ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT TAIJI
Including SINGLE POSTURE PRACTICE METHODS
by Chen Weiming
[translation by Paul Brennan, Oct, 2012]
Answering Questions About Taiji
including “Single Posture Practice Methods”
- [calligraphy by Chen Weiming]
“Analyze and make clear the smallest details.”
- calligraphy by Li Jinglin
“Softness can overcome hardness.”
for Chen Weiming’s book
Answering Questions About Taiji Boxing
- calligraphy by Chu Minyi
The author, Chen Weiming
Photo of the Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s second-year class, 1927
[In Chen’s 1928 sword manual, this photo was labelled as 1926. This is because while the photo was taken in 1926, it is nevertheless a photo of the “class of ’27”, and is used in this book to represent that aspect of it. Similarly, the group photo in Chen’s 1925 manual, though taken in 1925, exhibits the class of ’26. In contrast, the photo below of the class of ’28 was taken in 1928 rather than in 1927.]
Photo of the Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s third-year class, in celebration of Zhang Sanfeng’s birthday, 1928, 4th month, 9th day
Photo of the Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s female members
I learned Taiji Boxing from Yang Chengfu of Yongnian county for eight years. Since I am not clever, I enjoyed asking him about things when I was uncertain, and he, sparing no effort, patiently instructed me. During this time, he travelled south, and so I then learned from [his elder brother] Yang Shaohou for several months, absorbing much from his own theories.
In 1925, I came to Shanghai and established the Achieving Softness Boxing Society, instructing in Taiji Boxing. At that time, the reputation of Taiji Boxing was known only to a few, but to my surprise, in the last four years the “winds have blown until clouds now fill the sky” [In other words, word-of-mouth has made it a household word.]. For students, Taiji Boxing has become the thing to learn. For teachers, Taiji Boxing has becomethe thing to teach. It is all-pervading. It is said by some that when I brought my Taiji south, I was the first one to do so, but I would not presume to affirm this.
The spreading and flourishing of Taiji Boxing can strengthen the people and the nation, which is indeed worth celebrating. However, I also fear that as it floods it will lose track of its source, and as it flows on it will lose sight of its principles, and as it gets absorbed into the melting pot of martial arts it will be severed from its essence, which are things to be worried about. Hence I have used what I have learned from the explanations of both gentlemen and made it into a number of question & answer segments, grouped into sections, merely to contribute to those who are intent upon Taiji. What I do not know, I have not dared to talk about.
Moreover, I frequently receive letters from all points of the compass requesting that I teach via correspondence. Taiji Boxing is an exercise that turns and curves continuously without pause. It’s hard enough to grasp its principles even when learning it in person, so how could it be described in writing? Well, Xu Xuanping long ago taught his Thirty-Seven Postures, which was a method of training individual postures. Modelling upon his concept, I have now picked out the most important postures from the Taiji Boxing solo set to present them as a single-posture practice [See questions 120-131.]. I have explained them in detail and have included photographs to make them simple and easy to understand. Although they are not linked together, they just as good [as the solo set] at preventing disease and extending life.
– written by Chen Weiming at the Chamber of Auspicious Wheels, autumn, 1929
On Embellishments to Taiji Boxing’s Origins and Pointing Out Falsehoods Within Fiction [questions 1-5]
On Taiji Boxing’s Postures [questions 6-26]
On Taiji Boxing’s Pushing Hands [questions 27-53]
On Taiji Boxing’s Various Techniques [questions 54-90]
On Taiji Boxing’s Energies [questions 91-105]
On Taiji Boxing’s Methods of Limbering & Meditation [questions 106-110]
On the Taiji Boxing Student’s Build Versus Accomplishment [questions 111-117]
On Taiji Boxing’s Benefits [questions 118-119]
On Taiji Boxing’s Single Posture Practice Methods [questions 120-131]
Photos for the Single Posture Exercises
[I] List of Achieving Softness Boxing Society Members
[II] List of Instructors Teaching Beyond the School
[III] Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s General Rules
[IV] Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s General Rules for Outside Instructors
[V] Achieving Softness Boxing Society’s Three-Year Graduate Program
ON EMBELLISHMENTS TO TAIJI BOXING’S ORIGINS AND POINTING OUT FALSEHOODS WITHIN FICTION
Was Taiji Boxing really passed down from Zhang Sanfeng?
In the Records of Ningbo Prefecture, there are boxing arts terms which, although Taiji Boxing is not explicitly mentioned, have many similarities with Taiji terminology. Huang Lizhou [Zongxi] wrote a memorial inscription for Wang Zhengnan which lengthily states that Zhang Sanfeng is the source of what he taught. It is mentioned therein that it was passed down to Ye Jimei of Ningbo, and since this is also mentioned in the Records of Ningbo, thus it could naturally be concluded that it was surely passed down from Zhang Sanfeng.
Zhang Sanfeng’s teachings were handed down to Wang Zong of Guanzhong. Are Wang Zong and Wang Zongyue the same person or are they two people?
Wang Zong was from Shaanxi whereas Wang Zongyue was from Shanxi. They were not the same person. Wang Zongyue was from the time of the beginning of the Qing Dynasty [which began in 1644] whereas Wang Zong was from the end of the Yuan and beginning of the Ming .
Apart from the Taiji Boxing that comes from Zhang Sanfeng, are there other transmissions?
Tradition has it that there are four more:
- Xu Xuanping of the Tang Dynasty passed on its secrets in the “Eight Character Song”, “On Mental Understanding”, “On Using the Whole Body”, the “Sixteen Key Points”, and the “Song of Function”, all passed down to Song Yuanqiao.
- Li Daozi taught it to Mr. Yu, who then taught it to Yu Qinghui, Yu Yicheng, Yu Lianzhou, and Yu Daiyan.
- Han Gongyue taught it Cheng Lingxi. It was later passed down to Cheng Bi. It includes a list of “Five Study Reminders” and the “Song of Four Natures Returning to One”.
- Yin Liting taught it to Hu Jingzi, who then taught it to Song Zhongshu.
These are all branches from a single school, but none of them have left details that can be verified.
Chen Changxing of Henan taught it to his sons and also to Yang Luchan. Were there also others of note?
I have heard that Cheng Qingping of Huaiqing prefecture in Henan obtained Chen Changxing’s teaching, and that he then taught it to Wu Yurang [Yuxiang], who taught it to Li Yiyu, who taught it to Hao Weizhen, who taught it Sun Lutang.
The novel Itinerant Amazing Warriors by Buxiao Sheng contains material about the Yang family and makes several slanderous comments about them. Is the material about Yang Banhou true?
[The novel intended is actually 近代俠義英雄傳 Tales of Modern Heroes, in which Yang Banhou features in chapters 56 & 57. Switching the titles is understandable when we take into consideration that they were published as concurrent magazine serials in 1923, then as multi-volume book editions the following year, and were both extremely popular. Fans of both would probably have ended up flipping the names in conversation pretty often. Buxiao Sheng is Xiang Kairan, who wrote his fiction under the pen-name of Pingjiang Buxiao Sheng, which amounts to “Unworthy of Being Born in My Hometown” (Pingjiang county, Hunan).]
All a bunch of hearsay. Can’t rely on it all. Scholars have slighted each other since ancient times, illiterate warriors even more so. And so it is that the higher the fame of one, the more jealous the rest of them become, and all sorts of falsehoods get passed on which are then repeated by the next generation. Novelists who are frustrated over lack of information overhear bits of stories, then add some color, and what they end up writing up is full of strained interpretation, nothing but some something that comes from nothing. Though it can only be treated as fiction, it can nevertheless ruin a person’s reputation, frequently leading to unfortunate quarrels, and so you have to be careful.
[This cautionary message may also have been a dose of good-natured ribbing. Xiang Kairan was one of Chen Weiming’s students (See Appendix II), and since his novels were bestsellers, they had probably been read by many of Chen Weiming’s other students.]
ON TAIJI BOXING’S POSTURES
The Taiji Boxing solo set, from CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL to CLOSING TAIJI amounts to more than seventy postures. When it was passed down from Zhang Sanfeng, was it like this or have there been changes?
I have heard that the earlier Taiji Boxing was a method of practicing postures singly rather than linked together. It is not known when it started to be a solo practice of each of the postures being connected into a continuous flow. In my humble opinion, I suspect it probably began with Wang Zongyue. When he wrote his Taiji Boxing essays, each of the postures that were named were connected into a continuous flow. [The postures are not named in the essays themselves, but in the earliest document that contains them, and Chen was apparently of the opinion that authorship of the earliest list of postures for the solo set is therefore also to be attributed to Wang.] Therefore in regards to Taiji Boxing, Wang Zongyue’s contribution was huge. If it had not been connected into a continuous flow, I fear it would have been lost a long time ago.
Those who practice Taiji Boxing in Beijing are all doing what has been passed down from the Yang family, so why are their postures slightly different?
Although their postures are slightly different, the concepts are never different. Why there are these differences is in my opinion because of two reasons:
– In the old days, there was a strict distinction between teacher and pupil. When the pupil did not understand, he did not dare to ask many questions, and the teacher for his own part was often unwilling to demonstrate in front of the watching student, and therefore the student was unable to obtain the most accurate postures.
– Even if the correct posture was obtained, then over countless generations, due to the differences in each person’s personality, tiny little adjustments have been made unconsciously.
Therefore if Taiji is not taught extremely accurately and the student does not study in profound detail, one will be unable to obtain it.
That being the case, then when Taiji Boxing postures are being done correctly or incorrectly, on what do we base such conclusions?
On words from Wang Zongyue [from Understanding How to Practice]: “When standing, your body must be centered and upright, leisurely and comfortable.” Those four terms set the standard. “Centered and upright” means the same as: “Neither lean nor slant.” “Leisurely and comfortable” means that you are to be natural and at ease, not keyed up and using effort.
Also, I wrote down the “Ten Essentials of the Taiji Boxing Art”, another set of criteria for the postures. If your head is without the principle of forcelessly rousing strength at the headtop, the sides of your face will be tilted and swayed. If you stick out your chest to stand straight, your upper body will be heavy and your lower body will be light. If your weight is evenly distributed onto both legs, emptiness and fullness will not be clearly distinguished. If you move too fast, your hand techniques will be vague. If you suddenly go up or down, your shoulders will move randomly. If your step is too small, your waist will not turn. These are all violations of the rules. Always you are to be “centered and upright, leisurely and comfortable” in every part. The ideas in the Ten Essentials contain all and leave nothing out.
By these means, even if you are unable to reach your goal, you will not be far from it.
Some people say the foot’s step must not be too big, that if it is too big, there will be no nimbleness in changing steps. Is this so?
Yes, but when you begin training in the solo set, your step must be stretched out. This is because the standard for the legs is that one be straight while the other is bent, for instance if your left leg is straight, your right leg is bent. For the bent leg, the standard is that the knee makes a vertical line with the toes, and then your waist can loosen downward and turn forward and back. If your step is too small, the turning of your waist will also be small, and if the opponent’s attack is fierce, you will not have any extra room to neutralize and have no choice but to retreat. If you find yourself on a narrowing path with nowhere you can retreat, what alternative do you have? [These words are surely garbled and the meaning ought to be: If you find yourself on a narrowing path, you can go nowhere else except backwards.] Whereas if your step is large enough for you to turn your waist, then you can neutralize the opponent’s power and counterattack.
Some people say the solo set must not be done too low. Is this right?
If the set is done low, then your steps will be big and your waist can turn. If the set is done high, then your steps will be small and the turning of your waist will also be small. The height depends on the legs being one leg straight and one leg bent, for it is to be appropriate to the step. If the height is too low, then your center will be bogged down and unable to go forward, and you will no longer be able to distinguish empty and full. A Taiji Boxing essay [Understanding How to Practice] says: “First strive to open up, then strive to close up.” Once you are very skillful, then your stepping and hand techniques can all be shrunken in, for they are now fully understood by your mind and are a part of your body.
Therefore, when it is done small it has developed from doing it big, when it is done high it has developed from doing it low, when it is done tight it has developed from doing it loose, and when it is staccato it has developed from doing it flowingly. If so, then whether small or high or tight or staccato, you will be confident. If not, then I fear that when you encounter an emergency, you will still be unable to respond according to the situation, your steps will be in disarray, and you will be in dire straits.
There are people who say that the solo set does not need to be practiced that much, that as long you are practicing pushing hands you can develop skill. Is that so?
All those who belittle the solo set have not yet grasped the essence of its principles. The solo set is the most fundamental part of your foundation. By practicing it over a long period, your body will then be able to be “heavy as a mountain” or “light as a feather” [See questions 42 and 43.]. If you do not practice the solo set, then even if you practice pushing hands a lot, your body will still have moments of instability and will be easily affected by opponents.
Some people say that when you practice Taiji Boxing you still have to use effort. Is this right?
A Taiji Boxing essay [Understanding How to Practice] says: “Extreme softness begets extreme hardness.” Taiji Boxing’s hard internal power is generated from softness and loosening. When you practice the solo set, the more you soften and loosen, the more rapidly you will develop internal power, but if there is the smallest area that will stubbornly not loosen, then the growth of internal power will be obstructed. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that if you loosen, your arms will heavily sink, and if you do not loosen, your arms will lighten and float. I already discussed it in detail in The Art of Taiji Boxing. Typically those who hold to this view have been born with a degree of strength and so prefer to rely on it, and those who train in hard boxing styles are not willing to give it up. Therefore if you are unable to believe the theory that extreme softness begets extreme hardness, then even though you practice Taiji, you will be forever unable to achieve its most exquisite concept.
When teachers are using the same teaching method, why are the postures of some students pretty while those of others are ugly?
For the ugly ones, it must be that they are stiff and using effort. For the pretty ones, it must be that they are soft and not using effort. Taking the shaping of metal as an analogy, we must heat it to make it pliable, and then we can shape it as we wish, making it square, making it round, whatever we feel like. If on the other hand we take some hard metal and we want to pound into something square or round, then I fear it will take too much effort and we will see results much more slowly.
Therefore a boxing instructor who causes students to use way too much effort makes their whole bodies stiff and their movement difficult, and if he then also wants their postures to be pretty, he is wanting them to move forward but has removed the path. A person’s innate strength is like pig iron, which must be made soft and go through a long process of smelting for it to become refined steel. Taiji Boxing’s internal power appears to be soft and yet is peerlessly hard.
When practicing Taiji Boxing, how should your head be?
Upright. You must not lower it or look down. If you lower your head, then your spirit will not be able rise.
When practicing Taiji Boxing, how should your eyes be?
Your eyes house your spirit. Your eyes will sometimes go along with the movements of your hands, and when your eyes go along with your hands, your waist naturally turns, but sometimes you must look forward. This is why there are the terms “looking left”, “looking right”, and “centering”. When looking left or right, your waist is turning to be able to neutralize the opponent’s power. When looking forward, you are centered and about to send the opponent away. After practicing Taiji Boxing for a long time, your eyes will be radiant with spirit. When your spirit is abundantly shining, your skill will assuredly be deep.
When practicing Taiji Boxing, should your mouth be open or closed?
It says in Three in Agreement [chapter 22 – “Barring Shut the Three Treasures”]: “Eyes, ears, and mouth are the three treasures [These could be considered the three external treasures, the corresponding three internal treasures being essence, energy, and spirit.]. They are to be sealed off and not emitted through.” Taiji Boxing is based on seeking stillness within movement, a method for facilitating meditative practice. If your mouth is open, breathing will be done with your mouth, and your tongue and throat will dry out. If your mouth is closed, your tongue will press to your upper palate and thus generate saliva. Swallow it as necessary, for it is the water from the “splendorous pool”, the sweet dew for nourishing health. Those who say the mouth should be open will completely miss the benefits of Taiji Boxing.
When practicing Taiji Boxing, how should your waist be loosened?
Loose means that there is no intention of stubbornly pressing it downward. If pressing it stubbornly, you will have difficulty turning. If loosened, then you can turn freely. A Taiji Boxing essay [Understanding How to Practice] says: “The waist is like a wheel.” [“The energy is like a wheel and the waist is like an axle.”] This describes its liveliness. It also says “The waist is like a banner.” [“The mind makes the command, the energy is its flag, and the waist is its banner.”] This describes its uprightness. If your waist is not loosening downward and standing upright, your butt will stick out. Not only is this very inelegant to watch, but your tailbone will be entirely incapable of being centered, your spirit will be entirely unable to penetrate to your headtop, and your power will be entirely unable to issue from your spine.
When you use your palm in practicing Taiji Boxing, how should the fingers be?
The fingers also should be extended naturally. They must not curl in and become fist-like, but also must not be overly extended and thereby cause them to be stiffly straight, for in either case energy will not reach to the fingertips. When your palms push out, they must not go too far beyond your knee, for if they do, you will lose your balance. I have seen practitioners of Taiji Boxing pushing their palms out too far, consequently leaning until their butts are sticking out and rising up. This kind of posture comes from your step being too small, causing your waist to be unable to sink. When your foot does not reach then your hands will reach out forward, and then not only will you not send the opponent away when you attack him, but your own body will lean forward and probably destabilize. When you attack an opponent, you must advance your foot to get close to him with your body, then your hands will slightly advance along with your waist and he will already be stumbling away. This then is whole-bodied power.
As for Taiji’s pressing kicks and kicks to the side, do they use effort?
Taiji’s kicks too have a loose springy energy, not a stiff energy.
When practicing Taiji, what should our bearing be like?
Always the criteria are:
- Your spirit is concentrated and your energy is calm.
- It is to be centered and upright, leisurely and comfortable.
- It is to be indulgingly unhurried and greatly elegant.
- It is to be done continuously without pause.
It appears light and delicate but is actually very heavy and sunk. It appears the movement is wandering but is actually very calm and still. Generally, if it is overly floating and flowing, or if it is too much like you are drawing a sword or loading a crossbow, in either case you have not yet got the right idea.
In the Taiji Boxing solo set there are more than seventy postures in sequence. Must it be like this or can we change them around?
This is the traditional sequence and the way they are linked together is very natural, therefore students should follow it faithfully. Take for example a work of excellent literature. You may not add to it or subtract from it a single word. That being the case, there were no limitations to the manipulation of words during the original writing, and the same is true for Taiji Boxing. If the postures get flipped around, as long as they are still linking up naturally, that would be okay. The Taiji Boxing solo set is the everyday essential training, but when applying it, do not “expect to find your sword that fell in the river by carving a mark on the boat at the spot it fell and then looking for it according to that mark after the boat has moved on down the river”, for to insist on doing it according to the sequence would be just as monumentally stupid.
