow. “Use energy to move your body” means that your body moves when the energy moves. The energy should be smooth so your body can easily obey your mind. Therefore as the movements change and go back and forth, they all obey your will without your mind at any point being obstructed.
精神能提得起。則無遲重之虞。所謂頂頭懸也。
If you can raise your spirit, then you will be without worry of being slow or weighed down. Thus it is said [in the Thirteen Dynamics Song]: “Your whole body will be nimble and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended”.
有虛靈頂勁。則精神自然提得起。精神提起。則身體自然輕靈。觀此。可知捨精神而用拙力者。身體必為力所驅使。不能轉動如意矣。
By forcelessly pressing up your headtop, your spirit will automatically be raised, and with your spirit raised, your body will automatically be nimble. It follows then that if you do not raise your spirit, your body will be clumsy and require effort to be moved around, incapable of moving with spontaneity.
意氣須換得靈。乃有圓活之妙。所謂變轉虛實也。
Your mind must perform alternations nimbly, and then you will have the qualities of roundness and liveliness. Thus it is said [in the Thirteen Dynamics Song] that you are to “pay attention to the alternation of empty and full”.
與敵相黏。須隨機換意。仍不外虛實分得淸楚。則自然有圓活之妙。
When sticking with an opponent, you must go along with the situation to adjust your intent, which amounts to nothing more than clearly distinguishing empty and full, and then you will automatically have the qualities of being rounded and lively.
發勁須沈着鬆淨。專主一方。
When issuing power, you must sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction.
發勁之時。必須全身鬆淨。不鬆淨則不能沈着。沈着鬆淨。自然能放得遠。專主一方者。隨彼動之方向而直去也。隨敵之勢。如欲打高。眼神上望。如欲打低。眼神下望。如欲打遠。眼神遠望。神至則氣到。全不在用力也。
When issuing power, it is necessary for your whole body to relax completely. If you do not relax completely, you will not be able to sink. If you are heavy and relaxed, you will naturally be able to send the opponent far. “Concentrate it in one direction” means that you are to go straight out along the direction of the opponent’s movement. Follow along with his momentum. If he is trying to attack high, look up. If he is trying to attack low, look down. If he is trying to attack far, look far away. Where your spirit goes, your energy arrives. It is has entirely nothing to do with exertion.
立身須中正安舒。撑支八面。
Your posture must be straight and comfortable, bracing in all directions.
頂頭懸。則自然中正。鬆淨。則自然安舒。穩如泰山。則自然能撑支八面。
When your headtop is suspended, you will automatically be upright. When you are relaxed, you will automatically be comfortable. When you are as stable as Mt. Tai, you will automatically be able to brace in all directions.
行氣如九曲珠。無微不到。
Move energy as though through a winding-path pearl, penetrating even the smallest nook.
九曲珠。言其圓活也。四肢百體。無處不有圓珠。無處不是太極圈子。故力未有不能化也。
The mention of the winding-path pearl is used to describe the roundness and liveliness of the energy. Through your limbs and bones, everywhere it is like a rounded ball, everywhere a taiji circle, and thus you will have power that can never be neutralized.
運勁如百練鋼。何堅不摧。
Wield power like tempered steel, so strong there is nothing tough enough to stand up against it.
太極雖不用力。而其增長內勁。可無窮盡。其勁如百練之鋼。無堅不摧。
Taiji does not use exertion. Instead it develops internal power, which can go on without limit. This power is like steel folded hundreds of times, nothing tough enough to stand up against it.
形如搏兎之鶻。神如捕鼠之猫。
The shape is like a falcon capturing a rabbit. The spirit is like a cat pouncing on a mouse.
搏兎之鶻。盤旋不定。捕鼠之猫。待機而動。
“A falcon pouncing on a rabbit.” This means to circle unpredictably. “A cat catching a mouse.” This means to wait for the opportunity then act.
靜如山岳。動若江河。
In stillness, be like a mountain, and in movement, be like a river.
靜如山岳。言其沈重不浮。動若江河。言其周流不息。
“In stillness, be like a mountain.” This means to sink rather than float. “In movement, be like a river.” This means to flow ceaselessly.
蓄勁如張弓。發勁如放箭。
Store power like drawing a bow. Issue power like loosing an arrow.
蓄勁如張弓。以言其滿。發勁如放箭。以言其速。
“Store power like drawing a bow.” This has to do with completeness. “Issue power like loosing an arrow.” This has to do with suddenness.
