MARTIAL ARTS DISCUSSIONS by HUANG YUANXIU

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楊家太極拳各藝要義 武術偶談
THE SKILLS & ESSENTIALS OF YANG STYLE TAIJI BOXING
and
MARTIAL ARTS DISCUSSIONS
黃文叔先生著
by Huang Wenshu [Yuanxiu]
[published by 國術統一月刊社 Martial Arts United Monthly Magazine Society, June 15, 1936]

[translation by Paul Brennan, June, 2014]

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 1

國術界泰斗合影
Group photo of leading figures in Chinese martial arts:
景中人自右而左前列田紹先鄭佐平杜心五李芳辰劉百川孫祿堂楊澄甫後列沈爾喬黃文叔褚桂亭高振東錢西樵蘇景由
The people in this photo are (from right to left):
Front row:
Tian Shaoxian [Zhaolin], Zheng Zuoping, Du Xinwu, Li Fangchen [Jinglin], Liu Baichuan, Sun Lutang, Yang Chengfu
Back row:
Shen Erqiao, Huang Wenshu [Yuanxiu], Chu Guiting, Gao Zhendong, Qian Xiqiao, Su Jingyou

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 2

燕趙國術名人合影
Group photo of famous martial artists from Hebei [from right to left]:
黃文叔 褚桂亭 蘇景由 王向齋 趙道新 張兆東 李星階 高振東 孫汝江 李子揚
Huang Yuanxiu, Chu Guiting, Su Jingyou, Wang Xiangzhai, Zhao Daoxin, Zhang Zhaodong, Li Xingjie, Gao Zhendong, Sun Rujiang, Li Ziyang

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 3

河北國術名人合影
Group photo of famous martial artists from Hebei:
[back row, right to left:]
騎兵團國術敎習 方瑞臣
Fang Ruichen, cavalry corps martial arts instructor
騎兵團長兼善國術 黃劍白
Huang Jianbai, cavalry corps head martial arts adviser
騎兵旅國術敎習 馬承智
Ma Chengzhi, cavalry brigade martial arts instructor
[front row, right to left:]
南昌行營參謀擅長太極拳 譚夢賢
Tan Mengxian, Nanchang Field Headquarters head Taiji Boxing adviser
黃文叔
Huang Yuanxiu,
騎兵團國術敎習 袁源會
Yuan Yuanhui, cavalry corps martial arts instructor

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 4

前南昌行營撫卹處處長及福建省第四區行政督察專員保安司令同安縣縣長本書著者黃元秀先生與楊澄甫先生練太極拳大捋法之圖
The author of this book, Huang Yuanxiu, has been the department head of the Nanchang Bereavement Office, the supervisory inspector and commander in charge of public safety for the Fujian 4th Administrative Division, and the Tong’an county magistrate. In this photo, he is practicing Taiji Boxing’s large rollback exercise with Yang Chengu.

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 5

李芳辰將軍玉照
Portrait of Li Jinglin

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 6

編者黃元秀先生照像
Portrait of the author, Huang Yuanxiu

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 7

黃元秀劉百川羅漢拳
Huang Yuanxiu & Liu Baichuan performing Luohan Boxing

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 8

黃元秀韓慶堂摔角圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Han Qingtang performing Shuaijiao

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 9

黃元秀先生與浙江國術館敎習韓慶堂練單刀進槍圖之一
Huang Yuanxiu & Zhejiang Martial Arts Institute instructor Han Qingtang practicing saber versus spear, photo 1

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 10

黃元秀與韓慶堂練單刀進槍圖之二
Huang Yuanxiu & Han Qingtang practicing saber versus spear, photo 2

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 11

韓慶堂十字腿
Han Qingtang performing “cross-shaped kick”

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 12

韓慶堂楊家槍
Han Qingtang performing Yang Style spear

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 13

[right to left:]
黃元秀
Huang Yuanxiu
七十九師國術教官 葉景成
Ye Jingcheng, martial arts instructor to 79th Army Division
剿匪軍北路總司令部少校參謀兼國術教官 曹晏海
Major Cao Yanhai, martial arts adviser and instructor to the Bandit Suppression Army Northern Headquarters

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 14

[right to left:]
黃健侯
Huang Jianhou
黃元秀
Huang Yuanxiu
楊家太極拳前輩 許禹生先生
Xu Yusheng, an elder of Yang Style Taiji Boxing

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 15

[right to left:]
河南温縣陳家溝陳子明太極拳家
Taiji Boxing master Chen Ziming of Chen family village, Wen county, Henan
黃元秀
Huang Yuanxiu
河南温縣陳家溝陳照丕太極拳家
Taiji Boxing master Chen Zhaopi of Chen family village, Wen county, Henan

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 16

黃元秀葉景成練武當劍圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Ye Jingcheng practicing Wudang Sword

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 17

曹晏海練大槍圖
Cao Yanhai practicing long spear

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 18

黃元秀李雅軒太極推手圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Li Yaxuan performing Taiji pushing hands

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 19

軍政部國術敎官褚桂亭與黃元秀練武當劍圖
Huang Yuanxiu & War Ministry martial arts instructor Chu Guiting practicing Wudang Sword

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 20

浙江國術館敎務長劉百川雙刀圖
Liu Baichuan, dean of Zhejiang Martial Arts Institute, performing double sabers

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 21

劉百川君羅漢拳圖
Liu Baichuan performing Luohan Boxing

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 22

曹晏海練太極劍圖
Cao Yanhai practicing Taiji Sword

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 23

黃元秀與田紹先練太極槍利用圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Tian Zhaolin practicing Taiji spear applications

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 24

黃元秀與田紹先對練太極槍利用圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Tian Zhaolin practicing Taiji spear applications

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 25

黃元秀田紹先太極大捋圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Tian Zhaolin performing Taiji’s large rollback exercise

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 26

黃元秀田紹先太極散手圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Tian Zhaolin performing the Taiji two-person set [posture 28 (Huang in the B role, Tian in the A role)]

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 27

黃元秀田紹先太極散手圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Tian Zhaolin performing the Taiji two-person set [posture 34 (Huang now in the A role, Tian in the B role)]

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 28

田紹先黃元秀太極推手圖
Tian Zhaolin & Huang Yuanxiu performing Taiji pushing hands

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 29

黃元秀葉景成練武當劍圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Ye Jingcheng practicing Wudang Sword

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 30

黃元秀葉景成練武當劍圖
Huang Yuanxiu & Ye Jingcheng practicing Wudang Sword

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譚序
PREFACE BY TAN MENGXIAN

民國二十三年春三月,余至南昌,謁委員長。遇行營黃處長文叔先生,出其楊家太極各藝要義一書,囑余題句,余因之有言矣。余聞諸楊夢祥先生曰:研究太極拳之要訣有三:
In March of 1934, I went to Nanchang to visit with committee heads. There I met field headquarters section chief Huang Yuanxiu. He was putting out this book and asked me to add a few lines to it because I am supposedly someone who has something to say on the subject. So I went and asked my teacher Yang Mengxiang [Shaohou] about it. He said: “There are three keys to the study of Taiji Boxing:”

一:盤架子
1. PRACTICING THE SOLO SET

初學者,宜匀・宜緩・宜正・宜展,所謂匀者,劃圈宜圓,兩圓須成切線,兩圓相交,須通過圓心,蓋求其整齊也。所謂緩者,使所儲之內勁,漸漸達於指梢,蓋求其血氣舒暢也。所謂正者,全身中正安舒,重心無傾斜之弊,蓋求其姿勢之優美也。所謂展者,使筋肉骨節自然展開,蓋求合符生理上之運動也。
In the beginning, it should be even, slow, upright, and stretched out.
     Even:
     The circles you draw in the air should be round. When two arcs cross the lines of each other, they should pass through all the way to the center of the other circle. Seek to keep the movements orderly and consistent.
     Slow:
     This causes internal energy to store up. Gradually it will reach your fingertips. Seek to have an unfretting temperament.
     Upright:
     Your whole body is balanced and comfortable, without making the mistake of leaning in any direction. Seek to make your posture graceful.
     Stretched out:
     Get your muscles and joints to naturally extend. Seek to get the exercise to conform with the principles of physiology.

二:推手
2. PUSHING HANDS

架子盤熟,工夫稍進,則學推手,或曰搭手,又曰靠手,推手者,敵我二人,以一手或兩手靠搭,用拈・連・黏・隨・四字工夫,劃陰陽兩圈,其法有二:
1.甲劃圓圈,乙隨而走,或乙劃圓圈,甲隨之而走。
2.甲乙兩人,各劃半圓圈,合成一整圓圈。
然無論一整圓圈,或兩半圓圈,均於此圓圈上,研究掤・捋・擠・按・四字要訣。惟應注意者,甲乙兩人,各有一重心,甲乙兩人靠手時,又於靠手之交叉點,自成一重心,此三重心點,由甲乙兩人互相爭奪,得重心者勝,失重心者敗,此一定之理也。
Once the solo set has been practiced to familiarity and your skill has slightly progressed, then learn pushing hands, which is also called “touching hands” or “pressuring hands”. Pushing hands is done with two people, each using one hand or both to apply a slight pressuring touch. While using the four-part skill of sticking, connecting, adhering, and following, they draw a yinyang symbol in the air. There are two methods of this:
     i. Person A draws a circle which Person B goes along with, or B draws a circle which A goes along with.
     ii. A and B each draw a half circle, which together forms a full circle.
     Whether they are making an integrated circle or each is just making their half of it, both people within this circling are working with the four essential techniques of ward-off, rollback, press, and push.
     However, attention should also be paid to the fact that each person has a center of balance, and that when they press their hands together, the point of contact naturally creates another center. This third center point comes from the vying between the two people. If you gain this center, you will win. If you lose the center, you will lose. This is a fixed principle.

三:發勁與化勁
3. ISSUING AND NEUTRALIZING

推手練習純熟,然後練習發勁與化勁,初學者,可練手上發勁,所謂合掌,或日補手是也。工夫較深者,練習腰勁或足跟之發勁,所請發於足跟形於手指是也。發勁宜直,化勁宜圓,化之不盡。發之不遠,初學化勁者,方向宜斜,上乘工夫,則向自身化之,所謂引進落空是也。或曰:以夫子之道,反制夫子。卽借敵人之力,以打敵人,借敵人之勁,以制敵人也。
然發勁化勁,必須拈・連・黏・隨・掤・捋・擠・按・採・挒・肘・靠・合而運用。否則不克生效也。
Once pushing hands has been practiced to familiarity, then practice issuing and neutralizing. In the beginning, you can practice by placing your hands on top of someone’s issuing energy. This is called “joining palms” or “assisting hands”. Those with deeper skill will practice waist energy, or issuing from the heel, which is called “issuing from the heel and expressing at the fingers”.
     Issuing should be straight. Neutralizing should be rounded. Neutralizing has no limit [for a curve can go on coiling forever]. Issuing has no distance [for a straight line can be infinite]. When first learning neutralizing, the direction should be at an angle, but at a high level of skill, you will be able to neutralize toward your own body, as in “guiding him in to land on nothing”.
     It is also said that “the master’s method is to reverse the control you try to have over him”, meaning that the opponent’s force is borrowed and used to strike the opponent, or the opponent’s energy is borrowed and used to control the opponent.
     However, when issuing or neutralizing, it must be done in the context of sticking, adhering, connecting, following, warding off, rolling back, pressing, pushing, plucking, rending, elbowing, or and bumping, otherwise it cannot be effective.

余對於太極拳,好學而未專研,茲承黃先生囑,不敢推諉,謹錄師語,以留紀念,並非臆造也。
永新譚夢賢於南昌識:
As for myself in regard to Taiji Boxing, it is something I love to study but I have not yet done any concentrated research. In carrying out this task that Huang assigned to me, I have not presumed to place the responsibility onto another, rather I have carefully made a lasting record of my teacher’s words instead of making something up.
     – sincerely written by Tan Mengxian in Nanchang

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姚序
PREFACE BY YAO YIHUA

黃君文叔,博學多能。崇尚武俠,少居鄕里,好與突鬢垂冠者,縱談技擊,未嘗不心領神會。其時風氣未開,輒為父老所阻,長而奔走國事,職務鞅掌,無暇及此。中年以後,始與田紹光。楊澄甫,諸國術名家,先後相識,乃從學太極拳,曁各種武藝。旋又游李芳宸將軍之門,習武當劍法,繇是十餘年來聲應氣求,交遊益廣,學業亦日益精進,近出所著武術偶譚見示;都凡一萬四千餘言,詳論拳術工夫,並學者用功方法;而於調節體力,修養身心諸端,言之尤詳。至若師門派別,拳家慣例,亦略舉大槪,足供參攷。夫拳術諸書,不乏善本,惟斯編乃不僅論法,論理,並能切實指示學者以用功要旨。蓋本其經驗所得,加以悉心體會,故着眼有獨到之處,語似尋常,而體用賅備,願讀者勿以其近而忽之,斯可已。
民國紀元二十有三年甲戍仲春弟姚憶華謹跋。
Huang Yuanxiu has studied widely and has many abilities. He esteems martial heroism. When he was a youth in his hometown, he loved to converse freely about martial arts with the more seasoned practitioners, and always understood intuitively. He was not yet civilized in those days, so often rebelling against the elders of his community. Then when he grew up, he was always in a rush dealing with affairs of state, exhausted by his duties and never having time for these things.
     Once he become middle-aged, he started learning from Tian Zhaolin and Yang Chengfu, and became acquainted with many other famous martial artists, one after another, until he had learned Taiji Boxing and various other martial arts. Before long he became a student of Li Jinglin and trained in the Wudang sword art. For more than a decade, he has reached out and made friendships from which he has benefited extensively, progressing daily in his studies.
     Recently he has written Martial Arts Discussions, amounting to more than fourteen thousand words, explaining boxing arts training in detail and methods of their use. His words are especially clear on subjects such as regulating physical strength and nourishing the body and mind. As for the many kinds of schools and styles, their masters and traditions, he briefly presents their general ideas, sufficient to serve as reference material. There is no lack of excellent boxing arts manuals, but this one presents not only method and theory, it can also give practical instruction about general function.
     Because this book represents what Huang has obtained through experience, he has brought to it a meticulous understanding, and so you will find it to have moments of real distinctiveness. It is written in ordinary language, yet its presentation of the theory and practice is comprehensive. I hope you will not delve into it only to disregard it, for it is good stuff.
     - sincerely written by Huang’s junior classmate, Yao Yihua, second month of spring, 1934

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蔣序
PREFACE BY JIANG XINSHAN

擊技總別為武當,為少林,少林宗達摩,武當宗張三丰。考:武當之擊技,亦不一其途,就余所知者,如太極拳,八卦遊身連環掌,武當劍術,皆三丰祖師所傳留。太極拳之登峯造極者,在唐代有許宣平夫子李,在元代有張三丰,在明代有張松溪。松溪乃三丰之高足,於浙之鄞縣,傳授門徒,厥後名家輩出,要皆松溪一派。八卦遊身連環掌。則董海川太老師,在江南謝花山,受之道人避燈俠。武當劍術,則先師宋唯一,在醫巫閭山,受之道人避月俠,乃避燈俠之師兄也。二者之術,似同而不同,不同而同,其左旋右轉,右旋左轉,擰蔴花則不同而同者也。其換勢一則自下,一則自上,自下者,乾用九,進陽火。其旋轉,則如盤中滾珠,其變化則身如風中之柳,手如織布之梭。自上者,坤用六,退陰符,如滾圓石於萬仞之山,其法主於誘,卽所謂善戰者不鬭,善爭者不怒,此同而不同者也。尤宜辨者,武當丹字派劍術,則張松溪在浙江鄞縣之四明山,受於張三丰,故又稱曰四明劍術。松溪本少林名家,遍歷南北無敵手,在四明為張三丰所折服。遂盡棄少林所學,而歸於武當,所存者僅少林之五行陰手棍,又名達摩過江棍,故凡松溪一派之劍客,均熟於少林陰手棍法。甲子秋余從先師宋唯一受教時,談及太極拳之意義,則不知有太極拳之名,質之演練太極拳者則不知有武當劍術之名。太極拳之要義,為沾・連・粘・隨,武當丹字派劍術之要義,為背孤擊虛,完全用離,所謂往來無踪影者也。以其時代地點考之,均松溪所傳留,固無疑意。余友虎林黄文叔先生,旣著太極拳要義,武術偶談,徵敍於余,余不敏,不能文,則就武當各派之源流,略述梗槪,後之學者,攻擊之風,於以泯滅,斯則余之厚望焉。
甲戍秋,河北蔣馨山敍於天津淨業菴國技研究社。
Martial arts are generally separated into the classifications of Wudang and Shaolin. Shaolin comes from Damo. Wudang comes from Zhang Sanfeng. Examining the martial skills of Wudang, it then split into different paths. The ones that I know of are Taiji Boxing, Bagua Swimming-Body Continuous Palming, and the Wudang sword art, all of which were passed down from Zhang Sanfeng.
     Those in Taiji Boxing who reached the pinnacle of perfection were Xu Xuanping and Li Daozi of the Tang Dynasty, Zhang Sanfeng of the Yuan Dynasty, and Zhang Songxi of the Ming Dynasty. Zhang Songxi was the top disciple of Zhang Sanfeng. He taught students in Yin county, Zhejiang, and the many famous exponents that came after him should all be considered to be of the Zhang Songxi branch.
     The best in Bagua Swimming-Body Continuous Palming was the great master Dong Haichuan, who learned from the Daoist Bi Dengxia at Mt. Withered Blossoms in the Jiangnan area, while the best at the Wudang sword art was my teacher, the late Song Weiyi, who learned from the Daosit Bi Yuexia, Bi Dengxia’s elder classmate, at Mt. Shaman’s Gate. The arts of each Bi are similar but different, different but similar. Whether twisting rope to the left or twisting rope to the right, both are a matter of twisting rope. In this way, they are different but similar.
     One changes in its techniques by coming up from below while the other comes down from above. The one that changes from below [Bagua] is like the Qian trigram with its full lines, advancing with noticeable fire. The way it spins is like the turning of a ball. The way it adapts with the body is like a willow in the wind, while the hands are like shuttles weaving cloth. The one that changes from above [Wudang Sword] is like the Kun trigram with its broken lines, retreating with hidden meaning. It is “like an avalanche of round rocks” [Art of War, chapter 5], but the key to its method is to lure the opponent into the trap. “[The best warriors are not warmongers.] The best fighters are not berserkers. The best victors do not fight.” [Daodejing, chapter 68] In this way, they are similar but different.
     We should further differentiate the Wudang elixirist sword art as taught to Zhang Songxi by Zhang Sanfeng at Mt. Siming in Yin county, which is therefore also known as the Siming sword art. Zhang Songxi was originally a famous Shaolin exponent. He traveled everywhere and had never been defeated, but was bested at last by Zhang Sanfeng at Siming. Thereupon he discarded all his Shaolin learning and devoted himself to the Wudang arts, keeping only the Shaolin Five-Elements Hidden-Hand Staff, also called Damo’s Yangzte-Crossing Staff. Therefore the Zhang Songxi style of swordwork is steeped in the methods of the Shaolin Hidden-Hand Staff.
     In the autumn of 1924, Song Weiyi talked to me about the principles of Taiji Boxing. I was not aware of his Taiji Boxing fame, as indeed practitioners of Taiji Boxing are unaware of his famous Wudang sword skill. “The essentials of Taiji Boxing are sticking, adhering, connecting, and following. The essentials of the Wudang elixirist sword art are retreat into solitude and attack into emptiness, entirely a matter of maintaining lack of contact, of ‘entering and exiting without a trace’. When we examine the eras and places, it is clear both arts come down to us through Zhang Songxi.”
     My colleague Huang Yuanxiu of Hulin has written Essentials of Taiji Boxing / Martial Arts Discussions, and he has asked me to make a preface. I am neither smart nor well-read, and so I have simply described a general idea of the origin and development of the various Wudang systems. My great hope is that modern martial fads will fade out [in favor of the Wudang arts].
     - written by Jiang Xinshan of Hebei in Tianjin’s “Cleansed Karma Temple” Martial Arts Research Society, Autumn, 1934

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鮑序
PREFACE BY BAO FOTIAN

虎林黃文叔先生,學識通明,亦儒亦俠,而胸懷坦摯,肝胆照人。少卽有志於技擊,顧其時斯道尚大彰,武術名家,亦不為當世所引重,先生方有志焉而未之逮。尋且投筆從戎,以軍界先進人物,盡瘁國事,倥偬不遑者,彌歷年歲。而先生志願所結,卒以全國國術大會之機緣,與太極拳斗楊澄甫先生親炙,得精究噪傳一世之楊無敵露禪先生拳術遺傳,因以廣交海內國術名家,不一其人。更從李芳宸將軍研習武當劍法,以與太極拳術相輔,由斯應求會合,廣益集思,益諳斯道之奧妙。邇者退食自公之暇,著楊家太極要義一書,而附以經驗所得之武術偶談,其於拳術之宗法規約,與夫致力之方,稱名之義,體力之調節,身心之修養,均盹切致意,有志斯道者,洵堪奉為典要。其曰楊家太極者,蓋紀宗派所自,數典不忘之指也。囘憶去夏,行營成立,先生奉召來贛,佛田亦附驥奔走於斯,旅社傾襟,備覺歡洽。自是公餘盍簪,觀摩漸漬,益承先生不棄,忘形爾我,始知先生固深嫻武術,佛田愧於斯道,素少研究,方思學步,而苦於靡所問津。今對先生之逸興遄飛,趨嚮之意,彌形堅决,顧以公務忙迫,人事拘牽,卒卒未果。直至今歲元月,始得償半載以來之結念,由是每夕追陪,於練拳練劍之餘,時飫聞先生名論。凡古今來端人賢哲之嘉懿言行,堪垂法鑑,與夫一切涉世應務之方,植品謹身之道,莫不懃懃懇懇,垂為雅言。其對於靑年後進,尤力勉其鍜鍊身體,及種種作人要義,更孜孜於皈依念佛,放生濟貧之事。蓋先生禔躬制行,不僅以練習拳術強壯身體要其終惟以練拳術強壯身體端其始實。以武術家而兼道德家慈善家之所長,合涵泳品性。保持健康。利濟羣生。諸要義,一以貫之。此佛田從遊年餘,獲窺見先生蘊藏於萬一,且卽以喩於心著於編冀,與讀是書者,共喩焉爾。
中華民國二十三年十月,京山鮑佛田序於南昌行營。
Huang Yuanxiu’s knowledge is incredible. Both scholarly and heroic, he is honest and sincere. When he was young, his ambition was for martial arts, but since these methods were still mainly hidden away at that time and experts were not highly regarded, he could not yet attain such a goal. In his quest, he joined the military, which developed his character, and he put all his energy into affairs of state, which took up all his time for many years.
     Then his aspirations finally all came together at the fateful National Martial Arts Gathering, due to which he received profound personal instruction from the Taiji Boxing star Yang Chengfu in the inherited boxing art of Yang “The Invincible” Luchan. Because he was now associated with famous martial arts experts from all over the country, he became a different person. He also learned the Wudang sword art from General Li Jinglin, which nicely complements the Taiji boxing art.
     From this point on, he felt he should seek out and gather together all such wisdom, increasing his knowledge of the secrets of these methods. Recently he has given all his free time, even forgetting to eat, to producing Essentials of Yang Style Taiji, including Martial Arts Discussions, which contains what he has learned from his own experience. There are the ways of various boxing arts systems, their methods and principles, the regulating of physical strength, the cultivating of body and mind, everything presented with devotion. For those with ambition in this direction, this can indeed be held up as a standard text. Huang has said: “I am making a record of the many parts of the Yang Style Taiji written tradition so they do not become forgotten.”
     Last summer, when the field headquarters here was established, Huang received orders to come to Jiangxi. I threw myself into the task of making him feel at home, and since then, every bit of my spare time has gone into emulating his movements and soaking up his knowledge. Fortunately he does not look down on anyone, and instead he quite forgets the distinction between self and others. I began to find out what a truly skilled martial artist he is.
     I myself had failed in these methods. I had studied them when I was young, but it was merely the equivalent of learning to walk, and I suffered from having no one I could ask for guidance. Now I was inspired by his knowledge, to the point of being obsessed and determined, but my duties pressed on me, worldly affairs holding me back and preventing me from training. When January came along, I was finally able to start making up for the diminished six months that had preceded, and I have since spent some time every evening with Huang for extra practice in boxing sets and swordwork, until my head is now stuffed with his many theories.
     From ancient times to the present, the fine words and deeds of wise and worthy people have given us rules and lessons, direction for what we should do in life – the way of being rooted in sincerity, always courteous and cordial, always gracious in speech. As for the young, they should put extra effort into training their bodies and giving attention to the principles of conduct, working harder than just praying to the Buddha or giving to the poor.
     Because Huang is so considerate of personal behavior, he sees practicing martial arts and strengthening the body as not merely an end, but as a beginning. He in fact sees a martial artist as having the same strengths as an ethicist or a philanthropist, simultaneously exercising moral character, maintaining health, and benefiting the masses – martial arts as a single thread pervading all of these essentials.
     I have been learning from Huang for more than a year now, but have glimpsed maybe a hundredth of a percent of his knowledge, and so I am overjoyed that he has written this book, and I look forward to the rest of you being able to share in such delight.
     - written by Bao Fotian of Jingshan at the Nanchang Field Headquarters, Oct, 1934

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林序
PREFACE BY LIN JINGPING

余習太極拳於田師紹先,得識黃文叔先生。其為人深沈果毅,勇往直前,每習一藝必至精熟而後,已故其進境之,速造詣之,深非余所能揣測。也本年,春黃先生於効勞黨國之餘,暇出其多年苦心所得之經驗,筆之於書,彙為武術偶談,欲示初學者,以實練入手之法,其有益於世,詢非淺鮮。書成以余稍習醫學,命將拳術於生理上之益處,簡括言之,重違其請,謹為條例如左:
一:太極拳之為術也。一動無有不動,一靜無有不靜,其動其靜,莫不身心兼顧,內外並修,絕無偏重之弊。且其練習順序,由淺入深,按步以進,尚柔和不尚拙力,以努氣為大忌,絕無過勞之弊,故能發達全身臟器,使其肥大,則身體日益堅強矣。
一:太極拳之實練也。聚精領神,以發號施令,一舉一動,皆有意志,為其主宰,非漫無統率者可比,故能意志集中,精神日以鞏固。
一:呼吸為吾人生命所賴以維持,其為重要,不言可知。然在實際上,每被忽視,常見有摒其氣息,以求最大努力,致而色紫漲,脉絡怒張,或竟灰敗苦悶而倒地,此皆不知注意呼吸,無以應體內氧氣之需求故也。太極拳則不然,集中心意,以行呼吸,一呼一吸,皆應身體之動作,虛實轉換之間,皆以呼吸貫運之。卽所謂以心行氣,以氣運身,身心之間,介以呼吸,故能身體靈活,呼吸順遂,而肺活量日以增大矣。
凡上三端:僅其大槪,聊舉以塞責,固不足以盡拳術於生理上之益也。
民國二十三年一月南昌行營第八臨時醫院院長林鏡平謹識。
When I learned Taiji Boxing from Tian Zhaolin, I got to know Huang Yuanxiu. He is a man of profound determination, one who when he has a task in front of him, he just gets on with it, and whatever skill he is working on, he has to master it before moving on from it. Hence the speed of his progress and the depth of his attainments I cannot even measure.
     In the spring of this year, Huang has spent his spare time from working for the state by committing to writing what he has learned from experience in his many years of hard work and gathering it all together to make his Martial Arts Discussions. He wishes to reveal to beginners the real methods of training. The benefits of this to the world are by no means insignificant. Once the manuscript was finished, he assigned me, on the grounds of my little bit of medical training, to present some succinct words on the physiological benefits of boxing arts. Out of respect for his request, I sincerely offer the points below:
     1. As for the art of Taiji Boxing: “If one part moves, every part moves, and if one part is still, every part is still.” In both movement and stillness, it is always the case that body and mind are to be attended to simultaneously, inside and outside mutually cultivated. Never make the mistake of emphasizing one over the other. It is to be trained in the proper sequence, going from the easy to the difficult, progressing step by step. It values mildness rather than awkward effort. Anger is forbidden. Never make the mistake of overdoing it. If you can develop the health of your body’s organs and get your flesh to fill out, your body will become stronger with each day.
     2. As for the actual practice of Taiji Boxing, gather your essence and rouse your spirit to tell your body what to do. With every movement, intention is in command. No freedom of anarchy can compare to this. If you can focus your will, your spirit will become stronger with each day.
     3. Breathing is what we depend on to stay alive. Its importance can hardly be conveyed in words, but in actuality it tends to get overlooked. We commonly ignore our breath and then seek to put forth a massive amount of effort, with the result that our faces go purple and swell until our veins pop out, then we turn pale and dejected as we collapse to the ground. This is always due to a lack of awareness of the attention that is to be paid to the breath, and a lack of compliance to the oxygen requirements within the body. This is not the case with Taiji Boxing, in which the mind is focused within and moves the breath. The inhaling and exhaling are always done according to the body’s movements. The breath is always linked up with the alternating of emptiness and fullness. Thus it is said [also from Understanding How to Practice]: “Use mind to move the energy… Use energy to move your body.” Between body and mind is the breath. Therefore if you can make your body nimble and your breathing smooth, your lung capacity will grow with each day.
     The three points above are just the general idea, just enough to fulfill my responsibility, quite inadequate toward fully describing the physiological benefits of boxing arts.
     - sincerely written by Lin Jingping, director of the Nanchang Field Headquarters 8th Provisional Hospital, Jan, 1934