You wrote The Art of Taiji Boxing. Can that be regarded as the stardard?
I wouldn’t dare to say so, but when I learned Taiji Boxing from Yang Chengfu, I paid quite a lot of attention to the postures in the solo set, and when I wrote the book, I must have asked him about each posture half a dozen times before daring to put it down in writing. Yang Chengfu was a tireless teacher and that book is nothing more than his dictation.
The way Yang Chengfu presently practices the solo set is slightly different from the way you wrote it in your book. Why is this?
The way he presently practices the solo set, the only differences are that after the second PLAY THE LUTE there is another BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE added, and after WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE, he withdraws his body the same way as in the PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH that follows WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH. This is not really a big deal.
If you find yourself in a spacious environment, LEFT & RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE can be performed many times, and not only can a LEFT BRUSH KNEE be added, but a RIGHT BRUSH KNEE can be added too. PLAY THE LUTE changes to PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH or BRUSH KNEE changes to PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH – either way is fine.
After WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE, there was originally no withdrawing of the body when Yang Chengfu taught me. If an opponent attacked with a punch, I used my left hand to connect to his elbow and used my right fist to punch below his ribs, thus slightly sitting my waist then sending out the punch, which is simpler. After WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH on both occasions [the second called WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE] and after BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER, all of these moments now involve withdrawing the body, so it now occurs three times.
Why did you make additions to the Long Boxing set, including adding postures on the opposite side?
If we are discussing the training of skill, practicing the Taiji Boxing solo set is sufficient and the Long Boxing set can basically be skipped. For the sake of exercising the body however, it seemed to me appropriate to cultivate both sides equally, and therefore I added postures on the opposite side. As everyone regards the Long Boxing set as but a method of physical exercise, it seemed okay [to add to it]. [This set, a modified version of the solo set, is explained in detail in a large section of Chen’s 1928 sword manual. Reading through the instructions, a tool for more advanced skill-building is implied rather than a mere exercise, rendering Chen’s comment here somewhat baffling.]
In the Taiji Boxing solo set, for example in BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE, you must send your hand to the rear in a large arc then strike forward. If it is done as slow as this, how can it be used to respond to an opponent?
Each of the Taiji Boxing postures has to do with roundness. Seeking for it to be loosened and fully rounded, turning with your whole body, is the way to practice the solo set. But if you seek to apply it, how can you restrict it to a fixed shape? For example, a circle will cover a complete three hundred sixty-one degrees in the solo set, but when you apply it, it is enough to use only one degree or even half a degree. So when practicing the solo set, you have to get it to be fully rounded, but if when you deal with an opponent, you still do it according to the slow way it is practiced in the solo set, this would be very foolish.
As for ideas the past generations had about practicing the solo set, since we cannot watch them, are there any stories?
Yang Shaohou said that when Yang Luchan practiced the SINGLE WHIP LOW POSTURE, he placed a copper coin on the ground and could use his mouth to pick it up, and that he could also use his shoulder to bump an opponent’s knee, such was the lowering of his waist. And also that when Yang Banhou practiced the solo set, his face would become joyous and he would laugh sinisterly or he would suddenly look angry and emit shouts. This is called “drawing forth the emotions”. At his depth of skill, they would outwardly manifest naturally. It is something that is neither conscious nor learned.
ON TAIJI BOXING’S PUSHING HANDS
When beginning to learn pushing hands, can you use effort or not?
You must not. The Playing Hands Song says: “Ward-off, rollback, press, and push must be taken seriously.” All four must be clearly distinguished. When you press or push, you sit on your front leg. When you ward-off or rollback, you sit on your rear leg. Begin by moving in patterns, every day doing hundreds or thousands of reps, and then naturally your legs will develop root and the flexibility of your waist will greatly increase. By the time a year has passed, you and your partner will be seeking energies. (This means you will be both moving free of pattern, attacking and nuetralizing as you please.) You must not be seeking energies too soon. If too soon, you will enjoy using effort until it becomes habitual, making yourself incapable of achieving skillful intent instead.
Can ward-off, rollback, press, and push contain limitless transformations?
These four terms contain endless meanings. In the case of push, there is going forward lightly and quickly, there is going forward heavily and solidly, there is going forward with your left side heavy and your right side empty, there is going forward with your left side empty and your right side heavy, there is going forward with your hands spreading apart, or there is going forward with your hands joining together.
In the case of press, there is pressing squarely, pressing off to the side, pressing with your elbow, or pressing with switching hands. Using your arm at each point of contact, constantly adjust, but if you go past the center of the point of contact, switch to using another point of contact. At every point there is a curve. At every point there is a straight line. At every moment there is sticking energy. At every moment there is releasing energy. And so it is said: “Within curving, seek to be straightening.” There is also pressing while folding, which can be folding by turning over upward or folding by turning over downward, always adjusting according to the opponent’s intention.
In the case of ward-off, there is direct ward-off, horizontal ward-off, upward ward-off, or downward ward-off. Sticking to his arm or hand, constantly adjust the direction. To sum it up, I do not want the opponent to acquire a clear target on my arm or body at which he can release power. If he does acquire a target, immediately change direction, but you must stick to him and not break away. If he breaks away, instantly attack. And so it is said: “When you meet separation, you must strike.”
In the case of rollback, there is upward rollback, downward rollback, or level rollback. Within rollback, there is breaking, which is applied when the opportunity is right. If power is applied fully and with speed, his arm will break.
Is fixed step or moving step pushing hands more important?
Fixed step. It trains the waist. Once your waist is flexible enough to neutralize the opponent’s power and leave you with extra room to move, then you can move on to stepping. Moving step pushing hands trains both the waist and the stepping. If the opponent is quick, then you will have to make use of stepping. Spiralling comes from the waist, but with the added liveliness of stepping, you will change direction faster and be more than equipped to catch the opportunity and gain the upper hand.
What is the purpose of large rollback?
It addresses the four secondary techniques of pluck, rend, elbow, and bump. Plucking is when you pluck down the opponent’s hand and make it difficult for him to adjust. Rending is when you lash out with your palm to cause the opponent’s power to be interrupted at the moment he wants to release it. Elbowing is the using of your elbow. Bumping uses your shoulder. The stepping in large rollback is larger and faster, and if you do not have strength in your legs, you will not be able to change nimbly.
Are there other [pushing hands] techniques beyond ward-off, rollback, press, push, pluck, rend, elbow, and bump?
Techniques I have heard of are “grabbing tendons”, “pressing pulses”, “sealing off acupoints”, “severing tissues”, “joint-locking”, “releasing explosively”, “shaking”, and “carving”. But I have learned only a little about them and do not yet understand how to apply them.
In pushing hands there is never the use of effort, but if the opponent’s power is too great and is headed right towards me, then what?
Although in pushing hands there is never the use of effort, after several years of training you will naturally develop ward-off energy. This kind of energy does not have the intention of using effort, but the opponent’s power can be naturally warded away, unable to approach your body. A beginner loosens up by training for several years, causing the body to completely lack areas of stiffness. The ward-off energy can also be trained through pushing hands. But when applying ward-off energy, it must go along with the turning of your waist. It is often called “old ox” energy.
On what should we base the concepts in Taiji Boxing’s pushing hands?
Work from Wang Zongyue’s Taiji Boxing essays. If you ignore the ideas in them, then anything you attempt to say on the subject will be wrong.
Beyond those texts, are there others that express essential concepts?
There is Li Yiyu’s “Five-Word Formula”, which expresses concepts in the boxing theory and is also of vital importance. It is reproduced below:
1. The mind is CALM. If your mind is not calm, it will not be focused, and each movement of your hands, be it forward or back, left or right, will not be in any definite direction. [Therefore your mind should be calm.] At first your movement will not yet be able to come from yourself, and so you should clear your mind and let your body intuit, going along with the opponent’s movements. Bend and then extend, neither coming away nor crashing in, and do not expand and contract on your own. When the opponent has power, I also have power, but my power beats him to the punch. When he has no power, I also have power [have no power], for it is my intention that beats him to the decision. (These couple of sentences may have some faulty wording. The meaning ought to be: Regardless of whether the opponent has power or has no power, my intention is always ahead of him.) You should constantly pay attention. Wherever the opponent nears you, your mind should go there. You must neither come away nor crash in, and then you will be able to analyze what is going on. After doing this for about a year or so, it will become natural. This is entirely a matter of using intention and is not a matter of using strength. Over time, you will reach the point in which you can say “he is under my control and I am not under his”.
2. The body is LIVELY. When your body is sluggish, advancing and retreating cannot be done smoothly. Therefore your body should be lively. When moving your hands, there must be nothing resembling hesitation. When the opponent’s force hinders even the hairs on my skin, my intention instantly enters his bones and my hands are bracing him, all as one event. If he puts pressure on my left side, I empty my left side and my right side goes forth, or if he puts pressure on my right side, I empty my right side and my left side goes forth, the energy like a wheel. Your whole body should be coordinated. If there is a lack of coordination anywhere, your body will then be disorganized, and you will then have no power. Seek for the problem in your hips. First use your mind to command your body, and follow the opponent rather than yourself. Later your body will be able to follow your mind, yet this moving from yourself will still depend on following the opponent. If you act from yourself, you will be sluggish. If you follow the opponent, you will be lively. If you can follow the opponent, your hands on him will detect in finer detail, weighing the size of his power and being accurate to the smallest measure, assessing the length of his attack and not being off by the slightest bit, and you will advance and retreat always at the right moment. The more you work at it, the more perfected your skill will be.
3. The energy is COLLECTED. If your energy is scattered, then it will not be stored, and your body will easily fall into disorder. You must cause the energy to collect into your spine. Inhaling and exhaling penetrates and enlivens, influencing every part of your body. Inhaling is contracting and storing. Exhaling is expanding and releasing. (The form of innate breathing is to expand when inhaling and contract when exhaling, whereas learned functional breathing contracts when inhaling and expands when exhaling.) Since with inhaling there is a natural rising, take the opponent up. Since with exhaling there is a natural sinking, send the opponent away. This is the use of intention to move energy, not the use of exertion to force energy.
4. The power is COMPLETE. The power of your whole body is trained to become a single unit, distinguishing clearly between empty and full. To issue power, there should be a source of it. Power starts from your heel, it is directed at your waist, and expresses at your fingers, issuing from your spine. With it there should also be a rousing of all your spirit. When the opponent’s power is about to come out but has not yet issued, my power connects with and invades his instantly, neither late nor early, as if my skin is a burning fire or as if a spring is gushing forth. I advance and retreat without the slightest disorder, and seeking the straight within the curved, I store and then issue. Thus I am able to be effortlessly successful. This is called borrowing his force to hit him with, using four ounces to move a thousand pounds.
5. The spirit is GATHERED. With the four above prepared, finally spirit gathers. Once spirit is gathered, then energy is tempered, and this smelted energy then reinforces spirit. Energy is ready to move and spirit is concentrated. Expand and contract are decisive. Empty and full are distinct. When left is empty, right is full. When right is empty, left is full. (These words have to do with emptiness and fullness in your own body.) Empty does not mean you are in that area completely weak (“weak” as in without intent), but that energy should there be ready to move. Full does not mean you are in that area completely stuck, but that spirit should there be concentrated. [It is crucial that changes are within your chest and waist and are not external.] Force is borrowed from the opponent. Energy is issued from your spine. How can energy issue from your spine? It sinks downward, going from your shoulders, gathering in your spine, and concentrates in your waist. This energy going from above to below is called contracting. Then it goes from your waist to your spine, spreading to your arms to be applied at your fingers. This energy going from below to above is called expanding. Contracting is gathering. Expanding is releasing. When you can understand expanding and contracting, then you will understand passive and active. When you reach this state, then daily work will yield daily refinement, and gradually you will reach the point that you can do whatever you want and everything will happen as you imagine.
There is also “The Trick to Releasing” in four sentences:
1. Raise: I get the opponent’s body to rise up and I borrow his force. (This has to do with “lively”.)
2. Draw in: Once I have drawn him in front of me, my power begins to store. (This has to do with “collected”.)
3. Relax: I relax my power, but I do not allow it to collapse. (This has to do with “calm”.)
4. Release: When I release, it comes from my waist and legs. (This has to do with “complete”.)
This piece also comes down to us from Li Yiyu, and is also extremely essential.
When two people are competing, does the one with the stronger and larger build actually have more advantage?
When two people are competing, it is just like using armies. The side that does more calculating defeats the side that does less, and if no calculating has been done, defeat will be inevitable no matter how much valiance is brought forth. [paraphrasing from Art of War, chapter 1] When competing, it is the one who has the most intent that will win, while the one with no intent will lose.
If the opponent uses effort, I will know very well what he is doing. I on the other hand will be using intent, and so my emptiness and fullness will be indeterminate, and my “obvious techniques and surprise ones will give rise to each other” [Art of War, chapter 5]. Once my intent has gone in one direction, I am expressing with a second intent, and once the second is on its way, I am expressing with a third. It is as Laozi said [Daodejing, chapter 42]: “From one comes two, from two comes three, from three comes everything.” I transform limitlessly.
One who enjoys using effort will inevitably become stuck, unable to change in accordance with either the timing or the position. One who uses intent bends and extends unrestrainedly, zigs and zags unfathomably, and when the opportunity comes to issue, it is like a flash of lightning or a bomb exploding. Even though the opponent has stumbled away, he will not know why it happened. Hence intention is undoubtedly superior to exertion.
In pushing hands, does listening energy (meaning the perceiving of the direction and length of the opponent’s force) only use the arms, or are there other areas that also must listen?
The skill of listening is first trained in the arms, but over the course of time it must be trained everywhere in the body. Wherever there is sticking, there is to be perceiving, and then every part will be able to identify energies. As the opponent’s palm or fist approaches my body, if every part of it is able to neutralize his force and make him miss, then I can be said to be truly identifying energies.
When sticking with an opponent, how do I get him to stumble away with but a gesture of my hand?
A Taiji Boxing essay [Essays, part 1] says: “With an upward comes a downward. With a forward comes a backward. With a left comes a right.” These three phrases fit this issue best, and is otherwise explained as [Art of War, chapter 7]: “Lure him in by giving him some advantage… Attack where he is unprepared.” Sunzi said [Art of War, chapter 6]: “In preparing his vanguard, he will suffer a weak back, and vice versa. In preparing his right flank, his left flank will be weak, and vice versa. And in preparing everywhere, his defense will be too diffuse to be of any use.” By “weak” is meant unpreparedness. When he prepares in front, he forgets his back, and so I make an obvious attack to his front in order to [make a surprise] attack to his back. When he prepares his left side, he forgets his right, and so I make an obvious attack to his left in order to [make a surprise] attack to his right.
Can you listen without sticking?
Yes, there is a theory to this. There is nothing more to the internal school of boxing than training the essence to transform it into energy, training the energy to transform it into spirit, and training the spirit to return to emptiness – three levels. If you can train your essence to transform it into energy, your body will become tough and external forces will not affect you within. If you can train your energy to transform it into spirit, then you will undergo an exhilarating change: wherever your intent moves, your posture will follow. If you can train your spirit to return to emptiness, the distinction between you and your opponent as two people will vanish and the distinction between body and mind will disintegrate. Reaching this level, you can control an opponent even without sticking to him.
The stepping in Bagua walks in a circle, shifting position through stepping, transforming limitlessly. Do you know if Taiji also has a circular stepping method.
Yang Shaohou taught me an exercise of two people sticking with their right hands, drawing circles upward from below, while stepping [to the left] to make a rightward [clockwise] circle, right foot stepping inward, left foot stepping forward [along the circle’s edge], the feet lifting and lowering until they have returned to their original position. The steps come down very lightly, as it is said [Understanding How to Practice]: “Step like a cat.” When sticking with their left hands, the left foot steps inward and the right foot steps forward [along the circle’s edge], [stepping to the right] to make a leftward [counterclockwise] circle. This is an exercise for two people to train sticking with their hands, and also contains an element of listening energy, but the shifting of position by stepping and the method of changing steps is the same as in Bagua.
In Huang Baijia’s Boxing Methods of the Internal School there are many combat techniques with colorful names, such as: Extended-Fist Rolling Chop, Spreading From the Center to Make a Cross Shape, Swinging an Elbow to Force the Door, Waving an Iron Fan Against the Wind, Letting Go of One Object to Fling Another Forward, Pushing an Elbow into the Crotch, Caving in with Your Chest to Pound His Ribs, Emperor Shun is Thrown into the Well, Cutting with Your Wrist to Attack His Joints, Sun Comes Through the Morning Clouds, Black Clouds Cover the Moon, White Ape Offers Fruit, Coil an Elbow in to Curl Up and Bump, Immortal Shows a Palm, Drawing a Bow in a Long Stance, Share an Embrace with the Moon, Left & Right Lifting a Rod, Bolting the Iron Gate, Hanging a Fish on a Branch, Filling the Belly with Pain, Successive Arrows, Lifting Up a Gold Piece, Holding up a Writing Brush with Both Hands, Arhat Falls Down, Pushing Open a Window with Both Hands, Leading a Sheep, Untangling a Rope, Swallow Tilts Up a Cheek, Tiger Covers its Head, and Four Ways of Wrapping His Waist. Does Taiji Boxing have these things nowadays?
These are all names of techniques. The method in Taiji Boxing is to listen to the opponent’s energy and respond according to the situation, and so it really has no fixed techniques. In the old days, postures closely resembled the names that were lent to them, but much time has passed, and we can no longer presume to definitively analyze them according to their descriptions. Yet the transmission of their function has not been entirely lost, for their essentials lie in five terms [from the Bio of Zhang Songxi, Records of Ningbo Prefecture]: focused, sticky, expedient, potent, and precise. Focused means constantly paying attention and not daring to be disorganized. Sticky means the concept of sticking and following closely. Expedient means near – use the method that is closest and quickest. Potent means the idea of being solid, as in [Understanding How to Practice]: “Extreme softness begets extreme hardness.” Precise means observing carefully and not being disconnected.
In Taiji Boxing, you must strive for softness, but what is the advantage of softness?