曲中求直。蓄而後發。
Within curving, seek to be straightening. Store and then issue.
曲是化人之勁。勁已化去。必向彼身求一直綫。勁可發矣。
Curving is when you neutralize the opponent’s power. Once it is neutralized, you must find a straight line in his direction so your power can issue.
力由脊發。步隨身換。
Power comes from your spine. Step according to your body’s changes.
含胸拔背。以蓄其勢。發勁之時。力由背脊而出。非徒兩手之勁也。身動步隨。轉換無定。
Contain your chest and pull up your back to store your power. When issuing energy, the power comes from your spine, not merely from the strength of your hands. Your body moves and your steps go along with it, changing unpredictably.
收即是放。放卽是收。斷而復連。
To gather is to release and to release is to gather. Disconnect but stay connected.
黏化打雖是三意。而不能分開。收卽黏化。放是打。放人之時。勁似稍斷。而意仍不斷。
Although sticking, neutralizing, and attacking are three distinct concepts, they cannot be separated. Gathering is sticking and neutralizing. Releasing is attacking. When you send the opponent away, the power seems to almost come to an end but the intent of it does not finish.
往復須有摺疊。進退須有轉換。
In the back and forth [of your arms], there must be folding. In the advance and retreat [of your feet], there must be variation.
摺疊者。亦變虛實也。其所變之虛實。最為微細。太極截勁。往往用摺疊。外面看似未動。而其內已有摺疊。進退必變換步法。雖退仍是進也。
Folding means the transformation between empty and full, which is extremely subtle. Taiji’s stopping power often makes use of folding. Outwardly it looks as if you have not moved while inwardly there is folding already going on. When advancing and retreating, there must be variation in the footwork. Even in retreat there is still advance.
極柔軟。然後極堅剛。能呼吸。然後能靈活。
Extreme softness begets extreme hardness. Your ability to be nimble lies in your ability to breathe.
老子曰。天下之至柔。馳騁天下之至堅。其至柔者。乃至剛也。吸為提為收。呼為沈為放。此呼吸乃先天之呼吸。與後天之呼吸相反。故能提得人起。放得人出。
Laozi said [Daodejing, chapter 43]: “The softest thing in the world [referring to water] wears away the hardest thing in the world.” To achieve softness is therefore to achieve hardness. Inhaling is lifting and gathering. Exhaling is sinking and releasing. This kind of breathing is the manner of breathing you were born with, the opposite of the breathing habit you have learned. With it you can lift the opponent and send him away.
氣以直養而無害。勁以曲蓄而有餘。
By nurturing energy with integrity, it will not be corrupted. By storing power in crooked parts, it will be in abundant supply.
孟子曰。吾善養吾浩然之氣。至大至剛。以直養而無害。則塞乎天地之間。太極拳蓋養先天之氣。非運後天之氣也。運氣之功。流弊甚大。養氣則順乎自然。日習之養之而不覺。數十年後。積虛成實。至大至剛。至用之時。則曲蓄其勁。以待發。旣發則沛然莫之能禦也。
Mengzi said [Mengzi, chapter 2a]: “I am good at nurturing my noble energy… until it is vast and strong. I use integrity to nurture it and do not corrupt it, and thus it fills up the world.” Taiji Boxing is a matter of nurturing the energy you were born with rather than wielding the energy of habits. Exercises of wielding energy are big frauds, but in nurturing energy you are going along with what is natural. Practice every day, nurturing it, but do not be overly aware of it. After several decades, so much emptiness will have been amassed that it turns into fullness, “vast and strong.” Then when you make use of it, your crooked parts will store power and standby to issue. Upon issuing, it will be so abundant that no one would be able to resist.
心為令。氣為旗。腰為纛。
Your mind makes the command, the energy is its flag, and your waist is its banner.
心為主帥以發令。氣則為表示其令之旗。以腰為纛。則旗中正不偏。無致敗之道也。
Your mind is the commander issuing orders. The energy is then the flag which conveys the orders. Your waist is the large banner that stands straight and does not tip over, and thus does not signal to the army that it has lost the battle.
先求開展。後求緊湊。乃可臻於縝密矣。
First strive to open up, then strive to close up, and from there you will be able to attain a refined subtlety.