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自序
AUTHOR’S PREFACE

余自幼喜弄拳棒,好聞古俠士行,從鄕人學,數年未成,壯求科學,旋卽從軍,無暇及此。民國八年,同學斯參謀鏡吾,聘北平田兆麟先生來浙,邀余加入,學纔數月,江浙軍興,奔走老瘁,遂至中輟。民十八張靜江先生主浙,開全國國術大會,國術名家,聯袂蒞止,邇時見獵心喜,乃從廣平楊澄甫先生重習太極拳;幷從老友孫祿堂,張兆東,如兄杜心五,劉百川,研究各技;復承李芳宸先生傳授武當劍術,由來六易寒暑,愧無所得,而向慕之私,愛好之念,實未嘗一日去懷。上年孟春,日寇關東,為友人邀往第八軍參贊戎幕,入夏南來,委座囑在行營工作。公餘之暇,拳劍自娛,同營中,不乏同好,爰重錄此譜,以餉諸友,又有余習拳經驗談數則,當另附焉。
民國二十三年元月中澣黃元秀識於南昌百花洲行營。
Since childhood I have loved engaging in martial arts and hearing stories of ancient heroes. I learned from fellow villagers but after several years still had not succeeded. When I grew up, I studied science and then joined the army, and so I no longer had time for it.
     In 1919, a fellow student, staff officer Si Jingwu, invited Tian Zhaolin of Beijing to teach in Zhejiang and told me I should join in. I had learned from Tian for just a few months, and then there was an outbreak of hostilities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang. I was then rushing around overworked and had to give up in the middle of the training.
     In 1929, Zhang Jingjiang came to Zhejiang to hold the National Martial Arts Gathering, bringing together famous martial arts experts. I was thrilled to take part in the event, getting an intensive training in Taiji Boxing from Yang Chengfu of Guangping, as well as studying various skills with old friends Sun Lutang and Zhang Zhaodong, and from my sworn brothers Du Xinwu and Liu Baichuan. I then received instruction from Li Jinglin in the Wudang sword art, and am ashamed that after six years of it I have still not mastered it. I admire him deeply, remember him fondly, and indeed I never go a day without missing him.
     Last year in the first month of spring, the Japanese occupied the northeast [establishing the Manchukuo government in Feb, 1932]. Colleagues requested my presence as an attaché to the 8th Army Camp and so I came south with the onset of summer and was appointed to a position in the field headquarters here. I have spent my spare time amusing myself with boxing sets and swordplay. Since there are plenty in the barracks with the same interests, I have ardently written down the material in this manual to provide for all my colleagues, also including several compositions discussing my experience of practicing boxing arts.
     - written by Huang Yuanxiu at the field headquarters in Baihuazhou, Nanchang, middle of Jan, 1934

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張三丰傳
BIO OF ZHANG SANFENG

張三丰名通,子君實,遼陽人,元季儒者。善書畫,工詩詞,中統元年,曾舉茂才異等。任中山博陵令,慕葛稚川之為人,遂絕意仕進,遊寶鷄山中,有三山峯,挺秀蒼潤可喜,因號三丰子。世之傳三丰先生者。不下十數,均未言其善拳術,洪武初,召之入朝,路阻武當,夜夢玄武大帝授以拳法,旦以破賊,故名其拳曰武當派,或曰內家拳。內家者,儒家之意,所以别於方外也。又因八門五步,為此拳中之要訣,故名十三式,言十三法也,後世誤解以為姿勢之勢,則謬矣。傳張松溪,張翠山,先是宋遠橋,與俞蓮舟,俞岱岩,張松溪,張翠山,殷利亨,莫谷聲,等七人為友,往來金陵之地,尋同往武當山,訪夫子李先生不遇,適經玉虛宮,晤三丰先生,七人共拜之,耳提面命者,月餘而歸,自後不絕往拜。由是而觀。七人均曾師事三丰,惟張松溪,張翠山,傳者名十三式耳。或曰:三丰係宋徽宗時人,値金人入寇,彼以一人殺金兵五百餘,山陝人民慕其勇,從學者數十百人,因傳技於陝西。元世祖時,有西安人王宗岳者,得其眞傳,名聞海內,著有太極拳論,太極拳解,行功心解,搭手歌,總勢歌等,温州陳同曾多從之學,由是由山陝而傳於浙東,又百餘年,有海鹽張松溪者,在派中最為著名,見甯波府志後傳其技於甯波葉繼美近泉,近泉傳王征南來咸,淸順治中人。征南為人勇而有義,在明季可稱獨步,黄宗羲最重征南,其事蹟見遊俠佚聞錄。征南死時,曾為墓誌銘,黄百家主一,為傳內家拳法,有六路長拳,十段錦等歌訣。征南之後,又百年,始有甘鳳池,此皆為南派人士。其北派所傳者,由王宗岳傳河南蔣發,蔣發傳河南懷慶府陳家溝陳長興,其人立身常中正不倚,形若木鷄,人因稱之為牌位先生,子二人,曰耿信。曰紀信,時有楊露蟬先生福魁者,直隸廣平永年縣人,聞其名,因與同里李伯魁共往師焉。初至時,同學者,除二人外,皆陳姓,頗異視之,二人因互相結納,盡心研究,常徹夜不眠:牌位先生見楊之勤學,遂盡傳其秘,楊歸傳其術遍鄕里,俗稱為軟拳,或曰化拳,因其能避制強硬之力也。嗣楊游京師,客諸府邸,淸親貴王公貝勒多從受業焉。旋為旗官武術教師,有三子,長名錡早亡,次名鈺字班侯,三名鑑,字健侯,亦曰鏡湖,皆獲盛名。余從鏡湖先生游有年,諗其家世,有子三人,長曰兆熊字夢祥,仲名兆元早亡,叔名兆淸字澄甫,班侯子一,名兆鵬,務農於鄕里,當露蟬先生充旗營教師時,得其傳者蓋三人,萬春凌山全佑是也。一勁剛,一善發人,一善柔化。或謂三人各得先生之一體,有筋骨皮之分,旋從先生命,均拜班侯先生之門,稱弟子云。有宋書銘者,自云宋遠橋後,久客項城幕,精易理,善太極拳術,頗有發明,與余素善,日夕過從,獲益匪鮮,本社教員紀子修,吳鑑泉,劉恩緩,劉彩臣,姜殿臣等,多受業焉。
錄北平許禹生先生序:
Zhang Sanfeng, given name Tong, called Junshi, was from Liaoyang. He was a Confucian scholar from the end of the Yuan Dynasty, excelling at calligraphy and painting, versed in poetry and essays. In the first year of Kublai Khan’s reign [1260], he was noticed for his remarkable talent and was appointed as a scholar-official for Zhongshan. He admired the nature paintings of Ge Zhichuan, which inspired him to abandon his official career, and he traveled to Mt. Baoji, where the mountain has three peaks so proud and elegant, green and lush, a joy to behold, and from then he was known as Three Peaks [“san feng”].
     Over the generations, about a dozen sources of biographical information about Zhang have accumulated, but none discuss his superb boxing art. At the beginning of Emperor Hong Wu’s reign [1368], he was invited to court, but his way was blocked at Wudang. That night in a dream, the deity Xuan Wu gave him the boxing method, and then at dawn he used it to defeat the bandits. Thereupon his boxing art was known as the Wudang branch, or the internal school of boxing.
     Internal stylists are of a Confucian mentality, and are therefore distinct from transcendentalists. Also because eight techniques and five steps are the key within this boxing art, it is therefore called Thirteen Dynamics [or “thirteen postures”], meaning thirteen methods. Later generations have misunderstood the term as indicating postural “postures”, leading to confusion.
     It was taught to Zhang Songxi and Zhang Cuishan. Then beginning with Song Yuanqiao and Yu Lianzhou, and followed by Yu Daiyan, Zhang Songxi, Zhang Cuishan, Yin Liheng, and Mo Gusheng, these seven colleagues met each other in Nanjing, then together went to the Wudang Mountains. They sought to visit a Master Li, but they did not get to meet him. However, passing by the Jade Emptiness Temple, they did meet Zhang Sanfeng. They did obeisance to him, listened to his wisdom for over a month, and then went home, constantly returning to get more lessons. From this it can be seen that all seven of these men considered Zhang to be their teacher, but only Zhang Songxi and Zhang Cuishan taught his art by the name of Thirteen Dynamics.
     It is also said that Zhang lived during the reign of Huizong [1082-1135] of the Song Dynasty. During the invasion to install the Jin Dynasty [1115-1234], he killed more than five hundred Jin troops single-handed. The people of mountainous Shaanxi admired his valiance, earning him hundreds of followers, and so he passed down his skill in Shaanxi.
     When the Yuan Dynasty began, Wang Zongyue of Xi’an obtained the authentic transmission and became renowned everywhere. He authored the “Taiji Boxing Classic”, the “Taiji Boxing Treatise”, “Understanding How to Practice”, the “Touching Hands Song”, and the “Thirteen Dynamics Song”. Chen Tongceng of Wenzhou learned it, and thereupon it spread from Shaanxi all the way to eastern Zhejiang [i.e. from the mountains to the sea].
     More than a hundred years later, there was Zhang Songxi of Haiyan county, Zhejiang, who became the most famous within the system (see the Records of Ningbo Prefecture). His art was then passed on in Ningbo to Ye Jimei, called Jinquan, who then taught it to Wang Zhengnan, called Laixian, during the reign of the Qing Emperor Shunzhi [1644-1661].
     Because Zhengnan was bold with people but just, he had a unique reputation at the end of the Ming Dynasty. Huang Zongxi puts the greatest importance on Wang Zhengnan (whose deeds can be found in the Stories of Knight-Errants). When Wang died, Huang wrote a memorial inscription for him. Huang Baijia [Huang Zongxi’s son] wrote the Boxing Methods of the Internal School, including “Six-Line Long Boxing”, “Ten Sections of Brocade”, and other instructions. More than a century after Zhengnan, the next person of note was Gan Fengchi. These are all exponents of the southern branch.
     Of those who passed on the northern branch, it was taught by Wang Zongyue to Jiang Fa of Henan, who then taught it to Chen Changxing of the Chen family village, Huaiqing prefecture, Henan. Chen always stood straight, impassively, not inclining in any direction, was as expressionless as a rooster made of wood, and so people called him Mr. Board. He had two sons, Gengxin and Jixin.
     At that time, Yang Luchan, called Fukui, from Yongnian county, Guangping prefecture, Hebei, heard of his fame, and so he with his fellow villager Li Baikui went to learn from him. When they arrived, they were the only students who did not have the surname Chen and they were looked upon as being very much outsiders, but because there was a close bond between the two of them, they studied wholeheartedly, often practicing throughout the night instead of sleeping. Mr. Board saw that Yang studied diligently and thereupon taught him all his secrets.
     Yang went home and taught the art to his fellow villagers, and it was commonly known as Soft Boxing or Neutralization Boxing, because it has the ability of using evasion to gain control over a strong force. Then Yang traveled to Beijing and was a guest in every mansion. Many Qing Dynasty royals, nobles, and men of rank learned from him, and at that time he was made martial arts instructor to the Manchu barracks. He had three sons, the eldest named Qi, who died young, the second named Yu, called Banhou, and the third named Jian, called Jianhou, also called Jinghu, and both Banhou and Jianhou earned much fame.
     I learned from Yang Jianhou for years and know his family’s history. He has three sons, the eldest named Zhaoxiong, called Mengxiang, the middle one named Zhaoyuan, who died young, the third named Zhaoqing, called Chengfu. Banhou had one son, named Zhaopeng, who is a farmer in his village. While Yang Luchan served as instructor at the Manchu barracks, three people who got instruction from him were Wan Chun, whose power was hard, Ling Shan, who was good at flinging opponents away, and Quan You, who was good at neutralizing, and so it is said that three people each obtained one of his qualities. When he physically declined, he then told them all to do obeisance to Banhou as their teacher, and hence they are said to be Banhou’s disciples.
     Song Shuming, who says he is descended from Song Yuanqiao, has traveled much, is an expert in the theory of the Book of Changes, and is proficient in the Taiji boxing art, contributing many innovations. He is casual and familiar with me, and I have had a constant association with him from which I have received unique benefit. Instructors in my organization such as Ji Zixiu, Wu Jianquan, Liu Enshou, Liu Caichen, and Jiang Dianchen have also received much from him.
     - text by Xu Yusheng of Beijing [from his 1921 manual]

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楊家太極拳要義目錄
CONTENTS TO ESSENTIALS OF YANG STYLE TAIJI BOXING

■首冠
Prefaces:
譚夢賢序
Preface by Tan Mengxian
姚憶華序
Preface by Yao Yihua
蔣馨山序
Preface by Jiang Xinshan
鮑佛田序
Preface by Bao Fotian
林鏡平序
Preface by Lin Jingping
自序
Author’s Preface
■內容
Contents:
一、太極拳論
1. The Taiji Boxing Treatise
二、王宗岳先師論
2. The Treatise of Wang Zongyue
三、十三勢行功心解
3. Understanding How to Practice the Thirteen Dynamics
四、十三勢歌
4. Thirteen Dynamics Song
五、太極拳名稱
5. Names of the Postures in the Taiji Boxing Set
六、推手歌 大捋約言
6. Pushing Hands Song & Large Rollback in Brief
七、楊鏡湖先生約言
7. A Few Words from Yang Jinghu [Jianhou]
八、太極長拳名稱
8. Names of the Postures in the Taiji Long Boxing Set
九、太極長拳歌
9. Taiji Long Boxing Songs
十、太極劍名稱
10. Taiji Sword Posture Names
十一、太極劍歌
11. Taiji Sword Song
十二、太極刀名稱歌
12. Song of Posture Names for Taiji Saber
十三、黏連槍
13. Stick & Follow Spear

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楊家太極拳要義 黃元秀 文叔 編纂
ESSENTIALS OF YANG STYLE TAIJI BOXING (compiled by Huang Yuanxiu)

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一、太極拳論
1. THE TAIJI BOXING TREATISE

未有天地以前,太空無窮之中,渾然一氣,乃為無極。無極之虛氣,卽為太極之理氣,太極之理氣,卽為天地之根荄。化生人物,始初皆屬化生,一生之後,化生者少,形生者多。譬如木中生蟲,人之生蝨,皆是化生,若無身上的汗氣,木無朽氣,那裏得這根荄,可見太極的理氣,就是天地根荄之領袖也。(此處疑有遺漏)一舉動,週身俱要輕靈,尤要貫串,氣宜鼓盪,神宜內歛,無使有缺陷處,無使有凸凹處,無使有斷續處。其根在於脚,發於腿,主宰于腰,形於手指,由脚而腿而腰,總須完整一氣。向前退後,乃能得機得勢,若有不得機不得勢之處,身便散亂,其病必於腰腿間求之。上下前後左右皆然,凡此皆是在意,不在外面而在內也。有上卽有下,有前卽有後,有左卽有右,如意要向上卽寓下,若將物掀起,而加以挫之之意,斯其根自斷,乃攘之速之而無疑。虛實宜分淸楚,一處有一處虛實,處處總有一虛一實,週身節節貫串,無令絲毫間斷耳。
此係武當山張三丰老師遺論,欲天下豪傑延年益壽,不徒作武藝之末也。
“Before there was a universe, within the infinity of space was the single indistinct energy of non-polarity [wu ji]. Then from this neutral energy came the principle of grand polarity [tai ji], which is foundation of the universe and for the evolving of people and things, the beginning of all transformation. Once life gets going, there is sometimes change from one form into another, leading to the frequent generating of new forms. For instance, insects are born from within trees and lice come to life upon the human body. These are both examples of changing states of life. If there was no sweat on the body or decaying wood within trees, how would such situations come to be? From this can be seen that the grand polarity [i.e. the engine of creative interaction between the passive and active aspects] is the guiding principle of the universe.” (I wonder if this section should have been left out.) [It is indeed a mystery why Huang included this introductory paragraph in the first place. It is from the early Qing Dynasty novel 豆棚閑話 Gossip in the Bean Shed, chapter 12, and does not typically lead into the more usual text that follows.]
     Once there is any movement, your entire body should be nimble and alert. There especially needs to be connection from movement to movement. Energy should be roused and spirit should be collected within. Do not allow there to be cracks or gaps anywhere, pits or protrusions anywhere, breaks in the flow anywhere. Starting from your foot, issue through your leg, directing it at your waist, and expressing it at your fingers. From foot through leg through waist, it must be a fully continuous process, and whether advancing or retreating, you will then be able to catch the opportunity and gain the upper hand. If not and your body easily falls into disorder, the problem must be in your waist and legs, so look for it there. This is always so, regardless of the direction of the movement, be it up, down, forward, back, left, right. And in all of these cases, the problem is a matter of your intent. It is internal and does not lie outside of you.
     With an upward comes a downward, with a forward comes a backward, and with a left comes a right. If your intention wants to go upward, then harbor a downward intention, like when you reach down to lift up an object. You thereby add a setback to the opponent’s own intention, thus he cuts his own root and is defeated quickly and certainly. Empty and full must be distinguished clearly. In each part there is a part that is empty and a part that is full. Everywhere it is always like this, an emptiness and a fullness. Throughout your body, as the movement goes from one section to another there has to be connection. Do not allow the slightest break in the connection.
     This relates to the theory left to us from Zhang Sanfeng of Mt. Wudang. He wanted all the heroes in the world to live long and not merely gain martial skill.

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二、王宗岳先師論
2. THE TREATISE OF WANG ZONGYUE

太極者,無極而生,動靜之機。陰陽之母也。動之則分,靜之則合,無過不及,隨曲就伸。人剛我柔謂之走,我順人背謂之粘。動急則急應,動緩則緩隨,雖變化萬端,而理惟一貫。由着熟而漸悟懂勁,由懂勁而漸進(一作階及)神明,然非用功之久,不能谿然貫通焉。虛領頂勁,氣沉丹出,不偏不倚,忽隱忽現,左重則右虛,右重則左渺,(一作為杳。)仰之則彌高,俯之則彌深,近之則愈長,退之則愈促。一羽不能加,蠅蟲不能落,人不知我,我獨 知人,英雄所向無敵,蓋皆由此而及也。斯技旁門甚多,雖勢有區別,極不外乎壯欺弱,慢讓快耳。有力打無力,手慢讓手快,是皆先天自然之能,非關學力而有所為也。察四兩撥千斤之句,顯非力勝,觀耄耋能禦衆之形,快何能為?立如平準,活似車輪,偏沉則隨,雙重則滯,每見數年純功不能運化者,皆自為人制,卒不能制人,則雙重之病未悟耳。欲避此病,須知陰陽,粘卽是走,走卽是粘,陰不離陽,陽不離陰,陰陽相濟,方為懂勁。懂勁後,愈練愈精,默識揣摩,漸至從心所欲,本是捨己從人,多該舍近求遠。所謂差之毫釐,謬以千里,學者不 可不詳辨焉。
Taiji [“grand polarity”] is born of wuji [“nonpolarity”]. It is the manifestation of movement and stillness, and the mother of yin and yang [the passive and active aspects]. When there is movement, passive and active become distinct from each other. When there is stillness, they return to being indistinguishable.
     Neither going too far nor not far enough, comply and bend then engage and extend. He is hard while I am soft – this is yielding. My energy is smooth while his energy is coarse – this is sticking. If he moves fast, I quickly respond, and if his movement is slow, I leisurely follow. Although there is an endless variety of possible scenarios, there is only this single principle [of yielding and sticking] throughout. Once you have engrained these techniques, you will gradually come to identify energies, and then from there you will gradually progress toward something miraculous. But unless you practice a lot over a long time, you will never have a breakthrough.
     Forcelessly press up your headtop. Energy sinks to your elixir field. Neither lean nor slant. Suddenly hide and suddenly appear. When there is pressure on the left, the left empties. When there is pressure on the right, the right disappears. When looking up, it is still higher. When looking down, it is still lower. When advancing, it is even farther. When retreating, it is even nearer. A feather cannot be added and a fly cannot land. The opponent does not understand me, only I understand him. A hero is one who encounters no opposition, and it is through this kind of method that such a condition is achieved.
     There are many other schools of boxing arts besides this one. Although the postures are different between them, they never go beyond the strong bullying the weak and the slow yielding to the fast. The strong beating the weak and the slow submitting to the fast are both a matter of inherent natural ability and bear no relation to skill that is learned. Examine the phrase “four ounces moves a thousand pounds”, which is clearly not a victory obtained through strength. Or consider the sight of an old man repelling a group, which could not come from an aggressive speed.
     Stand like a scale. Move like a wheel. If you drop one side, you can move. If you have equal pressure on both sides, you will be stuck. We often see one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations, always under the opponent’s control and never able to control the opponent, and the issue here is that this error of double pressure has not yet been understood. If you want to avoid this error, you must understand passive and active. In sticking there is yielding and in yielding there is sticking. The active does not depart from the passive and the passive does not depart from the active, for the passive and active exchange roles. Once you have this understanding, you will be identifying energies. Once you are identifying energies, then the more you practice, the more efficient your skill will be, and by absorbing through experience and by constantly contemplating, gradually you will reach the point that you can do whatever you want.
     The basic of basics is to forget about your plans and simply respond to the opponent. We often make the mistake of ignoring what is right in front of us in favor of something that has nothing to do with our immediate circumstances. For such situations it is said: “Miss by an inch, lose by a mile.” You must understand all this clearly.

長拳者,如長江大海滔滔不絕也。十三勢者,掤・捋・擠・按・採・挒・肘・靠,此八卦也。進步・退步・左顧,右盼・中定,此五行也。合而言之:十三勢,掤・捋・擠・按,卽坎・離・震・兌,四方也。採・挒・肘・靠,卽乾・艮・巽・坤,四斜角也。進・退・顧・盼・定,卽金・木・水・火・土・也。
Long Boxing: it is like a long river flowing into the wide ocean, on and on ceaselessly…
     The thirteen dynamics are: warding off, rolling back, pressing, pushing, plucking, rending, elbowing, and bumping – which relate to the eight trigrams:

☴☲☷
☳    ☱
☶☵☰

and advancing, retreating, stepping to the left, stepping to the right, and staying in the center – which relate to metal, wood, water, fire, and earth: the five elements. These combined [8+5] are called the Thirteen Dynamics.
     Warding off, rolling back, pressing, and pushing correspond to ☵, ☲, ☳, and ☱ in the four principle compass directions [meaning simply that these are the primary techniques]. Plucking, rending, elbowing, and bumping correspond to ☰, ☶, ☴, and ☷ in the four corner directions [i.e. are the secondary techniques].
     Advancing, retreating, stepping to the left, stepping to the right, and staying in the center correspond to the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.

此論句句切要在心,並無一字敷衍陪襯,非有夙慧者不能悟也。先師不肯妄傳,非獨擇人,亦恐枉費功夫耳。
It is important to be mindful of every sentence in this essay. It does not contain a single word that does not enrich and sharpen its ideas. But if you are not smart, you will not be able to understand it. The founder did not lightly teach the art, not just because he was discriminating over accepting students, but also because he did want to go to the effort only to have it wasted.

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三、十三勢行功心解
3. UNDERSTANDING HOW TO PRACTICE THE THIRTEEN DYNAMICS

以心行氣,務令沉着,乃能收斂入骨。以氣運身,務令順遂。乃能便利從心。精神能提得起,則無遲重之虞,所謂頂頭懸也。意氣須換得靈,乃有圓活之趣,所謂變轉虛實是也。發勁須沉着鬆靜,專主一方。立身須中正協舒,支撑八面。行氣如九曲珠,無微不到。(氣遍身軀之謂)運勁如百鍊鋼,無堅不摧。形如搏鳥之鶚,神如捕鼠之貓。靜如山岳,動如江河。蓄勁如開弓。發勁如放箭。曲中求直,蓄而後發,力由脊發,步隨身換。收卽是放,放中寓收。斷而復連,往復須有摺(一作折誤)叠,進退須有轉換。極柔輭,而後極堅剛,能呼吸,然後能靈活。氣宜直養而無害,勁以曲蓄而有餘。心為令,氣為旗,腰為纛。先求開展,後求緊凑,方可臻於縝密也。
Use mind to move the energy. You must get the energy to sink. It is then able to collect in the bones. Use energy to move your body. You must get the energy to be smooth. Your body can then easily obey your mind.
     If you can raise your spirit, then you will be without worry of being slow or weighed down. Thus it is said [in the Thirteen Dynamics Song]: “Your whole body will be nimble and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended.” The mind must perform alternations nimbly, and then you will have the qualities of roundness and liveliness. Thus it is said [also in the Song]: “Pay attention to the alternation of empty and full.”
     When issuing power, you must sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction. Your posture must be upright and comfortable, bracing in all directions.
     Move energy as though through a winding-path pearl, penetrating even the smallest nook (meaning that the energy is everywhere in the body). Wield power like tempered steel, so strong there is nothing tough enough to stand up against it.
     The shape is like an osprey catching a fish. The spirit is like a cat pouncing on a mouse.
     In stillness, be like a mountain, and in movement, be like a river.
     Store power like drawing a bow. Issue power like loosing an arrow.
     Within curving, seek to be straightening. Store and then issue.
     Power comes from the spine. Step according to your body’s adjustments.
     To gather is to release and to release is to gather. Disconnect but stay connected.
     In the back and forth [of the arms], there must be folding. In the advance and retreat [of the feet], there must be variation.
     Extreme softness begets extreme hardness. Your ability to be nimble lies in your ability to breathe.
     By nurturing energy with integrity, it will not be corrupted. By storing power in crooked parts, it will be in abundant supply.
     The mind makes the command, the energy is its flag, and the waist is its banner.
     First strive to open up, then strive to close up, and from there you will be able to attain a refined subtlety.