Striving for softness means getting any part of your body to be able to loosen and become uninvolved. If your hand is pushed, your hand is moved but your elbow is not moved. If your elbow is pushed, your elbow is moved but your shoulder is not moved. If your shoulder is pushed, your shoulder is moved but your torso is not moved. If your torso is pushed, your torso is moved but your waist is not moved. If your waist is pushed, your waist is moved but your leg is not moved. And therefore you can be as stable as Mt. Tai.
When sending an opponent away, there is also the single continuous flow from foot through leg through waist through torso through shoulder through elbow to hand, and therefore you will be able to send him away as if you are loosing an arrow.
If I cannot be soft, my whole body becomes a single object, and although I may be strong, if I encounter someone stronger and he pushes just one area, my whole body will then be destabilized. So how can the function of softness not be important?
Therefore, be able to integrate [with all parts] and also be able to disintegrate [with any part], be able to be hard and also be able to be soft, be able to advance and also be able to retreat, be able to fill and also be able to empty. This is the subtlety of Taiji Boxing.
Taiji Boxing does not use effort to resist, so how is it that when a practitioner is pushed he cannot be moved?
Although Taiji Boxing does not use effort to resist, not using effort trains the ward-off energy to come forth, which is extremely round and full, not only in the arms but everywhere in the body. Therefore for one whose skill is deep, there are times when he does not use neutralizing energy and yet still is not affected by a push. His power of resistance is truly tremendous, but he does not have the intention of resisting. This is called “heavy as a mountain”.
How is it there are times when pushing forcefully that it feels like there is nothing there?
This is neutralizing energy. If you are able, without either coming away or crashing in, to match the length and speed of an opponent’s attack, it will be like he is grabbing the wind or grasping at shadows, always missing. It will look so delicate, and it will not be comprehended that it is a matter of fully rousing your spirit and using your hips. This is called “light as a feather”.
What are the grabbing methods like in pushing hands?
Taiji’s grabbing also does not use a great deal of effort, which would cause you to be unable to move. There are three concepts to it:
1 [straight grab]. By grabbing in a straight line along the direction the opponent is moving, I am able to reverse his power so that he is unable to come back at me even through effort.
2 [curving grab]. Even if his strength is great, I do not resist him, I slightly go along with it by lifting and turning it over in a circle so he cuts off his power himself and then goes along with my curving to end up back where he started, again unable to come back at me.
Both of these techniques contain principles of geometry and mechanics.
3 [grabbing without grabbing]. If your internal power is sufficient, then even though you stick to him ever so lightly, he still will not be able to move.
The first two are about technique and the third is about energy. If you know the technique but have no energy, or if you have energy but do not know the technique, either way you will not be able to capture the opponent. Both are indispensable.
A Taiji Boxing essay [Essays, part 2] says: “Forget about your plans and simply respond to the opponent.” How can I make not the slightest decision?
These words from the essays are the same as Laozi’s message [in Wenzi, chapter 3] that “to give is the way to get”. The extent to which I go along with the opponent depends on the degree of my skill:
– If I have a lesser skill, then I must go along with him longer, and I must wait until his power has finished in order to be able to counter.
– If I have a somewhat greater skill, then I can go along with him to a shorter extent, waiting until his power has come out halfway and interrupting it, and then right away I can counter.
– If I have a much greater skill, then I go along with him the tiniest little bit, interrupting his power from the start, and then right away I can counter. Sometimes when I am sticking to him, his power is completely unable to issue and I can instantly release energy, in which case I do need to go along with him, for I am in charge.
When releasing energy, “sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction” [from Undertsanding How to Practice]. Is it the whole’s body power that is going out?
Yes, your whole body’s power is going out, and therefore the energy released will surely go far. If it is only the energy of your arms, it will be limited. In Taiji, the energy sending an opponent away is extremely long, but for a practitioner with that much more skill, the movement is that much shorter. Sometimes you will not see his movement, but the opponent is already stumbling away. Although his movement is short, his energy is long.
A Taiji Boxing essay [Thirteen Dynamics Song] says: “Within movement, seek stillness, and in stillness, there is still movement.” [“In stillness, movement stirs, and then in moving, seem yet to be in stillness.”] During pushing hands, how is stillness to be sought within movement?
During pushing hands, as the opponent and I stick to each other I go along with his movement, and within my movement I must have an intention of stillness. If there is no stillness within my movement, this is just moving all over the place, with the result that my movement will be unable to be stable. If the opponent then takes advantage of my movement and releases energy, my moving all over the place will inevitably get me sent away. If within my movement I have an intention of stillness, I will at all times be able to listen to his changes, and it will not be easy for him to send me away.
Within stillness there must also be an intention of movement. If there is no movement within my stillness, this is a dead kind of stillness, with the result that my stillness will be unable to be lively. If the opponent then takes advantage of my stillness and releases energy, my lifeless stillness will inevitably get me sent away. If within my stillness I have an intention of movement, I will at all times be able to listen to his changes, and it will not be easy for him to send me away.
This [movement in stillness and stillness in movement] is the most essential principle.
In pushing hands, there is a single method of applying ward-off, rollback, press, and push, and yet I have performed it on one person and been able to send him away but then when I perform it on another person I have difficulty doing so. What is the reason for this?
This is because the character of one’s hardness and softness of movement is different for each person’s body. One person will have arms that are soft and a waist that is stiff. Another will have arms that are stiff and a waist that is soft. Yet another will be soft in both waist and arms. Still another will be stiff in both waist and arms. Therefore though you are using the same method in each case, the effect for each ends up different.
For this problem, you must forget about trying to get him where he is moving, for that area is difficult to release energy into, and instead attack him where he is not moving, for that area is easier to release energy into. [i.e. Ignore the moving targets, shoot the sitting ducks.] When you do it this way, you are always sure to get a bull’s-eye.
Could you clarify the areas in which it is easy to release or difficult to release?
If he is moving a lot in one area, in another area he will not be moving very much. It is easier to release energy into the area that is not moving very much.
What are moments in which it is easy to release or difficult to release?
If he was moving along one path, but then he has already changed direction, you will not be able to get to the target, and this is a moment in which it is difficult to release energy. But once that target has gone, there will be another that he will be too late to adjust, and this is a moment in which it is easy to release energy.
What does it mean to seek advance within retreat?
If an opponent advances forcefully, I have to retreat. But sometimes at the area where my arm is sticking to him, my arm goes along with his advance by withdrawing while at the same time my body and step are advancing forward. Then when his power has finished, my hands go along with my waist to release energy, with the result that he stumbles away even farther.
In Taiji Boxing, the most important thing is to neither come away nor crash in, but if the opponent has listening energy, both people will neither come away nor crash in, and thus neither person will be able to send the other away. What to do about this?
If the opponent is able to listen with his arms, I will be unable to catch an opportunity, but if he is unable to listen with his body, I can seize an opportunity to suddenly break contact and quickly release energy against his body, and this will in such situations give me occasions when I can send him away. It has been said in this way: “The energy breaks off but the intention continues.”
You said before [question 38] that without sticking there can still be listening energy. Under what circumstances is this so?
If I am sticking to the opponent and he is unable to hit me, this is because I can listen to his energy when I am sticking to him. If I am not sticking to him and he is able to hit me, this is because I cannot listen to his energy when I am not sticking to him. When I am not sticking to him, I should still be able to listen to him, and then no matter how unprepared I am, he would be unable to hit me, but it takes a very high level of skill to be able to listen to the opponent’s energy without sticking to him.
ON TAIJI BOXING’S VARIOUS TECHNIQUES
How are Taiji Boxing’s various techniques to be applied?
The Taiji Boxing solo set has more than seventy postures, and they are all techniques. But equipped with techniques, why must we also train in pushing hands methods? Because the adaptability of these techniques always comes from the listening energy of pushing hands. If you are able to listen to energy, then the technique will be used appropriately. If you are not sticking to the opponent, you will not know how to listen to his energy and thereby apply techniques, and you will be left with doing the blocking and hitting of external styles, which technique after technique is not the right thing to do.
A Taiji Boxing essay [Essays, part 2] says: “Once you have engrained these techniques, you will gradually come to identify energies (“techniques” meaning these various postural techniques), and then from there you will work your way toward something miraculous.” From this it can be seen that the engraining of techniques is the first step toward skill and identifying energies is the second stage. Techniques are not difficult, but identifying energies is extremely difficult.
For example, when an opponent attacks with a punch, if you are not first sticking to him, then you are unable to listen to his energy. If you are unable to listen to his energy, then you will be unable to execute any techniques, be they left or right, high or low, advancing or retreating. But once you are sticking to him, then if his hand lifts, go along with it by also lifting, and then you can use your left hand to strike to his chest. Or if his hand lowers, go along with it by also lowering, and then use your left hand to strike to his face. Or if his hand goes forward with the energy inclining to the left, go along with it to the left to neutralize his power, and then you can spread your hands apart, using your left hand to stick to him and clearing the way for your right hand to strike to his head. Or if the energy is inclining to the right, go along with it to the right to neutralize his power and use your left hand to strike to his head or shoulder. Or if his fist pulls back, take advantage of the momentum by going forward with releasing energy. These brief descriptions give a general idea.
To sum up, Taiji techniques are different from the techniques of other boxing styles. Taiji Boxing’s techniques come from sticking and listening. The techniques of other styles involve staying apart for each person to use his hands or feet. When they are at a distance, they have no contact with each other, and when their bodies are close, they wrestle with each other. Always the stronger one wins.
In Xu Yusheng’s 1921 manual, after each posture there was a very detailed application explanation included. I once asked Yang Chengfu about this for the The Art of Taiji Boxing: “If I added in applications to the techniques, would it be more complete?” He said: “Taiji Boxing techniques are responses according to situations and are without a fixed pattern. If you know how to listen to energy, then hearing one thing lets you know a hundred, and if you don’t know listening energy, then even if you know many techniques, you will not be able to apply them well anyway.” This is why when I wrote that book I did not add applications for the techniques.
Sunzi said [Art of War, chapter 3]: “Know both enemy and self.” [and from chapter 7:] “Leave after but arrive before.” Taiji Boxing’s listening energy is entirely a skill of knowing the opponent. Able to stick to the opponent, then [from addition to Playing Hands Song]: “If he takes no action, I take no action, but once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted.” If he does not know listening energy, then with but a gesture he will sent stumbling away, but if you still have not attained the skill of Taiji Boxing’s listening energy, and you are unable to stick to the opponent, then it would be better if you were not actually fighting with others at all.
If I encounter an expert in a different style whose hands and feet are really fast and I have no chance to be able to stick to him, what do I do?
In other styles of boxing, they separate to fight at a distance. But if an opponent’s distance from me is too far, he will be unable to hit my body. If he wants to get to me, he has to get close enough with his hands or feet that we can reach each other. So once he nears my body, I can stick to him, and once I am sticking to him, I can listen to his energy. [from Essays, part 2:] “If he moves fast, I quickly respond, and if his movement is slow, I leisurely follow.” When you are in this situation, you must not be timid. Quickly close on him and stick to him. By sticking to him, there will be no danger, but if do not stick to him, he can get the advantage.
If two people are sticking with their hands and their listining skill is about equal, can the various techniques be applied?
Not easily. If they both have listening ability, each will not allow the other to disconnect. So if one can manage to disconnect and pull off one of these techniques, then his skill is obviously deeper. A Taiji expert will stick to his opponent to make it decidedly difficult for him to carry out his techniques. Therefore sticking is the most important skill and must not be looked upon as inconsequential. [This indicates that if your opponent knows all of these techniques but is not good at sticking while you know none of these techniques but are good at sticking, you will win.]
How is CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL to be applied?
If an opponent punches at me with his right fist, I use my right hand to stick to it, then if he also punches at me with his left fist, I use my left hand to stick to it, advancing with my right foot (If my right foot is already forward, I do not need to advance.), and then use my right arm to roll him back. If he wrests away to the rear, I take advantage of the energy of his escape and press or push him. By observing the state of his posture and momentum, I can then respond accordingly.
How is SINGLE WHIP to be applied?
This is for dealing with opponents to both sides. It is also sometimes done with double palms.
How is the hooking hand to be used?
This is an example of rolling energy. When you apply it, first use your fingertips, then knuckles, then back of the hand, then wrist. It is like the forward and downward rotating of a wheel.
How is RAISE THE HAND to be applied?
When I advance with my right fist or right palm, if the opponent uses his right hand to push down on my right wrist, I then go along with his pushing energy by loosening downward and use my left hand to take aside his right hand, clearing the way for my right hand to lift up from below, from his belly area to his chest, chin, or nose, with an energy of lifting upward.
How is WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS to be applied?
When I put forward my right palm or fist, if the opponent uses his left hand to push down on my right wrist while using his right hand to return a strike, my right hand goes along with his downward pushing energy and loosens downward, then my left hand sticks to his right fist and slightly plucks downward as my right hand goes from the right side in an upward arc to strike to his temple with the back of the hand. This is called “Palm Returning a Pearl”.
How is BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE to be applied?
An opponent punches at me with his right fist, so I use my left hand to brush it outward and use my right hand to strike to his chest. Or if he punches at me with his left fist, I use my right hand to brush it outward and my left hand to strike to his chest.
How is PLAY THE LUTE to be applied?
If an opponent uses his right fist to attack me and his arm gets very straightened, I connect to his wrist with my right palm, to his elbow with my left palm, and go to the right using power from my waist, both hands rubbing toward each other, with the result that his arm will surely be injured. If done with full power, his elbow will be broken. This is an example of rollback energy and is also an example of breaking energy.
How is ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH to be applied?
If an opponent uses his right fist to punch to my chest or belly, I then send my right fist down from above, the center of the hand facing upward, to connect with and press down his right wrist, and use my left palm to strike to his face. If he uses his left hand to connect with my left palm, I quickly use my right fist to punch to his belly or chest. This is therefore called “three rapid strikes”.
How is SEALING SHUT to be applied?
When I punch with my right fist, if the opponent uses his left hand to push my elbow aside, I then send my left hand from the outside of my elbow to connect to his wrist, going along with his pushing energy to guide him off to the right [left], clearing the way for my right hand to push down on his elbow, then push with both hands, with the result that he stumbles away.
How is CROSSED HANDS to be applied?
This is for when both of my hands are sticking to both of the opponent’s hands. Sometimes I will want to use a spreading energy and sometimes I will want to use a joining energy.
How is CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN to be applied?
This is a technique for responding to two opponents, therefore it is separated into two techniques. If an opponent advances to attack from the right corner, I then use my right hand to connect and stick to it, and use my left palm to strike to his face. If another opponent then attacks from the left, I turn around and use SINGLE WHIP to strike him [What in Chen’s 1925 manual is considered to be the beginning movement of PUNCH UNDER ELBOW is here considered to be the ending movement of CAPTURE THE TIGER.]. Yang Shaohou said that another way to use CAPTURE THE TIGER is to lower your body to grab around his legs.
How is PUNCH UNDER ELBOW to be applied?
This is separated into three continuous techniques. I use my right palm or fist to strike across to the opponent’s temple. If he uses his left hand to block from the outside, I then withdraw it [my right palm] to store it under my left elbow and use my left palm to strike to his face. If he blocks my left palm, then I use my right palm to strike to his chest from under my elbow. The three techniques must be as one.
How is RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY to be applied?
If an opponent uses his right fist to punch to my chest or belly, I then use my left palm to pluck his right wrist, hollowing my chest and sitting onto my rear leg, and use my right palm to strike to his chest. Or if he punches with his left fist, I would use my right palm to pluck his left wrist, hollowing my chest and sitting onto my rear leg, and use my left palm to strike to his chest.
How is DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE to be applied?
When I strike with my right palm or fist, if the opponent uses his left hand to push my right elbow, then I use my left hand to pluck his left hand from my elbow, clearing the way for my right hand to strike to his temple. This is an example of rending energy.
How is NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA to be applied?
If an opponent grasps my right wrist, I then use this technique to cause him to be unable to achieve anything, his grip compelled to loosen.
How is FAN THROUGH THE ARM to be applied?
The opponent grasps my right wrist, and so I use NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA to neutralize his power, but if he forces his way upward, then I go along with his momentum and lift with my right hand, advancing with my left foot, and use my left palm to strike to his chest.
How is WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH to be applied?
I use my right elbow to strike the opponent, and if he presses it down with his hand, I then go along with his downward power that is connecting with and sinking my elbow by striking downward to his chest with a fist and striking to his face with my left palm. This is also known as FLIPPING THE HAMMER OVER.
How is CLOUDING HANDS to be applied?
This is basically an important exercise for training the waist. Both hands behave like wheels to roll back an opponent’s hand. Or if an opponent attacks me from behind, I turn my waist and use my arm to connect to him, then turn over my hand to strike to his shoulder.
How is RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE to be applied?
If an opponent punches with his right fist, I use my left palm to connect with it and use my right hand to strike to his face.
How is KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE to be applied?
If an opponent uses his left palm or fist to strike me, I advance a step to the right [left], using my left hand to connect with his wrist, then use my right arm to cast it away while lifting my right foot and kicking to his belly. If an opponent uses his right palm or fist to strike me, I advance a step to the left [right], using my right hand to connect with his wrist, then use my left arm to cast it away while lifting my left foot and kicking to his belly.
How is TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK to be applied?
An opponent comes to strike me from behind, so I turn around and spread my hands apart to strike his face while using my foot to press him, making him unable to defend against it. For the rest of the pressing kicks, it is basically the same.
How is PLANTING PUNCH to be applied?
If an opponent uses his left hand to strike to my groin or brush aside my left foot, I then use my left hand to brush his aside and use my right fist to punch downward.
How is WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE to be applied?
It is the same as for WHIPPING-TORSO PUNCH, but in this case using a palm in place of a fist.
How is DRAPING THE BODY, CROUCHING TIGER POSTURE to be applied?
The opponent grasps my right arm with both hands, so my right arm, going along with my waist, arcs downward and to the right to neutralize his strength while I use my left hand to grasp his right elbow, clearing the way for my right hand to be able to twine upward and strike across to his head. Or if he grasps my left arm with both hands, I arc it to the left, using my right hand to grasp his left elbow, clearing the way for my left hand to twine upward and strike to his head.
Another scenario is that he pushes on my right wrist with his left hand, so I send my left hand under the arm to connect to his left wrist, clearing the way for my right hand to punch to his waist. Or if he pushes on my left wrist with his right hand, I send my right hand under the arm to connect to his left [right] wrist, clearing the way for my left hand to punch to his waist.
In addition, your feet must step as the situation requires, like the footwork when practicing the solo set.