無論練架子及推手。皆須先求開展。開展則腰腿皆動。無微不到。至功夫純熟。再求緊湊。由大圈而歸於小圈。由小圈而歸於無圈。所謂放之則彌六合。卷之則退藏於密也。
Regardless of practicing the solo set or the pushing hands, in either case first strive to open up, which gets your hips to be always moving when there is even the slightest action. Once you have become skillful, strive to close up, big circles turning into small circles turning into no circles, as it is said: “Sent out, it fills the world. Shrunk back, it hides in subtlety.” [Zhongyong, preface]
又曰。先在心。後在身。腹鬆淨。氣斂入骨。神舒體靜。刻刻在心。
It is also said:
First in your mind, then in your body. Your abdomen relaxes completely and then energy collects in your bones. Your spirit should be comfortable and your body should be calm – at every moment be mindful of this.
太極以心意為本。身體為末。所謂意氣君來骨肉臣也。腹鬆淨。不存絲毫後天之拙力。則氣自斂入骨。氣歛入骨。其剛可知。神要安舒。體要靜逸。能安舒靜逸。則應變整暇。决不慌亂。
In Taiji, it begins with your mind and ends with your body, as it is said [in the Thirteen Dynamics Song]: “Mind is sovereign and body is subject.” When your abdomen relaxes completely, not retaining the smallest amount of habitual effort, then energy will collect in your lower back. When the energy is collected in your lower back, you will realize the strength of it. Your spirit should be comfortable and your body should be calm. When this is the case, then you can adapt in an orderly and effortless manner, entirely free of confusion.
切記一動無有不動。一靜無有不靜。
Always remember: if one part moves, every part moves, and if one part is still, every part is still.
內外相合。上下相連。故能如此。
When inside and out are as one and your upper body and lower coordinate with each other, you will then be capable of this.
牽動往來。氣貼背。歛入脊骨。內固精神。外示安逸。
As the movement leads back and forth, energy stays near your back and gathers in your spine. Inwardly bolster spirit and outwardly show ease.
此言與人比手之時。牽動往來。須涵胸拔背。使氣貼之於背。歛於脊骨。以待機會。機至則發。能氣貼於背。歛於脊骨。則能力由脊發。不然。仍手足之勁耳。神固體逸。則不散亂。
These words have to do with playing hands. While the movements lead back and forth, it is necessary to contain your chest and pluck up your back, which makes the energy stick to your back and collect in your spine where it waits for the opportunity, and once the moment comes, it issues. If you can get the energy to stick to your back and collect in your spine, then you can get the power to come from your spine. But if you cannot, you will only be using the strength of your hands and feet. With your spirit bolstered and your body at ease, you will be without confusion.
邁步如猫行。運勁如抽絲。
Step like a cat and move energy as if drawing silk.
此仍形容綿綿不斷。待機而發之意。
This is the manner of moving continuously without interruption and the intention of waiting for the moment to issue power.
全身意在精神。不在氣。在氣則滯。有氣者無力。無氣者純剛。
Throughout your body, your mind should be on your spirit rather than on the energy, for if you are fixated on the energy, your movement will become sluggish. Whenever your mind is on the energy, there will be no power, whereas if you ignore the energy and let it take care of itself, there will be pure strength.
太極純以神行。不尚氣力。此氣言後天之氣力也。蓋養氣之氣。為先天之氣。運氣之氣。為後天之氣。後天之氣有盡。先天之氣無窮。
Taiji is all about the movement of spirit and does not emphasize the physical effort of acquired habit. The energy of letting energy maintain you is innate from birth. The energy of moving energy around is an acquired habit. The acquired energy keeps finishing. The innate energy goes on and on.
氣如車輪。腰似車軸。
The energy is like a wheel and your waist is like an axle.
氣為旗。腰為纛。此言其靜也。氣如車輪。腰似車軸。此言其動也。腰為一身之樞紐。腰動則先天之氣。如車輪之旋轉。所謂氣遍身軀不少滯也。
Whereas the energy being a flag and your waist being a banner describes the still aspect, the energy being a wheel and your waist being an axle describes the moving aspect. Your waist is the pivot for your whole body, so if your waist moves, the innate energy will be like the moving of a wheel. It will be as it is said [in the Thirteen Dynamics Song]: “Energy will flow through your whole body without getting stuck anywhere.”

打手歌 按打手卽推手也
[part 5] PLAYING HANDS SONG (note: playing hands means pushing hands)

掤捋擠按須認眞。
上下相隨人難進。
任他巨力來打我。
牽動四兩撥千斤。
引進落空合卽出。
粘連黏隨不丢頂。
Ward-off, rollback, press, and push must be taken seriously.