又曰:先在心,後在身,腹鬆氣歛如骨髓,神舒體靜,刻刻在心。切記一動無有不動,一靜無有不靜。撁動往來,氣貼脊背,歛入脊背,內固精神,多示安逸。邁步如貓行,運勁如抽絲。全身意在精神,不在氣,在氣則滯。有氣者無力,無氣者純剛,氣似車輪,腰似車軸也。
It is also said:
     First in the mind, then in the body.
     With your abdomen relaxed, energy gathers in your marrow. Spirit comfortable, body calm – at every moment be mindful of this.
     Always remember: if one part moves, every part moves, and if one part is still, every part is still.
     As the movement leads back and forth, energy sticks to and gathers in your spine.
     Inwardly bolster spirit and outwardly show ease.
     Step like a cat and move energy as if drawing silk.
     Throughout your body, your mind should be on the spirit rather than on the energy, for if you are fixated on the energy, your movement will become sluggish. Whenever your mind is on the energy, there will be no power, whereas if you ignore the energy and let it take care of itself, there will be pure strength.
     The energy is like a wheel and the waist is like an axle.

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四、十三勢歌
4. THIRTEEN DYNAMICS SONG

十三總勢莫輕視,命意源頭在腰胯。
變轉虛實須留意,氣遍身軀不少滯。
靜中觸動動中靜,因敵變化示奇神。
勢勢揆心並用意,得來不覺費工夫。
刻刻留心在腰間,腹內鬆靜氣騰然。
尾閭中正神貫頂,滿心輕利頂頭懸。
仔細留心向推求,屈伸開合聽自由。
入門引路須口授,工夫無息法自修。
若言體用何為準?意氣君來骨肉臣。
想推用意終何在?延年益壽不老春。
歌兮歌兮百四十,字字眞切義無遺。
若不向此推求進,枉費工夫貽嘆惜!
Do not neglect any of the thirteen dynamics,
their command coming from your waist and hips.
You must pay attention to the alternation of empty and full,
then energy will flow through your whole body without getting stuck anywhere.
     In stillness, movement stirs, and then in moving, seem yet to be in stillness,
for the magic lies in making adjustments based on being receptive to the opponent.
In every movement, very deliberately control it by the use of intention,
for once you achieve that, it will all be effortless.
     At every moment, pay attention to your waist,
for if there is complete relaxation within your belly, energy is primed.
Your tailbone is centered and spirit penetrates to your headtop,
thus you will be wholeheartedly nimble and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended.
     Pay careful attention in your practice that you are letting bending and extending, contracting and expanding, happen as the situation requires.
Beginning the training requires personal instruction,
but mastering the art depends on your own unceasing effort.
     Whether we are discussing in terms of theory or function, what is the constant?
It is that mind is sovereign and body is subject.
If you think about it, what is emphasizing the use of intention going to lead you to?
To a longer life and a longer youth.
     Repeatedly recite the words above,
all of which speak clearly and hence their ideas come through without confusion.
If you pay no heed to those ideas, you will go astray in your training,
and you will find you have wasted your time and be left with only sighs of regret.

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五、太極拳名稱
5. NAMES OF THE POSTURES IN THE TAIJI BOXING SET

太極出勢。
[1] TAIJI BEGINNING POSTURE
攬雀尾。
[2] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[3] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[4] SINGLE WHIP
提手上勢。
[5] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴展翅。
[6] WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS
左摟膝拗步。
[7] LEFT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
手揮琵琶勢。
[8] PLAY THE LUTE
左摟膝拗步。
[9] LEFT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
右摟膝拗步。
[10] RIGHT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
左摟膝拗步。
[11] LEFT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
手揮琵琶勢。
[12] PLAY THE LUTE
左摟膝拗步。
[13] LEFT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
進步搬攔捶。
[14] ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉。
[15] SEALING SHUT
十字手。
[16] CROSSED HANDS
抱虎歸山。
[17] CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
攬雀尾。
[18] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[19] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
斜單鞭。
[20] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP
肘底捶。
[21] PUNCH UNDER THE ELBOW
左右倒攆猴。
[22] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY – LEFT & RIGHT
斜飛勢。
[23] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手上勢。
[24] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴展翅。
[25] WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS
左摟膝。
[26] LEFT BRUSH KNEE
海底針。
[27] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
蟾通背。
[28] MOON THROUGH THE BACK
轉身撇身捶。
[29] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
白蛇吐信。
[30] WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE
上步搬攔捶。
[31] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
上勢攬雀尾。
[32] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[33] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[34] SINGLE WHIP
左右雲手。
[35] CLOUDING HANDS – LEFT & RIGHT
單鞭。
[36] SINGLE WHIP
高探馬。
[37] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
右分脚。
[38] KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE
左分脚。
[39] KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE
轉身蹬脚。
[40] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
左右摟膝拗步。
[41] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE – LEFT & RIGHT
進步栽捶。
[42] ADVANCE, PLANTING PUNCH
轉身撇身捶。
[43] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
白蛇吐信。
[44] TURN AROUND, WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE
進步搬攔捶。
[45] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
右蹬脚。
[46] RIGHT PRESSING KICK
左右打虎勢。
[47] FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE – LEFT & RIGHT
右蹬脚。
[48] RIGHT PRESSING KICK
雙風貫耳。
[49] DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS
左蹬脚。
[50] LEFT PRESSING KICK
轉身右蹬脚。
[51] TURN AROUND, RIGHT PRESSING KICK
上步搬攔捶。
[52] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉。
[53] SEALING SHUT
十字手。
[54] CROSSED HANDS
抱虎歸山。
[55] CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
攬雀尾。
[56] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[57] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
斜單鞭。
[58] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP
左野馬分鬃。
[59] LEFT WILD HORSE VEERS ITS MANE
右野馬分鬃。
[60] RIGHT WILD HORSE VEERS ITS MANE
左野馬分鬃。
[61] LEFT WILD HORSE VEERS ITS MANE
上步攬雀尾。
[62] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[63] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[64] SINGLE WHIP
左右玉女穿梭。
[65] MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE – LEFT & RIGHT
上步攬雀尾。
[66] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[67] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[68] SINGLE WHIP
左右雲手。
[69] CLOUDING HANDS – LEFT & RIGHT
單鞭。
[70] SINGLE WHIP
斜身下勢。
[71] SLANTING BODY, LOW POSTURE
左右獨立金鷄。
[72] GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG – LEFT & RIGHT
左右倒攆猴。
[73] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY – LEFT & RIGHT
斜飛勢。
[74] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手上勢。
[75] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴展翅。
[76] WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS
左摟膝拗步。
[77] LEFT BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
海底針。
[78] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
蟾遠背。
[79] MOON BEYOND THE BACK
轉身撇身捶。
[80] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
白蛇吐信。
[81] WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE
上步搬攔捶。
[82] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
上勢攬雀尾。
[83] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[84] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[85] SINGLE WHIP
左右雲手。
[86] CLOUDING HANDS – LEFT & RIGHT
單鞭。
[87] SINGLE WHIP
高探馬。
[88] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
轉身右蹬脚。
[89] TURN AROUND, RIGHT PRESSING KICK
左摟膝指襠捶。
[90] LEFT BRUSH KNEE, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
上勢攬雀尾。
[91] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[92] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[93] SINGLE WHIP
斜身下勢。
[94] SLANTING BODY, LOW POSTURE
上步七星。
[95] STEP FORWARD WITH THE BIG DIPPER
退步跨虎。
[96] RETREAT TO SITTING TIGER POSTURE
轉身雙擺連。
[97] TURN AROUND, DOUBLE-SLAP SWING-THOUGH KICK
彎弓射虎。
[98] BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER
上步搬攔捶。
[99] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉。
[100] SEALING SHUT
十字手。
[101] CROSSED HANDS
合太極。
[102] CLOSING POSTURE

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六、推手歌
6. PUSHING HANDS SONG

掤捋擠按須認眞。
上下相隨人難進。
任君巨力來打咱。
撁動四兩撥千斤。
引進落空合卽出。
拈連黏隨不丟頂。
Ward-off, rollback, press, and push must be taken seriously.
With coordination between above and below, the opponent will hardly find a way in.
I will let him attack me with as much power as he likes,
for I will tug with four ounces of force to move his of a thousand pounds.
Guiding him in to land on nothing, I then close on him and send him away.
I stick to him and go along with his movement instead of coming away or crashing in.

大捋約言
LARGE ROLLBACK IN BRIEF

我捋他肘。
[1] I rollback his elbow.
他上步擠。
[2] He steps forward with press.
我單手搧。
[3] I slap with a single hand.
他轉身捋。
[4] He turns his body and rolls back.
我上步擠。
[5] I step forward with press.
他逃體。
[6] He evades with his body.
我一捋。
[repeat of 1 on the opposite side] I do a rollback.
他上步擠。
[repeat of 2 on the opposite side] He steps forward with press. [And the same pattern continues on the opposite side. I slap with a single hand,...]

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七、楊鏡湖先生約言
7. A FEW WORDS FROM YANG JINGHU [JIANHOU]

曰:輕則靈。靈則動。動則變。變則化。
He said: “With lightness there is sensitivity, with sensitivity there is movement, with movement there is adaptation, and with adaptation there is transformation.”
又曰:彼不動。我不動。彼微動。我先動。似鬆非鬆。將展未展。勁斷意不斷。此語非熟練心悟,不能領會也。
He also said: “If he takes no action, I take no action, but once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted. The power seems to be relaxed but not relaxed, about to express but not yet expressing. Although the power finishes, the intent of it continues.” If you are not an experienced practitioner, you will not be able to understand these words.

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八、太極長拳名稱
8. NAMES OF THE POSTURES IN THE TAIJI LONG BOXING SET

四正四隅。
[1] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[2] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
左右雲手。
[3] CLOUDING HANDS – LEFT & RIGHT
魚尾單鞭。
[4] FISH-TAIL SINGLE WHIP
鳳凰展翅。
[5] PHOENIX UNFURLS ITS WINGS
摟膝拗步。
[6] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
手揮琵琶。
[7] PLAY THE LUTE
雀尾勢。
[8] SPARROW’S TAIL POSTURE
彎弓射雁。
[9] BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE GOOSE
琵琶勢。
[10] LUTE POSTURE
上步搬攔捶。
[11] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
簸箕勢(卽如封似閉十字手。)
[12] WINNOWING BASKET POSTURE (SAME AS SEALING SHUT & CROSSED HANDS)
抱虎歸山。
[13] CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
掤捋擠按。
[14] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
斜單鞭。
[15] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP
提手上勢。
[16] RAISE THE HANDS
肘底捶。
[17] PUNCH UNDER THE ELBOW
倒攆猴頭。
[18] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY’S HEAD
摟膝指襠捶。
[19] BRUSH KNEE, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
轉身蹬脚。
[20] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
上步栽捶。
[21] STEP FORWARD, PLANTING PUNCH
斜飛勢。三
[22] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE (THREE TIMES)
攬雀尾。
[23] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
魚尾單鞭。
[24] FISH-TAIL SINGLE WHIP
轉身撇身捶。
[25] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
上步玉女穿梭。
[26] STEP FORWARD, MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE
兩掌兩拳左掌右拳
[27] DOUBLE PALMS & DOUBLE PUNCHES, LEFT PALM & RIGHT PUNCH
攬雀尾。
[28] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
左右野馬分鬃。二
[29] WILD HORSE VEERS ITS MANE – LEFT & RIGHT (TWO TIMES)
斜身下勢。
[30] SLANTING BODY, LOW POSTURE
左右金鷄獨立。
[31] GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG – LEFT & RIGHT
左右倒攆猴。
[32] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY – LEFT & RIGHT
斜飛勢。
[33] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手上勢。
[34] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴展翅。
[35] WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS
摟膝拗步。
[36] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
海底珍珠。
[37] PEARL UNDER THE SEA
蟾通背。
[38] MOON THROUGH THE BACK
轉身白蛇吐信。
[39] TURN AROUND, WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE
上步搬攔捶。
[40] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
上步攬雀尾。
[41] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[42] SINGLE WHIP
左右雲手。三
[43] CLOUDING HANDS – LEFT & RIGHT (THREE TIMES)
單鞭。
[44] SINGLE WHIP
高探馬。
[45] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
左右分脚。
[46] KICK TO BOTH SIDES
轉身蹬脚。
[47] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
左右摟膝拗步。
[48] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE – LEFT & RIGHT
左右雙風貫耳。
[49] DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS – LEFT & RIGHT
飛脚。
[50] FLYING KICK
左打虎勢。
[51] LEFT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE
右雙風貫耳
[52] DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS – RIGHT
左蹬脚。
[53] LEFT PRESSING KICK
轉身蹬脚。
[54] TURN AROUND, PRESSING
KICK
上步撇身捶。
[55] STEP FORWARD, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
白蛇吐信拳。
[56] “WHITE SNAKE FLICKS ITS TONGUE” PUNCH
進步搬攔捶。
[57] ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
上步攬雀尾。
[58] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
掤捋擠按。
[59] WARD-OFF, ROLLBACK, PRESS, PUSH
單鞭。
[60] SINGLE WHIP
左右雲手。三
[61] CLOUDING HANDS – LEFT & RIGHT (THREE TIMES)
單鞭。
[62] SINGLE WHIP
高探馬
[63] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
轉身單擺連。
[64] TURN AROUND, SINGLE-SLAP SWING-THROUGH KICK
上步指擋捶。
[65] STEP FORWARD, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
上步攬雀尾。
[66] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
轉身單鞭。
[67] TURN AROUND, SINGLE WHIP
下勢。
[68] LOW POSTURE
七星跨虎。
[69] BIG DIPPER POSTURE, SITTING TIGER POSTURE
轉身雙擺連。
[70] TURN AROUND, DOUBLE-SLAP SWING-THROUGH KICK
彎弓射虎。
[71] BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER
搬攔捶。
[72] PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉。
[73] SEALING SHUT
十字手。
[74] CROSSED HANDS
合太極。
[75] CLOSING POSTURE

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九、太極長拳歌
9. TAIJI LONG BOXING SONGS

太極長拳獨一家。無窮變化洵非誇,妙處全憑能借力,當場着急莫輕拿。
[1] The Taiji Long Boxing set is unique to this school.
That it endlessly transforms is truly no exaggeration.
Its subtlety is entirely based on borrowing the opponent’s power.
In that moment of anxiety, do not be so willing to grab him.

掌拳肘合腕,肩腰跨膝脚。上下九節勁,節節腰中發。
[2] Palm or fist, elbow and wrist,
shoulder, waist, hip, knee, foot –
the power of these nine sections above and below
each depend on the waist’s central role in issuing.

約言:順人能得勢,借力不須拿。
To sum up:
By going along with the opponent, you will be able to get into the right position. By borrowing his power, there will be no need to grab him.

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十、太極劍名稱
10. TAIJI SWORD POSTURE NAMES

三環套月。
[1] THREE LOOPS AROUND THE MOON
魁星勢。
[2] KUIXING POSTURE
燕子抄水。
[3] SWALLOWS TAKES UP WATER
左右邊攔掃。
[4] LEFT & RIGHT BLOCKING SWEEPS
小魁星。
[5] SMALL KUIXING POSTURE
燕去入巢。
[6] SWALLOW ENTERS ITS NEST
靈貓捕鼠。
[7] QUICK CAT CATCHES THE MOUSE
鳳凰點頭。
[8] PHOENIX NODS ITS HEAD
黃蜂入洞。
[9] WASP ENTERS THE HIVE
鳳凰右展翅。
[10] PHOENIX UNFURLS ITS WINGS TO THE RIGHT
小魁星。
[11] SMALL KUIXING POSTURE
鳳凰左展翅。
[12] PHOENIX UNFURLS ITS WINGS TO THE LEFT
釣魚勢。
[13] WAITING FOR A FISH
左右龍行勢。
[14] DRAGON MOVING TO THE LEFT & RIGHT
宿鳥投林。
[15] BIRD GOES INTO THE FOREST TO ROOST
烏龍擺尾。
[16] BLACK DRAGON SWINGS ITS TAIL
靑龍出水。
[17] BLUE DRAGON LEAVES THE WATER
風捲荷葉。
[18] WIND ROLLS UP THE LOTUS LEAVES
左右獅子搖頭。
[19] LION SHAKES ITS HEAD LEFT & RIGHT
虎抱頭。
[20] TIGER HIDES ITS HEAD
野馬跳澗。
[21] WILD HORSE JUMPS THE STREAM
勒馬勢。
[22] TURN AROUND, REIN IN THE HORSE
指南針。
[23] COMPASS NEEDLE
左右迎風打塵。
[24] BRUSHING OFF DUST AGAINST THE WIND LEFT & RIGHT
順手推舟。
[25] GOING WITH THE CURRENT TO PUSH THE BOAT
流星趕水。
[26] METEOR CHASES THE WATER
天鳥飛瀑。
[27] DIVINE BIRD DESCENDS THROUGH THE SKY
挑簾勢。
[28] RAISING A CURTAIN
左右車輪。
[29] LEFT & RIGHT WHEELING
燕子啣泥。
[30] SWALLOW PECKING AT MUD
大鵬展翅。
[31] RUKH UNFURLS A WING
海底撈月。
[32] TRYING TO SCOOP THE MOON’S REFLECTION FROM THE WATER
懷中抱月。
[33] EMBRACE THE MOON
哪吒探海。
[34] NEZHA SEARCHES THE SEA
犀牛望月。
[35] RHINO GAZES AT THE MOON
射雁勢。
[36] SHOOT THE GOOSE
靑龍現爪。
[37] BLUE DRAGON SHOWS A CLAW
鳳凰雙展翅。
[38] PHOENIX UNFURLS ITS WINGS
左右挎籃。
[39] CARRYING THE BASKET LEFT & RIGHT
射雁勢。
[40] SHOOT THE GOOSE
白猴獻果。
[41] WHITE APE OFFERS FRUIT
左右落花勢。
[42] LEFT & RIGHT FALLING PETALS POSTURE
玉女穿梭。
[43] MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE
白虎攪尾。
[44] WHITE TIGER TWITCHES ITS TAIL
魚跳龍門。
[45] FISH LEAPS THE DRAGON GATE
左右烏龍絞柱。
[46] BLACK DRAGON COILS AROUND THE PILLAR LEFT & RIGHT
仙人指路。
[47] IMMORTAL POINTS THE WAY
朝天一柱香。
[48] HOLDING UP A STICK OF INCENSE
風掃梅花。
[49] WIND SWEEPS THE PLUM FLOWERS
牙笛勢。
[50] IVORY FLUTE POSTURE
抱劍歸原。
[51] EMBRACE THE SWORD AND RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL POSITION

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十一、太極劍歌
11. TAIJI SWORD SONG

劍法從來不易傳。
直來直去是幽玄。
若仍欺我如刀割。
笑死三丰老劍仙。
The sword art is hard to teach,
for its directness of attack and withdraw is so subtle.
Basically, if you keep swinging it at me like it’s a saber,
Zhang Sanfeng will laugh at you.

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十二、太極刀名稱歌
12. SONG OF POSTURE NAMES FOR TAIJI SABER

七星跨虎交刀勢。騰挪內展意氣揚。左顧右盼兩分張。白鶴展翅五行掌。
風捲荷花葉裏藏。玉女穿梭八方勢。三星開合自主張。二起脚來打虎勢。
披身斜掛鴛鴦脚。順手推舟鞭作篙。下勢三合自由招。左右分水龍門跳。
卞和攜石鳳囘巢。吾師留下四方讚。口傳心授不能忘。教斫刴剗。截刮。撩腕。
BIG DIPPER and SITTING TIGER are followed by EXCHANGING THE SABER.
ALWAYS AT THE READY, SUDDENLY EXPAND, rousing mind and energy.
LOOK LEFT & RIGHT, then SPREAD APART TO BOTH SIDES.
WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS with a five-element palm.
     WIND ROLLS UP THE LOTUS LEAVES, then store inward.
MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE deals with all directions.
THREE STARS POSTURE, then open and close, and TAKE CHARGE OF THE SITUATION.
DOUBLE KICK, then perform FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE.
     DRAPE THE BODY, hanging at an angle, then perform MANDARIN DUCK KICK.
GOING WITH THE CURRENT TO PUSH THE BOAT, use your iron staff like a punting-pole.
LOWERING, ENGAGE THREE TIMES, moving with fluency.
SWIM TO THE LEFT & RIGHT, then LEAP THE DRAGON GATE.
     BIAN HE CARRIES THE STONE, then the PHOENIX RETURNS TO ITS NEST.
What my teacher has bequeathed us is praised everywhere.
Because of his personal instruction, I can never forget what he taught me:
the techniques such as cleaving, hacking, scratching, checking, shaving, raising to the wrist, and so on…

-

十三、太極黏連槍
13. TAIJI STICK & FOLLOW SPEAR

頭一槍進一步刺心。
1. Advance, stabbing to his solar plexus.
二槍進一步刺腋。
2. Advance, stabbing to his ribs.
三鎗進一步刺膀。
3. Advance, stabbing to his arm.
四鎗上一步刺咽喉。
4. Advance, stabbing to his throat.
(此進步由退卽進,因他之進而後進也。)
(These are advancings that come from retreats, retreating in response to the opponent advancing, then advancing toward him.)
退一步採一鎗。
[1] Retreat with a plucking spear technique
進一步挒一鎗。
[2] Advance with a rending spear technique.
進一步挎一槍。
[3] Advance with a shoveling spear technique.
上一步攛一槍。
[4] Step forward with a flinging spear technique.
(此四鎗,在前四槍之內也。)
(These four spear techniques lie within the first four.)

-

以上太極門各藝大義,其中精理。終非面授熟練。不能領悟也。
Above are the main ideas of the various skills of the Taiji school and their essential principles, but without personal instruction and experience, you will not be able to understand them.

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武術偶談序
PREFACE TO MARTIAL ARTS DISCUSSIONS

自古以來,哲人學士,靡不以所學所問,發揮其眞諦,闡明其精義,著述成書。如學術,則有顧炎武之日知錄,如經書,則有王念孫之讀書雜志,如史學,則有章實齋之文史通義,紀曉嵐之史通削繁,如文學則有劉勰之文心雕龍,如書畫,則有包世臣之藝舟雙楫,康有為之廣藝舟雙楫,董其昌之畫禪室隨筆笪重光之畫筌,龔賢之畫訣,秦祖永之桐陰畫訣,畫學心印,如醫學,則有陳士鐸之傷寒辨症錄朱丹溪之心法,等書。雖未汙牛充棟,要皆以眞知灼見之心得,發為衍義淺說,昭示後人,以冀斯學不墜,恢弘有自。
武術為吾國固有之體育,強種立國,衛身禦侮,有五千年燦爛光榮之歷史,因種種關係,旣乏明顯完善之敎材,絕鮮闡精抉微之紀載,留傳於世,得資揣摩者,實為此道日趨式微之一大原因也。甲戌春,俠魂本我素志,荷褚公民誼,及諸同志之贊助,編行國術統一月刊於滬濱,是夏,正感材料缺乏,尤其對刊中主綱內容第二所謂:『凡就經驗之心得,或憑感想之隨筆,以積極光明之態度,袪譏嘲謾駡之辭意,婉委暢達而出之,使讀者有觸類旁通之研究類稿件,更憂無人撰述。時有黃君文叔,承譚君夢賢之介,以武術偶談及楊家太極拳要義合册,由南昌斐然下頒,展誦一過,正係欲求不得,恰合此類條件之鴻著也。蓋黃君以其奧微曲折之拳理,出諸犀利妙曼之文筆,欽敬與欣慰之心,一時並作,自此與黃君書札往還,訂千里之神交,分期披露,惠四海之同道。茲屆單行本出版之日,預祝洛陽紙貴之譽,爰敢聊抒微意,以誌紀念,弁諸端首,云爾。
中華民國二十五年六月十日序於百俠樓
Ever since ancient times, wise men and scholars have all taken what they have studied and what they have inquired into, fully exploring the essence of a subject then explaining its principles, and have recorded it all in books. For instance, on the subject of learning itself, there is Gu Yanwu’s Daily Collectings of Knowledge. On the Confucian classics, there is Wang Niansun’s Miscellaneous Notes on the Classics. On the study of history, there are Zhang Shizhai’s Constants in Literature and History and Ji Xiaolan’s Select Complexities of History. On literature, there is Liu Xie’s The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. On painting and calligraphy, there are Bao Shichen’s Art of Rowing with Two Oars, as well as Kang Youwei’s expanded rendition of it, Dong Qichang’s Paintings from the Zen Chamber with Accompanying Calligraphy, Da Zhongguang’s Paintings of Fish Traps, Gong Xian’s Paintings with Poetry, and Qin Zuyong’s Paintings with Poetry Made in the Shade of the Tong Tree and The Art of Painting from One’s Heart. On medicine, there are Chen Shiduo’s On Distinguishing Feverish Illnesses and Zhu Danxi’s Art of Psychology. And so on.
     Although these examples do not constitute a huge collection [a vast store of books made by “filling the house through the labor of oxen”], they are made of the penetrating insights that have come from personal experience. The authors have presented basic essentials and put them on display for future generations, hoping that such learning will not fall by the wayside, but will instead be further developed by those who read them.
     Martial arts are the innate form of physical education in China. Through five thousand years of magnificent and glorious history, they have been used to strengthen the masses and support the nation, defend the self and resist aggression. But due to the sheer variety of systems, there is a lack of truly adequate teaching materials. It is so rare to find recorded explanations of the essentials and examinations of their subtleties that what has been passed down to us leaves us merely speculating, and this is indeed one of the major causes for the daily decline of these arts.
     In the spring of 1934, my major ambition was to enlist the help of Chu Minyi and various comrades in order to produce the Martial Arts United Monthly Magazine in Shanghai. By that summer, I really felt that there was a lack of material, as I specifically pointed out in the second part of our magazine’s article on “Main Principles”: “These things that have been learned through personal experience, or written based on personal reflection, are presented in a manner that is enthusiastic and open-minded, avoiding expressions of ridicule or disrespect, and put forth in a language that is pleasant and smooth so that readers will come to understand through the study of such contributions. What worries me is that there are not enough people writing.”
     Now Huang Yuanxiu, with a worthy introduction from Tan Mengxian, has made this combined volume of Martial Arts Discussions and Essentials of Yang Style Taiji Boxing, an outpouring of brilliance from the Nanchang Field Headquarters, spreading its words to those who have sought but not found. The perfect author for this situation, Huang takes abstruse and complex boxing principles and puts them into writing that is insightful and graceful, with a mentality of admiration and gratitude for such knowledge. The work now completed, Huang has been corresponding with distant colleagues to let them all know the date of publication for this book that will be of benefit to aficionados everywhere. Before that day arrives and this special volume becomes famous as a bestseller, I presume to convey some of my appreciation by being the first to commemorate the occasion.
     - written [by Jiang Xiahun] at the Hundred Heroes Lodge, June 10, 1936

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武術偶談 黃元秀 文叔 著述
MARTIAL ARTS DISCUSSIONS (by Huang Yuanxiu)

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自光復以還,凡百學術,無不鵲起,卽消聲匿跡已久之國術,亦乘時而興。邇來各省備設專館,市間出版風行,但僅屬於槍・刀・拳・棒・之方法,所謂教也。而於育字方面,未嘗加以研究。至於煆煉之目的,收效於何處,皆未明白了悟。故練而強者有之,練而致疾者亦有之。余以為對於工夫固屬重要,對於身體,尤宜注意。故須先知調養之方法,效用之目的,然後加以練習之功,乃至國術界中一切習慣,亦須知所謹守。茲將經驗所得,分述於左:
Since the Revolution [1911], we have seen advancement in every field of learning, which has brought an end to the tradition of secrecy in martial arts and given them the opportunity to flourish. By now, every province has set up their own special institutes, and they spread their publications in the cities. But so far it is only the methods of spear, saber, staff, and boxing that have been taught, and a study has not yet been made of their educational aspects.
     As for the purpose of such training, no one yet fully understands how far the results can go, and therefore while those practicing who are strong are getting results, those practicing who are severely ill are also getting results. I feel that as truly important as the skills are, it is the body itself that should be given the most attention. Therefore we must first understand methods of taking care of oneself and that the goal is effectiveness, and then we may commence to training the skills and participating in all the customs within the world of Chinese martial arts, adhering faithfully to their essentials. What I have gained through my own experience, I present below:

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(一)練武術之目的
ONE: THE PURPOSE OF PRACTICING MARTIAL ARTS

吾輩提倡吾國武術之目的,非直接致用於戰鬭,係間接收效於事業也。邇來機械化學之戰爭,不能以血肉之軀相抗,有常識者,類能知之。但研究科學,使用火砲,駕駛飛機,非有強壯之體力,不能運用自如,非有雄偉之氣槪,不能指揮若定,非有充足之精神,不能深刻研究,卽通常社會之事業,亦莫不然,倘學者對於武術,果能按照程序,依法養練,旣不過分,又不中輟,循序漸進,則其精力定能增長,以之從事教育,必能發揮其義理,從事實業,必能滿足其事業,從事軍政,必能達成其任務,從事科學,必能輔助其研究,此卽直接保持健康。間接助長事業,能使全國民衆,增加自衛之奮鬭力也。此種教練,旣不必如球場之舖張,又不必有多人之集合,寒暑晴雨,舞劍月下,論藝燈前,深山窮谷,代有傳人,實吾國數千年來,強身健體之絕藝也。
吾人所謂快樂者,舉止有爽快之感覺,思慮有歡樂之興趣,探其原因,皆從精神充足而來。例如兒童活潑跳躍,其心中藏有無限快樂,此卽精神充足之故。嗜煙酒者,以煙酒提神,貪一時之快,雖知其害,而不能去。不知練國術者,精神飽滿,身體爽適,其快樂之感,迥非煙酒之提神於一時者可比。一則日久成疾,形成癱廢,一則練成絕藝,卻病延年,其利害相較,不可以道里計也。
The reason we are promoting our nation’s martial arts is not for any immediate practicality in combat, but for the indirect results it will bring to our undertakings. Modern mechanized and chemical warfare can make no use of the human body as a weapon. Anyone with common sense can understand this. It is scientific research that builds cannons and makes planes fly, yet without a strong body, you would be unable to use such machines with ease. Without an imposing air, you would be unable to be a leader that inspires confidence. Without an abundant spirit, you would be unable to handle the research that is involved.
     In the undertakings of normal society, this is also always the case. If a student of a martial art can indeed adhere to its process, practicing according its principles and in a nurturing way, never overdoing any part of the training nor quitting halfway, but gradually progressing step by step, then he will certainly be able to increase his vigor, vigor which can applied in these ways: those engaged in education must be able to freely apply argumentation, those engaged in industry must be able to be sufficiently enterprising, those engaged in military tasks must be able to fulfill their assignments, and those engaged in scientific studies must be able to broaden their research. These are examples of how directly attending to matters of health will indirectly bolster all undertakings, and such attention will enable all citizens in the nation to increase their power to struggle for their own well-being.
     Martial arts instructors are not necessarily like sports coaches, nor do they need to be presiding over larger gatherings of people. Regardless of winter or summer, rain or shine, they are out there dancing with their swords in the moonlight, exhibiting theory and skill like a lamp for all to see, even in remote mountains and distant valleys. In every era, there have been teachers, especially in our nation of several thousand years, in the consummate art of improving one’s health.
     When we speak of happiness, we mean that our bearing shows a sensation of comfort or that our thoughts are reveling in our interests. But when we seek the source of our happiness, it always comes from abundance of spirit. Children for instance jump around with so much liveliness, with limitless joy in their hearts, and the reason for this is abundance of spirit. Those addicted to cigarettes and alcohol use those vices to lift their spirits, but it is a perversely temporary comfort, and although they know it is harmful, they are unable to quit. They do not understand that those who practice martial arts are full of vigor and fresh with health, and have a sense of happiness that so utterly outclasses the ephemeral highs of substance abuse. One person will eventually become so ill as to be rendered almost immobile, while the other who is training to develop wonderful skills will be preventing disease and prolonging his life. The difference between these benefits and harms is immeasurable.