How is DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS to be applied?
If when I am pushing forward with both hands, the opponent uses both of his hands to press down, I then go along with the momentum by spreading to the sides from below and strike upward to his ears.
How is WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE to be applied?
If an opponent punches with his right fist to my head or chest, I use my right hand to pluck it to the left [right], advancing my left foot so it is behind him, and go against his chest with my left arm, my waist turning to the left, the result being that he is sure to fall to the left. If he punches with his left fist, I use my left hand to pluck it to the left, advancing my right foot so it is behind him, and go against his chest with my right arm, my waist turning to the right, the result being that he is sure to fall to the right.
How is MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE to be applied?
An opponent uses his right fist or palm to strike to my head, so I use my left arm to ward off upward and use my right palm to strike to his chest. Generally, when my arm and his are sticking to each other, if his rises I can use this posture to attack him. It follows from the situation easily.
How is SINGLE WHIP, LOW POSTURE to be applied?
This has to do with when an opponent makes a fierce forward attack, to which I respond by squatting my body to neutralize his power, then rise up to strike him.
How is GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG to be applied?
When an opponent gets too close to me, I use my palm or fist to strike to his chin while using my knee to strike to his lower abdomen.
How is STEP FORWARD WITH THE BIG DIPPER to be applied?
If an opponent sends his fist upward from below to strike to my face, I then make a rack with both my fists to send it away. This is an example of intercepting energy. I may also at the same time lift my right foot to kick to his groin. Whenever a foot is touching down emptily, it is always ready to be used as a kick.
How is STEP BACK TO RIDE THE TIGER to be applied?
When I use the previous technique, if the opponent’s power is too great and he advances forward, I then retreat and spread my hands apart, guiding his fist off to the side, then lift my left foot to kick him.
How is SPIN AROUND ON THE FOOT, SWINGING LOTUS KICK to be applied?
If an opponent uses his right fist to strike me, I lead it to the right with my right hand, pushing on his elbow with my left hand, and then I can spin my body around and use my right foot to kick to his back.
How is BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER to be applied?
If the opponent pushes on my right arm, I go along with his energy and loosen to the right. Once his power has been spent, I then use my right [left] fist to strike under his left armpit, using power from my waist to attack in return and send him away.
The various applications above give only a general idea. Since an opponent will not attack in a fixed way, how can I hold to a fixed method of defense? To sum up: you must respond according to the situation. If you want to respond according to the situation, then without regular pushing hands practice to produce acute sensitivity, even though your hands may be fast and your eyes quick, you will yet be unable to apply techniques continuously from one to another. Therefore in applying techniques, they must still come from sticking and changing. If not, then even if you have memorized hundreds of techniques, you will be unable to deal with any of the thousands of styles. Taiji comes down to one word: stick. Limitless adaptability comes from sticking.
A Taiji Boxing essay [Essays, part 2] says: “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.” The methods of pushing hands are entirely a training for the skill of knowing your opponent. Although other schools of boxing methods are good, they do not have pushing hands and therefore depend entirely on fast hands and quick eyes. But simply by sticking [to your opponent], he will not know the direction or extent of your power and unavoidably make the errors of resisting or losing balance. Sunzi said [Art of War, chapter 3]: “Knowing both enemy and self, in a hundred battles you will not be defeated.” This is exactly the idea.
When sticking to the opponent’s hand, what to do if he kicks?
You can at all times perceive what he is doing. For instance, when he kicks, his body will move [and give away his intention]. When he is about to lift his foot, I pluck his hand down, causing him to be unable to lift his leg and have to put it down again, or I may advance a step under his crotch and release energy, with the result that his stance destabilizes and he stumbles away. If there are times when he cannot be stable on two feet, so much the worse for him when he is on one. For instance, whenever an opponent uses a sweeping kick, you can advance and release energy.
ON TAIJI BOXING’S ENERGIES
To outline the energies in Taiji, they divide into how many distinct concepts?
答就余所知者。約有粘勁。化勁 提勁 放勁 借勁 截勁 捲勁 入勁 抖擻勁數種。
The only ones I know about are sticking, neutralizing, lifting, releasing, borrowing, intercepting, rolling, penetrating, and shaking.
What is sticking energy?
Sticking to the opponent’s arm, be it lightly or heavily, and not allowing him to break connection or get away.
What is neutralizing energy?
When you are sticking to an opponent, if he forcefully pushes, then stick to it and neutralize it. Generally the power of an attack will be in a straight line and you will use a curve to draw it off to the left or right, causing its direction to change.
What is lifting energy?
When sticking to an opponent’s arm, if he uses effort to turn it over upward, I follow it by lifting upward, causing his heels to lift.
What is releasing energy?
Once the opponent’s heels lift and his body is no longer stable, I release energy along the direction he is leaning, and without the slightest effort he is made to stumble far away. A Taiji Boxing essay [Understanding How to Practice] says: “Store power like drawing a bow. Issue power like loosing an arrow.” When the opponent lifts, my energy is already stored. I follow along with his direction, sinking and loosening completely, and send him away like loosing an arrow. Sunzi said [Art of War, chapter 5]: “The power is like a loaded crossbow. The moment is like a flick of the trigger.” This is exactly the idea.
What is borrowing energy?
If an opponent pushes forward, borrow the power of his push and pull him. If he pulls back, borrow the power of his pull and push him. For left and right or up and down, it is the same. [Borrowing energy just means you adopt the same direction he’s going in and then give him a loan of four ounces.]
What is intercepting energy?
If an opponent attacks with a punch and it is too late to adjust, then intercept and stick. Intercepting energy means “knocking energy”: once there is contact, he stumbles away. One whose skill is not deep will not be able to do this.
What is rolling energy?
Punching to the opponent’s body with your fist spiralling like a drill.
What is penetrating energy?
With your palm sticking to the opponent’s body, your energy sinks downward and your palm makes a sudden movement. The energy penetrates directing into him, jarring his organs and inevitably resulting in serious injury.
What is shaking energy?
If an opponent attacks from behind and there is no time to turn around, give your body a shake, and he will surely stumble away. If your skill is not at a very high level, you will not be able to do this.
What is the distinction between energy and technique?
Techniques are the methods of change. Energy is what moves inside a technique. A technique can be done in many ways but an energy can only be done in one. Regardless of the technique, there is only one energy to it, but if the intent becomes different when it is applied, then the energy changes along with the change in technique. [In other words, if you switch techniques, you can still use the same energy, but if you switch energies, you also have to switch techniques.]
What is the distinction between energy and effort?
Effort is what you are born with. Energy is a trained skill. Effort is a kind of raw strength, like pig-iron in that it has not yet been smelted and refined, whereas the skilled energy that comes through training is like smelted iron that has been made into steel. As an old saying goes, “Strength is not equal to skill.” This skill means the trained energy. While all boxing styles have their refinements, their energies are not trained in the same way. Taiji Boxing trains by loosening, thus generating the authentic internal power of softness leading hardness. For one who trains hard energy, during a moment of inattention the energy goes away, and if he is at that time attacked fiercely by an opponent, he will unavoidably be injured. If you train loose energy, then during a moment of inattention the energy remains, naturally filling your whole body without the slightest gap anywhere, and so even if you are attacked at that moment, it will not result in injury.
Are curved energy and straight energy to be separated or combined?
A Taiji Boxing essay [Understanding How to Practice] says: “Within curving, seek to be straightening.” Within curved energy, there must be straight energy. Within straight energy, there must be curved energy. If you have curved energy but are without straight energy, then you will only be able to neutralize and unable to release. If you have straight energy but are without curved energy, then when you encounter an opponent who has neutralizing energy, you will surely be made to miss. Therefore it is best when these two energies can be merged into one.
What is the distinction between hard energy and loose energy?
Hard energy will seize up your own energy. If you [use it to] hit an opponent with a hundred pounds of force, only fifty hits his body and the other half stays in yours. Loose energy is like throwing a stone as far as you can. If you [use it to hit an opponent] with a hundred pounds of force, all of it is released to his body and not the slightest bit of it stays in yours.
Is there a fixed moment to use intercepting energy?
When applying intercepting energy, the most important thing is the proper moment. Misjudge it by a split-second and you will have missed the chance. Generally speaking, the best moment for it is when the opponent is about to issue power but has not yet issued power, is about to expand but has not yet expanded.
ON TAIJI BOXING’S METHODS OF LIMBERING & MEDITATION
Is Taiji Boxing the same as the ancient limbering arts?
The ancient limbering arts, as in the case of Hua Tuo’s Five Animal Frolics, sought to “loosen by imitating the walking motions of bears and stretch by imitating the extending motions of birds” [Zhuangzi, chapter 15], all patterned after birds and beasts. In Taiji Boxing, there are various names such as RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY and WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE, etc.
Taiji Boxing does not go beyond empty and full, and expand and contract. By way of empty and full, expand and contract, the breathing is regulated. It greatest subtleties lie in moving the whole body evenly and slowly. When the movement is even and slow, then the breathing is naturally deep and long, and thus the breath does not need to be deliberately regulated, for it is now self-regulating. The limbering arts also regulate the breath through the expanding and contracting of the posture, but the exercises of the Tendon Changing Classic and the Eight Sections of Brocade work one movement at a time, while Taiji Boxing is a whole-body exercise which can evenly cultivate every part without the slightest emphasis on any one area, and in this way is able to prevent disease and extend life.
Three in Agreement is an early elixirist text, which says [chapter 22 – “Barring Shut the Three Treasures”]: “[With the three treasures barred shut,] slow your body down and dwell in an empty room.” “Slow your body down” is the most important part to pay attention to. This is the same as in the Taiji Boxing essays [Thirteen Dynamics Song & Understanding How to Practice] where it says “relax completely”. If you slow your body down and relax completely, then energy will naturally sink to your elixir field. Therefore those who advocate using effort are utterly incapable of regaining a natural and comfortable state and thus cannot obtain the benefits of Taiji’s limbering. Although the postures are there, the mentality is not.
What is Taiji Boxing’s breathing like?
Taiji Boxing’s breathing goes along with the expanding and contracting of the postures, inhaling when expanding [contracting] and exhaling when contracting [expanding]. Li Yiyu said: “Since with inhaling there is a natural rising, take the opponent up. Since with exhaling there is a natural sinking, send the opponent away.” Inhaling is basically energy entering, and yet it does the lifting. Inhaling is basically energy exiting, and yet it does the sinking. The rising and sinking in Taiji breathing are actually the alternations of innate energy, thus conforming to sitting meditation and the elixirist arts, and by this means is able to prevent disease and extend life.
Liu Huayang’s “Wind and Fire Classic” [Chapter 6 of Treatise on Verifying Immortality] says: “The inhaling descending and the exhaling ascending has to do with the operations of both the innate and acquired energies. When acquired energy is inhaled, innate energy ascends. Ascending corresponds to the sky [i.e. the upper symbol of the eight trigrams, or your headtop], where it is to be “selected for purity”. When acquired energy is inhaled [exhaled], innate energy descends. Descending corresponds to the ground [i.e. the lower symbol of the eight trigrams, or your lower abdomen], where it is to be “smelted and refined”. [These two ore metaphors relate the process noticeably to the European alchemists. What they tried to do with metal materials, the Chinese elixirists try to do with metaphysical energies.] If you inhale with your nose and exhale with your mouth to make the ascending and descending, then innate energy will be sent far [in both directions].” What he describes as the ascending and descending of innate energy is the same as the breathing within Taiji Boxing.
Therefore Taiji seeks stillness within movement, the crucial key to facilitating meditative practice. If people consider Taiji Boxing to be a mere martial art, focusing only on defeating opponents, how will they know of this wonder within it?
What was the actual reason for picking the name Taiji?
Taiji [“grand pivot”] is the circle symbolizing the passive and active aspects merging into a single essence. In every part of the Taiji Boxing solo set, strive to be fully rounded, distinguishing between passive and active, or empty and full. That is the reason for the name.
However, this only describes outward form and function, ignoring that there is a cavity within the human body where the life-force is established. It is called the “great central pivot” [da zhong ji]. For “great” [da], read “grand” [tai]. This cavity in the human body is in the exact center, where stands the “quietly smoldering cauldron” [where the elixir is smelted], the place where the elements of water and fire intersect. Taiji Boxing revolves innate energy, concentrating spirit into the cavity of energy, and not longafter, elixir is generated. Therefore Taiji Boxing enables you to understand the energy of the microcosmic universe [i.e. the human body] more rapidly than just sitting stationary.
Is it okay to practice Taiji Boxing and sitting meditation concurrently?
From that you would gain even better results at nourishing health and preventing illness. But when training in sitting meditation, it is difficult to obtain authentic teaching, and when the instruction is not good, it often leads to tremendously bad effects, and then not only will it be without benefit, it will in fact be harmful.
If you want to practice both but are without authentic instruction, then practice according to Taiji Boxing principles when you sit cross-legged, such as: you must forcelessly rouse strength at your headtop and center your tailbone.
Your eyes are closed, hands cupping your navel, your seeing is withdrawn and your listening is turned inward until reflections of reflections solemnly surround your five organs for fear they will be stolen away.
With solemnness in your eyes, then your eyes do not outwardly watch and your ethereal soul returns to your liver. With solemnness in your ears, then your ears do not outwardly listen and your essence returns to your kidneys. With solemnness in your mouth, then your mouth does not outwardly chatter and your spirit returns to your heart. With solemnness in your nose, then your nose does not outwardly smell and your earthly soul returns to your lungs. With solemnness in your mind, then your functioning will does not scatter and your mind returns to your spleen.
Essence, spirit, ethereal soul, earthly soul, and mind… heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys… metal, wood, water, fire, and earth… ears, eyes, mouth, nose, and mind… They cluster together, each returning to its root and restoring it to life. Then the natural mind is naturally realized and illumination arrives, and there will surely be a special sensation perceived, making you different from ordinary people.
Liu Huayang emphasized wind and fire. Fire corresponds with spirit and wind corresponds with natural breathing. How can you train spirit and transform it into energy? As water must rely on fire in order to become steam, essence is equivalent to water. If you make use of spiritual fire shining down, then essence naturally can be transformed to become energy. When spiritual fire is shining down, you will sometimes worry its power is insufficient and so you will stir up the wind to fan it, and then the fire will surely be vigorous, as with the rousing bellows used in the casting of metals.
Taiji Boxing’s capacity to regulate breathing is the functioning of wind and fire. As a steam engine borrows the power of fire to boil water and emit steam, and thereby a many thousand ton weight can be agitated to move, so for the three treasures of the human body – essence, energy, spirit: if they can be conserved and refined, your powers will be beyond your imagination.
Can practicing Taiji Boxing be practiced in place of sitting meditation?
Of course. During sitting meditation it is difficult to get rid of distracting thoughts, but when practicing Taiji Boxing, your spirit is so concentrated that you can be completely without distracting thoughts and reach the point that your mind is level and your energy is calm, the notion of self and opponent as two people has been completely forgotten, distinctions haved softened into subtleties, and your body is at ease. It is difficult to describe in words, and so you could say you have “entered a Taiji trance”.
ON THE TAIJI STUDENT’S BUILD VERSUS ACCOMPLISHMENT
What sort of physique is the most appropriate for Taiji Boxing?
All are appropriate, whether flexible or stiff, and training will make more noticeable one’s areas of difficulty and ease. For example, it is usually the case that thin people are more nimble but become timid when facing heavier people, while fat people are more stable but tend to be more clumsy. Each type has its strong points and each has its shortcomings, but with diligent practice all can equally succeed.
Although there are many who practice these skills, it is rare to meet one who is truly capable of becoming a noteworthy practitioner. What is the reason for this?
I have heard Yang Chengfu say: “To become a noteworthy practitioner, the first requirement is good instruction, the second requirement is a willingness to work at it, the third requirement is a physique that is solid but also nimble, and the fourth requirement is to be detail oriented and capable of understanding. With all of these four things, if ten years of hard work are put into it, it will always produce one who is noteworthy.”
If one person is strong and the other is weak, and they have both been learning Taiji Boxing, is it a matter of course that the strong will win?
During the beginning years of their training, they will not yet be indentifying energies, and so unavoidably there will be times when they end up clashing with their partners, and naturally the strong one will be winning. Once they reach the point that they are identifying energies, are able to be neither coming away nor crashing in, and have flexibility in their hips, then the strong one will not necessarily have the advantage.
How is depth of skill to be determined?
It is seen from observing competition between two people, in which there is a winner and a loser. If we are to determine accurately, let us take for example a bout between two people, one who has a build that is solid and powerful while the other has a build that is frail and weak, and the solid one is unable to handle the frail one. This means the skill of the frail one is obviously deeper and should be judged as superior. Since the principle for ordinary people is that naturally the strong defeats the weak and is not defeated by the weak, therefore this strong person’s skill is clearly not as good as the weak person’s.
There are various styles of boxing and they all slander each other. Can it not be determined which is better or worse without actually having bouts?
It is still difficult to determine even when having actual bouts. Suppose person A has been practicing a boxing style for only three years and person B has been practicing another style for five or six, and B wins. This is because A’s skill is not as deep, not because his style is inferior. If we want an accurate comparison, we must select two people of the same age, build, strength, and intelligence, who are studying their arts for the same amount of time and are both learning them from noteworthy teachers, and then after five or six years arrange for them to compete with each other, and in this way we might be able to determine which style is superior.
When practicing Taiji Boxing, it should be done slowly. But when performing, if it is too slow, people hate to watch it and find it inferior to the spirited displays of external stylists. What should we do to be able to attract the interest of spectators?
In Taiji Boxing, the spirit is gathered inside. Those who do not really recognize this are unable to comprehend it [when they watch it] and so it is basically unsuitable for performance. Taiji Boxing is essentially for cultivating oneself and training one’s own skill, not for gaining cheers. Since it is mainly suitable as an exercise for nourishing health, it has to be added to in order to promote it, and so when demonstrating, it must not be excessively slow. I know this because I daily saw the masters of the previous generation perform very differently when practicing on their own and when demonstrating for others.
But the circling and changing of Taiji Boxing’s two-person moving-step pushing hands is just as splendid as watching external stylists fighting each other and can attract the interest of spectators.
If we want to become noteworthy practitioners, standing out from the rest, in what way are we to practice?
You must first possess five mentalities:
1. Faith –
In studying any boxing art, you must have complete faith in it, and cannot harbor the slightest thoughts of doubt.