With coordination between above and below, it is difficult for the opponent to find a way in.
I will let him attack me with as much power as he likes,
for I will tug on his movement with four ounces of force moving his of a thousand pounds.
Guiding him in to land on nothing, I then close on him and send him away.
I stick to him and go along with his movement instead of pulling away or crashing in.
認眞者。掤捋擠按四字。皆須按照師傳規矩。絲毫不錯。日日打手。功久自然能上下相隨。一動無有不動。雖巨力來打。稍稍牽動。則我之四兩。可撥彼之千斤。彼力旣巨。必長而直。當其用力之時。不能變動方向。我隨彼之方向而引進。則彼落空矣。然必須粘連黏隨。不丢不頂。方能引進落空。四兩撥千斤也。
[line 1] “Taken seriously” means that the four techniques of ward-off, rollback, press, and push must all be in accordance with the standards of the teaching as it has been passed down, precise to the smallest detail.
[line 2] Do playing hands every day. By working at it over a long period, you will automatically be able to have coordination between the upper body and the lower. When one part moves, every part will move.
[line 3] Even if he comes in to hit me with a lot of power,
[line 4] I slightly tug on his movement with a little extra, and so my “four ounces” can move his “thousand pounds”. If he uses a lot of power, he will inevitably be extending far and straightening his joints, and so when he applies such power he will be incapable of altering his direction once he has started along it.
[line 5] I follow his direction and tempt him farther along it. His attack thus lands on nothing.
[line 6] But it is essential that I stick to him and move along with him rather than pull away from him or crash into him, for only then will I be able to draw him in to land on nothing with four ounces moving a thousand pounds.
又曰。彼不動。己不動。彼微動。己先動。似鬆非鬆。將展未展。勁斷意不斷。
It is also said:
If he takes no action, I take no action, but once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted. He seems relaxed but not relaxed, about to expand but not yet expanding. When my power finishes, my intent of it continues.
打手之時。彼不動則我亦不動。以靜待之。彼若微動。其動必有一方向。我意在彼之先。隨其方向而先動。則彼必跌出矣。似鬆非鬆。將展未展。皆言聽彼之勁。蓄勢待機。機到則放。放時勁似斷而意仍不斷也。
During playing hands, if he takes no action, I take no action and calmly await his action. If he takes the slightest action, his action will assuredly be in some direction, so my intention will move ahead of his action by going along the path he wants to take, and I will then take the initiative before he does and he will consequently stumble away. “He seems relaxed but not relaxed, about to expand but not yet expanding.” – these are words concerning monitoring the opponent’s energy. Be poised to act and await the opportunity, then when the moment comes, release. When you release, the power seems to finish but the intent of it does not finish.

以上相傳。為王宗岳先生所著。太極拳之精微奧妙。已包蘊無餘。就管見所及。略加注解。然仁者見仁。智者見智。功夫愈深者。讀之愈得其精妙。深願繼起者。發揮而光大之焉。
The transmissions above are the writings of Wang Zongyue and contain Taiji Boxing’s profound subtleties in full. From my limited experience I have made this slight commentary. While the benevolent among you will perceive its benevolence and the wise among you will perceive its wisdom, for those of you who are working at it the hardest, studying its skills the most, and sincerely wanting to succeed in it, the example you are setting is what will carry it forward.

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太極合老說
TAIJI MERGING WITH SAYINGS OF LAOZI

老子曰常無欲以觀其妙。常有欲以觀其徼。與之黏隨。觀其化之妙。忽然機發。是謂觀其徼。
Laozi said: “Dwelling with nothingness, you will see mystery. Dwelling with somethingness, you will see details.” [Daodejing, chapter 1]
     In sticking to and moving with the opponent, you will see the subtlety of adaptation. In suddenly issuing when the opportunity appears, you will see details. [i.e. When defending, watch generally. When attacking, focus specifically.]
老子曰有無相生。前後相隨。是謂左重則左虛。右重則右杳。進之則愈長。退之則愈促。
Laozi said: “Something and nothing create each other… Cause and effect follow each other.” [Daodejing, chapter 2]
     It is said [in Essays, part 2]: “When there is pressure on the left, the left empties. When there is pressure on the right, the right disappears… When advancing, it is even farther. When retreating, it is even nearer.”