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(二)調養
TWO: MAINTAINING HEALTH

邇來練拳術者,皆因身體孱弱而學習,是初學之時,對於調理身體,最宜注意。如四季中。春季應服淸補之劑,夏季應服卻暑等品,秋宜滋潤,冬可峻補,凡屬補品,為習武之人,長年所不可少,吾鄕有言:窮文富武是也。曩時讀書者。一部四子書,可以終其身,為價不過數百文而已,然習武舉者,長年培補,所費不貲,卽器械用具,亦非一部四子書所可等量齊觀也。至於應進何種補品,則因個人身體不同,不能固定,總之藥補不如食補,通常以魚肝油・牛乳・鷄蛋・蹄筋・肝腰・脊髓・等物為宜。其他奇異怪誕之物,如虎筋鹿脯,以及龜・鱉・鱔・鰻・等類,肥濃厚膩,久食恐生疽毒,宜屏除之。
以上所列,如肝則補肝,腰則補腰,魚油補肺,脊髓補髓,蹄筋補筋。此外如豆科植物,亦極滋補,勿以園蔬而忽之。總之食品不尚名貴,食量不在多貪,要宜平均使之消化,所謂平均者,不可過多過少,所謂消化者,務使咀嚼爛熟。如國術名家孫祿堂先生,太極・形意・八卦・各種拳法,皆負盛譽,年逾古稀,無疾而終。其平日食品,皆極淸淡。又廣平楊澄甫先生,太極泰斗,名滿南北,身極魁梧,而食量並不過巨,杜心五劉百川諸少林派名家,飲食皆如常人,同學曹晏海兄,身體偉岸,武藝精深,於浙江全國比試會,名列第四,上海全國比試會,名列第一,殊不知其係長齋茹素者。上列諸君,並皆點酒不聞,考其經驗,或保鑣塞北,或久歷戎行,足跡遍江湖,大名盛南北,而平時眠食起居,皆極珍攝。可見在於調養,並不在過分之飲食,古稱斗酒十肉者,無非形容其豪邁之行耳。
People nowadays are learning boxing arts just because their bodies are frail and weak. In the beginning of the training, the first principle in taking care of oneself is awareness of the seasons. In spring, take medicines to keep you cool. In summer, take medicines that drive out heat. In autumn, take medicines that help you retain moisture. In winter, take medicines that heat you up. Such tonics are indispensable throughout the year for martial arts practitioners.
     (There is a saying in my village: “Poor in learning, rich in fighting.” In the old days, students of the classics first studied the Four Books, and they might throughout their lifetime value only a few hundred works. Those who instead trained for the provincial military examinations trained year round and put all their money into weapons and equipment far exceeding the price of a set of the Four Books [and thereby subverting the saying to “rich in learning, poor in fighting”].)
     As for which tonics will help you progress, it is hard to determine because every body is different, but it is usually the case that medicine does not compare to eating right. Usually foods such as cod-liver oil, milk, eggs, beef tendon, liver and kidneys, and spinal marrow are to be recommended. Other weird foods like tiger tendon, deer breast, tortoise, soft-shelled turtle, or varieties of eel are very rich and oily, and if you eat them too often, they will probably cause ulcers, and so I recommend avoiding them.
     Of the recommended foods above, liver is good for your liver, kidneys are good for your lower back, cod-liver oil is good for your lungs, spinal marrow is good for your marrow, and beef tendon is good for your tendons. Beyond these, beans are also extremely nourishing, and do not neglect garden vegetables. Overall, food does not need to be exotic, appetite does not need to be insatiable, use the right amount of food for efficient digestion – meaning neither too much nor too little – and to digest efficiently, make sure to chew your food thoroughly.
     The famous martial arts master Sun Lutang, who carried a great reputation for his prowess in the arts of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua, passed away without illness above the age of seventy. His diet usually consisted of extremely bland food. The leading Taiji authority Yang Chengfu of Guangping, known everywhere from north to south, has a very large body, but not an excessive appetite. The famous Shaolin masters Du Xinwu and Liu Baichuan take the same meals as very ordinary people. My elder classmate Cao Yanhai is tall and robust with a skill that is refined and deep. He earned 4th place in the national competition in Zhejiang and 1st place in the national competition in Shanghai. Little did I imagine that he is actually a vegetarian.
     None of these gentlemen have been known to touch alcohol. Examining their experience, or that of bodyguards throughout the north, career soldiers on the move, or traveling performers everywhere, it is well-known that in their ordinary sleeping, eating, and daily life, they are all conscientious of staying healthy. It is obvious that the maintaining of health does not lie with gluttony, what the ancients called “a man who takes three gallons of wine and ten helpings of meat”, which is nothing more than a description of unrestrained behavior.

調節時間
On regulating time spent:

卽煆煉時間與休息時間,互相調節,其平日所辦事務,切宜節約,騰出光陰,以養其身心,此為最要之言。余見數友人,因煆煉之後,精神旺盛,對於業務,盡力使用,一年之後,衰象突呈,有友人以此精神供冶遊,不及二載遽致殞命。故練不得其道無益,練得其道而不知養,更有害也,願熱心此道者,三復斯言。
Time for training and time for resting should harmonize with each other. One’s daily work routine should be restricted in its hours so as to make time for nurturing body and mind. This is a crucial point. I have seen several of my friends become so revitalized due to the training that they threw themselves back into their professional tasks with even more excessive effort than before, and then after a year, they looked spent and hunched over. Some friends took their boosted spirit to the brothels and then rapidly perished after a couple years of that. If you train in but do not obtain the skills, there may be no benefit. But if you do obtain the skills and yet do not know how to take care of yourself, not only will there be no benefit, there will be harm. If you ardently seek these arts, ponder these words over and over.

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(三)戒忌
THREE: SOME THINGS TO AVOID

凡人一習拳捧,豪氣自生,輒忘其平日怯弱之態,每有縱酒浪遊,或好勇鬭狠之行。故曩年風氣未開之時,一般家長,皆禁其子弟弄拳藝槍捧等事。一則防其損身,二則慮其肇事。余嘗見國術館附近街肆中,有以拳架式與人鬭毆者,此為往年所無,年輕子弟,最易犯此。狂酒則傷身,浪遊則廢業,若好勇鬭狠,必致惹禍招殃,其招致之由,實誤認血氣之勇,為任俠之舉,結果以愛之心,反而害之,是不可也,深宜戒之。
練習國術者,忌在飽食,忌在過飢,忌在酒後。忌在風前,遺精之後,病愈之後,房事之後,業務疲勞之後,皆宜休養一日,或二三日,自覺精神無異,則繼續之,否則必致疾病。
練習後,因汗脫衣,或遽飲冷汁,或卽安坐睡眠,俱大不可,輕則感冒風寒,重則勞傷氣痛於練習工夫,反有妨礙。
練武人,遠離女色為要義,手淫尤為禁忌,卽自然之遺精,亦有礙氣體,況斵傷乎?若犯之自促其壽命矣。凡屬淫書淫畫,以及聲色之場,切勿沾染。卽有室家之人,房事亦宜節制,年在卅以後,一月一度,四十以後,一季一度,五十以後,一年一度,或且不可矣。習武修道之士,其所以為資糧者卽精氣神三寶而已,若無資糧,實無可練也。此個中人云:「練武身,貴如金,週身毫髮値千金,」足見古來武士之重視保養矣。
Whenever people train in martial arts, a heroic spirit naturally manifests and a usually timid manner becomes forgotten. This often may lead to behaviors of drunkenness, laziness, or combativeness. Therefore in ancient and “uncivilized” times, typical parents would always forbid boys from fighting with sticks, firstly to prevent them from getting hurt, and secondly to keep them from disturbing others. I have witnessed in the street market near a certain Martial Arts Institute a practitioner brawling with people. This would not have happened in those former times, in which it was the little boys who most easily slipped into such a pattern. As for drunkenness, it injures the body, and as for laziness, it wastes a life, but those who love to get into fights are sure to cause a great deal of trouble. The source of their behavior being deemed reckless courage is actually a mischaracterization, for the activation of a heroic personality would normally result in a more compassionate heart. When the opposite occurs and people are harming others, this must not be allowed and should be gravely guarded against.
     Avoid practicing martial arts when too full or too hungry, after drinking alcohol, or when in wind. After sex or nocturnal emissions, and after recovering from illness or becoming fatigued due to work, you should give yourself a day to recover, maybe even two or three. Once you feel your spirit has returned to normal, you may then continue, otherwise you are bound to make yourself ill.
     After practicing, do not remove clothes just because you have been sweating, nor suddenly drink any cold beverages, nor sit down and take a nap. These are all things to be avoided which will cause you at the least to catch a cold, and in worse cases will lead to such internal aching as to impede you in your training.
     For martial practitioners, it is essential to be aloof from sexual lust, especially abstaining from masturbation, since natural nocturnal emissions already diminish enough of the body’s energy, and so anything beyond it would be harmful and shorten your life span. Be sure not to become addicted to pornographic materials or brothels. Even marital sex should be engaged in only in moderation, no more than once a month past the age of thirty, no more than once a season past the age of forty, and no more than once a year past the age of fifty.
     Both martial practitioners and cultivators of the Way thus have internal resources to draw upon – the “three treasures” of essence, energy, and spirit. Without these resources, there is really no capacity for practice. On this point, there was a martial man who said: “If a body that practices martial arts were valued in gold, a single hair on it would be worth a thousand pieces.” This serves to show that warriors since ancient times have attached importance to health maintenance.

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(四)運動與煆煉
FOUR: EXERCISE & TRAINING

古德云:練精化氣,練氣化神,練神還虛,由虛成道,實千古不易之名言。試觀近日國術比試場,及表演會場,往往有皤然長鬚,鶴髮童顏之壯士。而歐美運動名家,未必盡享大年,卽最近日本運動著名之人見娟技。自得盛名之翌年,卽日長眠地下,此何故耶?是不知精氣神三者之修養也。
先哲有言:「眼珠光澤,舌底津津者,其精必盈。發音洪亮,言語淸明者,其氣必盛。眼皮紅滿,指甲赤潤者,其血充行。」又日:「精足不思淫,氣足不呻吟,神足不惛沉。」
凡人每日三餐飲食,入胃化為胃養汁,至腸化為腸養汁,經各部吸收後溶而成精,(此節所謂精非精蟲之精,係精液之精,是營養之精華生活之要素。)修鍊之士,以命門火蒸騰,化而為氣為血,升而為神,張而生肌,動而為力,變化自然,神奇莫測,其經過大致如此。若冶遊之徒,則易他道而入腎臟,故其氣衰,其血貧,其力弱。或再戕之以酒,加之以勞,則營養不敷,必耗其本原,本原旣虧,百病自生,促其壽命也。
天地之間,以氣為本,曰氣象,曰氣運,曰氣數,凡百盛衰,皆視氣之盛衰為轉移,人亦何獨不然。歷來言人氣之上者,如氣冲霄漢,氣化長虹。其次者氣槪雄偉,氣度非凡,力大聲洪,叱咤風雲。其衰者,尸居餘氣,氣息奄奄,故強弱盛衰,全憑之氣,不知其氣,實由精液而成,其所存之處,在丹田,其所成之由,在命火與精液,道家所謂水火旣濟,所謂內丹者,卽此也。例如近世機器,凡有動力者,皆仗蒸汽而動,以火蒸水,水化為汽,以汽衝動而行百械,有電力云云者,仍仗蒸汽之力摩擦而生,若水涸油盡,非爆烈卽崩潰矣。
氣血行於內者,謂之運,軀壳表於外者,謂之動。運動二字,係表裏運行之稱,所謂流水不腐,戶樞不蠹,推陳出新,借假鍊眞,是方外修鍊之補助。故道家有五禽經,佛家有易筋經,道家有張三丰,佛家有達摩祖,攷其運行之資源,捨精氣神無他道也。
煆煉者,寒暑不易,風雨無間之謂也。人身組織,除黄梅時節外,伏臘二季為最大變換,故歷來習此道者,於嚴寒盛暑,無不加意調攝,刻苦煆練,以其能長工夫,且不易退轉也。所謂煉者,每次演習至出汗,否則謂之裝腔作勢,膚淺無效。常人初汗始於頭部與兩液,繼則腰腹,或兩股,若至小腿有汗,則宜止矣。如吾輩馳馬,若見馬耳背有汗,則須停馳,不然,有傷其生命。
通常拳廠中,每日未明前四點卽起,練一小時後復臥,待天明早餐後,向野外散步,呼吸淸新之氣,歸來午餐,下午中睡一小時,三四時起,復練一小時,或二小時,七時晚餐,夜間八時練至九時止,十時卽睡,此為專門練習。吾輩有職務者,當以早晚二小時為度,或早晚合為一小時,或合為半小時皆可,總求其歲月之久,不求一日之長也。
The ancient worthies said: “Train your essence and transform it into energy. Train your energy and transform it into spirit. Train your spirit and return to emptiness. Then by way of emptiness, achieve the Way.” After thousands of years, this principle is unchanged. Take a look at our recent martial arts competitions and performances. You will often see long white beards, healthy old warriors. Famous athletes in Europe and America on the other hand will probably no longer be engaging in their particular forms of exercise when they are at an advanced age. Recently the Japanese athlete Mikengi was headed into the next year with a great reputation, then suddenly he was dead and buried. Why is this so? Because he did not understand the cultivation of the three parts – essence, energy, and spirit.
     A wise man said: “With eyes bright and tongue moist, one’s essence is abundant. With clarity of voice and articulation in speech, one’s energy is potent. With rosy eyelids and the fingernails pink and smooth, one’s blood is thriving.” And also: “When one’s essence is sufficient, there is no obsession with sex. When one’s energy is sufficient, there is no craving for food. When one’s spirit is sufficient, there is no drowsiness.”
     Most people have three meals a day, which are broken down in the stomach, then broken down further in the intestines, and once absorbed and dissolved, “essence” is produced. (This particular mention of essence is not referring to the sexual essence, but the nutritional essence that is crucial for maintaining life.) For scholars of cultivation practices, when the fire of the “life gate” rises, it transforms energy and blood, ascends to create spirit, spreads to create muscle, and acts to build strength, its changes natural, miraculous, invisible. This is a rough explanation of the process. If you persistently visit prostitutes, a different process will enter your kidneys, weakening your energy, impoverishing your blood, diminishing your strength. Or if you harmfully consume alcohol, or overwork yourself, then nutrition will be not enough to repair you and you will be irretrievably expending your life essence, the reducing of which will natural lead to illness and shortening of life span.
     Energy is the basis of the universe, as in the “manifestings of energy” [i.e. portents in the sky], “movements of energy” [operations of fate], or “calculations of energy” [wheel of fortune]. All forms of increase or decrease are a matter of the waxing and waning of energy. Why would this not also be the case for human beings? We always talk of someone’s energy being “up” in the same way energy rises into the sky to produce rainbows, or how one’s energy gives one a “heroic countenance” with a bold voice and authoritative air. When one’s energy declines, one dwells deathlike in its vestiges, breathing feebly. Therefore our strength or weakness, our ups or downs, are entirely a matter of energy.
     Unaware of our energy, it is actually produced by our sexual essence. Though dwelling in our elixir field, its source is the life fire and sexual essence. Daoists call this “water and fire in a state of mutual benefit” and is what is meant by “internal elixir”. For an analogy, motive power in modern machines depends on steam. Fire is used to evaporate water, the water becomes steam, and the steam gives movement to the machines. Even the electrical power from power plants is generated by steam-produced friction. If the water ever dried up or the oil ever ran out, without such explosive intensity, there would be a collapse.
     Exercise is: the energy and blood moving internally, and the body’s shell being worked externally. Exercise, inside and out, is as the saying goes [Lu Shi Chunqiu, book 3, chapter 2]: “Running water never goes stale and a door that gets used does not get rusty hinges.” We push aside the old to take in the new, or pick out what is false to practice what is true, and this is an asset in esoteric cultivation practices. Daoists have their Five Animal Frolics, while Buddhists have their Tendon Changing Classic. Daoists have Zhang Sanfeng, while Buddhists have Damo. But when we investigate the fuel for such exercises, it turns out there is nothing but essence, energy, and spirit.
     The training should not be interrupted, regardless of winter or summer, fair weather or foul. The way the human body is put together, unless it is the time of year in which the plums are ripening, we are oppressed by those grandest of alternations that are summer and winter. Thus we are typically practicing during either severe cold or intense heat, and so we always have to pay special attention to our health.
     With diligent training, you will be able to develop skill without easily regressing. When training, always practice until you are sweating. Otherwise you were just posing, rendering your training superficial and useless. A person usually begins to sweat from his head and armpits, then from his lower back and belly, then his thighs, and once his calves are sweating, then he ought to stop. Likewise when we are running a horse at a gallop, if the horse is sweating behind its ears, we must stop the horse, otherwise we would endanger its life.
     For a regular boxing arts regimen, get up each day before 4 in the morning and practice for an hour. Then lie down and rest until dawn. After breakfast, go for a walk outside, breathing in fresh air. Return for lunch, then take a siesta for an hour. Get up at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, then practice for an hour or maybe two. Have supper at 7, practice again from 8 until 9, then sleep at 10. This is a more focused practice, but for those of us who have jobs, we should try to get two hours of practice out of our mornings and evenings combined, although an hour or half hour will be acceptable. Always expect to put many years into it and do not seek to develop in a mere day.

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(五)太極拳之一般
FIVE: THE GENERAL COMPONENTS OF TAIJI BOXING

太極拳。近年來風行南北,可謂國術界中最普遍之拳術,遍觀各處,各人所練,各不相同,可大別為三派:
In recent years, Taiji Boxing is in vogue everywhere and can be said to be the most widespread boxing art in the Chinese martial arts world. Observing it in various places, how it is practiced by various practitioners, and the distinctions between them, it can generally be classified into three branches:

一 河北郝家派
1. Hebei Hao Style

此派不知始於何祖,聞係河北郝三爺所傳,述者忘其名,世以郝三爺稱之。三爺於淸季走鑣秦晉間,身兼絕技,善畫戟,名震綠林,鑣局爭聘之,實為山陝道上之雄。余見天津蔣馨山劉子善等,皆練此拳,南方習者不多,吾師李芳宸先生南來時,其家人及同來各員,皆善此。手法極複雜,其動作較楊陳二派增添一倍,約有二百餘式,表演一週,時間冗長,據吾師云:「此於拳式之外,加入推手各法,故較他派手法齊備,因太繁細,頗不易記,諸君旣習楊家派,其理一貫,毋須更習。」余慫恿朋儕學習之,計費六十餘日,不能卒業,可見其繁細矣。孫祿堂先生云:「此拳之長,極盡柔順之至。」而時余忘索其拳譜,不知與陳楊兩派之理論,有無異同也。
I do not know who started this style, but I have heard it has been passed down by Grandmaster Hao of Hebei. I do not recall his name, but everyone calls him Grandmaster Hao. During the Qing Dynasty, he was a convoy escort in the area between Shanxi and Shaanxi. He was highly skilled and an expert with a halberd. He was called “The Terror of Forest Bandits” and bodyguard agencies vied to employ him. He was truly a hero of the highways of Shanxi and Shaanxi.
I have met Jiang Xinshan of Tianjin and Liu Zishan, who both practice this boxing art. There are not many practitioners of it in the south, but when my teacher Li Jinglin came to the south, his family and close colleagues all became proficient in it. Its techniques are extremely complex, and it has twice as many movements as the Yang and Chen styles, with perhaps more than two hundred postures. To perform it once takes an excessively long time.
     According to Li: “In addition to its boxing set, it also has a variety of additional pushing hands methods, making its repertoire of techniques more comprehensive than other styles. Because it is so detailed, it is more difficult to remember. Its theory is consistent with Yang Style, and it is not really necessary to add it to your practice if you are already practicing Yang Style.” I asked some colleagues to learn it and see how far they got after two months. They were unable in that time to complete the set, and from this can be seen how complicated it really is.
     Sun Lutang told me: “The strength of this art is that it is so utterly soft and yielding.” At that time, I neglected to seek out its boxing manuals, and so I do not know the similarities and differences between its theory and that of the Chen and Yang styles.

二 河南陳家派。
2. Henan Chen Style

卽河南温縣陳家溝世傳之拳,余所稔者,如陳君伯瑗,及績甫叔姪,子明昆季等,皆陳氏之裔,而世其術者。據子明績甫二兄云:其先世以此報國保鄕,立功勳者累累,故合族皆習太極拳,略分新架子與老架子兩種:並有所謂太極砲拳者。余閱其動作,及所示拳譜,完全與楊家所傳者不同。其手法剛,其步法重,運勁一切,卻有獨到之處,可異者,卽陳氏各人表演,亦覺不盡相同。近聞張之江館長,派人至陳家溝考察,攜帶其世傳拳譜付梓,與子明兄所刊行本,亦有歧異。揣其緣由,想因歷次傳抄,不免魯魚亥豕,或有心得者,從而修改增減之,轉輾變易,遂有出入矣。
This is the boxing art passed down through the generations in the Chen family village of Wen county, Henan. I am familiar with Chen Boyuan, his nephew Jifu, and Jifu’s brother Ziming, each of them descendants in the Chen family and transmitters of their art. According to the brothers Chen Ziming and Chen Jifu: “Our ancestors used this art to serve their nation and protect their homes, rendering meritorious service over and over again, and therefore we all practice Taiji Boxing.”
     There are two versions of it, the old frame and the new frame, and it also has what is called Taiji Cannon Boxing. I have tried this art’s movements and perused its manuals. It is completely different from the Yang family tradition. Its hand techniques are firm, its stances are heavy, and it wields power with every move. It also has places in it that allow for some originality, which means that all who perform the Chen Style will not feel it exactly the same way as others.
     I recently heard that director Zhang Zhijiang had sent some people to the Chen family village to make a study of what is there and obtain inherited manuals for publication, and that the book made by Chen Ziming [published 1932] is in some parts at variance with them. I suspect the reason for this is that with handwritten copies of anything, there are always and inevitably errors in transcription. Not to mention there are also those who discover things in their own experience and then revise the work of others, adding to or deleting from someone else’s text. As it passes through many hands, it goes through many alterations, and is ultimately rendered inconsistent.