2. Esteem –
Having chosen a teacher to learn from, you must esteem and respect him, and cannot harbor even the slightest notions of regarding him lightly.
3. Perseverance –
“A man who is without perseverance will not become a shaman.” [Lun Yu, 13.22] For students of boxing arts, it is even more the case that without perseverance you cannot succeed.
4. Patience –
Not accomplishing it in five years, set your hopes on ten. Not accomplishing it in ten years, set your hopes on twenty. Even if your intelligence is low, though it will be hard to see any results after working at it only a short while, there has never yet been one who did not achieve if in possession of extraordinary patience. [When coupled with 3, there is this message: you have to work at it and wait for it at the same time.]
5. Humility –
Although you may have attained some small degree of skill, you must not put yourself on a pedestal and imagine you are matchless. Every kind of boxing art is guaranteed to have its area of specialty. You must always be open-minded toward studying them and thus be able to know both yourself and your opponent, and then you will not end up losing because of arrogance.
ON TAIJI BOXING’S BENEFITS
Does practicing Taiji Boxing actually have proven effects on the body?
I established the Achieving Softness Boxing Society more than four years ago now, and those who have joined to learn amount to more than a thousand people, all of whom came because of illnesses they were suffering. After a year, chronic complaints left their bodies, their spirits were invigorated, and color returned to their faces. Whether it was pulmonary tuberculosis with spitting up of blood, gastric disease with inability to eat or drink, or nocturnal emissions, hemorrhoids, headaches, dizziness, numbness of the extremities, or just plain old gas pain, all sorts of lingering illnesses, too many to enumerate, all quickly recovered from them after practicing Taiji Boxing. This school has witnessed broad evidence of clear results.
Should women practice Taiji Boxing?
The female body is soft and gentle, and so practicing Taiji Boxing is particularly appropriate. The female students who have come to this school on account of illness have all become healthy and robust. There is a Ms. Liang Bidie of Guangdong, who has learned from me for two years, and who has composed a piece of writing on the subject, which is reproduced below. The views of women must be paid attention. Her composition reads:
Although I am a woman, my body is not weak. But my disposition is very calm, and all day long I sat quietly, absorbed in my studies so that I may take my place in society. Regarding methods of cultivating health, I simply gave it no attention, and as time passed I then felt I did not have enough energy to lift my body, for I had gradually developed a disorder of the spleen, and I suffered a gastric illness for three or four years. With the medicine stove as my daily companion [Chinese medicines are cooked whereas in the West they are typically swallowed in tablet form or injected with syringes. This is the equivalent of saying “with the medicine cabinet as my daily companion” or conveys the misery of self-needling that accompanies many disorders.], I looked upon the world as hell and recovered not the slightest joy of being alive.
One or two noteworthy doctors told me: “This is an illness no medicine can cure. You must first of all conserve your energy, and you must also do very little work.” And so I was told to direct some small effort into physical exercise, which at the time I dismissed with a laugh. I thought that as I am naturally inclined to enjoy quietude and not enjoy exercise, then if I made an effort to exercise I would instead only increase my pain.
Consequently, I turned to the practice of calligraphy. I wanted to draw words embroidering flowers and trees, birds and fish, and paint freely of mists and clouds, mountains and waters, so as to support the shaping of my character. But the illness still did not diminish, the medicine was incapable of having any effect, and I reckoned I would not recover.
I recalled what the doctors had told me, the idea of some very slight exercise. So I went to Chen Weiming of Hubei, who had established the Achieving Softness Boxing Society in Shanghai and was teaching Taiji Boxing to many students, both men and women alike. The students had all gotten something out of it, and those who had chronic ailments had cast them off completely. My father encouraged me to join the school and do the training so I could use Taiji to regulate my digestive energies, a natural method of getting healthy that would harmonize my blood and energy until they were working together properly.
So I decided to join the school in summer, 1927, 6th month. After training for not even a month, my appetite suddenly increased. After three months, my body weight went up by about twenty percent. I used to be unable to do the training, but now I can do all of it. I used to find it hard work, but now I find it a pleasure. My spirit is abundant and my body is flourishing. When my friends and relatives see me, they can hardly recognize me, and I myself have no idea how such results could happen so quickly.
I have come to understand that the method of Taiji Boxing is sophisticated and limitless, returning you to primeval oneness so that the original creative force of Nature is coursing through your body, and then by going along with its operations, you can make use of it to cause your blood to circulate always without stagnancy. By preserving innate spirit, gain acquired cultivation. Those who do it correctly draw it in endlessly. Those who do it incorrectly obstruct it so it cannot enter.
Take into consideration that the method of Taiji Boxing seeks softness. Zhuangzi [Laozi] said [Daodejing, chapter 43]: “The softest thing in the world wears away the hardest.” Laozi said [DDJ, 78]: “The soft conquers the hard. The weak defeats the strong.” This is a principle of evolution [Indeed, the real meaning of “survival of the fittest” often involves the meek inheriting the earth.] and therefore is able to benefit all things. It does not use effort, and so power is naturally generated. It does not harm one’s energy, and so there is more than enough. Of all the internal boxing arts, the method of Taiji Boxing is the most well-rounded [pun presumably intended].
Tradition has it that those who obtain it can unburden their bodies and lengthen their age. Although it may not be entirely believeable, what I have gotten from it is indeed such a case. Chen Weiming once said to me: “You first came here to cure your disease, but if you continue from this point and practice for a long time without slackening, your progress will someday bring you to things inestimable and unimaginable.” What I have learned from the method of Taiji Boxing and so far achieved has greatly moved me, and I deeply regret that I got a teacher as late as I did, but will never dare to slacken!
Ms. Liang’s words above serve to show how especially benficial Taiji Boxing is for women, but they must be perseverant, not flirting with it for a while and then quitting, for it has always produced results.
ON TAIJI BOXING’S SINGLE POSTURE PRACTICE METHODS
Taiji Boxing is already good for people’s health as it is, and so we must strive to popularize it so that everyone is able to learn it, but the published books about it are generally difficult to understand. What must we do to enable people to learn on their own without a teacher?
The Taiji Boxing solo set is a thread that curves continuously with pause, and is somewhat complicated. When I wrote The Art of Taiji Boxing, I explained it in detail, but for those who have not learned it yet and want to learn it from the book, it is not an easy thing to do, for it cannot be done without personal instruction.
Long ago, the thirty-seven postures taught by Xu Xuanping were all drilled as individual postures. We can nowadays make use of this idea and pick out the most important postures from the Taiji Boxing solo set to practice as separate postures. This is similar to the method of the Eight Sections of Brocade, which is without the complexity of continuous joined postures. Provided I have explained them clearly, they will be relatively easy to learn from this book. Here then are ten [though numbered here as eleven – i.e. ten proper postures plus BEGINNING POSTURE] particular postures which will be presented individually below:
1. TAIJI BEGINNING POSTURE
2. CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL with LEFT & RIGHT RUBBING HANDS
3. LEFT & RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
4. CROSSED HANDS
5. LEFT & RIGHT CLOUDING HANDS
6. LEFT & RIGHT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE
7. LEFT & RIGHT DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS
8. LEFT & RIGHT WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE
9. LEFT & RIGHT MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE
10. LEFT & RIGHT SINGLE WHIP LOW POSTURE
11. LEFT & RIGHT PRESSING KICK
Each posture is exercised on both sides, to make a total of twenty-four exercises. If you can practice these, your whole body will receive a vast benefit no different from practicing the complete solo set. [Going through this whole routine also takes roughly the same amount of time as performing the whole solo set.]
[To prevent confusion, the statement that there is a total of twenty-four exercises needs clarifying:
- BEGINNING POSTURE and CROSSED HANDS are not performed on both sides, because they only face forward with the feet spread to the sides, and so each is counted as only one.
- SPARROW is split into three different kinds of exercises, making a total in itself of six.
- CLOUDING HANDS, FIGHTING TIGER, WILD HORSE, and PRESSING KICK all alternate left and right during the exercise, and so although each is done as a single exercise, each is counted as two because left and right will add up to the same amount of reps as in the other exercises.
Here is the complete routine of these ten, or eleven, postures spelled out in detail for how they amount to twenty-four exercises:
2. SPARROW (rub) right,
3. SPARROW (rub) left,
4. SPARROW (ward-off, rollback, press) right,
5. SPARROW (ward-off, rollback, press) left,
6. SPARROW (push) right,
7. SPARROW (push) left,
8. BRUSH KNEE left,
9. BRUSH KNEE right,
10. CROSSED HANDS,
11&12. CLOUDING left & right alternating,
13&14. FIGHTING TIGER left & right alternating,
15 DOUBLE WINDS right,
16. DOUBLE WINDS left,
17&18. WILD HORSE left & right alternating,
19. SHUTTLE right,
20. SHUTTLE left,
21. SINGLE WHIP LOW left,
22. SINGLE WHIP LOW right,
23&24. PRESSING KICK left & right alternating.]
What is the practice method for BEGINNING POSTURE?
Your body stands upright, your feet are parallel, shoulder width apart, and your hands are hanging down. See photo 1:
Your hands, without putting forth the slightest effort, gradually lift forward and upward until level with your chest, palms downward, shoulder width apart. See photo 2:
Your arms gradually withdraw and bend, and your hands, moving in unison with your waist, push down until beside your knees. See photo 3:
Again [your hands] gradually lift forward and up. The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times.
What is the practice method for CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL?
Part 1 [rubbing hands (a rollback exercise) – clockwise]:
Your feet are spread apart to make a “T” stance [meaning simply that your feet are almost perpendicular with each other], right foot forward, left foot behind. If your right toes are pointing to the south (All of the following postures will use “south” as a standard direction.), your left toes are pointing to the southeast. The length between your feet is a stride, the width between them a foot. Your hands are extended levelly, shoulder width apart, fingertips pointing to the south. See photo 4:
Your hands, without the slightest bit of effort, go along with your waist and gradually arc to the right until the fingertips are pointing to the southwest. At this time, you are sitting onto your right leg. See photo 5:
Then they [your hands] seem to draw a circle, going along with your waist and gradually arcing to the left until the fingertips are pointing to the southeast, and you are now sitting onto your left leg. [Your hands remain extended throughout. It is the weight shift that creates the illusion of the hands moving in circles.] See photo 6:
Your hands go along with your waist, again arcing from left to right [as you again sit onto your right leg].
The movement cycles over and over. When you arc to the right, sit onto your right leg, and when you arc to the left, sit onto your left leg. Do it in this way ten times.
Part 2 [rubbing hands – counterclockwise]:
Your left foot is forward, right foot behind. Your left toes are pointing to the south, right toes to the southwest. The length and width between your feet is the same as in Part 1. Your hands are extended levelly to the south as before.
They go along with your waist and gradually arc to the left until the fingertips are pointing to the southeast. At this time, you are sitting onto your left leg.
Then they [your hands] seem to draw a circle, [going along with your waist and] gradually arcing to the right until the fingertips are pointing to the southwest [and you are now sitting onto your right leg].
Your hands go along with your waist, again arcing from right to left [as you again sit onto your left leg].
The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times. Part 2 is the same as Part 1, except left and right are reversed, and so additional photos have not been made.
Part 3 [ward-off into rollback into press into ward-off – right]:
Your feet are in a T stance with your right leg sitting forward, your left leg straight and behind, as before. Your right hand is extended forward to the south at eyebrow height, the arm slightly bent, elbow hanging down, palm facing upward and inward, fingers pointing diagonally upward and to the southeast. Your left palm is facing your right pulse area, about two inches away from it, fingers upward. See photo 7:
Your hands, going along with your waist, arc to the right, your right hand turning over to face downward, your left hand turning over to face upward, right hand above, left hand below. See photo 8:
As your waist withdraws until your torso is sitting onto your left leg, your hands arc to the rear and upward until by your left shoulder, left palm facing forward, fingers upward, right palm inward, fingers diagonally upward. See photo 9:
Your hands then go along with your waist as it advances forward to sit onto your right leg, arcing until returning to their original position, and without pausing they then go along with your waist and arc to the right.
The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times.
Part 4 [ward-off into rollback into press into ward-off – left]:
Your feet are in a T stance with your left leg sitting and forward, your right leg straight and behind, as before. Your left hand is extended forward to the south at eyebrow height, the arm slightly bent, elbow hanging down, palm facing upward and inward, fingers pointing diagonally upward and to the southwest. Your right palm is facing your left pulse area, about two inches away from it, fingers upward.
Your hands, going along with your waist, arc to the left, your left hand turning over to face downward, your right hand turning over to face upward, left hand above, right hand below.
As your waist withdraws until your torso is sitting onto your right leg, your hands arc to the rear and upward until by your right shoulder, right palm facing forward, fingers upward, left palm inward, fingers diagonally upward.
Your hands then go along with your waist as it advances forward to sit onto your left leg, arcing until returning to their original position, and without pausing they then go along with your waist and arc to the left.
The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times. It is the same as on the other side, and so additional photos have not been made.
Part 5 [push – right leg forward]:
Your right leg is sitting forward, left leg straight and behind, as before. Your hands are extended, shoulder width apart, fingertips upward, palms forward. See photo 10:
Your hands go upward and loosen so the fingertips are pointing forward, palms downward, while your waist goes to the rear and loosens until you are sitting onto your left leg. See photo 11:
Your hands then push out forward, but must not go too far beyond your knee, and again go upward and loosen, the movement cycling over and over. Do it in this way ten times.
Part 6 [push – left leg forward]:
Your left leg is sitting forward, right leg straight and behind. Your hands go along with the advancing and retreating of your waist the same as in Part 5, and so additional photos have not been made.
[See question 57 for application explanation to all parts of CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL.]
What is the practice method for BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE?
Your left leg is sitting forward, right leg straight and behind, making a T stance as before. Your right hand is extended in front of your chest, fingers upward, palm forward. Your left hand is to the outside of your left knee, fingers forward, palm downward. See photo 12:
Your right palm gradually turns over to face upward while arcing downward, then goes along with your waist arcing to the rear as you gradually sit onto your right leg, your right fingers now hanging down. At the same time, your left hand lifts up until in front of your chest, then goes along with your waist, arcing to the right until in front of your right shoulder as your right hand gradually arcs upward. Once you are sitting onto your left [right] leg, your left hand gradually arcs downward until between your chest and abdomen while your right hand gradually arcs from behind until beside your right ear. See photo 13:
Then going along with your waist, it [your right hand] pushes forward until where it was in front of your chest, while your left hand also goes along with your waist, brushing downward until again to the outside of your left knee [as you sit onto your left leg]. Your eyes go along with the arcing movement of your right hand. The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times.
Your left leg is sitting forward, left leg straight and behind. Your left hand is extended in front of your chest, fingers upward, palm forward. Your right hand is to the outside of your right knee, fingers forward, palm downward. Your left hand does as your right hand did before and your right hand does as your left hand did before, arcing along with the movement of your waist. The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times. It is all the same as on the other side, and so additional photos have not been made.
[See question 62 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for CROSSED HANDS?
Stand straight, feet parallel and spread apart, hands crossed to make an X shape directly in front of your chest. See photo 14:
Your hands go upward and spread apart to the left and right. Once they have reached shoulder level, your waist is correspondingly sitting. See photo 15:
Your hands then go inward from the sides to gradually join together, your waist correspondingly rising, and lift in front of your chest to again make an X shape. Your hands seem to be drawing a large circle with your waist following along up and down, the movement cycling over and over. Do it in this way ten times.
[See question 66 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for CLOUDING HANDS?
Your legs are in a parallel stance, spread about two and a half feet apart. Your hands are first spread levelly apart, making a line with your shoulders, palms facing downward. (Look again at photo 15.) Your right hand, going along with your waist, arcs downward to the left, gradually turning so the palm is facing upward, then arcs up until in front of your left shoulder, gradually turning so the palm is facing inward. You are now sitting onto your left leg and your left hand has not yet moved. See photo 16:
Your left hand, also going along with your waist, now arcs downward to the right, gradually turning so the palm is facing upward, then arcs up until in front of your right shoulder, gradually turning so the palm is facing inward. You are now sitting onto your right leg, but the movement of your left hand began while you were still sitting on your left leg. At the same time, your right hand, going along with your waist, again arcs to the right, the palm turning to face downward, until making a line with the shoulder. See photo 17:
By the time you are sitting onto your right leg, your left hand has arced to your right shoulder, but it does not pause there. It goes along with your waist to again arc to the left, the palm turning to face downward, until making a line with the shoulder. The right hand at the same time has again arced to your left shoulder and you are sitting onto your left leg. (Look again at photo 16.)
Your hands go back and forth along with your waist, turning like wheels. When your right hand has reached your left shoulder, your eyes then go along with the arcing of your right hand, and when your left hand has reached your right shoulder, your eyes then go along with the arcing of your left hand. The movement cycles over and over. Do it in this way ten times.
[See question 74 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for LEFT & RIGHT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE?
Your feet are spread apart, making a parallel stance as in the CLOUDING HANDS posture. Begin by sitting onto your right leg as your right hand extends to make a line with your right shoulder, palm downward, and your left hand bends in to be by your right shoulder, palm also downward. Your hands go along with your waist by arcing downward and to the left, your left hand then making a large arc upward from the left until above your forehead, grasping into a fist, the center of the hand outward, as your right hand arcs until in front of your chest, grasping into a fist, the center of the hand inward. The tiger’s mouths of both fists are facing each other. You are now sitting onto your left leg. While your hands arc, your eyes go along with the movement of your left hand. See photo 18:
Then your left fist arcs to the left and downward until making a line with your left shoulder, then goes along with your waist, arcing downward and to the right until in front of your chest, the center of the hand inward. Your right fist at the same time goes to downward to the left [right], then makes a large arc upward to the right [left] until above your forehead, the center of the hand outward. The tiger’s mouths of both fists are facing each other. [You are now sitting onto your right leg.] Your eyes go along with the movement of your right fist. See photo 19:
Your fists rotate left and right, one coming and one going. Do it in this way ten times.
[See question 80 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for LEFT & RIGHT DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS?