老子曰天地之間。其猶橐籥乎。虛而不屈。動而愈出。故太極無法。動卽是法。
Laozi said: “Between sky and ground, it is like a bellows. When it empties it is not finished, because it moves again and then has more to do.” [Daodejing, chapter 5]
     Therefore Taiji has no technique. Movement itself is the technique.
老子曰綿綿若存。用之不勤。綿綿若存者。內固精神。用之不勤者。外示安逸。
Laozi said: “Continuously storing, it acts without effort.” [Daodejing, chapter 6]
     To continuously store is the inward bolstering of spirit. To act without effort is the outward showing of ease.
老子曰後其身而身先。外其身而身存。後其身而身先者。彼不動己不動。彼微動己先動也。外其身而身存者。由己則滯。從人則活也。
Laozi said: “He puts himself behind and is thereby put forward. He transcends himself and is thereby preserved.” [Daodejing, chapter 7]
     To put the self behind and be thereby be put forward is the meaning of “If he takes no action, I take no action, but once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted.” [Playing Hands Song]
     To transcend the self and be thereby preserved is the meaning of “If you act from yourself, you will be sluggish. If you follow the opponent, you will be lively.” [Five-Word Formula]
老子曰上善若水。居善地。心善淵。事善能。動善時。夫惟不爭。故無尤。居善地者。得機得勢。心善淵者。歛氣歛神。事善能者。隨轉隨接。動善時者。不後不先。太極之無敵。惟不爭耳。
Laozi said: “Best to be like water… Your home is at its best when in accord with its environment. Your mind is at its best when your thought has depth… Your business is at its best when based on your ability. Your actions are at their best when they are cued by the timing. If you do not compete, you will not fail.” [Daodejing, chapter 8]
     “Your home is at its best when in accord with its environment.” – Catch the opportunity and gain the upper hand. “Your mind is at its best when your thought has depth.” – Gather energy and spirit. “Your business is at its best when based on your ability.” – Go along with the movement and turn. Go along with the movement and connect. “Your actions are at their best when they are cued by timing.” – Be neither late nor early. In Taiji there is no opposition, “If you do not compete…”
老子曰抱一。能無離乎。專氣致柔。能嬰兒乎。是謂極柔而至剛。萬法而歸一。
Laozi said: “[Nurture the spirit] and embrace oneness. Can you be without division? Focus on your breath and achieve softness. Can you be like a newborn?” [Daodejing, chapter 10] [Notice in this passage the source of the name Chen chose for his school.]
     Correspondingly, we say: “Extreme softness becomes hardness. Countless techniques return to one.”
老子曰曲則全。枉則直。是謂曲中求直。蓄而後發。
Laozi said: Through curtailing comes completing. Through bending comes straightening. [Daodejing, chapter 22]
     It is said [in Understanding How to Practice]: “Within curving, seek to be straightening. Store and then issue.”
老子曰將欲歙之。必固張之。將欲弱之。必固强之。將欲奪之。必固與之。是謂微明。太極黏連綿隨。不與之抗。彼張我歙。彼强我弱。彼奪我與。然後能張。能强。能奪。
Laozi said: “If you wish to shrink something, you must first expand it. If you wish to weaken something, you must first strengthen it… If you wish to seize something, you must first share it. This is subtle understanding.” [Daodejing, chapter 36] [Notice in this passage the name Chen Shenxian chose for himself – 微明 (wei ming) “subtle understanding”.]
     In Taiji, you stick to the opponent and continuously move with him, not resist against him. When he expands, I shrink. When he is strong, I am weak. When he seizes, I share. And thereby I am able to expand, be strong, and seize.
老子曰反者道之動。故有上必有下。有前必有後。有左必有右。
Laozi said: “Reversal is the action of the Way.” [Daodejing, chapter 40]
     It is said [in Essays, part 1]: “With an upward comes a downward, with a forward comes a backward, and with a left comes a right.”
老子曰天下之至柔。馳騁天下之至堅。無有入於無間。又曰不爭而善勝。不召而自來。是謂引進落空。四兩撥千斤也。
Laozi said: “The softest thing in the world wears away the hardest. Emptiness enters where there is no room.” [Daodejing, chapter 43] And also said: “Do not fight and you will win… Do not summon and it will arrive on its own.” [Daodejing, chapter 73]
     Correspondingly, we say: “Draw him in to land on nothing with four ounces moving a thousand pounds.”

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