三 北平楊家派
3. Beijing Yang Style

卽世稱楊無敵楊露禪先生所遺傳,如楊班侯・楊健侯・楊夢祥・楊澄甫・許禹生・吳鑒泉・等,亦各不同,大致分為大架子與小架子兩種。余嘗以此事問之澄甫先生,先生答曰:「先求開展,後求緊凑。初習者,宜大架子,能使筋脈舒張,血氣充行,碻定方位,表示工夫,到用時,要快要便,宜小架子也,家兄現在練的。都是打人法則。」其意若曰:基本工夫尚未做到,欲越級而學打人,等於小孩,平路尚不能走,先要學跳,其可得乎?例如學游泳,平穩靜水之中,尚不能浮泳,欲涉驚濤駭浪之江海可乎?又習騎馬,粗淺之慢步,未有把握,而欲跳越障礙可乎?古人所謂登高必自卑,行遠必自邇,實為至理名言。總之打人之事,非日常所需,而康健實為須臾不可離,試問吾輩,何者為要,何者為急,本篇所述,皆屬平庸之談,卑無高論,倘讀者能循此而進,日計不足,月計有餘,於健康上不無裨益。至於驚奇駭俗之論,好高務遠之談,是非鄙人所知矣。近日一般學者,――非徒弟之列,指普通學者。――往往求速求快,最好將太極拳五六步工夫,數十年學力,在三兩日內學成,故近年學太極拳者,由北而南,黃河流域,長江流域,浸至於珠江流域,不下數十萬人,卽以浙省而論,十餘年來,亦有數千人,至今能稍有成就者,幾寥若星晨。卽以普通能在推手上將掤・捋・擠・按・四字分得淸楚者,亦不多見,其原因何在耶?一在求速,二在無恆,好高務遠者,决無成就。總之吾人先從基礎上練起,决無錯誤,第一求氣血充足,然後能精神飽滿,身體強健,務使架式正確,舉動合法,使其有利而無弊,循序而漸進,不在思想之急迫,而在學力之勤惰,與方法穩妥否也。楊夢祥先生,拳架小而剛,動作快而沉,常使冷勁,偶一交手,肌膚輒痛,所指示者,類多應用方式,其工夫,碻得乃祖眞傳,惜非常人所能學。文弱者,不堪承教,無根底者,無從領悟,且性情剛烈,頗有其伯楊班侯之遺風,同志中,每興難學之慨,故其名雖盛,其徒不多。澄甫先生卽夢祥先生之胞弟,架子開展而柔順,手法棉軟而沉重,所謂絲棉裹鐵彈,柔中有剛,好太極拳者,均歡迎之。但仍有不願與其推手者,每一發勁,輒被撲。跌尋丈以外,為弟子者,仍難領受其內勁滋味。余常問澄甫先生,教人何必如此,先生曰:非如此,無以示其勁,若隨隨便便模模糊糊,君等何必來,豈不徒耗光陰。虛糜金錢耶?十八年秋,楊為浙江國術館教務長,余常與推手,某次比演雙按,楊順勢一撲,其手指並未沾着余之衣襟,而余胸間隱隱作痛,移時,照常理論,手臂旣未接着,何來疼痛之感?殆所謂拳風者耶?余詢之楊,楊曰:內勁耳,氣耳,余至今仍不解其所以然也。據田紹先先生云:當年學習時,以拳盡力擊楊健侯老先生之腹,老先生腹一鼓,紹先跌出庭外,而老先生仍安坐椅上,手持菸筒呼吸如常,若不知有所舉動者。後與澄甫比試,被擊於右脅,而痛於左脅者月餘,凡此種種,皆為技術上不可思議之事。然考紹先之工夫,其手法之妙,出勁之沉,實非普通太極拳家,所能望其項背,余非為其宣傳,凡有太極拳有歷史者,莫不知田紹先為太極拳名家也。他於武匯川・褚桂亭・陳微明・董英傑諸君,同為澄甫先生入室弟子,行道於南北者,亦有年,聲譽籍籍,頗為社會人士所欽仰,而手法仍各有不同,理論亦各有其是,其他私淑者可知矣。
Inheritors of the teachings of Yang “The Invincible” Luchan include Yang Banhou, Yang Jianhou, Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu, Xu Yusheng, Wu Jianquan, and others. Each performs in a different way, but the differences mostly divide into two classifications: large frame and small frame. I once asked Yang Chengfu about this, and he told me: “First strive to open up, then strive to close up. In the beginning of the training, it should be the large frame, which can get your sinews and vessels stretched out, boosting the flow of blood and energy. This will put you in a position to then manifest skill. When the time comes to apply the techniques, you have to be quick and fluent, and for that you will need the small frame. The way my elder brother [Yang Shaohou] practices now [placing this exchange prior to 1930] is all about fighting methods.”
     His idea seems to be that if the basic skills are not yet attained but you wish to skip ahead to fighting, you would be no better than a child who is not yet able to walk and first wants to learn how to jump. Could the child do it? It is also like learning to swim. If you are not yet able to swim in calm water but you wish to swim in choppy rivers and seas, would you be able to? It is also like learning to ride a horse. If you are not yet confident even at a slow trot but you wish to leap over barriers, would you be able to? An ancient man said [from the Zhong Yong]: “To climb high, you must start low. To go far, you must start where you are.” This is indeed a true maxim.
     In short, fighting is not something you need to face every day, whereas health you cannot really do without for even a moment. Let us then ask ourselves which is more important, more urgent. This book is full of common sense rather than grand theories. If you can proceed in this steady way, you will find that although there may not be much material in a day of it, there is more than enough after a month, and your health will benefit. As for amazing and astonishing theories presented in an elaborate style, I don’t know any.
     A typical student nowadays – by which I mean ordinary students, not disciples – usually wants fast results, hoping to be given Taiji Boxing skill in a just few steps and attain decades of learning in just a few days, and because of this, many hundreds of thousands of people have accumulated in a recent years to learn Taiji Boxing, everywhere from north to south, from the mouth of the Yellow River to the Yangtze River and down to the Pearl River delta. But when take a look at Zhejiang for instance, of the several thousand who have been practicing there for more than ten years, those who now can be considered to have made even some small achievement in it are very few and far between. As for the average ability in pushing hands, those who are clearly distinguishing the four techniques of ward-off, rollback, press, and push are again very rare.
     What is the reason for this situation? One reason is that they seek to get results quickly, another is that they have no perseverance. Those who expect too much will certainly not succeed. On the other hand, those of us who start with the basics and then build on that foundation will certainly not fail. First seek to make your energy and blood abundant, then you will be able to make your spirit full and your body strong. Make sure that your postures are correct and your movements are appropriate. Make the exercise beneficial rather than harmful. Train in the proper sequence and progress gradually. It is not a matter of forcing the pace, but of how diligent you are at learning and how safe your method is.
     Yang Shaohou’s boxing set was small and hard, the movements fast and heavy. He always used the stiffening and severing energies, and those who fought with him always came away from it with their skin and muscles in pain. His instructions were usually about methods of application. While his skills were certainly the authentic transmission from his grandfather, unfortunately no ordinary people were able to learn from him. Frail scholarly types were not able to endure his teaching, and those who did not already have a foundation were not able to understand what he was talking about. He had a violent disposition, which he probably got from his uncle Banhou. His comrades have all heaved angst-ridden sighs over how difficult the training was. Therefore although his fame was great, his followers were few.
     The boxing set of Yang Chengfu, Shaohou’s younger brother, was stretched out and supple, the techniques soft and heavy. It has been described as “a steel bullet wrapped in silk”, for there is hardness within the softness. Taiji Boxing enthusiasts have all welcomed his version. Yet there are still those who are reluctant to push hands with him, because every time he issues power or someone is struck by him, that person falls down more than ten feet away. His students still have a hard time bringing themselves to experience his power. I have often asked Yang Chengfu why the teaching has to be done in this way. He has said: “If it’s not like this, if there’s no demonstration of power, if the teaching is casual and vague, why should people come for it? Wouldn’t it just be a waste of their time and money?”
     In the autumn of 1929, Yang Chengfu became the dean of the Zhejiang Martial Arts Institute. I have often pushed hands with him. Sometimes when I tried the double-hand push on him, he would seize the opportunity to pat my chest, and before his fingers had even touched my jacket, there would be a dull pain in my chest for a moment. As to why this would happen, before his arm had made contact, how could I feel pain? Could this be said to be some boxing arts folktale? I asked Yang about it, and he said: “After all this time, I still don’t understand how this internal energy stuff works.”
     According to Tian Zhaolin: “During the years I was learning from Yang Jianhou, I punched him in the gut as hard as I could, but just then he made his belly bulge out, and I fell down outside the courtyard. He was still sitting quietly on his chair, smoking his pipe as before, as if unaware that he had moved at all.
     “Later on I also had a bout with Yang Chengfu in which he hit me on my right ribs, and then my left ribs hurt for over a month.”
     These kinds of instances depict unimaginable skill [except perhaps for Huang’s pushing hands chest pain, which appears to be a simple case of Pavlovian anticipation], especially considering that Tian Zhaolin himself is so skillful. With the cleverness of his hands and the heaviness of his power, he is truly no ordinary Taiji Boxing exponent, and his skill can be considered to be beyond our reach. But it is not my purpose here to trumpet his prowess, and everyone aware of Taiji Boxing history already knows that Tian Zhaolin is a master.
     Others such as Wu Huichuan, Chu Guiting, Chen Weiming, and Dong Yingjie have all learned directly from Yang Chengfu, and have taken his methods north and south. They have for years earned their own prestige and the esteem of people in society. Though their techniques are not always the same and they each have their own emphasis as to theory, it is obvious they all learned from Yang when compared to others who did not.

以上三派拳法,各有特長,各盡其妙。不能從同,亦不能強同,其中並無軒輊可分。在學者,更不得是此而非彼。要之一種藝術,能歷千餘年而不廢,博得一般人士之信仰,其中碻有不可磨滅之精義,令人莫測之妙用存焉。
據以上情形,無論係何派何師,一家所傳,一人所傳,其動作多少,皆不能同,亦不必盡同。不僅太極拳如此,卽彈腿一門,有練十路者,有練十二路者,此為囘教一門之藝,尚且有兩種之分,又若少林門各拳,有宋太祖拳,有岳家手法,此傳彼授,各是其是,各非其非,惟情理論總須一致,設或理論不同,則其宗派顯然有別,不得謂為同門矣。以此質之海內專家,以為如何?
These three branches of the art each have their particular strong points and are each extremely ingenious, but they cannot be expected to follow identical paths or have identical strengths. They cannot be divided into which of them is better or lesser, and you must also not think of one as right and another as wrong. In short, they are all the same art. And it can go on for another thousand years or more without being abandoned, for it has gained the admiration of ordinary people. There is within it an indelible set of principles that causes in people immeasurably wonderful effects.
     According to the situation above, regardless of which style or which teacher, there is transmission of a system and transmission through a person, and so the number of movements will not always be the same, nor does it need to be entirely identical. This is not only so in Taiji Boxing, but also for example with Tantui, in which there are those who practice a ten-line version and those practice a twelve-line version. Although it is a single Muslim art, it is nevertheless divided into two versions. It is also the case for the various styles of Shaolin Boxing, Taizu Boxing, or the methods of the Yue school.
     For each transmission that is passed down, it has what it has and it does not have what it does not have, and it is only in terms of theory that the styles need to be unanimous. If the theory is not the same, then it is clearly a distinct branch and cannot be said to be of the same school. I think the nation’s experts would concur with this.

練拳(一)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 1

練太極拳全套架式,每日學一二式,繼續不斷,以常人資質,約一月可以學全。須經兩月之改正,再加一月之苦練,共計四個月,其式樣姿勢,卽離開師傅一年,可以不致變換。――若僅一月光陰,粗知大略。不經改正,則不得謂之學會,因稍有間斷,其方向與動作,早已走變矣。――但每日仍須復習,不可間斷,若每日兩遍,能使純熟,每日三遍,能增工夫,每日一遍,不過不忘而已。
To practice the entire Taiji Boxing set, by learning one or two postures each day, sticking at it without skipping a day, a person of ordinary intelligence can learn the whole thing in about a month. You must then go through two months of making corrections, and then another month of ardent training, totaling four months to solidify the postures, and then you may leave your teacher after a year without it being prone to altering from what was taught.
     If you only put a month into it, you would barely get the general idea. You would not go through a process of receiving corrections, and thus you would not be able to grasp what you have learned, and because you have taken even a short break from it, the orientations and movements would soon begin to slip and become distorted.
     Instead you must continue to go over it again every day without interruption. If you practice it twice a day, you will be well-versed in it. If you practice it three times a day, you will become increasingly skillful. If you practice it only once a day, you will merely be keeping yourself from forgetting it.

練拳(二)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 2

學習拳架,自第一動起至末尾止,謂之一套,其中名目百餘,式式皆要綿密周到,而且要輕靈沉着,無有一式可以隨便,無有一式可以丟頂。――丟者離也,頂者僵也。――四肢百骸,從輕,從綿,從柔。輕而不可忽,綿而不可斷,柔而不可疏,若注意而起僵勁,此所謂頂,便離太極門徑矣。學者切宜注意之:
As regards the learning of the boxing set, to go from the initiating of the first movement to the halting of the last is considered a single set. There are within it more than a hundred named movements. Every posture is to be done with precision and completeness. Moreover, you are to be sensitive and calm. In not a single posture can you just do whatever you feel like, nor in a single posture can you be “coming away” or “crashing in” – “coming away” in this case meaning not being present, “crashing in” in this case meaning being stiff.
     Your limbs and every part of your body should adhere to nimbleness, flow, and softness. You are to be nimble rather than abrupt. You are to move continuously rather than in a punctuated manner. You are to be soft rather than crumbly. If you focus [too hard] and give rise to stiff energy, this is called “crashing in”, and you will then have departed from the Taiji path. Ardently pay attention to this.

練拳(三)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 3

練太極拳一遍,其經過時間,是愈長愈妙,有練一遍,需一小時以外者。練慢之後,亦須練快,有以數分鐘內練五六遍者,無論慢快,總以均匀為貴。譜曰:『毋使有缺陷處,毋使有凹凸處,毋使有斷續處。』初學之人練一遍,最少八分乃至十分鐘。如經五六年後,工夫已深,則可練快,惟須式式到家,不可因快而草率。至於架式分三種:初練以高架子,繼則四平架子,(眼平,手平,腿平檔平,)再則工夫日深,逐漸而進於低架子矣。由高而平而低,皆從工夫上來,不可強求,否則弊病百出,無益於學者。
For a single practice of the boxing set, the longer it takes to go through it, the more profound the experience. There are those who need more than an hour to practice it. But after slowness has been trained, you must then switch to practicing quickness. There are those who practice it five or six times within just a few minutes.
     Whether slow or fast, in either case the evenness of the movements is to be maintained, as is said in the Taiji classics [the Treatise]: “Do not allow there to be cracks or gaps anywhere, pits or protrusions anywhere, breaks in the flow anywhere.” For a beginner to go through it once, it will take at least eight to ten minutes. If you keep at it for five or six years, your skill will have deepened enough that you can then practice doing it fast. Yet you must still do every posture perfectly and cannot allow it to get sloppy because of the faster pace.
     The solo set divides into three versions: Beginners practice a high frame, intermediates perform a more level frame (gaze, hands, thighs, and crotch flattened out), and then once skill has deepened, there is gradual progress into a low frame. Going from high to middle to low depends entirely on skill level and must not be forced, otherwise a multitude of errors will manifest, and there will be no benefit for you at all.

練拳(四)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 4

練架式,外面注意動作,務使匀靜。譜曰:『由脚而腿而腰,總須完整一氣。』內部氣分呼吸,亦要匀靜,若無事然,萬勿迸氣,心意不可呆滯。譜曰:『精神能提得起,則無滯重之慮,所謂頂頭懸也,意氣須換得靈,乃有圓活之趣,所謂變化虛實也,』此外各變勁工夫,例如本係提手上勢之勁,一變而為白鶴亮翅之勁,再變而為摟膝拗步之勁。各式各氣,各氣各勁,由此式而變彼式,交接之間,換式換法,換法換意,由換意而換氣,由換氣而換勁。此中變換轉動之間,與學者內部之意氣運用,外部之四肢伸轉開合,有極大關係,務須依照譜中各論,而適合之。
When practicing the set, externally you should pay attention to the movements, which should be done smoothly and calmly, as is said in the Taiji classics [the Treatise]: “From foot through leg through waist, it must be a fully continuous process.” Internally, breath is divided into inhale and exhale, which should also be smooth and calm, like it is no task at all, and you should never be holding your breath.
     Your mental intent must not be stagnant, as is said in the Taiji classics [Understanding How to Practice]: “If you can raise your spirit, then you will be without worry of being slow or weighed down. Thus it is said: ‘Your whole body will be nimble and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended.’ The mind must perform alternations nimbly, and then you will have the qualities of roundness and liveliness. Thus it is said: ‘Pay attention to the alternation of empty and full.’”
     Additionally, there is the skill of transforming energies, like the energy of RAISE THE HANDS transforming into the energy of WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS, which then transforms into the energy of BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE. With each posture and breath, each breath and energy, they change from one to another, yet are connected in between. A change of posture is a change of technique. A change of technique is a change of intent. From a change of intent comes a change of breath. From a change of breath comes a change of energy. These are the transitions of transformation. Internally there is the movement of your intent and breath, while externally there is the reaching, turning, expanding, and contracting of your limbs, and of the greatest concern is that these things must conform to the principles in the Taiji classics.

練拳(五)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 5

所謂增工夫者,卽學者之氣日漸增長,――不致氣喘身搖,――手足日漸輕靈,腰腿日漸柔順,手掌足底日漸增厚,頭部與兩太陽穴日漸充滿,精神充足,思慮周到,發聲洪亮,耐飢耐寒,能鎭定,能任勞,飲食充分,睡眠酣適等事,可以證到。
Those who are increasing their skill are the ones who gradually, day by day, lengthen their breath (rather than holding their breath and trembling), those who gradually increase the nimbleness of their hands and feet, gradually increase the flexibility of their hips, gradually thicken their palms and the soles of their feet, gradually increase the rosiness of their completions, leading to abundance of spirit, attention to detail, clarity of voice, ability to endure hunger or cold, to face things calmly, to handle hard work, to feel satiated at meals, and sleep soundly, all of which are demonstrably the case.

練拳(六)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 6

第拳法雖皆有益,而學者身體,碻有相宜不相宜,乃有博學與選學之分別。如年富力強,環境許可者,不妨由博而約,各家門徑。均可涉獵,結果則專修一門。若年事己長,且有業務關係者,則選其與已相宜者習練之易於得益也。
Although each boxing technique has benefit, it may or may not actually suit the student’s body. Thus there is a distinction between a liberal education and a specialized education. If you are in your prime and your surroundings are conducive, then you might as well learn widely from the ways of every system, browsing amongst them until you end up favoring one style over the rest. If you are already old, or your professional life is hectic, then it will be easiest to make gains by simply selecting what is most suitable for yourself and practicing just that.

練拳(七)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 7

例如身軀肥大者。可學通臂拳,摔角等技。如身材中等,而強壯者,可學搓角拳・八吉拳・太祖拳・形意拳・等技。如身輕靈小巧者,可學地淌拳・猴拳・醉八仙・等技。如年事已長,身體柔弱者,可學八卦拳・太極拳・金剛十二法・等技。中國拳技繁多。今余不過舉其大槪而已。
One whose body is heavy and large can learn Tongbi Boxing or Shuaijiao. One whose body is of average build and strong can learn Chuojiao Boxing, Baji Boxing, Taizu Boxing, or Xingyi Boxing. One whose body is nimble and petite can learn Ditang Boxing, Monkey Boxing, or Drunken Eight Immortals. One whose body is old and weak can learn Bagua Boxing, Taiji Boxing or the Twelve Jingang Methods. Chinese martial arts are extremely numerous and I have here only given a general idea.

練拳(八)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 8

專練拳架,是為運動衞身之術,修己之事也。學推手與散手,為攻避方法,及練勁之術,敵人之事也。若年事已長,身有宿疾者,專練拳架,亦可却病延年。如年力富強,環境優裕者,儘可專聘名師,為升堂入室之硏究。
Practicing the boxing set is an exercise in the art of self-defense and a matter of self-cultivation. The pushing hands exercises and two-person set are learned for methods of attack and evasion. Techniques of training the energies have to do with dealing with opponents.
     For one who is already old and suffers from chronic ailments, emphasizing the practice of the boxing set can prevent illness and prolong life. For one who is young, very fit, and lives in affluent surroundings, one can focus on hiring a noteworthy instructor and make an involved personal study of it.

練拳(九)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 9

據友人云:太極拳中各式,實兼備各家拳式。全套中有八種法:如掤․捋․擠․按․採․挒․肘․靠,又有八種勁:如退步跨虎為開勁;提手上勢為合勁;海底針為降勁;白鶴展翅為提勁;摟膝拗步為進勁;倒攆猴為退勁;施虎歸山為右轉勁;肘底搥為左轉勁。
According to colleagues, the various postures within the Taiji Boxing set are actually just boxing postures from various systems. Within the set as a whole, there are the eight kinds of techniques – ward-off, rollback, press, push, pluck, rend, elbow, and bump – and there are also eight kinds of energy:
     [1] expanding – as in RETREAT TO SITTING TIGER POSTURE
     [2] contracting – as in RAISE THE HANDS
     [3] lowering – NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
     [4] lifting – WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS
     [5] advancing – BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
     [6] retreating – RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY
     [7] turning to the right – CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
     [8] turning to the left – PUNCH UNDER THE ELBOW

又有八種式:如十字手,少林門為平馬式;摟膝拗步,少林門為攻步式;下勢,少林門為撲腿式,獨立金鷄,少林門為獨立式;手揮琵琶,少林門為太極式;搬攔捶,少林門為坐盤式;裁捶,少林門為麒麟式;胯虎,少林門為懸脚式;共為八式,無論何種拳法,總不外此八式,故稱拳師為把勢者,卽實八式之訛也,
There are also eight kinds of stances (example Taiji posture / equivalent Shaolin stance):
     [1] CROSSED HANDS / “parallel horse stance”
     [2] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE / “attack stance” [or “bow stance”]
     [3] LOW POSTURE / “flattened stance”
     [4] GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG / “one-legged stance”
     [5] PLAY THE LUTE / “Taiji stance”
     [6] PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH / “sitting twisted stance”
     [7] PLANTING PUNCH / “unicorn stance”
     [8] SITTING TIGER STANCE / “hanging foot stance” [i.e. “empty stance”]
     These are the eight stances. No matter how many kinds of boxing techniques, they never happen in anything other than these eight stances. Therefore what are called fighting skills [“ba shi”] by some instructors may actually be an erroneous homonym for the eight stances [“ba shi”].

八快歌
Song of Eight Quicknesses:

行如風,站如釘,升如猿,降如鷹,鎚賽流星,眼如電,腰如蛇行,脚賽鑽。
Move like the wind.
Stand like a nail.
Rise like a monkey.
Descend like an eagle.
Punch faster than a shooting star.
Your gaze is like lightning.
Your waist writhes like a snake.
Kick through like a drill.

太極拳中八法八式之外,尚有八腿:如翅・蹬・起・擺・接・套・襯・採。淸末時所練者僅四脚:如左右翅脚;轉身蹬脚;二起脚;擺連脚。現在竟致僅練翅蹬擺三脚,其他四法,更無所聞。如接者;見敵腿來時,以我之腿接其腿而踢之,謂之接脚。套者;見敵腿來時,套出而踢之,若敵從左方踢來,我套在右方踢之,敵從右方踢來,我套在左方踢之,謂之套脚。襯者;以我之脚踢敵脚之內側方,如襯其內,謂之襯脚。採者;卽以脚橫斜而採之,用在敵來我側方時踢之,謂之採脚。此四脚極不易練,亦不易用,須有長久單練工夫為之補助,不然,不能應用自如。想後來一般教太極拳者,因不能使人人普遍學習,且年長身弱之人,更難習練,故除去之,但其應用之巧妙,踢法之齊備,不可不表而出之也。
踢腿要領,有『直起風波』四字:直者;踢腿蹬脚;無論向前向側,總須要直,若不挺直,不能貫澈工夫。起者:高也。踢腿蹬脚;皆要高,能高可滿足企圖,最小限度,亦得踢過腰,練時能高,用時可以如意。風者;踢出蹬出時,快而有風聲,此言其快,不快無風,卽不能出勁。波者;踢出之腿,自腰際至脚尖,有波浪形狀,表示腿勁,貫到脚尖之意。有此四字,可以稱踢脚要領齊備,不僅太極拳如是,無論何門何拳,基本要領,莫不如是也。踢脚與踢腿不同,以脚尖脚邊脚掌打人者,謂之踢脚蹬腿,以腿之全部打人,或以腿之後跟打人者,謂之踢腿,其要領同據此道中人云:『手如兩扇門,全靠腿打人。』『八式無眞假,指上便打下。』足見用腿之重要矣。
Beyond the eight techniques and eight stances, there are also eight kicks: snapping, pressing, lifting, swinging, catching, sheathing, trimming, and stamping. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, there were only four kicking maneuvers being practiced: KICK TO THE SIDE [snapping], TURN AROUND WITH PRESSING KICK [pressing], DOUBLE KICK [lifting], and SWING-THROUGH KICK [swinging]. And nowadays there are only three: snapping, pressing, and swinging. Those other four are heard of less and less.
     Catching:
     When I see the opponent’s kick is coming, I use my lower leg to kick his lower leg, thereby catching it.
     Sheathing:
     When I see his kick is coming, I kick out with a sheathing kick [i.e. sticking in a kick to his standing leg while his other leg is raised]. If he kicks with the left, I insert a kick to the right. If he kicks with the right, I insert a kick to the left.
     Trimming:
     I use my foot to kick the inside of his foot, as though it is the inside of a hemline.
     Stamping:
     I stamp with my foot at an angle when he attacks me from the side.
     These four kicks are truly not easy to practice, nor are they easy to apply. You must work at each of them over a long period as a supplementary practice, otherwise you will not be able to apply them smoothly. I suppose that when ordinary Taiji Boxing instructors found themselves incapable of getting everyone to learn these extra kicking techniques, being especially difficult for the old and weak to practice, they were eliminated from the training. However, due to their practical ingenuity, they have to be included for your kicking art to be complete.
     The essentials of kicking lie in four terms: straighten, lift, whoosh, and wave.
     Straighten:
     Snapping kicks and pressing kicks, whether forward or to the side, must always straighten. If your leg does not straighten, your kicks will be unable to penetrate skillfully.
     Lift:
     Send it high. Snapping kicks and pressing kicks should both be high. You are thus able to cover the full range. At the very least, kick higher than your waist. Ability to kick high during practice means that you will be able to kick wherever you wish when applying it.
     Whoosh:
     When performing a snapping kick or a pressing kick, do it fast enough that there is a whooshing sound. The term has to do with speed. There is no speed if there is no “whoosh”, and without it you will be unable to express power.
     Wave:
     When performing a snapping kick, there is the appearance of a wave from your waist to your toes, indicating power penetrating all the way to the tip of your foot.
     With these four terms, you can consider the fundamentals of your kicking complete. This is not only the case for Taiji Boxing, but for any school or style. These are always the basic requirements.
     Kicking with the foot [“ti jiao”] may not be quite the same as kicking with the leg [“ti tui”] (kicking with the foot – snapping kick / pressing kick – uses the toes, edge, or sole to strike an opponent, whereas kicking with leg uses the whole lower leg or the heel to strike an opponent), but their essentials are the same, according to these sayings from experts: “While the hands spread apart like the two edges of a fan, striking the opponent entirely depends on the kick.” “The eight stances do not play a game of feinting, but pointing above makes it easy to strike below.” This sufficiently demonstrates the significance of kicking.

練拳(十)
PRACTICING THE BOXING SET – Part 10

習練拳術,最要注意手・眼・身・法・步五大項。所謂手者:卽掌拳肘合腕等動法。所謂眼者:卽左顧右盼,或向上向下等看法。所謂身者:卽肩腰胯等動法,如含胸拔背,轉換等事。所謂法者:卽拳術各種名式,如太極拳中各名稱,紅拳中各名稱,花拳中各名稱,各拳各路,各套各法,不勝其述,要皆拳路中,打人之方法也。所謂步者:是練拳人最易疏忽,而最要之事,步為根基,快速在步,穩固亦在步,着與不着在步,巧與不巧亦在步。此道中人曰:『手到脚不到,自去尋苦惱,低頭與彎腰,傳授定不高。』此兩句話,五種方法,皆說到矣。
When practicing the boxing set, the five most important things to pay attention to are: hand, gaze, body, technique, and step.
     The hand has to do with the actions of the palm, fist, elbow, or wrist.
     Your gaze has to do with looking left, right, up, or down.
     The body has to do with the actions of the shoulders, as in containing the chest and plucking up the back, as well as the waist and hips, as in turning or shifting the weight.
     Technique means every kind of posture in the art, whether it be Taiji Boxing, Hong Boxing, Hua boxing, etc. There is too great a variety of schools, sets, and techniques to comprehensively describe, but it should be understood that within every boxing set are methods for fighting opponents.
     Stepping is the easiest part of the training for practitioners to overlook, yet it is the most important of all, for your stance is your foundation. Your speed lies with your step, and so does your stability. Your technique lies with your step, and so does its ingenuity. An expert has said: “If your feet are not arriving when your hands are arriving, you will find you have much to worry about. If you are drooping your head and stooping at the waist, what you have been taught is surely not of a very high level.” These five principles are all encapsulated here in a couple phrases.