Your right foot is forward, left foot behind, making a T stance. First sit onto your left leg, hands crossed above your left knee, palms upward. See photo 20:
Your hands go downward and spread apart to the left and right until making a line with your shoulders, then arc forward, gradually arcing, gradually joining, until in front of your forehead, grasped into fists with the center of the hands outward, the fists about two inches apart. Your waist at the same time advances forward until you are sitting onto your right leg. Slightly pause. See photo 21:
Your fists then loosen to become palms, switching to facing upward, then go downward to spread to the sides as before, your waist at the same time sitting back, until you are sitting onto your left leg. Your hands then go forward and join together until you are sitting onto your right leg. Do it in this way ten times. If your left foot is forward, your right foot is behind, and the method is the same as before.
[See question 81 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for WILD HORSE PARTS ITS MANE?
Your feet are in a parallel stance spread apart, as in the CLOUDING HANDS posture (In the single posture practice methods, the footwork has to be adjustable.), your body facing south. First sit onto your left leg, your hands coming together above your left knee, right hand below, palm upward, fingertips pointing to the southeast, and left hand above, palm downward, fingertips pointing to the southwest. Both hands seem to be holding a ball. See photo 22:
Your hands gradually spread apart, your right hand diagonally upward to the southwest, palm still facing upward, fingertips gradually turning to the southwest, while your left hand goes diagonally downward to the northeast, palm still facing downward, fingertips gradually turning to the southeast. While your hands spread apart, your waist gradually shifts to the right to sit onto your right leg, your eyes going along with your right hand to look to the southwest. There is a slight pause. See photo 23:
Your right hand, palm upward, gradually withdraws, turning over to face downward, fingertips gradually turning to point to the southeast, while your left hand, palm downward, gradully turns to the right, turning over to face upward, fingertips gradually turning to point to the southwest, coming together with your right hand so the right hand is above, left hand below. Both hands seem to be holding a ball above your right knee.
Your hands gradually spread apart, your left hand going diagonally upward to the southwest [southeast], palm still facing upward, fingertips gradually turning to the southeast, while your right hand goes diagonally downward to the northwest, palm still facing downward, fingertips gradually turning to the southwest. While your hands spread apart, your waist gradually shifts to the left to sit onto your left leg, your eyes going along with your left hand to look to the southeast. There is a slight pause. The method is as on the other side, and so additional photos have not been made. Do it in this way ten times.
[See question 82 for application explanation, also question 70.]
What is the practice method for MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE?
Your right foot is forward, facing south, and your left foot is behind, making a T stance. First sit onto your left leg, and with your left hand above, palm downward, right hand below, palm upward, your hands come together above your left knee. See photo 24:
Your right hand goes gradually upward and forward, turning over, until above your forehead. The palm is outward, fingertips pointing to the southeast. Your left hand at the same time pushes out forward at about chest level. The palm is outward, fingertips upward. When both hands move, your waist at the same time advances forward to sit onto your right leg. There is a slight pause. See photo 25:
Your right hand goes along with your waist and slightly turns to the right until the palm is downward. your left hand at the same time turning slightly to the right until the palm is upward, so they are facing each other as right hand above and left hand below. (Look again at photo 8.)
Then going along with your waist, they withdraw, turning over until your right hand is again below and your left hand is again above, and as your hands come together, you sit onto your left leg, then go forward again as before. Do it in this way ten times.
If your left foot is forward, your right foot is behind, and so you will start by sitting onto your right leg, your hands coming together above your right knee. It will all be the same as on the other side except your left and right hands will be reversed above and below.
[See question 83 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for LEFT & RIGHT SINGLE WHIP LOW POSTURE?
Your left leg is sitting and your right leg is straight. They stand with about a foot’s width between them. Your left hand is extended, palm forward, fingerips upward, in the same direction as your left toes. The arm is slightly bent, with the elbow directly in line with the knee, and must not be too straight. Your right arm is extended to the rear, with its five fingers hanging down, in the same direction as your right leg. Your eyes are looking toward your left hand. You are making the SINGLE WHIP posture. See photo 26:
Your torso, going along with your waist, gradually withdraws and sits down onto your right leg, the lower the better, lowering until your left leg is straight, but your torso must not overly lean and your head should still have an energy of pressing up. Your left hand at the same time, going along with your waist, withdraws until by your right shoulder then arcs downward until by your left knee. See photo 27:
Then it [your left hand], going along with your waist, rises up to eyebrow height, palm again outward. Your right hand at the same time goes downward and makes a large arc to the left until by your left shoulder. See photo 28:
Your left hand, going along with your waist, again withdraws and arcs downward as your right hand arcs to the right until extended as before. Both hands go up and down along with your waist, circling like a wheel. Do it in this way ten times.
[Then switch to] your right leg forward, left leg behind, making the SINGLE WHIP posture, and it is all the same as on the other side.
[See question 84 for application explanation.]
What is the practice method for LEFT & RIGHT PRESSING KICK?
First stand straight, making the CROSSED HANDS posture, facing south [as in photo 14].
Your hands go slightly upward, then gradually spread apart to resemble a half-moon shape, right hand to the west, left hand to the east. Once they have spread, the fingers of both hands are upward. At the same time, your right leg lifts and presses out to the west. See photo 29:
Your right leg withdraws as your right hand goes from the right to the left, your left hand at the same time going in a downward arc from the left to the right in accordance with the movement of [the left side of] your waist, until the centers of the palms are facing each other, left hand slightly higher, right hand slightly lower. Your right foot at the same time goes along with your waist and hands, stepping to the west and sitting, and your hands arc upward from below and join together to make the CROSSED HANDS posture. Your hands spread apart in unison, left hand to the east, right hand to the west, as your left leg lifts and presses out to the east. See photo 30:
[Your left leg withdraws as] your left hand then goes from the left to the right, your right hand at the same time going in a downward arc from the right to the left in accordance with the movement of [the right side of] your waist, until the centers of the palms are facing each other, right hand slightly higher, left hand slightly lower. Your left foot at the same time goes along with your waist and hands, stepping to the east and sitting, and your hands arc upward from below and join together to make the CROSSED HANDS posture. Your hands again spread apart as your left [right] foot presses out. Do it in this way ten times.
[See question 77 for application explanation.]
LIST OF ACHIEVING SOFTNESS BOXING SOCIETY MEMBERS
[a list of nine hundred twenty-six names]
王鼎元 薛晉雄 岑巍 秦鑑本 孫潔人 嚴敬愼 王傳燡 李剛俠 蕭國樹 沈彭生
Wang Dingyuan, Xue Jinxiong, Cen Wei, Qin Jianben, Sun Jieren, Yan Jingshen, Wang Chuanyi, Li Gangxia, Xiao Guoshu, Shen Pengsheng,
胡鏡庸 倪國才 王嘯漁 孫億年 楊成才 施漢章 王立才 李衍善 邱成瑜 朱雋鹿
Hu Jingyong, Ni Guocai, Wang Xiaoyu, Sun Yinian, Yang Chengcai, Shi Hanzhang, Wang Licai, Li Yanshan, Qiu Chengyu, Zhu Juanlu,
郭俊民 郭俊錤 郭俊鉌 王漢禮 許頤齋 戴桐原 韓思民 許雲翔 楊憲臣 王侶樵
Guo Junmin, Guo Junji, Guo Junhe, Wang Hanli, Xu Yizhai, Dai Tongyuan, Han Simin, Xu Yunxiang, Yang Xianchen, Wang Lüqiao,
潘志傑 馮之沛 秦曙聲 董鐵峯 翁受宜 李秉法 胡福良 胡敬侃 孫莘農 孫億中
Pan Zhijie, Ping Zhipei, Qin Shusheng, Dong Tiefeng, Weng Shouyi, Li Bingfa, Hu Fuliang, Hu Jingkan, Sun Shennong, Sun Yizhong,
周錫蒸 陸海藩 林祖庭 鄭志仁 孫乃騄 朱企賢 管峻 王兪欽 沈成基 陳維東
Zhou Xizheng, Lu Haifan, Lin Zuting, Zheng Zhiren, Sun Nailu, Zhu Qixian, Guan Jun, Wang Yuqin, Shen Chengji, Chen Weidong,
蔡汝銑 李樹德 葉愼齋 李崙 顧明 洪遹 趙敵七 楊成才 王野石 顧禔明
Cai Ruxi, Li Shude, Ye Shenzhai, Li Lun, Gu Ming, Hong Yu, Zhao Diqi, Yang Chengcai, Wang Yeshi, Gu Timing,
黃友蘭 李劍雲 茅耀庭 李衡三 翁壯明 李志超 金性初 錢鐵鍈 祁福卿 潘鼎新
Huang Youlan, Li Jianyun, Mao Yaoting, Li Hengsan, Weng Zhuangming, Li Zhichao, Jin Xingchu, Qian Tieyang, Qi Fuqing, Pan Dingxin,
程志祥 景湘坡 孫雪橋 毛汝霖 李鏡淸 徐日宣 顧懋予 李圓虛 張景履 梁鈞疇
Cheng Zhixiang, Jing Xiangpo, Sun Xueqiao, Mao Rulin, Li Jingqing, Xu Rixuan, Gu Maoyu, Li Yuanxu, Zhang Jinglü, Liang Junchou,
潘志瑩 關耕逸 陳子淸 阮鑑光 嚴新儂 楊佑初 謝利恒 楊履初 周椒靑 金潤痒
Pan Zhiying, Guan Gengyi, Chen Ziqing, Ruan Jianguang, Yan Xinyong, Yang Youchu, Xie Liheng, Yang Lüchu, Zhou Jiaoqing, Jin Runyang,
韋伯興 吳元松 雀文瀾 唐庸褚 孫聞遠 鄭子松 何樹芬 羅麟生 徐巨川 劉玉書
Wei Boxing, Wu Yuansong, Que Wenlan, Tan Yongchu, Sun Wenyuan, Zheng Zisong, He Shufen, Luo Linsheng, Xu Juchuan, Liu Yushu,
顧賞之 錢慈嚴 金德本 田豫鐸 陳潤身 陳鐸民 馬立順 彭定保 陳榮廣 趙南公
Gu Shangzhi, Qian Ciyan [Qian Chongwei – author of first preface in Chen’s 1928 sword manual], Jin Deben, Tian Yuduo, Chen Runshen, Chen Duomin, Ma Lishun, Peng Dingbao, Chen Rongguang, Zhao Nangong,
葉樂康 吳甄士 劉斌傑 陳湯生 胡純一 胡純如 茅錫榮 杜恩湛 杜跋予 江臥雲
Ye Lekang, Wu Zhenshi, Liu Binjie, Chen Tangsheng, Hu Chunyi, Hu Chunru, Mao Xirong, Du Enzhan, Du Bayu, Jiang Woyun,
王燦 胡樸安 錢旭耕 錢旭林女士 錢景淵 陳文翰 謝映齋 董惠民 郭鳴九
Wang Can, Hu Pu’an [author of second preface in Chen’s 1928 sword manual], Qian Xugeng, Ms. Qian Xulin, Qian Jingyuan, Chen Wenhan, Xie Yingzhai, Dong Huimin, Guo Mingjiu,
周作孚 金寶坤 蔣仁山 蔣仁濚 何國衡 陳彭林 任德臣 李丹霞 吳印滋 王槐卿
Zhou Zuofu, Jin Baokun, Jiang Renshan, Jiang Renying, He Guoheng, Chen Penglin, Ren Dechen, Li Danxia, Wu Yinzi, Wang Huaiqing,
者雨舟 秦運堯 薛松隱 李廷書 夏其昌 翁菊生 金靜覺 趙任甫 姚乃勷 管義正
Zhe Yuzhou, Qin Yunyao, Xue Songyin, Li Tingshu, Xia Qichang, Weng Jusheng, Jin Jingjue, Zhao Renfu, Yao Nairang, Guan Yizheng,
何漢文 胡立勛 孫麟書 李維格 鄧根廉 胡少堂 孫莘農 殷懋超 樂楣榮 朱尊一
He Hanwen, Hu Lixun, Sun Linshu, Li Weige, Deng Genlian, Hu Shaotang, Sun Shennong, Yin Maochao, Yue Meirong, Zhu Zunyi,
吳榮 朱小珊 蘇祖齊 葉去非 唐昌 王紹鏊 朱永昌 王輔世 艾建平 金熙章
Wu Rong, Zhu Xiaoshan, Su Zuqi, Ye Qufei, Tang Chang, Wang Shao’ao, Zhu Yongchang, Wang Fushi, Ai Jianping, Jin Xizhang,
孫占偉 謝成芳 蔣詠良 華汝潔 李徵甫 翁慕徐 蘇雲望 季成功 邵菊如 蔡文統
Sun Zhanwei, Xie Chengfang, Jiang Yongliang, Hua Rujie, Li Zhifu, Weng Muxu, Su Yunwang, Ji Chenggong, Shao Juru, Cai Wentong,
徐可亭 邵守之 吳培松 陳心純 程在勤 張慶彬 柯箴心 程紹武 馮之沛 洪率範
Xu Keting, Shao Shouzhi, Wu Peisong, Chen Xinchun, Cheng Zaiqin, Zhang Qingbin, Ke Zhenxin, Cheng Shaowu, Ping Zhipei, Hong Lüfan,
關德稱 陳錦江 林安邦 李石華 高曉山 虞淸華 沈廷樑 何瑞國 陳楚寶 金守言
Guan Decheng, Chen Jinjiang, Lin Anbang, Li Shihua, Gao Xiaoshan, Yu Qinghua, Shen Tingliang, He Ruiguo, Chen Chubao, Jin Shouyan,
錢振昌 嚴賡堯 余朗如 管止卿 周子南 居仲賢 朱曾沛 田德潤 余鈞甫 項耀辰
Qian Zhenchang, Yan Gengyao, Yu Langru, Guan Zhiqing, Zhou Zinan, Ju Zhongxian, Zhu Cengpei, Tian Derun, Yu Junfu, Xiang Yaochen,
馮國棟 張家楨 陳德澄 譚保傳 凌子大 喬隱偉 陳慕壽 丁錫藩 尹松樵 施玉聲
Ping Guodong, Zhang Jiazhen, Chen Decheng, Tan Baochuan, Ling Zida, Qiao Yinwei, Chen Mushou, Ding Xifan, Yin Songqiao, Shi Yusheng,
兪兆麟 關樹榮 翁若水 吳季箎 張愚誠 胡書城 胡筱初 王望曾 鄭守明 何正肇
Yu Zhaolin, Guan Shurong, Weng Ruoshui, Wu Jichi, Zhang Yucheng, Hu Shucheng, Hu Xiaochu, Wang Wangceng, Zheng Shouming, He Zhengzhao,
熊禮方 劉春蕃 劉世煦 陳恩池 宋遠甫 劉次璧 黃致平 印潤玉 但怒剛 張亞光
Xiong Lifang, Liu Chunfan, Liu Shixu, Chen Enchi, Song Yuanfu, Liu Cibi, Huang Zhiping, Yin Runyu, Dan Nugang, Zhang Yaguang,
朱覺卿 程鴻軒 程紹武 鄭執安 劉亞休 顏守樸 吳志淸 徐福民 胡以文 張仲孝
Zhu Jueqing, Cheng Hongxuan, Cheng Shaowu, Zheng Zhi’an, Liu Yaxiu, Yan Shoupu, Wu Zhiqing [author of the 1930 Lian Bu Quan manual], Xu Fumin, Hu Yiwen, Zhang Zhongxiao,
張慶彬 莊成季 張仲賓 程筱筠 黃志淸 朱蕙堂 葉禮卿 兪雋琴 茅四圓 鄭耕莘
Zhang Qingbin, Zhuang Chengbi, Zhang Zhongbin, Cheng Xiaoyun, Huang Zhiqing, Zhu Huitang, Ye Liqing, Yu Juanqin, Mao Siyuan, Zheng Gengshen,
陳虎章 黃紹文 湯震龍 沈濬文 翁樂之 唐瑞東 顧省吾 顧賞之 王輔世 王為彰
Chen Huzhang, Huang Shaowen, Tang Zhenlong [first choice to write third preface in Chen’s 1928 sword manual], Shen Junwen, Weng Lezhi, Tang Ruidong, Gu Shengwu, Wang Fushi, Wang Weizhang,