附田武兩先生來函
Included below is some correspondence I have received from Wu Huichuan and Tian Zhaolin:

文叔學兄偉鑒:久未暢談,渴念殊甚。頃奉華扎,敬悉種切,謹將所詢:答復如下:練太極拳之要旨,務須身體中正圓滿;氣要鬆,手按時;要從肩肘蠕蠕搓出;兩肩要鬆,兩肘要下沉;尾閭要收。脚落地時,先虛而後實,上下一致,式式均要圓滿。頭要提頂;氣沉丹田;練時要慢,快則氣卽上浮,如在贛有知心好友,可教一二,以便互相研究,推手亦易進步,身體亦能健康矣。素知我兄文學理想淵博,又能虛心研究,日後定能成為太極名家,興盛此術者,惟有我兄是賴。其他恐不能及也。嗣後我兄勦匪凱旋歸來,再為趨階謁賀,現當勦共期間,諸多勞苦,玉體善自珍重,是所至禱!謹此奉陳,敬請道安。弟武匯川謹啓二十三年八月二十一日
Dear Wenshu, my elder classmate,
     It’s been quite a while since we last talked, and I’ve been missing you very much. I’ve just received the wonderful letter of questions you sent. Here are the answers I’m sending back to you about the main points of practicing Taiji Boxing:
     – Your body must be balanced and upright, rounded and full.
     – Your energy should be relaxed.
     – When your hands give a push, it should wriggle through your shoulders, then elbows, then rub outward.
     – Your shoulders should loosen and your elbows should sink.
     – Your tailbone should be tucked in.
     – When your foot comes down, it starts empty then fills.
     – Your upper body and lower should work in unison.
     – Every posture should be rounded and full.
     – Your headtop should be lifted.
     – Energy should sink to your elixir field.
     – When practicing, it should be done slowly. If fast, your energy will float up as if you are on the Gan River.
     – Be an understanding friend, able to give a few tips here and there to make practicing together easier. Then your pushing hands will easily make progress and your body will become healthy.
     I have long known you to be a scholar with profound insights and that you are able to conduct research with an open mind. In days ahead, you will surely become a famous exponent of Taiji, helping the art to prosper. But I anticipate this of only you since I doubt others are capable of such achievement. Go forth and clear aside those who are corrupt, then when you return triumphant, I will hurry up your stairs to congratulate you. Although it will take you a great deal of time and hard work, I hope you’ll take good care of yourself and that everything will go smoothly for you.
     Sincerely, your younger classmate Wu Huichuan, Oct 21, 1934

文叔先生大鑒:展讀來示,前由林君轉致一函,已經台閱。閣下近來致力研究太極拳,化發諸勁,進步定必甚速,深為欽佩!所舉疑問數點,囑為解釋。麟自愧功夫淺薄,恐仍未能詳盡,今就所知者略言一二。(一)『化勁』之最重要者,是順人之勢,尤其是快慢要相合,過快則敵勁易生中變,太慢仍未能化去。(二)『發勁』先要化勁化得好,才有發勁的機會,機會旣得,卽宜速放,其勁要整,要沉着。(三)『攻人』全在得機得勢,機會未到,不當攻人,『雙分』『單分』時候要合得上,掤勁亦甚重要,靠勁先要化得合法,靠時要快,要有一定目標。凡此種種,苟非着實久練,不能得心應手,閣下以為然否?舍間大小托庇均各平安,請勿念,專復順頌大安。田兆麟頓首。廿三年十月八日
Dear Wenshu,
     I’ve read your letter which you first sent to Lin Jingping for a readthrough. You’ve recently been devoted to the study of Taiji Boxing with its energies of neutralizing and issuing. Your progress has certainly been rapid and I deeply admire it. You have put forth questions on several points and asked me to explain. I’m ashamed of my superficial skill and I fear I can’t really explain very thoroughly, but I’ll present here some brief bits of understanding on a few things:
     1. Neutralizing energy is the most important thing. Go along with the opponent’s force, especially matching his speed. If you go too fast, his energy will easily adapt. If too slow, you will remain unable to neutralize.
     2. To issue, you must first neutralize in order to change what you receive into something better, then you will have the opportunity to issue. When such opportunity is yours, you should release swiftly, your power should be in good order, and you should be calm.
     3. To attack the opponent, you must in the right place at the right time. If the opportunity has not yet arrived, it is inappropriate to attack the opponent. When spreading apart or just spreading to one side, you should join with him and get him to go upward, ward-off energy being also extremely important. Bump energy should be preceded by neutralizing and closing in. When bumping, you have to be quick and you should have a specific target.
     For all of these kinds of situations, unless you practice them for a very long time, you will be unable to carry them out very proficiently.
     Do you agree with these ideas?
     My family wishes you safe and sound and free of worries. Respectfully yours, peace to you, Tian Zhaolin, Oct 8, 1934

推手(一)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 1

習練拳架,係一人虛擬,其勁之如何?究屬渺茫。故進一步練推手,卽實現其掤・捋・擠・按・採・挒・肘・靠・之用法,換言之:以循環的攻避方法,來試用太極拳打人避人手段是也。其中最難者,卽聽・化・拿・發,此四字工夫。所謂聽者;卽以我之手腕身軀,與對方接觸時,刹那間,知其動作變化,謂之聽;同時避其攻擊,謂之化;同時定其作用,謂之拿?同時攻其弱點,謂之發。詳言之分此四段,而實在是一刹那間為之。故此四字工夫,甚難甚難,雖畢生研究,亦無止境。其總訣在一元圈,其化也發也避也攻也,無不以元圈為之,所謂太極者在此,所謂妙用者亦在此。――(採挒肘靠同)――
The practice of the boxing set relates to an imaginary opponent, making the training of the energies a rather vague study. For that, the practice advances into pushing hands. This builds up the techniques of ward-off, rollback, press, push, pluck, rend, elbow, and bump, which it does by means of cycling through attack and defense in order to actually try out Taiji Boxing’s methods of attacking and evading with a partner.
     Its most difficult aspects are the four skills of listening, neutralizing, seizing, and issuing. Listening is when I connect to the opponent with my hand, wrist, or body, so that I will instantly be aware of his changes of movement. Neutralizing is when I evade his attack. Seizing is when I take control of his technique. Issuing is when I attack his weakest point. As for the specific details of these four parts of technique, they occur within but a moment, and this is why these four skills are so incredibly difficult that there will be no end to them even after a lifetime of study.
     The key to it all is a circle, neutralizing and issuing, evading and attacking, all occurring as part of a circle, which is why it is called “taiji” [as in the image of the yinyang symbol], and why it seems like magic. (This is as true for plucking, rending, elbowing, and bumping as it is for warding off, rolling back, pressing, and pushing.)

推手(二)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 2

以余個人之揣擬。初練習推手者,於掤・捋・擠・按・中,先以兩人合作五個大元圈,來試演之,名為基本方法。一:平面元圈;二:直立元圈;三:斜形元圈;四:前後元圈;五:自轉元圈;先將此法習演純熟。以後可以變化各種元圈,而妙用之。但此五圈,非面授不可,筆墨之間,難以盡其動作。初試元圈大而策;繼則小而活;再則其圈不在外而在內;有圈之意;無圈之形;一剎那間,而妙用發矣。到此地位,可以意會,不可以言傳,莫知其妙,而妙自生,非有長久克苦工夫,不能到也。
As for the general plan, pushing hands practice begins with ward-off, rollback, press, and push, commencing with two people cooperating to perform five kinds of large circles, which are considered the basic methods: 1. level circle, 2. vertical circle, 3. diagonal circle, 4. back-and-forth circle, 5. natural circle. Start by drilling these until you are skillful at them, then you may switch to other kinds of circling to enhance the effect. However, these five circles have to be taught personally, for the movements are too hard to explain in words.
     Start with a large circle to get the idea, then shrink the circle to make it livelier. Then shrink it further so that it is inside but no longer outside, a circling intent with no longer a circling shape. Within such a moment, issuing is wonderfully subtle. At this level, you will be operating on intuition rather than instruction. No one really comprehends such subtlety, yet it is a subtlety which will arise naturally. But without hard work over a very long period, you will not be able to achieve it.

推手(三)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 3

推手為太極拳實驗之方法,已如前言之,此外須要注意者有三:第一:不可存爭勝負之心。彼此旣為同道,自有互相切磋之誼,動作稍有進退挫折,並無勝負榮辱之可言,何可在此計較而生嫉妒之念?第二:不可存賭力之心。太極之妙是在巧,非在蠻力,譜上云:『察四兩撥千斤,顯非力勝。』若恃蠻力。是非研究太極拳之道矣。第三:不可存作弄之心。凡屬同道,皆當互愛互助,彼高於我者,應謙恭而請敎之,彼不如我者,當誠懇而指導之,語云:他山之石,可以攻錯,勿以其力弱可欺,而出我之風頭,似非同道者所可有也。
Pushing hands is the testing ground of Taiji Boxing. This has already been explained, but here are three further things to pay attention to in the course of it:
     1. You must not be competitive. People who are of a similar mentality will naturally improve each other in a friendly way. They will slightly frustrate each other’s movements as they go back and forth, but as there is no winner or loser, triumph or disgrace, to speak of, there will not be any sense of dispute or envy.
     2. You must not be reckless. The marvels of Taiji lie in skillfulness rather than ferocity. It says in the Taiji classics [Wang Zongyue]: “Examine the phrase ‘four ounces moves a thousand pounds’, which is clearly not a victory obtained through strength.” If ferocity is being relied on, the way of Taiji Boxing is not being studied.
     3. You must not seek to embarrass others. People who are of a similar mentality should all love each other and help each other. Toward one who is my superior, I should politely seek his guidance. Toward one who is my inferior, I should cordially offer him pointers. There is a saying [Book of Poetry, Poem 184]: “The stones from other mountains can carve just as well.” And so I will not bully one who is weaker than me, nor one who departs from my expectations, nor even one who does not seem to think like me at all.

推手(四)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 4

兩人一交手,卽須研究手・眼・身・法・步・五項,並練掌・拳・肘・合・腕,肩・腰・胯・膝・脚・各勁,及掤・捋・擠・按・採・挒・肘・靠,前進・後退・左顧・右盼・中定・十三勢,方始為推手之目的,推手之本事。每見普通學者,不按上列諸法習練,俗語所謂磨豆腐者,雖千遍著遍,有何益焉。
When two partners link hands, they must drill the five aspects of hand, eye, body, technique, and step, and train the energies of palm, fist, elbow, wrist, shoulder, waist, hip, knee, and foot, as well as the Thirteen Dynamics: ward-off, rollback, press, push, pluck, rend, elbow, bump, advance, retreat, go to the left, go to the right, and stay in the center. Right from the start, this is the goal and basic task of pushing hands, but we typically find that students are not practicing according to this list. It is as though they are just “grinding beans to make tofu”, and although they may repeat the same actions thousands of times, they get very little benefit.

推手(五)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 5

初習此者,最好選身體大小相等之人,靜心細想而琢磨之。或有不對處,不領會處,請師詳細指導之。勿禪繁勞,勿稱意氣,而專心一貫研究,自有水到渠成之一日。
When you begin practicing these things:
     - It is best to choose a partner whose body size is equal to yours, then calmly analyze and ponder.
     - If any aspect is incorrect or not understood, ask a teacher for specific directions.
     - Do not be intimidated by the complexities of the task nor whine that it does not suit your temperament. Through focused and persistent study, it will naturally someday all come to fruition.

推手(六)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 6

今將拳論上所述之聽・化・拿・發・等工夫,分註如下:王宗岳先師論曰:人剛我柔謂之走,我順人背謂之粘。此二語,卽言我與敵接着時,敵以剛硬來撲,我以柔化之,是為化勁。借其勁,使陷於背勢,而我處順勢,仍不與敵脫離,是為拿勁。上句是聽勁中帶化勁;下句是化勁中帶粘勁;能使敵陷於背,我處于順,向其背處,稍一發勁,則敵必如摧枯拉朽而撲跌之,能得此機會,謂之拿。又曰:『曲中求直,蓄而後發,蓄勁如開弓;發勁如放箭;發勁須沉着鬆靜,專注一方,』是為發勁。但以上聽・化・拿・發・四步工夫,須從粘字中練出來。又曰:『動急則急應;動緩則緩應;』卽謂敵來步快,快應之,來得緩,緩隨之。但我總不與敵脫開,是為粘勁。若手臂不粘連,脚步不跟隨,如何能聽,能化?更不能拿,不能發矣。其行功心解曰:『往復須有摺疊,進退須有轉換,』此言與敵靠近時之變換身法也。續曰:『極柔順而後極堅剛。能呼吸然後能靈活,』係指示內部運化工夫。再曰:『邁步如貓行,運勁如抽絲,』形容其舉步如貓行之輕靈穩固,運勁如抽絲之不斷不猛,係指外表工夫。要實驗以上所云,皆離不了論中所謂:『由著熟而漸悟懂勁,由懂勁而階及神明。』換言之欲懂勁,非由接着與熟練不可。且如階級的一層一級,而達到神而明之之地位也。但學者,從何而懂勁?從何而接着?從何而熟練?只有從推手做起。
Here is some commentary upon parts of the Taiji classics that have to do with the skills of listening, neutralizing, seizing, and issuing:
     It says in Wang Zongyue’s Treatise: “He is hard while I am soft – this is yielding. My energy is smooth while his energy is coarse – this is sticking.” These two terms have to do with the moment when the opponent and I make contact, in which if he attacks with hardness, I neutralize him with softness. This is neutralizing. [What is being described here is neutralizing in the context of listening.]
     I am now borrowing his energy, which causes him to back off, and I then follow his momentum without letting go of it. This is seizing. What I am describing here is sticking [seizing] in the context of neutralizing.
     If I can get the opponent to back off and then stay with him as he goes, the merest issuing will put him in a state of being pressured while he is already collapsing and he will surely topple. [What is being described here is issuing in the context of seizing, because:] Seizing is what the opportunity for issuing comes from. It is also said [in Understanding How to Practice]: “Within curving, seek to be straightening. Store and then issue… Store power like drawing a bow. Issue power like loosing an arrow… When issuing power, you must sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction.” This explains issuing.
     However, the four skills above of listening, neutralizing, seizing, and issuing must emerge from practicing sticking. Wang Zongyue said: “If he moves fast, I quickly respond, and if his movement is slow, I leisurely follow.” As is being described, if the opponent steps in quickly, I respond with the same quickness, whereas if he comes in slowly, I will go along with his slowness. In either case, I never lose contact with him, and this is sticking. If my arms are not sticking to him or my feet are not following him, I will not be able to listen and neutralize, much less seize and issue.
     It says in Understanding How to Practice: “In going back and forth, there must be folding. In advancing and retreating, there must be variation.” This refers to adaptive body maneuvering as the opponent closes in.
     “Extreme softness begets extreme hardness. Your ability to be nimble lies in your ability to breathe.” This has to do with the training of internal movement.
     “Step like a cat and move energy as if drawing silk.” This means that you are to take your steps with both the nimbleness and stability of a cat as it walks, and to move energy with both the continuousness and unsuddenness of drawing out silk. These have to do with the external aspect of the training.
     You should experiment with all that has been said here so far, but never depart from this comment from Wang Zongyue: “Once you have ingrained these techniques, you will gradually come to identify energies, and then from there you will work your way toward something miraculous.” In other words, if you wish to be identifying energies, you will not be able to without drilling the techniques to perfection, and then by proceeding step by step, you will attain a level of almost magical clarity. But how does one come to identify energies, or train the techniques to perfection, or even train the techniques at all? Only through doing pushing hands.

推手(七)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 7

凡學習推手者,身體切不可前傾後仰。若前傾,重心偏於前方,對方用採勁,易於向前跌倒。如後仰,重心偏於後方,對方用挒勁,亦必向後跌倒,此其一也。彼此一交手,他方必有攻誘方法,我方必須保留轉換變化之餘地。惟身軀中正,則有餘地可以左右前後迴旋也,此其二也。在推手時,遇對方手腕沉重,或來勢猛烈,一不可兩手縮緊,二不可使用蠻勁,三不可胸中迸氣,四不可身向後退。如兩手縮緊,長度必定減短,不能彀着對方。使用蠻力,全身必定僵硬,猶如笨伯,其原理是與太極相反,所學方法無可使用矣。至於胸中迸氣,血液停滯,面色逐漸變靑,實屬有礙生理。身向後退,被人隨勢進攻,無有不敗。學者於此四弊,切宜注意!
Students of pushing hands must never lean forward or back.
     1. If I were to lean forward, my center of balance would go forward. The opponent would use plucking energy and I would easily fall forward. If I were to lean back, my center of balance would go back. The opponent would use rending energy and I would surely fall to the rear.
     2. Once we cross hands, he is sure to have a method of attack, and so I need to maintain extra room to adapt, as well as extra capacity for my body to maintain good structure as I move to the left, right, forward, back, or turn.
     When pushing hands with an opponent whose wrists are heavy or whose attack is fierce, you must not: i. shrink your arms in, ii. use a ferocious energy, iii. hold your breath, iv. draw your body back.
     If you shrink your arms in, you will shorten your reach and be unable to draw in the opponent. If you use a ferocious energy, your whole body will only stiffen like that of a clumsy idiot, contrary to Taiji principles, and you will be ingraining a method which you cannot apply. If you hold your breath, your blood will stagnate, your face will turn blue, and you will only be obstructing yourself physiologically. If you draw your body back, the opponent will correspondingly advance with an attack, and there will be nothing you can do. Watch out for these four errors.

推手(八)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 8

凡初學者,無論練拳・練推手・大捋散手。等技,一:要觀人練習,凡有身法好,手法純,步法靈,可為學範式者,皆須一一留意而深記之。二:要聽人講解,如遇前輩,及同學中有心得之談,經驗之論,均宜虛心靜聽而領會之。三:要實地鍜鍊,此為實際工夫,而達到能實行地位。若只知鍜鍊而不知觀與聽,古人所謂盲修瞎練,小則勞而無功,大則有害身心,結果所得,與目的相反也。
Constants for beginners, whether practicing the boxing set, pushing hands, large rollback, or sparring:
     1. You should watch people practicing, to see what is good body structure, skillful hand technique, and nimble footwork, and thus you will build up a model to learn from. You must pay attention to every detail in order to ingrain it well.
     2. You should listen to people explaining, taking in the experiences of your elders and classmates, and you should always be listening with an attentive and open mind so as to gain understanding.
     3. You should practice! This is really what skill comes from, what gets you to the ability for practical function. Although if you only know how to practice and you do not know how to watch and listen, it will be like the old saying of “the blind cultivating blindness”. On the smaller scale, all your hard work would be in vain, while on the larger scale, you would hurt yourself in body and mind. The results you achieve would be the reverse of your goals.

推手(九)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 9

推手與練拳,旣已如上述。其屬於本身者,卽以虛實二字。四肢百骸,均要有虛實之分,剛柔之別,如進退起落無虛實,必定笨滯,不能輕靈也。兩足固宜分虛實,一足亦須有虛實,非但兩手有虛實,一手亦須有虛實。論中云:『虛實宜分淸楚,一處有一處虛實,處處總有一虛一實,王宗岳先師曰:『每見數年純功,不能運化者,皆自為人制,卒不能制人,則雙重之病未悟耳。』所謂雙重者,卽虛實不分。先師又曰:『雙重則滯。』滯者,運用不能輕靈,便為人制。又曰:『偏重則隨。』若偏重一手,或偏重一足,而不寓有虛實者,必隨人受制。又曰:『欲避此病,須知陰陽,陰不離陽,陽不離陰,陰陽相濟,方為懂勁,懂勁後,愈練愈精。』所謂陰陽者,包含虛實也,剛柔也,收放也,開合也,進退也,起落也,閃轉也,騰拿也,皆在其中矣。
The pushing hands and the boxing set having already been explained above, there are two terms to consider within your body: “emptiness” and “fullness”. For every part of your body, there has to be a distinguishing between empty and full, as well as hard and soft. If while you are advancing and retreating, lifting and lowering, you have no sense of emptiness and fullness, you will inevitably be clumsy in your actions, incapable of nimbleness. Your feet should be divided into empty and full, for each foot must be either empty or full. Your hands also must have emptiness and fullness, for each hand must be either empty or full. The Treatise says: “Empty and full must be distinguished clearly. In each part there is a part that is empty and a part that is full. Everywhere it is always like this, an emptiness and a fullness.”
     Wang Zongyue said: “We often see one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations and is generally under the opponent’s control instead of able to control the opponent, and the issue here is that this error of double pressure has not yet been understood.” What is meant by “double pressure” is that empty and full are not being distinguished.
     “If you have equal pressure on both sides, you will be stuck.” What is meant by “stuck” is that your movement is unable to be nimble and you are thus easily controlled by the opponent.
     “If you drop one side, you can move.” If you sink an arm or leg without a sense of which is empty or full, you are sure to give the opponent control.
     “If you want to avoid this error, you must understand passive and active… The active does not depart from the passive and the passive does not depart from the active, for the passive and active exchange roles. Once you have this understanding, you will be identifying energies, and then the more you practice, the more efficient your skill will be.” Some examples of passive/active are: empty/full, hard/soft, gather/release, contract/expand, retreat/advance, lower/lift, dodge/spin, grab/throw.

所謂剛柔者。與人推手時,兩手相接,神氣外揚,肌肉堅硬。轉變擴大,發勁能動中心者;是人練械多而練拳少,其勁屬於剛也。兩手相較,動作綿而細,步法身法輕靈,接着如有力,打去猶無物者;是人練械少而練拳多,其勁屬於柔也。若能神氣安舒,身穩如山,上下相隨,發勁沉長,而震動全身者;是人剛柔具備,其勁陰陽相濟矣。學者須知柔勁與剛柔,並非如物理化學之專科,吾人終年練習,有時屬於剛勁,有時偏於柔勁,惟剛柔相濟,為最少耳。練劈掛八吉等拳者。發勁大半偏於剛勁,練八卦太極者,往往偏於柔勁。其實無論何門何拳,均須剛柔兼備,陰陽相濟,方為拳藝之正宗也。
As for hardness and softness:
     When pushing hands with one whose spirit outwardly blooms but whose muscles are stiff, whose movements are extra large but whose issuing is able to find its way right to your center, this is a person who practices weapon sets more and boxing sets less,
for his energy tends toward hardness.
     When pushing hands with one whose movement is continuous and delicate, whose footwork and body maneuvering is nimble, whose technique seems powerful yet hits with no feeling of striking, this is a person who practices boxing sets more and weapon sets less, for his energy tends toward softness.
     If it is with one who is able to make his spirit comfortable and his body stable as a mountain, be coordinated above and below, issue with energy that is both heavy and extended, and using his entire body when giving a shock release of power, this is a person who trains both hardness and softness, the energies of passive and active complementing each other.
     It must be understood that soft energy and hard energy are not like specialized laws of physics or chemistry. As we practice throughout our lives, we sometimes incline toward hard energy, sometimes toward soft energy, and the rarest moments are when hardness and softness balance out. Practitioners of Pigua Boxing or Baji Boxing usually tend to issue with hard energy, whereas Bagua or Taiji practitioners more often tend toward soft energy. It really does not matter what school or what style it is. They all have to work with both hardness and softness, passive and active, for the boxing art to be genuine.

推手(十)
PUSHING HANDS – Part 10

推手動作,表面上雖在手腕,而實際上全在腰中,亦可以說手是三分,肩是一分,胸是一分,腰是五分。若肩不能鬆,胸不能涵,腰不能活,全仗手腕,决不能化人,亦不能發人,此事在練拳架時。卽須注意。此外步之穩不穩,係在檔勁。細言之:卽跨・腿・脚・三部分,連系動作。換言之:能粘連否?是在上身,卽手・肩・胸・是也。能跟隨否穩定否?是在下身,跨・腿・脚・是也。但上下運用之樞紐,完全在腰,譜上云:『其病必於腰腿間求之。』腰勁一事,不但太極拳所重視,如形意八卦,均極注重,卽少林門亦無不注意之也。以上所言,係形質之談。至於內部氣之一字,先從意字起,意之所到,雖未必是氣之所達,氣之所達,未必卽血之所充。但非由此無從入手,故先以意導氣,以氣行血,久之意與氣,自能合一,氣與血,自能相隨。其行功心解曰:以心行氣,務令沉着,以氣運身,務令順遂。心者。意也。身者,血肉也。但運行之間,於腰着順遂兩語,切宜重視。否則?非流入漂浮,卽陷於别扭。至於沉着之法,卽氣沉丹田。順遂之法,卽活用腰腿。內外一致,方合其義。須用默識揣摩工夫,而后能從心所欲,其細微原理,俟軍書稍暇,再詳言之。一般練拳與推手者,大半注重在上部,手法如何如何?身法如何如何?前已言之。但不知下部之關係,實比上部為重要,其變化與進步,須從實地試練出來。練拳人,初則高低大小不能自然,動作不能穩定。繼則動作漸匀,步法漸穩,再進則舉止輕靈,隨心所欲。至於推手經過,初則腰腿硬直,搖擺不定。再則旋轉進退,逐漸穩固。再進則心手相應,腰腿一致。
Although the pushing hands actions appear to take place at the hands and wrists, it’s actually all about the waist. It could be said that thirty percent of what is going on is at the hands, ten percent at the shoulders, ten percent at the chest, and fifty percent at the waist. If your shoulders cannot loosen, your chest cannot hollow, your waist cannot liven, and it all depends on your hands and wrists, you will never be able to neutralize an opponent nor shoot him away. This situation has to be given attention when practicing the boxing set.
     The stability or otherwise of your stance has to do with the energy at your crotch area. This means that the movements of hips, legs, and feet are coordinated there. To put it another way, ability to stick and connect lies with your upper body (hands, shoulders, chest) while ability to follow and maintain stability lies with your lower body (hips, legs, feet), but the engine of movement, both above and below, lies entirely with your waist. It says in the Taiji classics [the Treatise]: “The problem must be in your waist and legs, so look for it there.” Energy being organized at the waist is not only important in Taiji Boxing. Xingyi and Bagua both lay particular stress on it, and every school of Shaolin pays attention to it as well.
     The words above have to do with postural quality. As for internal energy, it begins from intention. Where intention goes, energy may not necessarily arrive, and when energy arrives, blood may not necessarily have increased flow in that area. But there is no other way to get started, and so you must first use intention to guide energy and use energy to mobilize blood flow. After a long time, intention and energy will naturally be able to function as one, and energy and blood will naturally be working together.
     It says in Understanding How to Practice: “Use mind to move the energy. You must cause the energy to sink. It is then able to collect in the bones. Use energy to move your body. You must cause the energy to be smooth.” What is meant by “mind” here is intention. What is meant by “body” is the blood and flesh. As for movement, “energy sinking” and “energy smooth” should especially be given importance. Otherwise you will drift into floating and become stuck in awkwardness. By “sink” is meant energy sinking to your elixir field. By “smooth” is meant the liveliness of your waist and legs. Inside and out working in unison is the idea. You must make use of “absorbing through experience and by constantly contemplating” and then you will be able to “do whatever you want”. Someday I will explain these very subtle principles in more detail when I have more free time from my military correspondence.
     Ordinary practitioners of the boxing set and pushing hands pay most of their attention to the upper body, analyzing the intricacies of the hand techniques and body maneuvers as have been explained earlier, but they do not understand that the lower body is actually more important. To evolve and progress, we must continue to experiment and practice.
     In the beginning of practicing the boxing set, you will be unable to get the height and size of the postures to be natural, or to get the movements to be steady. Then the movements become gradually more even and the steps become gradually more stable. As you progress, you will gain a more nimble manner and you will move as you please.
     In the beginning of experiencing pushing hands, your waist and legs will be stiff and you will be wobbly. Then your turning, advancing, and retreating will gradually become stable. As you progress, your hands will be doing what is in your mind, and your waist and legs will operate as a single unit.