步文白 鄭仲棠 鍾文標 胡可錚 盛效賢 周烈勛 張鶴 王道衡 邱泉韻 蔡靜耐
Bu Wenbai, Zheng Zhongtang, Zhong Wenbiao, Hu Kezheng, Sheng Xiaoxian, Zhou Liexun, Zhang He, Wang Daoheng, Qiu Quanyun, Cai Jingnai,
龔芝洲 楊也喬 陳器成 胡若范 邵柳門 程蘇門 徐白良 戴景虞 劉亞休夫人
Gong Zhizhou, Yang Yeqiao, Chen Qicheng, Hu Ruofan, Shao Liumen, Cheng Sumen, Xu Bailiang, Zai Jingyu, Mrs. Liu Yaxiu,
倪徵環女士 江曼云女士 鄭樹人 潘南仲 盧太育 徐月庭 陸象霆 王理卿 吳君飛
Ms. Ni Zhihuan, Ms. Jiang Manyun, Zheng Shuren, Pan Nanzhong, Lu Taiyu, Xu Yuetine, Lu Xiangting, Wang Liqing, Wu Junfei,
席念椿 李少川 吳李履 胡允昌 陳仲魯 吳百祥 宣金聲 錢同人 喻華韡 沈增奎
Xi Nianchun, Li Shaochuan, Wu Lilü, Hu Yuchang, Chen Zhonglu, Wu Baixiang, Xuan Jinsheng, Qian Tongren, Yu Huawei, Shen Zengkui,
徐雪塵 王繼先 劉寶琪 王步賢 劉筠靑 唐雲旌 鄒君斐 吳志和 葉宗泰 王景宋
Xu Xuechen, Wang Jixian, Liu Baoqi, Wang Buxian, Liu Yunqing, Tang Yunjing, Zou Junfei, Wu Zhihe, Ye Zongtai, Wang Jingsong,
徐少平 王孟年 劉延順 倪觀格 蔡和璋 林泮芹 劉競 朱少屛 徐景之 畢子陛
Xu Shaoping, Wang Mengnian, Liu Yanshun, Ni Guange, Cai Hezhang, Lin Panqin, Liu Jing, Zhu Shaobing, Xu Jingzhi, Bi Zibi,
宗藻生 邱季才 張賡麟 王卓文 黃居素 玉學然 周志靑 唐永淸 王尊川 丁健行
Zong Zaosheng, Qiu Jicai, Zhang Genglin, Wang Zhuowen, Huang Jusu, Yu Xueran, Zhou Zhiqing, Tang Yongqing, Wang Zunchuan, Ding Jianxing,
丁觀聞 王介壽 王炳甫 王次芳 吳雲倬 劉志新 顧興 張士德 張岱岑 鄧榮惠
Ding Guanwen, Wang Jieshou, Wang Bingfu, Wang Cifang, Wu Yunzhuo, Liu Zhixin, Gu Xing, Zhang Shide, Zhang Daicen, Deng Ronghui,
胡絜 徐炎 王傳煊 朱幼蘭 朱綸仙 沈丹忱 張天罡 余新述 陸靜之 方寬榮
Hu Xie, Xu Yan, Wang Chuanxuan, Zhu Youlan, Zhu Lunxian, Shen Danchen, Zhang Tiangang, Yu Xingshu, Lu Jingzhi, Fang Kuanrong,
劉泉孫 朱耐根 錢勉醒 關璡 黃海山 王念劬 江笑山 傅谷如 周烈慶 吳夏峰
Liu Quansun, Zhu Naigen, Qian Mianxing, Guan Jin, Huang Haishan, Wang Nianqu, Jiang Xiaoshan, Fu Suru, Zhou Lieqing, Wu Xiafeng,
侯叔達 徐文甫 張仁虞 丁訊康 馬文彬 董敬莊 李叔獻 文牧 文孜 郁敬德
Hou Shuda, Xu Wenfu, Zhang Renyu, Ding Xunkang, Ma Wenbin, Dong Jingzhuang, Li Shuxian, Wen Mu, Wen Zi, Yu Jingde,
杜秋聲 王元度 朱繼聲 宋醉陶 石之岷 應孟仙 徐和卿 謝健 陳錦山 方宏祥
Du Qiusheng, Wang Yuandu, Zhu Jisheng, Song Zuitao, Shi Zhimin, Ying Mengxian, Xu Heqing, Xie Jian, Chen Jinshan, Fang Hongxiang,
徐利民 林植藹 趙爐靑 顧康年 何文卿 陳文煥 王兆慶 沈支石 趙鐘鳴 竇毓龢
Xu Limin, Lin Zhi’ai, Zhao Luqing, Gu Kangnian, He Wenqing, Chen Wenhuan, Wang Zhaoqing, Shen Zhishi, Zhao Zhongming, Dou Yuhe,
墨禪 李筱山 竇毓鼎 竇海澄 鄭麟同 王子騫 高士光 應毓剛 周玉琦 王積中
Mo Chan, Li Xiaoshan, Dou Yuding, Dou Haicheng, Zheng Lintong, Wang Ziqian, Gao Shiguang, Ying Yugang, Zhou Yuqi, Wang Jizhong,
宋汪洋 曾憲民 顏德基 許炳華 李景陳 李效宋 楊俊生 錢祥標 陳維南 陳道純
Song Wangyang, Zeng Xianmin, Yan Deji, Xu Binghua, Li Jingchen, Li Xiaosong, Yang Junsheng, Qian Xiangbiao, Chen Weinan, Chen Daochun,
陳憲和 孫濟武 張啟瑞 曾培棨 曾培德 殷愼伯 吳景妙 張漸陸 竇海渟 李鉅元
Chen Xianhe, Sun Jiwu, Zhang Qirui, Zeng Peiqi, Zeng Peide, Yin Shenbo, Wu Jingmiao, Zhang Jianlu, Dou Haiting, Li Juyuan,
李吉孫 潘志傑 朱斌侯 金祖同 吳君憲 狄兆然 邵虎 葉德昭 史季方 李一午
Li Jisun, Pan Zhijie, Zhu Binhou, Jin Zutong, Wu Junxian, Di Zhaoran, Shao Hu, Ye Dezhao, Shi Jifang, Li Yiwu,
廖世頴 趙壽臣 徐梅卿 朱星江 薛福田 趙祥卿 彭詠樵 費南瑾 傅介眉 陳寧
Liao Shiying, Zhao Shouchen, Xu Meiqing, Zhu Xingjiang, Xue Futian, Zhao Xiangqing, Peng Yongqiao, Fei Nanjin, Fu Jiemei, Chen Ning,
張子美 曹頌章 范漢傑 陳彰玎 周鏡珊 周養溪 華南山 蔣五昌 濮淸懷 涂淳甫
Zhang Zimei, Cao Songzhang, Fan Hanjie, Chen Zhangding, Zhou Jingshan, Zhou Yangxi, Hua Nanshan, Pu Qinghuai, Tu Chunfu,
吳樹屛 沈孝慶 王文成 張勵存 陳福耕 王葵菴 方劍隱 馮祥蓀 朱珅琮 吳少乙
Wu Shuping, Shen Xiaoqing, Wang Wencheng, Zhang Licun, Chen Fugeng, Wang Kuiyan, Fang Jianyin, Ping Xiangsun, Zhu Shencong, Wu Shaoyi,
嚴懷仁 王耐之 應厚倫 秦祥生 朱文熊 李伯龍 聶含章 潘樂山 應孟仙 章鏡秋
Yan Huairen, Wang Naizhi, Ying Houlun, Qin Xiangsheng, Zhu Wenxiong, Li Bolong, Nie Hanzhang, Pan Leshan, Ying Mengxian, Zhang Jingqiu,
施衍林 孫焯方 陳隆璐 陳文瑋 李健良 陳光裕 田子偉 只瑞庭 邱弁容 謝雁臣
Shi Yanlin, Sun Chaofang, Chen Longlu, Chen Wenwei, Li Jianliang, Chen Guangyu, Tian Ziwei, Zhi Ruiting, Qiu Bianrong, Xie Yanchen,
李祖端 李祖白 李祖冰 李祖眠 李祖定 李祖農 祝志邨 吳昆生 黃志彭 謝伯輔
Li Zuduan, Li Zubai, Li Zubing, Li Zumian, Li Zuding, Li Zunong, Zhu Zhicun, Wu Kunsheng, Huang Zhipeng, Xie Bofu,
程海涵 盛吉祥 浦志達 張盛遠 高蔭嘉 章秉嘉 孫貽德 容雨亭 陳漢淸 陸書城
Cheng Haihan, Sheng Jixiang, Pu Zhida, Zhang Shengyuan, Gao Yinjia, Zhang Bingjia, Sun Yide, Rong Yuting, Chen Hanqing, Lu Shucheng,
梁璧叠女士 梁有烈 李健鎏 吳中一 吳志雄 張崇德 林錫泉 吳宗澄 朱綸仙
Ms. Liang Bidie [authoress of the article in question 119], Liang Youlie, Li Jianliu, Wu Zhongyi, Wu Zhixiong, Zhang Chongde, Lin Xiquan, Wu Zongcheng, Zhu Lunxian,
楊詠箎 利學文 邵圭 譚勵厂 吳淮昌 何焯良 楊達平 何國良 潘恩甫 林安邦
Yang Yongchi, Li Xuewen, Shao Gui, Tan Lichang, Wu Huaichang, He Chaoliang, Yang Daping, He Guoliang, Pan Enfu, Lin Anbang,
何惠庶 何賜禮 張國威 朱蕙堂 徐志千 徐壽復 嚴炳南 金昌麒 徐榮慶 張尚德
He Huishu, He Cili, Zhang Guowei, Zhu Huitang, Xu Zhiqian, Xu Shoufu, Yan Bingnan, Jin Changqi, Xu Rongqing, Zhang Shangde,
郁志仁 顏箴之 吳寶書 唐振乾 盧元琦 徐斌 劉愼齋 董官奎 吳壽垣 黃銀堂
Yu Zhiren, Yan Zhenzhi, Wu Baoshu, Tang Zhenqian, Lu Yuanqi, Xu Bin, Liu Shenzhai, Dong Guankui, Wu Shouyuan, Huang Yintang,
梁礎立 梁廷挺 樓文藻 丁煜明 丁夢悟 陳祝齡 張慧僧 穆時英 虞大熙 陸聯輝
Liang Chuli, Liang Tingting, Lou Wenzao, Ding Yuming, Ding Mengwu, Chen Zhuling, Zhang Huiseng, Mu Shiying, Yu Daxi, Lu Lianhui,
周修龍 余克 陳壽齡 張耀靑 薛憲章 謝馨齋 顧石甫 陸林孫 蔣文瑞 何子敬
Zhou Xiulong, Yu Ke, Chen Shouling, Zhang Yaoqing, Xue Xianzhang, Xie Xinzhai, Gu Shifu, Lu Linsun, Jiang Wenrui, He Zijing,
周飛 羅延 康家壽 陳嘉芝 黃澤芸 俞祖欽 張睦淸 吳健安 鄭肖厓 王虎角
Zhou Fei, Luo Yan, Kang Jiashou, Chen Jiazhi, Huang Zeyun, Yu Zuqin, Zhang Muqing, Wu jian’an, Zheng Xiaoya, Wang Hujiao,
鄭君平 羅捷文 孫葆康 馮乃培 周企唐 張貫時 顧星橋 胡聖鳴 朱沛源 唐子蔚
Zheng Junping, Luo Jiewen, Sun Baokang, Feng Naipei, Zhou Qitang, Zhang Guanshi, Gu Xingqiao, Hu Shengming, Zhu Peiyuan, Tang Ziwei,
方公溥 戎善藩 李金山 陸異若 何俊昌 梁棣佺 陳其昌 孫回風 裘慕俠 蔡家祥
Fang Gongpu, Rong Shanfan, Li Jinshan, Lu Yiruo, He Junchang, Liang Diquan, Chen Qichang, Sun Huifeng, Qiu Muxia, Cai Jiaxiang,
朱讓軒 王祖訓 朱忠道 江一眞 莊智安 江笑逸 王耐芝 顧韞石 顧欽若 又能
Zhu Rangxuan, Wang Zuxun, Zhu Zhongdao, Jiang Yizhen, Zhuang Zhi’an, Jiang Xiaoyi, Wang Naizhi, Gu Yunshi, Gu Qinruo, You Neng,
吳翰孫 林鑑英 金養田 金嗣龍 曾子玉 高事恆 吳士行 趙樸初 沈雍諒 王我景
Wu Hansun, Lin Jianying, Jin Yangtian, Jin Silong, Zeng Ziyu, Gao Shiheng, Wu Shixing, Zhao Puchu, Shen Yongliang, Wang Wojing,
步創夷 徐曜堃 許鑄生 張律均 嚴濟寬 王維屛 邵蓉僧 蔡晦漁 劉弢甫 吳涵眞
Bu Chuangyi, Xu Yaokun, Xu Zhusheng, Zhang Lüjun, Yan Jikuan, Wang Weiping, Shao Rongseng, Cai Huiyu, Liu Taofu, Wu Hanzhen,
湯靖瀾 袁倬漢 袁昭漢 袁雲翰 袁珋懿女士 許淑英女士 徐愼齋 周禾書 吳涵
Tang Jinglan, Yuan Zhuohan, Yuan Zhaohan, Yuan Yunhan, Ms. Yuan Liuyi, Ms. Xu Shuying, Xu Shenzhai, Zhou Heshu, Wu Han,
許持平 倪秀全 余嗣珊 朱蒙山 郭仲遠 黃深源 朱坤琮 陳彥衡 倪素心女士
Xu Chiping, Ni Xiuquan, Xu Sishan, Zhu Mengshan, Guo Zhongyuan, Huang Shenyuan, Zhu Kuncong, Chen Yanheng, Ms. Ni Suxin,
王廉芳 胡天民 張秋平 鄭晉良 曾建勛 劉竹怦 祝堯臣 周靜溪 李子散 張筱棠
Wang Lianfang, Hu Tianmin, Zhang Qiuping, Zheng Jinliang, Zeng Jianxun, Liu Zhupeng, Zhu Yaochen, Zhou Jingxi, Li Zisan, Zhang Xiaotang,
徐素梅 俞心泰 徐寳賢 蔣廷經 葛文祥 王章龍 萬競先 萬兟先 毛鳳祥 鄧襲明
Xu Sumei, Yu Xintai, Xu Baoxian, Jiang Tingjing, Ge Wenxiang, Wang Zhanglong, Wang Jingxian, Wang Shenxian, Mao Fengxiang, Deng Ximing,
李承先 范仲影 陳勤洪 楊載銘 涂淳甫 李右良 徐侃 夏麟書 葉如舟 葉葱奇
Li Chengxian, Fan Zhongying, Chen Qinhong, Yang Zaiming, Tu Chunfu, Li Youliang, Xu Kan, Xia Linshu, Ye Ruzhou, Ye Congqi,
莊智鶴 馬世錡 劉玉庵 徐雲鶴 曹余望 萬册先 黃遵夏 吳伯林 何平普 王宗鏊
Zhuang Zhihe, Ma Shiqi, Liu Yu’an, Xu Yunhe, Cao Yuwang, Wan Cexian, Huang Zunxia, Wu Bolin, He Pingpu, Wang Zong’ao,
徐誠炤 熊振濤 李永堅 張祖德 徐福基 陸閒雲女士 孫仲舒 吳夢周 萬甡先
Xu Chengzhao, Xiong Zhentao, Li Yongjian, Zhang Zude, Xu Fuji, Ms. Lu Xianyun, Sun Zhongshu, Wu Mengzhou, Wang Shenxian,
楊春生 張銘伯 萬茲先 龔鑑平 張致遠 張海聲 孫勁甫 俞軒棠 周壽庭 裴元鼎
Yang Chunsheng, Zhang Mingbo, Wan Zixian, Gong Jianping, Zhang Zhiyuan, Zhang Haisheng, Sun Jinfu, Yu Xuantang, Zhou Shouting, Pei Yuanding,
金崇光 蔣永麟 武達慶 童石均 周萼輝 沈傳麟 寧恆潔 周尚斌 楊萬靑 胡燮候
Jin Chongguang, Jiang Yonglin, Wu Daqing, Tong Shijun, Zhou Ehui, Shen Chuanlin, Ning Hengjie, Zhou Shangbin, Yang Wanqing, Hu Xiehou,
鞏晉孚 王任伊 張信澄 胡羨翔 沈勗厂 郭煥章 賀人欽 周公伊 王述之 蔡眠雲
Gong Jinfu, Wang Renyi, Zhang Xincheng, Hu Xianxiang, Shen Xuchang, Guo Huanzhang, He Renqin, Zhou Gongyi, Wang Shuzhi, Cai Mianyun,
孫以晨 王自衛 瞿澄 陳松茂 李永明 汪葆卿 王炳麟 鄭冠曾 黃農 張伯覲
Sun Yichen, Wang Ziwei, Qu Cheng, Chen Songmao, Li Yongming, Wang Baoqing, Wang Binglin, Zheng Guanceng, Huang Nong, Zhang Bojin,
貝樹德 胡叔文 孫梅僊 王阮亭 黃靜升 涂鼎 張漁溪 管中一 方克濟 方志毅
Bei Shude, Hu Shuwen, Sun Meixian, Wang Ruanting, Huang Jingsheng, Tu Ding, Zhang Yuxi, Guan Zhongyi, Fang Keji, Fang Zhiyi,
姚錦熹 吳星民 古昶生 蔡和璋 戚夢覺 向武昌 褚子民 羅君愚 金印輝 丁觀聞
Yao Jinxi, Wu Xingmin, Gu Changsheng, Cai Hezhang, Qi Mengjue, Xiang Wuchang, Chu Zimin, Luo Junyu, Jin Yinhui, Ding Guanwen,
李厚德 孫李明 楊鳳初 程養恬 任志淸 王景濤 張秀巖 楊學詩 程啓霞 王炳煒
Li Houde, Sun Liming, Yang Fengchu, Cheng Yangtian, Ren Zhiqing, Wang Jingtao, Zhang Xiuyan, Yang Xueshi, Cheng Qixia, Wang Bingwei,
楊覺人 翟健雄 楊裕雄 江幼南 江少南 夏溪村 諸葛瑞 葛沛昌 席裕虎 王善燮
Yang Jueren, Zhai Jianxiong, Yang Yuxiong, Jiang Younan, Jiang Shaonan, Xia Xicun, Zhu Gerui, Wan Peichang, Xi Yuhu, Wang Shanxie,
王溢波 邱孝治 王尹叔 黃省甫 章以冀 朱叔屛 楊坤榮 周道平 姚菊亭 黃健甫
Wang Yibo, Qiu Xiaozhi, Wang Yinshu, Huang Shengfu, Zhang Yiji, Zhu Shuping, Yang Kunrong, Zhou Daoping, Yao Juting, Huang Jianfu,
樓浩然 張德康 顏庭 傅冰如 楊泰華 王輔慶 何維翰 張延孫 涂遜脩 王尊川
Lou Haoran, Zhang Dekang, Yan Ting, Fu Bingru, Yang Taihua, Wang Fuqing, He Weihan, Zhang Yansun, Tu Xunxiu, Wang Zunchuan,
嚴鶴泉 卜曉農 徐雪賡 陳文良 吳伯陽 殷震一 陳鳳竹 羅澄志 華翔九 陳郎廷
Yan Hequan, Bu Xiaonong, Xu Xuegeng, Chen Wenliang, Wu Boyang, Yin Zhenyi, Chen Fengzhu, Luo Chengzhi, Hua Xiangjiu, Chen Langting,
顧振予 樂蓮華 朱叔屛 郭伯良 趙仰雄 沈照恩 陳升潮 章興瑞 董儀 施濟羣
Gu Zhenyu, Yue Lianhua, Zhu Shuping, Guo Boliang, Zhao Yangxiong, Shen Zhao’en, Chen Shengchao, Zhang Xingrui, Dong Yi, Shi Jiqun,
陳立蟾 陳嘉賓 楊世昌 裘功懋 徐省吾 顧蔭之 應仲琳 李新華女士 鄭章斐
Chen Lichan, Chen Jiabin, Yang Shichang, Qiu Gongmao, Xu Shengwu, Gu Yinzhi, Ying Zhonglin, Ms. Li Xinhua, Zheng Zhangfei,
甘兆玲 蔣文瑞 陸長華 陸琳寶 顧恰庭 徐世洪 韓榮棠 黃守一 張懷萱 黃頌夔
Tian Zhaoling, Jiang Wenrui, Lu Changhua, Lu Linbao, Gu Qiating, Xu Shihong, Han Rongtang, Huang Shouyi, Zhang Huaixuan, Huan Songkui,
邱普慶 徐治平 吳英性 謝介子 俞道就 謝公展 黃抱中 朱宏基 王大佛 林志鵬
Qiu Puqing, Xu Zhiping, Wu Yingxing, Xie Jiezi, Yu Daojiu, Xie Gongzhan, Huang Baozhong, Zhu Hongji, Wang Dafo, Lin Zhipeng,
霍東生 李哀鶴 邵炳生 宋沛道 黃荆塘 孫葆康 陳彭齡 阮賓華 陸林孫 金興章
Huo Dongsheng, Li Aihe, Shao Bingsheng, Song Peidao, Huang Jingtang, Sun Baokang, Chen Pengling, Ruan Binhua, Lu Linsun, Jin Xingzhang,
毛璞 徐澤予 金禮楷 陳琦 張威遠 陳輔之 林安邦 鄧志仁 路偉 路國綿
Mao Pu, Xu Zeyu, Jin Likai, Chen Qi, Zhang Weiyuan, Chen Fuzhi, Lin Anbang, Deng Zhiren, Lu Wei, Lu Guomian,
袁孝根 屠一如 朱鐸民 畢星歧 梁洪增 張松年 董栽生 董柏臣 陳丕承 楊廉夫
Yuan Xiaogen, Tu Yiru, Zhu Duomin, Bi Xingqi, Liang Hongzeng, Zhang Songnian, Dong Zaisheng, Dong Baichen, Chen Picheng, Yang Lianfu,
王雪樓 陳季良 惲尊國 卞芷湘 吳南浦 柳章甫 唐舜 沈一明 顧省之 徐斌金
Wang Xuelou, Chen Jiliang, Yun Zunguo, Bian Zhixiang, Wu Nanpu, Liu Zhangfu, Tang Shun, Shen Yiming, Gu Shengzhi, Xu Binjin,
鄭愼齋 江宗漢 湯潄風 何連芳 王炳煒 嚴宓 孫公俊 張延孫 莊緝之 姚鳴鶴
Zheng Shenzhai, Jiang Zonghan, Tang Shufeng, He Lianfang, Wang Bingwei, Yan Mi, Sun Gongjun, Zhang Yansun, Zhuang Jizhi, Yao Minghe,
朗堃昇 劉文燦 丁呆華 項本俠 沈叔瑜 王夫祿 陸良華 柳哲芝 胡可熞 章亮富
Lang Kunsheng, Liu Wencan, Ding Daihua, Xiang Benxia, Shen Shuyu, Wang Fulu, Lu Lianghua, Liu Zhezhi, Hu Kejian, Zhang Liangfu,
章子英 丁訓翔 吳國鋒 宋沛道 趙毓將 陳滬生 范善本 吳友文 姚繼灝 周惠桐
Zhang Ziying, Ding Xunxiang, Wu Guofeng, Song Peidao, Zhao Yujiang, Chen Husheng, Fan Shanben, Wu Youwen, Yao Jihao, Zhou Huitong,
王舜列 羅何 柳培之 秦履雲 李續川 吳金石銘 林君鶴 柳潤水 嚴岳泉 楊宗端
Wang Shunlie, Luo He, Liu Peizhi, Qin Lüyun, Li Xuchuan, Wujin Shiming, Lin Junhe, Liu Runshui, Yan Yuequan, Yang Zongduan,
李少周 馮仰山 徐洪賚 呂薇孫
Li Shaozhou, Ping Yangshan, Xu Honglai, Lü Weisun
LIST OF INSTRUCTORS TEACHING BEYOND THE SCHOOL
[a list of one hundred thirty-nine names]
關絅之 王一亭 徐冠南 聶雲台 沈星叔 江味農 李雲書 趙雲韶 謝泗亭 向愷然
Guan Jiongzhi, Wang Yiting, Xu Guannan, Nie Yuntai, Shen Xingshu, Jiang Weinong, Li Yunshu, Zhao Yunshao, Xie Siting, Xiang Kairan [author of Tales of Modern Heroes – see question 5],
唐仲南 周陖 黃詠秋 姚星南 申榕 馬子宜 馬毅伯 劉佩萸 顧聯承 伍梯雲
Tang Zhongnan, Zhou Jun, Huang Yongqiu, Yao Xingnan, Shen Rong, Ma Ziyi, Ma Yibo, Liu Peiyu, Gu Liancheng, Wu Tiyun,
謝慧生 鄒海濱 余伯陶 黃太玄 錢瘦鐵 譚景韓 李木公 李蜚君 李駿孫 李竺孫
Xie Huisheng, Zou Haibin, Yu Botao, Huang Taixuan [author of third preface in Chen’s 1928 sword manual], Qian Shoutie, Tan Jinghan, Li Mugong, Li Feijun, Li Junsun, Li Zhusun,
李榴孫 陸稼蓀 陸振宗 陸亢宗 陸鈿 任尚武 袁仲齊 杜恩湛 金輯五 金藻文
Li Liusun, Lu Jiansun, Lu Zhenzong, Lu Kangzong, Lu Dian, Ren Shangwu, Yuan Zhongqi, Du Enzhan, Jin Jiwu, Jin Zaowen,
錢履慶 余守邦 吳叔英 唐人傑 顧巨仁 潘銘之 吳梓臣 周菐勤 周孝淵
Qian Lüqing, Yu Shobang, Wu Shuying, Tang Renjie, Gu Juren, Pan Mingzhi, Wu Zichen, Zhou Puqin, Zhou Xiaoyuan,
周孝芬女士 周孝傑 周孝卓 周孝恭 周榮欣女士 張鏡人 吳念劬 袁彥洪 陳少柏
Ms. Zhou Xiaofen, Zhou Xiaojie, Zhou Xiaozhuo, Zhou Xiaogong, Ms. Zhou Rongxin, Zhang Jingren, Wu Nianqu, Yuan Yanhong, Chen Shaobai,
鄭華枝 鄭軾弇 鄭庭 黃膺伯 黃膺白夫人 黃伯樵夫人 朱炎之夫人 葛敬恩
Zheng Huazhi, Zheng Shiyan, Zheng Ting, Huang Yingbo, Mrs. Huang Yingbo, Mrs. Huang Boqiao, Mrs. Zhu Yanzhi, Ge Jing’en,
孫嘉祿 陳福海 沈良 邱載生 孫嘉德 黃秀峰 鄭仲瑜 陳元伯 趙炎午 歐陽正明
Sun Jialu, Chen Fuhai, Shen Liang, Qiu Zaisheng, Sun Jiade, Huang Xiufeng, Zheng Zhongyu, Chen Yuanbo, Zhao Yanwu, Ouyang Zhengming,
常惺 持松 張子美 許世英 趙鐵橋 許崇智 吳志芬女士 吳志芳女士 吳志蘭女士
Chang Xing, Chi Song, Zhang Zimei, Xu Shiying, Zhao Tieqiao, Xu Chongzhi, Ms. Wu Zifen, Ms. Wu Zhifang, Ms. Wu Zhilan,
吳志廉 吳志忠 吳志琪 徐琦 陳仰和 張寅谷 富振遠 蔡伯華 何增祥 簡玉階
Wu Zhilian, Wu Zhizhong, Wu Zhiqi, Xu Qi, Chen Yanghe, Zhang Yingu, Fu Zhenyuan, Cai Bohua, He Zengxiang, Jian Yujie,
簡竹軒女士 簡竹堅女士 簡竹漪女士 簡仲舉 簡元祐 梁惠英女士 何芳圃 何熾昌
Ms. Jian Zhuxuan, Ms. Jian Zhujian, Ms. Jian Zhuyi, Jian Zhongju, Jian Yuanyou, Ms. Liang Huiying, He Fangpu, He Chichang,
何漢昌 何鑽星 何錫昌 何息廬 何俊良 沈淑貞女士 沈鎭珠女士 沈麗珠女士
He Hanchang, He Zuanxing, He Xichang, He Xilu, He Junliang, Ms. Shen Shuzhen, Ms. Shen Zhenzhu, Ms. Shen Lizhu,
沈守成 沈守德 曹仁澤 施翔林 包挹靑 錢峙東 馮懋熊 程子帆 謝翔鳴 張邵棠
Shen Shoucheng, Shen Shoude, Cao Renze, Shi Xianglin, Bao Yiqing, Qian Zhidong, Feng Maoxiong, Cheng Zifan, Xie Xiangming, Zhang Shaotang,
張樹熊 錢聯元 余文亦 王化瑩 楊炳南 關敬元 耿德森 徐琦 施慶寶 劉孔懷
Zhang Shuxiong, Qian Lianyuan, Yu Wenyi, Wang Huaying, Yang Bingnan, Guan Jingyuan, Geng Desen, Xu Qi, Shi Qingbao, Liu Konghuai,
Liu Yuyuan, Mao Siyuan
1st session [those who joined in 1925] graduates:
Zhao Diqi, Qin Guangzhao
2nd session [those who joined in 1926] graduates:
錢慈嚴 胡樸安 孫聞遠 戴俊卿
Qian Ciyan [Chongwei – see first preface, 1928 sword], Hu Pu’an [see second preface, 1928 sword], Sun Wenyuan, Dai Junqing
ACHIEVING SOFTNESS BOXING SOCIETY’S GENERAL RULES
This school derives its name from Laozi’s concept of [Daodejing, chapter 9]: “Focus on your breath and achieve softness”.
This school offers instruction in the internal boxing, sword, and spear arts so as to spread Chinese martial arts, with particular attention upon nourishing health.
Generally, one who is of a mild temperament and possesses perseverance can join the school to learn and become a formal student.
In this school, Taiji Boxing is the fundamental instruction in boxing arts. Those who are wishing to learn must sign up and pay tuition, and then you will be able to have instruction from your colleagues here. This demonstrates equal treatment and avoids degrading the school’s fundamental curriculum.
For those focusing on preventing disease and nourishing health, there is a one-year graduate program. For those who seek to understand both form and function to be able to become teachers, there is a three-year graduate program. [See Appendix V.]
Generally, students who come here divide into four types: student A – one who trains six times a week, student B – one who trains three times a week, M-W-F or Tu-Th-Sa, student C – one who trains twice a week, (The three types above take a break on Sundays.), and student D – one who trains only once a week, on Sunday.
Instruction times are: morning – 7am-9am, evening – 4pm-6pm.
The tuition for A students is 10元 per month [for the first year], then 8元 per month for the second year, and 6元 per month for the third year.
[I am not precisely sure what this monetary value meant in terms of 1929 Shanghai, but to put 10元 per month into some perspective I will point out that the fixed price for the book in 1933 was 1元2角. You could expect to pay about $15 for such a book nowadays, and so we can estimate that six classes a week during one’s first year was worth the equivalent of at least $150 per month, which is not an uncommon fee for attendance in today’s schools of martial arts, yoga, dance, etc, indicating that such tuition fees are relatively the same now as they have always been.]
The tuition for B students is 6元 per month [for the first two years], then 5元 per month for the third year, and 4元 per month from the fourth year on.
The tuition for C students is 4元 per month [for the first three years], then 3元 per month from the fourth year on, and are advised to be persevering.
If the course is not completed within the time, A students may wish to change to B, C, or D, while B students may wish to change to C or D, and C students may wish to change to D, but their year after year tuition reductions will not apply. [In other words, if you for instance downgrade from A to B in your second year, you will for your second year pay the B first-year tuition, not the B second-year tuition.]
The tuition for D students, who come on Sundays or only once a week, is 2元 per month.
When A students have reached their allotted days, they have fulfilled their three-year graduate course. When B, C, and D students have reached their allotted days, they have fulfilled their “three-year” graduate course. [To fulfill three years worth at their own rates takes B six years, C nine years, and D twelve years.] (A year is calculated as three hundred days, eliminating rest days.) [Fifty-two weeks minus a two-week break for the Chinese New Year, and each week minus a Sunday for a day of rest, makes three hundred days.]
Tuition must be paid on the first day of each month.
After you have graduated and passed the school examination, you will be given a diploma and your name will be announced in the newspaper.
If you do not graduate or pass the exam, you will not be allowed to be an outside instructor or teach the boxing arts taught at this school, for that would corrupt the school’s reputation.
There are other rules for those invited to be outside instructors. [See Appendix IV.]
If any wish to make supportive donations to the school, they will be named as honorary Society members.
For those who paid their tuition fee but have not been attending their classes, the tuition fee will not be returned.
Director: Chen Weiming
Honorary President: Guan Jiongzhi
Instructor: Chen Zhijin
ACHIEVING SOFTNESS BOXING SOCIETY’S GENERAL RULES FOR OUTSIDE INSTRUCTORS
Since the opening of this school not many years ago, several hundred people have already joined. Because the ill have received relief and the depressed have returned to vibrancy, we have been invited to give instruction to many places beyond the school. Because we can not supply all the required time, we have not yet dared to accept any of them and have graciously offered our regrets.
This school advocates the Taiji boxing art, for it has the best effects for nourishing health. In the previous list of rules, specifically included is the word “perseverance”, for it is not an overnight accomplishment. If students were to invite instructors away and then quit after only a month and a half, it would make a wasted trip for our collegues. Meanwhile, those who wish to learn in other places would have been declined because of the lack of time on our part, and their time would have been wasted. Since there is no benefit in either case, we have now specifically devised rules for outside instructors, and if those invited to be can follow them, it will not only be for the benefit of the school:
Instructors who teach outside the school must write a formal letter requesting to do so, stating clearly that they will abide by the rules of school, and affix it with a personal seal to demonstrate their sincerity.
The structure of the curriculum is based on a three-year graduate program, or a one-year program for those interested in doing it only for health. Instructors who teach outside the school are to follow the same curriculum without exception, but must run a course for at least six months (or a hundred and eighty days).
In this school there is a fixed sequence of instruction. Students must learn according to it and are not allowed to be impatient.
Instructors who teach outside the school must run a group of at least six people. If less than six, you must charge them tuition as if they are six to bring it up to the six-person rate.
For students who come every day, the monthly tuition is 10元. For students who come three times a week, the monthly tuition is 6元. For students who come twice a week, the monthly tuition is 4元. For students who come once a week, the monthly tuition is 2元.
Tuition must be paid on the first day of the month.
If the distance is too far for the trolley to get them to the location, for students who come every day they may add a carpooling fee of 8元 per month, and for students who come every other day they may add 4元, for students who come twice a week they may add 3元, for students who come once a week they may add 2元.
After six months, you may decide to continue or quit, but you must first give ten days notice to the school.
Each instruction period is to last approximately an hour, followed by a period for discussion.
The only instructors with authority in this school are Chen Weiming and Chen Zhijin, and there is no third person who instructs the outside instructors. This is so that the duties and reputation of an outside instructor do not conflict with the integrity within the school. You have to be serious and declare it, and therefore outside instructors must abide by the first item on this list of writing a formal letter. When the school has replied with a letter of consent, then your position will take effect.
社長陳微明 敎授陳志進 共訂
Revised by director Chen Weiming & instructor Chen Zhijin
ACHIEVING SOFTNESS BOXING SOCIETY’S THREE-YEAR GRADUATE PROGRAM
Since the establishing of this school more than two years ago, no fewer than eight or nine hundred people have joined, but not many of them have persevered without interruption, and the rest have attended inconsistently or sporadically. Although students have different goals, I fear that after a few years they will quit with little accomplished. I established this school with the original intention of spreading Chinese martial arts, and it has not turned out exactly as I expected. But I have carefully observed in the present membership no lack of those who genuinely strive to work at it, and so I have specially devised an instructional curriculum divided into years, a three-year graduate course, the arrangement of which is below:
甲種第一年級太極拳 不動步推手 太極劍
1st year for A students: Taiji Boxing set, fixed step pushing hands, Taiji Sword set
2nd year: Taiji Long Boxing set, moving step pushing hands
第三年級 大捋 散手 對劍 太極槍
3rd year: large rollback, applications, 2-person sword exercises, Taiji Spear drills
Each year, setting aside the weeks for the New Year’s vacation [and subtracting each Sunday] amounts to three hundred days.
B, C, and D students are each to accord with this fixed account of days and are to consider three hundred days as a “year”. [This means that while it is a three-year program for A, it is a six-year program for B, nine-year for C, twelve-year for D. The three-year graduate program for Chen’s school thus amounts to: attending nine hundred classes.]
If within the three-year course you change to a different schedule, it must be according to the fixed account of days. If you complete one year (three hundred days), you can then be taught the curriculum for the second year, and upon completing the second year, you can then be taught the curriculum for the third year. [This means that if you for instance switch from A to D after the first six months, you will not be taught the second-year material after another six months, but after another five and a half years.]
In this school there is a sign-in book for proving your dates of attendance. Apart from A students, who sign in everyday, if you are a B, C, or D, you will sign in according to a set weekly schedule. If you sometimes want to use the school for extra practice, you do not need to sign in.
Students who complete the three-year course will have an examination to qualify them, and in accordance with the rules [i.e. the curriculum requirements] will be granted graduate status. After you have graduated, your name will be announced in the newspaper
and you will be regarded as a Society member. From then on when you come to study at the school, you will no longer be charged tuition. You need only pay tuition sufficient to be able to graduate, and it must be according to the rules [i.e. your particular schedule].
Wang Zongyue said in his Taiji Boxing essay [Essays, part 2]: “[We often see] one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations…” From this can be seen how difficult neutralizing is in Taiji Boxing. Even a three-year graduate course is a very short time [within which to train it], but you will understand its principles and criteria.
In the first year, Taiji Boxing is the foundation and is trained for the whole year. Once the postures are right, your waist is able to rotate. Fixed step pushing hands then also trains the waist.
In the second year, there is the Taiji Long Boxing set, which steps more frequently and thereby simultaneously trains the stepping, and moving step pushing hands, which also trains the stepping. Once the Taiji Boxing set has been thoroughly ingrained, you can then learn the Long Boxing set, but if it is not thoroughly ingrained, the two sets will probably get confused with each other and become chaotically blurred together.
In the third year, there is large rollback to work the four secondary techniques, as well as applications for dealing with opponents, and with these the principles of Taiji Boxing are complete, fully understood by your mind, and are now a part of your body. Those who are eager to continue from this point are then able to broadly develop these things further.
When the Taiji Boxing postures are correct, you can learn the sword set. That is why it is placed in the first year. Taiji Spear and the two-person sword cannot be learned unless the moving-step pushing hands has become skillful. That is why they are placed in the third year.
– written by Chen Weiming, autumn, 8th month, 1927