大捋
LARGE ROLLBACK

太極推手工夫分作三步:其初則原地推挽為第一步。繼則活步推手。(卽此進彼退彼進此退之法)為第二步。其意為原地練習旣熟,進而練行動中掤捋等法,但此不過直線之行動而已。此法練熟,繼而練四斜角行動方法,大捋者,卽練習四斜角之方法也,為第三步。練大捋之靠者,前進必須三步,方與捋者成正直角。若用兩步必斜,至於捋者,必退兩步,若用一步,不能避對方之攻擊。此方捋,彼方靠,彼方捋,此方靠,往復循環而演之。無論何方,在捋在靠時,其架式要底,腰跨要正,方合其要領也。
Taiji’s pushing hands training divides into three stages:
     1. Fixed-step pushing and pulling.
     2. Moving-step pushing hands. (I advance, he retreats. He advances, I retreat.)
     3. When you have become skillful at the first two steps, you have made progress with the techniques of ward-off and rollback. But these exercises move back and forth only along a straight line, and so once you are skillful at them, continue on into practicing the large rollback exercise, which moves toward the four corners.
     When practicing large rollback, the person doing the bump must advance three steps in order to be at a right angle to the person doing the rollback. If only two steps, you will end up stepping in from too acute an angle. The person doing the rollback must retreat two steps. If only one step, you will be unable to evade the opponent’s attack.
     I roll back, he bumps, then he rolls back, I bump, and the exercise recycles on and on. Whatever direction you are moving toward when rolling back or bumping, your stance should be grounded and your hips should be square, and you will thus be conforming to the requirements.

散手 第四步為散手,計分兩種:
SPARRING – which is the fourth stage and divides into two types:

(一)利用太極拳中之各式,兩人對打,例如甲用雙風灌耳打乙,乙用雙按破之;甲用捋打乙,乙用單靠破之;二人聯續對打,如花拳中之對子,惟轉變發勁不同耳。若不習之,則太極拳各式之應用不知,直等於學單人跳舞矣。
1. To sharpen the ability to apply each Taiji Boxing posture, two partners oppose each other [in a choreographed sequence]. For example: when person A attacks person B with DOUBLE WINDS THROUGH THE EARS, B upsets it with DOUBLE-HAND PUSH, or when A attacks B with ROLLBACK, B upsets it with BUMP. As the two people continuously trade attacks, if they oppose each other only within the context of making pretty movements, it will bear no resemblance to transforming an opponent’s attack into a counterattack sent back to him. If you do not train in this way, then you will not understand the practical function of each Taiji Boxing posture, and your solo set will only amount to a solo dance.

(二)上列散手對打,皆係預定方式,雙方編練成套。第二種則不然,雙方均無預定,亦無式樣,各方一作準備姿勢,卽開始攻擊。或緩或急;或高或低;或方或圓;用拳用腿;各聽自由。大致歷來相鬭方式,一為圓形方式,如甲在中心,乙游擊四週。其次縱形方式,直來直往,二人中你來我往。我退你進,成一縱形决鬭式,與比試,大半不外此二式,二人一交手,謂之一合。戰鬭合數之多少,全在平日練架氣分之長短?拳足之準否?發勁之大小?全在推手大捋之精粗。此段工夫,完全實用功夫,亦可謂最後一步功夫,習此者,非常練苦練不可,初期與師傅對打,為師者,常要讓生徒撲擊。此道中人,所謂喂腿喂拳是也。為師者,若不喂之,生徒無從得其三昧,是為師者,最難最苦之敎授。一則難得機會,旣要精神充足,又要無人偸視,且須身授撲擊,不免痛苦。二則防生徒學成,而有欺師叛道行為,或者忌其優勝於師,而師自失其地位與生計。故為師者,往往不肯教授,實有不得已之苦衷存矣。學拳如是,學器械亦如是,其困難更甚於學拳。
2. The two-person set described above entirely has to do with prearranged postures which both partners have to drill together to complete the set. The second type of sparring is not like this. Both partners go without prearrangement, no choreography at all. They each get into a posture of readiness, then begin attacking: sometimes slow and sometimes fast, sometimes high and sometimes low, sometimes straight and sometimes round, sometimes punching and sometimes kicking, both responding to each other freely.
     On the whole, there are a couple of constant fighting patterns. There is the round pattern, as in person A going through the center while person B moves away to attack from all sides, and then there is the straight pattern, in which both people go directly back and forth, as in you attack and I go back, and since I am retreating while you are advancing, this makes a duel along a straight-line. During competition, it is most of the time nothing more than these two patterns.
     When two opponents cross hands, it is called “joining”. When joining in combat, there are estimations of degree, which are wholly indicative of the other person’s daily training regimen. For instance, is his energy long or short? How accurate are his fists and feet? What is the magnitude of the power he issues? Such refining comes about entirely from doing the pushing hands and large rollback exercises.
     This section of the training is entirely a matter of practical skill and can be considered the final stage. For those in this stage, you will not succeed unless you are in a constant state of hard training. Beginners should be sparring with instructors, and the instructors should always allow the students to do the actual striking. For such instructors, this is called “feeding” with kicks and punches [i.e. performing restrained attacks to give the student the chance to learn how to defend against them].
     If the teacher does not feed the student, the student will be unable to get the knack, although this is for teachers the most difficult and arduous form of instruction. One issue is that the opportunity is hard to come by in which sparring occurs when the spirit is as burgeoning as it should be or there is nobody around distractingly watching, and it necessary for the teacher’s body to receive strikes, inevitably entailing some pain. Another issue is that some teachers will keep students from completing their study, becoming traitors to their profession, and some will even forbid students from winning against their teacher for fear that he may lose his status and livelihood. For this reason, teachers are often not willing to teach, but really they have no choice but to bear with it. This is just the way it is in the study of boxing arts. The study of weapons is also thus, yet is even more arduous than the study of boxing.

太極拳散手對打名稱:
Names of the movements in the Taiji Boxing two-person sparring set:

(一)上手 上步捶
1. (A) STEP FORWARD & PUNCH
     (二)下手 提手上勢
     2. (B) RAISE THE HAND
(三)上手 上步攔捶
3. STEPPING FORWARD, BLOCK & PUNCH
     (四)下手 搬捶
     4. PARRY & PUNCH
(五)上手 上步左靠
5. STEP FORWARD WITH LEFT BUMP
     (六)下手 右打虎
     6. RIGHT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE
(七)上手 打左肘
7. STRIKE WITH LEFT ELBOW
     (八)下手 右推
     8. RIGHT PUSH
(九)上手 左劈身捶
9. LEFT BACKFIST
     (一〇)下手 右靠
     10. RIGHT BUMP
(一一)上手 撤步左打虎
11. WITHDRAW A STEP, LEFT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE
     (一二)下手 右劈身捶
     12. RIGHT BACKFIST
(一三)上手 提手上勢
13. RAISE THE HAND
     (一四)下手 轉身按
     14. TURN & PUSH
(一五)上手 摺叠劈身捶
15. FOLD UP, BACKFIST
     (一六)下手 搬捶(開勢)
     16. PARRY & PUNCH (TAKING THE MOMENTUM ASIDE)
(一七)上手 橫挒手
17. HORIZONTAL RENDING TECHNIQUE
     (一八)下手 左(換步)野馬分鬃
     18. WILD HORSE VEERS ITS MANE – LEFT POSTURE (SWITCHING THE FEET)
(一九)上手 右打虎(下勢)
19. RIGHT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE (USING LOWER HAND)
     (二〇)下手 撤步捋
     20. WITHDRAWING A STEP, ROLLBACK
(二一)上手 上步左靠
21. STEP FORWARD WITH LEFT BUMP
     (二二)下手 轉身按
     22. TURN & PUSH
(二三)上手 雙分蹬脚(退步跨虎)
23. SEPARATE BOTH HANDS, PRESSING KICK (RETREAT TO SITTING TIGER STANCE)
     (二四)下手 指襠捶
     24. PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
(二五)上手 上步採挒
25. STEP FORWARD, PLUCK & REND
     (二六)下手 換步右穿梭
     26. SWITCH THE FEET, MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLES – RIGHT POSTURE
(二七)上手 左掤右劈捶
27. LEFT WARD OFF, RIGHT BACKFIST
     (二八)下手 白鶴亮翅(蹬脚)
     28. WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS (PRESSING KICK)
(二九)上手 左靠
29. LEFT BUMP
     (三〇)下手 撤步搓臂
     30. WITHDRAW A STEP, TWIST THE ARM
(三一)上手 轉身按(捋勢)
31. TURN & PUSH (ROLLING BACK)
     (三二)下手 雙風灌耳
     32. DOUBLE WINDS FILL THE EARS
(三三)上手 雙按
33. DOUBLE-HAND PUSH
     (三四)下手 下勢搬捶
     34. LOW-POSTURED PARRY & PUNCH
(三五)上手 單推(右臂)
35. SINGLE-HAND PUSH (TO THE RIGHT ARM)
     (三六)下手 右右臂
     36. RIGHT TWIST THE ARM
(三七)上手 順勢按
37. SEIZING THE MOMENT, PUSH
     (三八)下手 化打右掌
     38. NEUTRALIZE, STRIKE WITH RIGHT PALM
(三九)上手 化推
39. NEUTRALIZE & PUSH
     (四〇)下手 化打右肘
     40. NEUTRALIZE, STRIKE WITH RIGHT ELBOW
(四一)上手 採挒
41. PLUCK & REND
     (四二)下手 換步截
     42. SWITCH THE FEET, BREAK THE ARM
(四三)上手 右打虎
43. RIGHT FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE
     (四四)下手 轉身撤步捋
     44. TURN, WITHDRAWING A STEP, ROLLBACK
(四五)上手 上步左靠
45. STEP FORWARD WITH LEFT BUMP
     (四六)下手 囘擠
     46. RETURN WITH PRESS
(四七)上手 雙分靠(換步)
47. SPREAD WITH BOTH HANDS, BUMP (SWITCHING THE FEET)
     (四八)下手 轉身左靠(換步)
     48. TURN, LEFT BUMP (SWITCHING THE FEET)
(四九)上手 打右肘
49. STRIKE WITH RIGHT ELBOW
     (五〇)下手 轉身左獨立
     50. TURN, LEFT ONE-LEGGED STANCE
(五一)上手 退步化
51. RETREAT & NEUTRALIZE
     (五二)下手 蹬脚
     52. PRESSING KICK
(五三)上手 轉身(上步)靠
53. TURN & BUMP (STEPPING FORWARD)
     (五四)下手 搓左臂
     54. TWIST THE LEFT ARM
(五五)上手 轉身(換步)右分脚
55. TURN (SWITCHING THE FEET), KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE
     (五六)下手 雙分右摟膝
     56. SPREADING WITH BOTH HANDS, RIGHT BRUSH KNEE
(五七)上手 轉身(換步)左分脚
57. TURN (SWITCHING THE FEET), KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE
     (五八)下手 雙方左摟膝
     58. SPREADING WITH BOTH HANDS, LEFT BRUSH KNEE
(五九)上手 換手右靠
59. SWITCH HANDS, RIGHT BUMP
     (六〇)下手 囘右靠
     60. RETURN WITH RIGHT BUMP
(六一)下手 撤步捋
61. WITHDRAW A STEP, ROLLBACK
     (六二)上手 順勢靠
     62. SEIZING THE MOMENT, BUMP
(六三)上手 囘擠
63. RETURN WITH PRESS
     (六四)下手 轉身按
     64. TURN & PUSH

以右列上下六十四手,僅利用太極拳全套之半,其餘容暇時續記。
The sixty-four techniques listed above in columns for attacker and defender comprise only half of the techniques in the solo set. As for the rest of them, continue to bear them in mind during your spare time.

[Evidently it was soon felt that this situation was not good enough, since by 1943 the other half of the movements from the solo set were added into the 2-person set, replacing movements 61-64 of the 1936 list and adding a further twenty-four to bring the total to 88.
     This 1936 publication and Chen Yanlin’s 1943 manual therefore give us a rare moment when a piece of the Taiji curriculum can be reasonably dated. We can justifiably say that movements 61-88 of the complete two-person set of Yang Style Taiji were added sometime around the late 1930s. As to who exactly added them is another matter.]

練勁
PRACTICING THE ENERGIES

無論練拳與練器械,總須將內勁練到四肢。如練器練。不論劍槍等藝,則須將內勁達到器械之尖。劍則劍尖,槍則槍尖。至於勁之大小,因先天秉賦之不同,不能苛論。能到器械之尖,武藝功夫可算到家矣。但練習程序,不可躐等,先在徒手時,將身軀之勁貫通肩・臂・腿・脚・四部,而后到手尖足尖。要此步功夫做到,亦須三四年,然後再用短器械,練到長器械,要使內勁貫到器械上,甚難,非徒手工夫可比。個中人謂透三關,第一關將勁貫到械上,第二關由械柄通過械中心,第三關達到械尖。此三關功夫,不在本身力之大小,而在平日水磨功夫如何?由科班出身者,(從徒弟出來)下過苦功,大半能透三關,一般票友中,所能者無幾矣。
練勁之經過旣如上述。今將『太極拳勁』之種類分述如下:
Whether practicing a boxing set or a weapon set, you must in either case send internal energy to your limbs. If practicing with weapons, whether it be the sword art or spear art, you must send internal energy to the sword tip or spear tip. As for the extent of your energy, it is not the same kind of thing as an innate talent, and so it cannot be as clearly described. If you are able to extend energy all the way to the tip of your weapon, your martial skill will be able to reach a high level.
     However, you must train in the proper sequence and not skip ahead. Beginning therefore with the bare-handed training, send your body’s energy to four sections: shoulders, forearms, thighs, and feet. It will then arrive at your fingers and toes. To get to this level will take three or four years and then you may move on to using short weapons.
     When the training gets to long weapons, you have to get your internal energy to pass through the weapon, which is extremely difficult and quite unlike the bare-handed training. Knowledgeable practitioners say there are three phases to this: 1. sending energy through the weapon, 2. energy coursing from the handle to the center of the weapon, 3. energy reaching the tip. These three phases do not have anything to do with how much strength you have, but with how much patient and painstaking work you put into it every day. Professionals (which grow from apprentices) put in enough extra work that most of them can get through these three phases, but ordinary amateurs can rarely make it.
     What with the process of training energy having been described above, the various energies in Taiji Boxing are explained individually below:

一、『柔勁,』又名『粘勁。』此太極門最初之練勁法。拳譜上所謂:「一舉動,週身俱要輕靈,尤要貫串,無使有缺陷處,無使有凹凸處。無使有斷續處。」初練拳架時,全用『柔勁。』否則不能貫串,必有缺陷。與凹凸斷續之病。王宗岳先師論曰:「人剛我柔謂之走。我順人背謂之粘。」「不偏不倚,忽隱忽現,左重則左虛,右重則右渺。」(此係與人交手之柔勁功夫,推手時便可用之。)十三勢行功心解云:「極柔輭而後極堅剛。」又曰:「邁步如貓行。運勁如抽絲。」楊鏡湖先生約言曰:「似鬆非鬆,將展未展,勁斷意不斷。」等語:卽將柔勁之理,說得極其明顯,其効用在能粘能吸,與敵粘住,總不使其離,將其吸住,使其為我制。初學者,均須從此入手,若初學之人,不注意於此,便離太極門徑,决難成就。
1. Soft energy:
     This is also called sticking energy. It says in the Taiji classics [the Treatise]: “Once there is any movement, your entire body should be nimble and alert. There especially needs to be connection from movement to movement… Do not allow there to be cracks or gaps anywhere, pits or protrusions anywhere, breaks in the flow anywhere.” When practicing the boxing set, you must use soft energy, otherwise the movements will not link together, and there will inevitably be the errors of cracks and gaps, pits and protrusions, breaks in the flow.
     It says in Wang Zongyue’s Treatise: “He is hard while I am soft – this is yielding. My energy is smooth while his energy is coarse – this is sticking… Neither lean nor slant. Suddenly hide and suddenly appear. When there is pressure on the left, the left empties. When there is pressure on the right, the right disappears.” (This has to do with the skill of soft energy when fighting with an opponent, and can easily be made use of during pushing hands.) It says in Understanding How to Practice: “Extreme softness begets extreme hardness… Step like a cat and move energy as if drawing silk.” It says in Words from Yang Jianhou: “The power seems to be relaxed but not relaxed, about to express but not yet expressing. Although the power finishes, the intent of it continues.”
     With these words, the principle of soft energy is explained with great clarity. Its effects are the abilities of sticking and drawing in, sticking to the opponent to keep him from ever getting away, drawing him in to put him under your control. Beginners must start from this energy, and if it is not given attention, you will easily stray from the path of Taiji and it will be truly difficult to have any achievement in it.

二、『剛勁,』又名:『斷勁,』有稱『冷勁,』有稱『挒勁。』其名不同,其法則一,其性激烈,發時如炮彈爆炸。譜上云:「運勁如百鍊鋼,無堅不摧,靜如山岳,動如江河。蓄勁如開弓,發勁如放箭,曲中求直,蓄而後發。」「發勁須沉着鬆靜,專注一方。」等語:皆指示剛勁之法,其効用,是將敵人掃蕩無餘。練此勁時,注意在猛而長。苦發勁短促,雖剛烈,亦無多効用也。
2. Hard energy:
     This is also called interrupting energy, stiffening energy, or rending energy. Different names, same technique. The nature of it is fierce, and when issuing it is like an artillery shell exploding. It says in the Taiji classics [Understanding How to Practice]: “Wield power like tempered steel, so strong there is nothing tough enough to stand up against it… In stillness, be like a mountain, and in movement, be like a river. Store power like drawing a bow. Issue power like loosing an arrow. Within curving, seek to be straightening. Store and then issue… When issuing power, you must sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction.”
     About these words, each of these instructions has to do with methods of hard energy. Its effect is to subdue the opponent completely. When practicing this energy, pay attention that it has both fierceness and length. If your issuing is a short sharp jolt, then even if it is fierce, it will not often be effective.

三、『接勁』又名『借勁,』其勁中包含『聽勁』『化勁』『剛勁』『柔勁』諸法。此勁最難練,是為最後功夫,敵勁到,我勁亦到。譜上云:『彼微動我先動,換言之:敵勁之到我身,我卽化其勁而發之,有時敵勁將到時,我已先敵而發之。總之我接敵之勁,借敵之勁,而發之,其方法是在一圓圈。敵勁到身時,起一極小圓圈而發之,此圓圈,非目力所能見,非初學所能知,非到微妙程途不能領會。語云:可以意會,不可以言傳也。譜云:「得機得勢」又云:「將物掀起,加以挫之,其根自斷。」歌曰:「引進落空合卽出。」「撁動四兩撥千斤。」「妙處全憑能借力,無窮變化洵非誇」等。省言接勁要領,此中方法,全須而受,又須熟練,非筆墨所能盡也。
3. Connecting energy:
     This is also called borrowing energy. This energy contains all the energies or listening, neutralizing, hardness, and softness. It is the most difficult energy to practice and is the last stage of the training. When the opponent’s energy arrives, so does mine. It says in the Taiji classics [Words from Yang Jianhou]: “Once the opponent takes even the slightest action, I have already acted.” In other words, while the opponent’s energy is reaching my body, I am neutralizing it and issuing, for just as his energy is about to arrive, I am already issuing my energy before his energy [has fully reached me]. Whenever I connect to the opponent’s energy, I borrow it and then issue, a technique which operates by way of a circle. As his energy is coming to me, I lift it up with a tiny circle and then issue. This circle is not visually perceptible, it is beyond the comprehension of beginners, and it cannot be understood without having attained a level of subtlety. It is said that it can be intuited but cannot be explained verbally.
     It says in the Taiji classics [the Treatise]: “Catch the opportunity and gain the upper hand… [If your intention wants to go upward, then harbor a downward intention,] like when you reach down to lift up an object, you thereby add a setback to the opponent’s own intention, thus he cuts his own root and is defeated quickly and certainly.” It says in the songs [Pushing Hands and Long Boxing respectively]: “Guiding him in to land on nothing, I then close on him and send him away… I will tug on his movement with four ounces of force moving his of a thousand pounds.” “The subtlety is entirely based on borrowing the opponent’s power… That there is endless transformation is truly no exaggeration.”
     An essential part of connecting energy which has gone unsaid is that this technique must be learned through personal instruction and must also be practiced, because no words can sufficiently describe it.

比試
COMPETITION

卽由散手中學習而來。學習散手,有經驗,有進步,再下苦功,到比試時,定有幾分把握,雖然遇到強敵,不能取勝,總不至意外吃虧。故散手一步功夫,實為練武者最後功夫,亦為練武者最後目的。若練武人不會散手,便不能比試,便何能與人决鬭,在倉卒中何能獲到效益,此西人所以譏我中國武藝為單人跳舞也。今將關於比試之管見,試述如左:
比試在敎練中謂之散手,在角逐中謂之比試,在衝突中謂之决鬭。其名目雖異,其效用則一,是爭勝敗於俄頃也。吾人五官四肢皆同,雖秉賦同異,而性靈則一。我能見,彼亦能見,我能打,彼亦能打,所以能取勝者是在方法,是在熟練,有方法而不熟練,雖有等於無,單靠熟練而無方法,所謂盲修瞎練,亦徒勞也。方法與熟練之要素有三:一、要狠;二、要快:三、要準。一:狠者,能取攻勢,出手時能到家,能盡力,能克敵,若心一柔,便無用矣。二:要快,是在同時並發,彼發我先發,彼發短。我發長,彼發軟,我發硬,彼發柔,我發狠,是我勝矣。三:要準,準字為最重要,若出腿出手,皆不準,心雖狠,手雖快,皆無用也。
This comes out of learning sparring, through which you have gained experience and made progress, and with further hard work you will then attain the level of competition with a firm enough grasp of what is going on that even if you encounter an opponent stronger than yourself, he will be unable to defeat you, unless it is by accident. Therefore sparring as a stage of training truly is the final phase of martial practice, and indeed the ultimate purpose of it. If a martial arts practitioner does not learn to spar, then he will never be able to compete, much less actually fight, for in an emergency he would not be able to suddenly obtain the necessary skills. This is why Westerners slander Chinese martial arts as “solo dancing”. Below I attempt to state my views regarding competition:
     Competition within the training is called “sparring”, whereas within a contest it is indeed called “competing”, and within actual conflict is called “fighting”. Their names are different, but their function is the same: a struggle to determine winner or loser. We all have the same five senses and four limbs, and although we have different natural gifts, we have the same innate intelligence as well. I am able to see the opponent and he is also able to see me. I am able to strike the opponent and he is also able to strike me. Therefore ability to succeed lies in both method and skill. If I have method but no skill, it amounts to having nothing at all. If I rely solely on skill but have no method, this is like “the blind cultivating blindness” and would be a futile effort. There are three key components to method & skill: determination, quickness, and precision.
     1. With determination, I can seize the offensive. I will be able to get my hands to where I send them, be able to express with all of my power, and be able to defeat the opponent. If on the other hand I am timid of mind, whatever I do would easily be rendered useless.
     2. Quickness has to do with when we both issue at the same time. As soon as he issues, I issue sooner. If he issues short, I issue long. If he issues soft, I issue hard. If he issues vaguely, I issue with determination. And thus I am victorious.
     3. Precision is the most important. If I send out a leg or hand technique without precision, then even if I am determined and quick, it would be of no use.

[A LOOK AT SOME OTHER SYSTEMS:]

武當對劍名稱
[1] WUDANG SWORD – THE MOVEMENTS IN ITS SPARRING SETS [This material is from Huang’s 1931 Wudang Sword book, chapters Three and Nine.]

第一套
Set #1:

上下出劍式:對平刺。(陽手)對翻崩。上點腕,下抽腕刺。對提。對走。下翻格帶腰。上翻格帶腰。重二遍。下壓劍擊耳。(灌耳)上帶腕。(崩勢)對提對劈。下刺喉。上帶劍刺喉。陽劍圈。上橫攪。下擊頭。上擊腿。下截腕。上帶腕。(保門勢)下左截腕。上抽腕刺胸。下截腕。上帶腕。(保門勢)下翻格。上抽腕。各保門完。
[1] A & B, both of you perform the initiating posture, then do a horizontal-blade stab (full active grip) toward each other, then an overturned flick toward each other. [2] A, tap to B’s wrist. [3] B, do a drawing cut to A’s wrist, then stab. [4] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other, then walk around each other. [5] B, do an overturned block, then a dragging cut to A’s waist, then A, do an overturned block, then a dragging cut to B’s waist – Do this twice. [6] B, press down A’s sword, then strike to A’s ear (“filling the ear”). [7] A, do a dragging cut to B’s wrist (with a flicking energy). [8] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other, then chop at each other. [9] B, stab to A’s throat. [10] A, do a dragging action to B’s sword, then stab to his throat. [11] Both of you, perform active sword circling. [12] A, perform horizontal stirring. [13] B, strike to A’s head. [14] A, strike to B’s leg. [15] B, check to A’s wrist. [16] A, do a dragging cut to B’s wrist (getting into the “guarding the gate” posture). [17] B, do a left check to A’s wrist. [18] A, do a drawing cut to B’s wrist, then stab to his chest. [19] B, check to A’s wrist. [20] A, do a dragging cut to B’s wrist (“guarding the gate”). [21] B, do an overturned block. [22] A, do a drawing cut to B’s wrist. [23] Both of you, adopt the “guarding the gate” posture. This concludes set #1.

第二套
Set #2:

下上步擊。上擊腕對提。上刺膝。(箭步)下壓劍帶腰。(箭步)對翻崩。上點腕。下斜刺崩。上抽。下刺腹。上左截腕對劈。下反擊耳。上反擊腕。下抽腿。互刺腕抽腰走。重二次。下擊頭。上帶腕囘擊。對提。各保門兒。
[1] B, step forward and strike. [2] A, strike to B’s wrist. [3] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other. [4] A, stab to B’s knee (in an arrow stance). [5] B, press down A’s sword, then do a dragging cut to his waist (in an arrow stance). [6] Both of you, do an overturned flick toward each other. [7] A, tap to B’s wrist. [8] B, step diagonally and do a stabbing flick. [9] A, do a drawing cut. [10] B, stab to A’s belly. [11] A, do a left check to B’s wrist. [12] Both of you, chop at each other. [13] B, do a reverse strike to B’s ear. [14] A, do a reverse strike to B’s wrist. [15] B, do a drawing cut to A’s thigh. [16] Both of you, stab to your opponent’s wrist, do a drawing cut to his waist, then walk around each other – Do this twice. [17] B, strike to A’s head. [18] A, do a dragging cut to B’s wrist, then do a reverse strike. [19] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other, then return to the guarding posture. This concludes set #2.

第三套
Set #3:

下劈頭。上格劍帶腰。下格腕帶腰。上格腕帶腰。下格腕帶腰。上格腕帶腰。下壓劍。翻擊耳。(灌耳)上直帶。(崩勢。)下提。上上步扣腕擊。下上步扣腕擊。對走。對反抽。下刺腹。上格腕。對繞腕。各保門完。

[1] B, chop to A’s head. [2] A, block B’s sword, then do a dragging cut to his waist. [3] B, block to A’s wrist, then do a dragging cut to his waist. [4] A, block to B’s wrist, then do a dragging cut to his waist. [5] B, block to A’s wrist, then do a dragging cut to his waist. [6] A, block to B’s wrist. [7] B, press down A’s sword, then do a reverse strike to his ear (“filling the ear”). [8] A, do a vertical-blade dragging cut (with a flicking energy). [9] B, do a lifting cut. [10] A, step forward, cover B’s wrist, and strike. [11] B, step forward, cover A’s wrist, and strike. [12] Both of you, walk around each other, both do an opposite drawing cut [one doing drawing from above while the other does drawing from below] toward each other. [13] B, stab to A’s belly. [14] A, block to B’s wrist. [15] Both of you, coil around your opponent’s wrist, then return to the guarding posture. This concludes set #3.

第四套
Set #4:

上洗。下陽劍圈起手。對陽劍圈。下陰劍圈起手。對陰劍圈。下進步攪。對攪。下抽。上下進退抽帶。重三遍。下崩。上抽。下上步刺。互壓劍。上擊腿。上反擊耳。下直帶。對提。各保門完。
[1] A, do a clearing cut. [2] B, perform active sword circling, your hand lifted. [3] Both of you, perform active sword circling. [4] B, perform passive sword circling, your hand lifted. [5] Both of you, perform passive sword circling. [6] B, advance with stirring. [7] Both of you, stir. [8] B, do a drawing cut. [9] Both of you, advance and retreat with drawing and dragging – Do this three times. [10] B, flick. [11] A, do a drawing cut. [12] B, step forward and stab. [13] Both of you, press down your opponent’s sword. [14] A, strike to B’s thigh, then do a reverse strike to his ear. [15] B, do a vertical-blade dragging cut. [16] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other, then return to the guarding posture. This concludes set #4.

第五套
Set #5:

對伏式。上刺。(中陰手)下擊腕。上抬劍平截。對截腕。對提。對走。上正崩。(中陰手)下帶腕。(保門勢)上進步反格。(中陰手)下抽身截腕。上上步截腕。下反截腕。上抽手截腕。下抽手截腕。上帶腿換步刺腰。下換步刺腰。上平抽。下刺胸。(獨立金雞式)上平帶。對提。各保門。各伏式。下刺胸。上平擊。對提。對劈。對刺。上格腕。下翻腕刺。上扣腕刺。對轉身劈劍各保門。上下收劍完。
[1] Both of you get into a crouched posture. [2] A, stab (half passive grip). [3] B, strike to A’s wrist. [4] A, raise your sword and do a horizontal check. [5] Both of you, check to your opponent’s wrist. [6] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other, then walk around each other. [7] A, do an upright flick (half passive grip). [8] B, do a dragging to A’s wrist (putting you into the guarding posture). [9] A, advance and do a reverse block (half passive grip). [10] B, do a drawing cut to A’s body, then check to his wrist. [11] A, step forward and check B’s wrist. [12] B, do a reverse check to A’s wrist. [13] A, do a drawing cut to B’s hand, then check his wrist. [14] B, do a drawing cut to A’s hand, then check his wrist. [15] A, do a dragging cut to B’s thigh, then switch feet and stab to his waist. [16] B, switch feet and stab to A’s waist. [17] A, do a horizontal drawing cut. [18] B, stab to A’s chest (performing GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG). [19] A, do a horizontal-blade dragging cut. [20] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other, return to the guarding posture, then get into a crouched posture. [21] B, stab to A’s chest. [22] A, do a horizontal strike. [23] Both of you, do a lifting cut toward each other. [24] Both of you, chop at each other. [25] Both of you, stab at each other. [26] A, block to B’s wrist. [27] B, turn over your wrist and stab. [28] A, cover B’s wrist and stab. [29] Both of you, turn around, chop at each other, return to the guarding posture, then finish with the closing posture.

劍法十三勢
The sword art’s thirteen techniques:

武當劍法,大別為十三勢,以十三字名之:卽抽・帶・提・格・擊・刺・點・崩・攪・壓・劈・截・洗,亦似太極拳之掤・捋・擠・按・採・挒・肘・靠・前進・後退・左顧・右盻・中定也。此外另有舞劍,未有定式。非到劍術純妙不能學習,非口授面傳,不能領會。
The Wudang sword art basically consists of thirteen techniques, namely drawing, dragging, lifting, blocking, striking, stabbing, tapping, flicking, stirring, pressing, chopping, checking, and clearing. This is the same situation as with Taiji Boxing’s [thirteen dynamics]: plucking, rending, elbowing, bumping, warding off, rolling back, pressing, pushing, advancing, retreating, moving to the left, moving to the right, and staying in the center. Beyond them, there is free style “sword dancing”. You will not be able to learn it until you have become skillful, nor able to even comprehend it without personal instruction.

以上所編套子,卽劍學泰斗李師芳辰以十三勢編練而成。對練時,審來度往,按法練習,初習時,宜慢不宜快,宜緩不宜疾。式式應到家,劍劍須着實,有寺須注意用法,與練法不同處,此其大槪也。
These sparring sets were made by the eminent sword expert Li Jinglin and are constructed of the thirteen techniques. When practicing these sparring sets, examine what comes at you and consider what you will send out, always acting in accordance with your training in those techniques. When beginning to learn these sets, it should be slow instead of fast, deliberate instead of rushed. Your postures should be perfect and your techniques should be genuine. Sometimes during the sets, you will have to take note of the difference between combat and training, and that the training in these sets will give you only a general sense of it.

摔角之大槪
[2] A GENERAL LOOK AT SHUAIJIAO

中國拳術於踢打之外,有摔角與擒拿二藝。摔角為近身扭結時必要之技術,粗看似全仗膂力,詎不知方法之外,實有巧妙存焉。初學者,先以一人單練,如前進後退,轉身變臉,勾脚,挑腿,挺腰,坐馬等方式。但不行打,不行踢,如犯之卽違章,為衆所不許。初與師對練,與同學對比、如大別子,挑勾子,抹脖兒等等,全仗實驗工夫。最奇者,變臉一事,如對人使上把,或下把時,雖轉身而不變臉,仍不能倒敵,一變臉敵必撲跌矣。此藝現在江南者,楊方五、佟忠義、王子慶、諸君優為之。習練工具,用專門褡練衣一襲,腰帶一根,其行規,服此衣摔死不償命,其優劣以跌倒多次者為負,比演時相約摔三十交或五十交為準。善此者,約定三十交,可將對方摔倒三十交,或可將人摔之上樓,或摔斷腰腿,竟至死者。故有人認此為危險之技藝者,其實在教者與學者之性情耳。
摔角方式甚多,另有專書,非片言所能盡,本篇略述大槪,為學太極者一斑之助耳。
東瀛所謂柔道者,實係吾國古代所流傳,考其功力,碻有湛深之成就,考其方法,尚不及吾國摔角之什一。惜吾國上下不能一致提倡,視為江湖末技,不足當大雅之欣賞也。
In Chinese boxing arts, beyond kicking and striking, there are also the arts of throwing and grabbing. Shuaijiao [“throwing”] is an indispensable technique for when you are tangled up close to an opponent’s body. At first glance, it seems to be all brawn, and those who know nothing of its methods have no way of seeing that it is actually highly skillful.
     Beginners first practice single exercises with a partner, such as advancing and retreating, turning the body, turning the head, hooking with the foot, raising the leg, straightening the back, horse-riding stance, and so on. But there is no striking or kicking, and if you violate this rule, all partners will refuse to work with you.
     In the beginning, there is training with the teacher, then contests against fellow students such as: clasping the forearms, hoisting the buttocks, wiping the neck, and others. It is a skill entirely built on personal experiment.
     Mastery of it is a matter of turning your head. If an opponent has tried to grab you from above or below, and you have turned your body but not your head, you will still be unable to make him fall, but once you turn your head, he is sure to fall.
     The most proficient at this art nowadays are all in the Jiangnan area: Yang Fangwu, Tong Zhongyi, and Wang Ziqing.
     The training equipment includes a special jacket to attack and a waistband to grip. The etiquette is that it is the jacket that gets thrown to death rather than one’s partner. Your level of quality is measured by how many times you throw an opponent.
     In competition, the standard is to agree to either thirty or fifty throws. Experts usually find thirty to be sufficient, for they can easily throw an opponent thirty times, or throw an opponent up a flight of stairs, or throw an opponent to break his back or leg or even kill him. Some people therefore consider this a dangerous art, but that actually depends more on the temperament of the teacher or student.
     Shuaijiao has a great many techniques, as well as a specialized literature, for it takes more than a few words to be able to describe it all. This book briefly presents a general idea so as to help Taiji students have some idea of it.
     What the Japanese call Judo actually comes from our own ancient tradition. When we examine its effectiveness, it is indeed a profound achievement, but when we examine its methods, it is still not worth a tenth of our Shuaijiao. Unfortunately we are not able to unanimously encourage Shuaijiao in our nation because it is generally looked upon as the superficial tricks of street performers, undeserving of admiration from people of refinement.

擒拿之大要
[3] ESSENTIALS OF QINNA

擒拿術,不行打,不行踢,亦不行摔,專以特種手術,將敵拿住。換言之:將敵之四肢之一部,用一方法,使其不能動,不能崛強,無可脫逃。敵如反抗,則其四肢之一部,必致苦楚難堪,或有折筋斷骨之虞,彼只得聽從我之使命,此之謂拿住。今將各部拿法名目・開列如下:
The art of Qinna [“grabbing”] does not strike, kick, or throw. It focuses on special hand techniques of grabbing an opponent. To put it another way, it sends out a single technique against one of the opponent’s limbs and makes him incapable of moving, muscling his way out, or escaping at all. If he resists, that particular limb of his will suffer intolerably and he will risk injuring his ligaments or breaking his bones, and so he only gets to listen to my commands. This is called “apprehending”. Below are listed the methods of grabbing various parts:
第一頭部法 搬頭法,抓臉法,抓耳法,揑喉法。
1. Methods of apprehending at the head: Pressing aside the head, grabbing the face, grabbing the ear, and pinching the throat.
第二肘部法 纏肘法,向上搬肘法,向上推肘法,轉身抗肘法,橫斷肘法,向下壓肘法。
2. Methods of apprehending at the elbow: twining around the elbow, deflecting the elbow upward, pushing the elbow upward, turning around and resisting the elbow, horizontal elbow break, and pressing the elbow down.
第三拳部法 抱拳滾身法,捲拳法,扣拳拐肘法,扣拳壓肘法。
3. Methods of apprehending at the fist: wrapping the fist and rolling the body, rolling the fist, covering the fist and turning the elbow, and covering the fist and pressing down the elbow.
第四腕部法 單纏腕法,雙纏腕法,大纏腕法。
4. Methods of apprehending at the wrist: twining one hand around the wrist, twining both hands around the wrist, and large twining around the wrist.
第五掌部法 反掌斷肘法,掣掌跨肘法,牽手法,扣掌按肘法,扣手拐肘法,揑手背穴法。
5. Methods of apprehending at the palm: turning the palm over and breaking the elbow, tugging the palm and straddling the elbow, pulling the hand, covering the palm and pushing down the elbow, covering the hand and turning the elbow, and pinching the hand and pressing acupoints on the back of the hand.
第六腿部法 倒坐腿法,搓腿法,拿陰破法。
6. Methods of apprehending at the leg: sitting backwards onto the leg, twisting the leg, and grabbing the groin and yanking on it.

踢打之部位
[4] TARGETS OF KICKING & STRIKING

八可打,八應打,八不打三法。所謂八可打者,比演時可打而無害。八應打者,懲兇罰惡之舉。八不打者,打着便有危險。以上三種:亦是學技者,不可不知也。今開列如下:
There are three kinds of targets: eight permissible targets, eight emergency targets, and eight forbidden targets. The eight permissible targets can be struck without causing injury during competition. The eight emergency targets are for punishing real-life attackers. The eight forbidden targets are too dangerous to strike. These three kinds of targets must be understood by students, and so they are listed below:

八可打
The eight permissible targets:

兩肩窩,兩上肘,兩背胛,(背之上部)兩大腿,以上八處,可為師徒間揀習撲打之用,尚無妨礙。
- the upper ribs
- the upper arms
- the shoulder blades
- the thighs
     These eight places can be struck during practice between teacher and pupil without impeding the training.

八應打
The eight emergency targets:

一打眉頭雙睛,二打口上人中,三打耳下穿腮,四打背後脊縫,五打兩肘骨節,六打鶴膝虎脛,七打腿下顆骨,八打脚背指脛。如遇暴客凶徒;舉動狠毒時,應打以上八處,而懲之,使其疼痛昏迷,不致作惡也。
1. the space between the eyebrows as well as the eyes themselves
2. the Ren Zhong acupoint above the upper lip
3. the hollow between the lower ear and cheek
4. the spine
5. the elbow joint
6. the soft tissue just below the kneecap
7. the ankles
8. top of the foot, the toes, or shin
     If you encounter a criminal or ruffian whose actions are vicious, correct him from among these eight targets, rendering him either in pain or unconscious, incapacitating him from committing further evil.

八不打
The eight forbidden targets:

一不打泰山壓頂,二不打兩耳封門,三不打喉咽氣管,四不打胸間穿心,五不打乳下雙脇,六不打海底撈陰,七不打腰心兩腎,八不打尾閭中正。以上八處,踢打中着,必有性命之虞,故不打也。
1. the crown of the head
2. the ears
3. the throat or windpipe
4. the solar plexus
5. the floating ribs
6. the groin
7. the kidneys
8. the tailbone
     Kicking or striking these eight targets will endanger someone’s life, and are therefore forbidden.

自然門
[5] THE NATURAL SCHOOL

此門之拳術,從人身本來自然行動中習練之。其初步煆煉,手足、腰腿、目光各部,而於手尖脚尖;尤為注意。其練法,詳載於萬籟聲出版之武術匯宗(商務印書館出售)本篇不贅。萬氏於中央歷屆比試,皆佔優勝,其師卽余盟兄杜心五也。杜氏年屆七旬,身懷絕技,目光如電。惜其學道心切,已入羽士之流,比聞遯入山林矣。
This boxing art is practiced according to the natural actions of the human body. In the beginning of the training, the hands and feet, waist and legs, eyes, and the fingers and toes, are all given special attention. Its training methods are explained in Wan Laisheng’s seminal Compilation of Martial Arts Systems, published by Commercial Press, LTD [as was Huang’s Wudang Sword book]. He was among the winners in the Central Institute’s competition.
     His teacher is my sworn brother, Du Xinwu. Du, now seventy years old, is consummately skillful, with eyes that flash like lightning. Unfortunately he has become obsessed with enlightenment and has essentially turned into a Daoist priest. I have recently heard that he has retreated to the woods to live the life of a recluse.

靈令門
[6] THE MAGICAL SCHOOL

此門之拳,可謂少林宗,最細最全之技術。其初步,先學五種模子,又名羅漢工,卽基本工夫。而後學各種單式打法,其八種腿法,尤為他派所無。鍜鍊時,有靜動兩法,極繁細,極深刻。非普通人所能學習。余兄劉百川,精研此藝,淸季藉此走鑣北方,革命運興,護從蔣總司令北伐歸來,以年老告休,現聘為浙江國術館教務長。
This school of boxing is the most detailed and complete of the Shaolin arts. In the beginning of the training, there are five kinds of patterns that are first learned, which are also called Luohan boxing or “basic skills”. Then trained as isolated techniques are a variety of striking methods and eight kinds of kicking methods that are absent from other systems. Practice consists of methods of both movement and stillness.
     It is so extremely detailed and profound that ordinary people are incapable of learning it. My senior colleague Liu Baichuan has studied this art intensively. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, he was a convoy escort in the north. After the revolution came, he became Chiang Kai-shek’s bodyguard. At the end of the Northern Expedition, he resigned on the grounds of old age. He now serves as the dean of the Zhejiang Martial Arts Institute.

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(六)勁與力之分
SIX: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENERGY & STRENGTH

吾人四肢運動之效用,體育家名之謂『力,』武術家稱之曰『勁。』考『勁』與『力』之分甚微,所謂力者,天然漲成,其效用隨年齡疾病而增減。明言之:年齡少壯,其力強,年齡老大,其力衰,身體康健,其力充,身患疾病,其力弱。所稱勁者,則不然。由多年苦練而成,其效用,不因年事疾病而退減。曩年八卦先師董海川董老公,享壽九十餘歲,于臨命終時,有一壯士為其更衣,董不欲,一舉手將壯士拋擲窗外,至今八卦門傳為美談。足見內勁之不因疾病而減弱,可知矣。今將全身之力・可練而成內勁者,列如下:
The effectiveness of the movements of our limbs is called “strength” by physical education experts, but is called “energy” by martial arts experts. The distinction between these two words seems tiny. However, strength manifests naturally in accordance with changes in age and health: a young person is strong whereas an old person is weak, and a healthy person is mighty whereas a sick person is feeble.
     These are not the case for energy, which after many years of diligent training will produce an effectiveness that will not be diminished by age or illness. When Bagua master Dong Haichuan was on his deathbed at the age of more than ninety, a sturdy soldier tried to change his clothes for him. Dong did not want to, so with but a raise of his hand, he flung the soldier out of a window. This is nowadays a favorite anecdote in Bagua schools and sufficiently demonstrates that internal energy does not abate due to illness. We can take the body’s strengths and develop them into internal energies, as follows:
握力(掌勁)
Strength in gripping will become “grasp” energy.
合力(擠勁)
Strength in closing in will become “press” energy.
射力(挒勁)
Strength in drawing a bow will become “rend” energy.
推力(按勁)
Strength in pushing will become “push” energy.
拉力(採勁)
Strength in tugging will become “pluck” energy.
拖力(捋勁)
Strength in pulling will become “rollback” energy.
托力(肩勁稱勁)
Strength in propping up will become “shoulder” energy or “brace” energy.
舉力(掤勁)
Strength is raising will become “ward-off” energy.
提力(提勁)
Strength in lifting will become “lift” energy.
招力(腕勁)
Strength in drawing in will become “wrist” energy.
騎力(沉勁)
Strength in horse riding will become “sink” energy.
排力(開勁)
Strength in shoving aside will become “spread” energy.
以上略分為十二種,其發勁之源,皆起于脚,出動於腰,而達於四肢也。
These twelve energies are the basis of issuing. They each start from the foot, are directed by the waist, and then sent through the limbs.

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(七)師生間之關係
SEVEN: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER & STUDENT

歷來教拳者,雖口頭法一說敎授,毫無分別,而實際碻有三種情形。
Through the ages, the teaching of boxing arts, even though taught by way of oral transmission, has never been other than one of these three situations:

第一種:
Version 1:

受業者為徒弟,敎授者為師傅。授者盡心苦練,教者盡心教授。但學業之外,師家大小雜務,皆須服役,待有技藝程度,初隨師為幫教,繼則代敎,三年五載之薪水,完全供養師傅,其後看師傅之度量,與夫業徒之資格若何?如業徒漸漸老練,則師傅亦漸漸客氣,此後場面,皆歸自己撑持矣。然對於輩分,仍極尊重,門戶亦極重視。
江湖藝規,大半相同。如唱戲者,科班中例規,藝徒儘享大名,儘掛頭牌,能叫座能博彩,而其包銀一千二千,全歸業師收去,待到資格已老,經過滿師手給,方得自由營業。各師皆如此,各徒皆如此,以上情形,雖為江湖俗例,亦屬人情之常。否則為師者,旣無利益希望,何苦而為竭盡心力之指教。在學者方面,對於師之本有技藝尚不可得,欲求靑出於藍,更為難矣。
The student is called “disciple”. The teacher is called “master”. The student has to train whole-heartedly. The teacher has to instruct whole-heartedly. However, apart from his studies, the student also has to be ready at all times to do odd jobs for the teacher’s family members. The teacher waits for the student to manifest some skill, then begins to give him a few tips, and finally switches to properly teaching him.
     Three to five years of teaching salary will then supply for all the teacher’s needs. After that time, the student will notice the teacher sizing him up and considering his quality. As the student gradually becomes experienced, the teacher eventually becomes polite to him. From that point, the student will look after himself in all things, but will still respect the teacher as his senior. Seniority is taken very seriously in boxing arts systems.
     This pattern is mostly the same as for traveling performers, such as those in traditional opera troupes. The usual practice within an opera school is that the apprentice must do his utmost to make a big name for himself, play leading roles, be able to draw large and diverse crowds, earn a large monthly wage, which he then gives entirely to his teacher, and by the time he is qualified, he is already an old man. After going through this whole process of his apprenticeship, he then has the freedom to run the business. It is the same situation for every teacher and every student.
     Although this is the conventional practice for traveling performers, it is also a normal human inclination. If it were not done this way, the teacher would have no hope of making a profit, and would thus have no reason to put all his effort into teaching the student. On the student’s side, he would admire the teacher’s skill but be unable to obtain it, much less surpass it.

第二種:
Version 2:

受業者為門生,社會中所謂拜門者。教授者為老師,師弟之間,稍稍客氣,除學業外,不服役私事。其敎練亦有相當指授,學業亦有成就者。其門生有為師傅盡義務者,有不盡者,一門之中,個個不同。
The student is a “student” or within the school a “devoted pupil”. The teacher is a “teacher”. Between teacher and student, there is a slight ceremoniousness. The student is not engaged in any personal business beyond his studies. The teacher teaches at a suitable level of instruction and the student correspondingly achieves. As for the students, there are those who do their best to fulfill their obligation to their teacher and those who do not, but the instruction is the same for everyone in the school.

第三種:
Version 3:

敎授者稱為先生。如學校學生,軍營士兵,以及時髦機關聯員,逢期一次二次,敎者旣不能精碻指導,學者亦無非時髦而已,事實上難以成就也。
The teacher is simply an “instructor”, as in educational institutions and military barracks, and merely goes along with what is currently popular. Classes are held only once or twice a week, and so he is unable to give accurate guidance. The student will receive what is in fashion, but that is all, and so the experience will be very unlikely to result in any meaningful achievement.

從來拜師傅者,須具大紅全帖。第一頁寫生徒姓名某某頓首拜。第二頁寫生徒三代父母,本人年齡,藉貫,住址。有於第三頁附寫介紹人姓名籍貫住址者,有不寫介紹人者,最後寫當時年月日,另設香案,中供本門祖師,邀請師伯叔,及師兄弟等觀禮。先由業師拜其祖,(少林門為達摩,武當門為張三丰)其徒繼拜之,跪奉其帖後,向師再拜,起對各師伯叔師兄弟行禮,卽舉行宴會。有獻贄見儀者,其數不定,視其師生感情,與贈者經濟耳。
All those who become a formal student of a master must give a red invitation. On the first page is written your name and reverence to the teacher. On the second page is written your family lineage going back three generations – your parents, grands, and greats –  your age, birthplace, and address. On the third page, some write the name, birthplace, and address of those who recommended them, while others instead just write the date.
     In addition, set up an altar with incense for making offering to the school’s founder, then invite the teacher, with his colleagues and students, to attend the ceremony. First the teacher will bow to the founder’s image (Damo in Shaolin schools, Zhang Sanfeng in Wudang schools), then his students will also bow. Kneel down and offer the teacher his invitation again, then bow twice toward him, rise and salute each of your teacher’s colleagues and your fellow students, and then hold a banquet.
     The presenting of gifts is not always required. It depends on the sentiment between teacher and student, and the student’s financial situation.

少林門(山東滄洲一帶拳廠)習拳之經過
Here is the process of Shaolin training (as taught in the Shaolin schools in the regions of Shandong and Cangzhou):
一:拜師。(經二人以上之介紹,具帖請酒,及各種儀式。)
1. Make obeisance to a teacher. Gain an introduction through others, then send an invitation to share some wine, and go through the various ceremonies.
二:習彈腿。(彈腿。為少林門各路拳術之基礎,故先習此。)
2. Practice Tantui. This is the foundation of the various Shaolin boxing sets, and therefore it is practiced first.
三:拉架子。(拉架子者,卽習各種拳術之架子,待所習之拳架子,手足純熟,身法自然,將本身之勁,能作用到四梢,(卽手尖足尖,)為期約二三年,然後再學短兵器,若躥等而學便有害,其師亦不許也。
3. Go through the various boxing sets, practicing them until your hands and feet are skillful, your body movement is natural, and the power of your whole body can be expressed through your limbs, (meaning all the way to your fingers and toes). After about two or three years of this, you may then move on to learning sets for short weapons. If you were to skip ahead to weapons, it would easily create problems, which is why the teacher will not allow it.
四:學刀劍。(鞭鎚等短器,)練大槍。
4. Learn saber and sword sets, as well as whip-rod, hammer, and other short weapons. Then train with the long spear.
五:折拳法。(將拳架各式,折開說明用法,)折器械,其方法與上同。
5. Drill the boxing techniques. Take each of the postures from the boxing sets and explore their functions. Then do the same with the weapons techniques.
六:練拳對子。(各種拳架對打方法。)
6. Practice two-person sets to drill the various fighting techniques.
七:學手法。(各種爪拿法。)
7. Learn hand techniques, meaning various kinds of grabbing techniques.
八:折器械。(各種器械對打法。)
8. Practice two-person weapon sets to drill the fighting techniques for the various weapons.
九:散手。(散手對打,分文武兩種。所謂文者,動手不用腿。所謂武者,動腿不用手,腿手並用,謂之文武並用。)
9. Free sparring. There are two kinds of sparring – “civil” and “martial”. The civil kind is when you use your hands more than your legs. The martial kind is when you use your legs more than your hands. When using hands and legs equally, it is civil and martial combined.
十:春典。(春典者,江湖上緣林中之黑話,又名江湖術話。此事歷來頗視為重要,故有『儘敎千般藝,莫敎一口春』之說。因懂得此類術話,卽是個中人,旣是一家,便有照顧,卽占便宜矣。
10. Study its poetic canon. The canon is like the secret jargon of traveling performers, or “street performer speak” [akin to carnival lingo]. Through the ages, this has been considered an important aspect, hence the saying: “The many arts through the millennia have all had their own oral tradition.” Because this kind of specialized jargon is only known by people within the tradition, the community of practitioners becomes like a family which looks after and maintains its traditions.
(附)『下場不溜腿,到老沒藥救,』此言練拳後,不可停止而坐,須走數圈,而溜其腿,卽平其氣,和其血脈也。
Note [by way of example of one of its traditional phrases]:
“If you don’t talk a walk at the end, no medicine will help you when you get old.” This means that after practicing, you must not stop and sit down, but should walk around for several laps to loosen your legs, balance your energy, and regulate your bloodflow.

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(八)國術界中之習慣
EIGHT: CUSTOMS WITHIN THE MARTIAL ARTS WORLD

練國術者,須略約知一般之規例,亦入國問禁,入鄕問俗之意。凡見人練拳,或練器械,必須起立,不可坐視,否則必遭厭惡,或受人挪榆,如為座師,或直屬長官,及長輩父母師伯叔等,則可以不拘,見其練畢,必須致贊美之辭。若自己表演時,應除帽脫長衣,但不可赤膊赤脚,最小限度,帽子與馬褂必須除去,而後向環衆致歉辭。否則此道中人,以為欺師蔑祖,目空一切。暗中已受人歧視,或竟當場發生比試等事,因此而生永久之惡感矣。
凡向人索閱刀劍器械等件,不可魯莽開視。必須先得其允可,接到手後,應變換側方視之,其快口尖銳須對己,不可對人,否則為大不敬,且防傷人。最要者,勿以手指口沬摩擦其刀劍,犯之,尤為一般習慣所痛惡。在宴會席上,有同道人來遞茶,或斟酒,皆係表示尊敬與佩服之禮節;受者當起立而囘敬其禮,毋忽視之。平常言論,切忌評人工夫之長短,雖屬一時閒談,並無成見與其他作用。但對方之名譽及生計,或竟因此而受重大之打擊,彼必以全力希圖報復,是不可不知也。
Practitioners of martial arts have to be somewhat familiar with general rules, in the same way that someone entering a new country will inquire as to what is forbidden there or someone entering a new town will ask about what is customary in such a place.
     When watching someone performing a boxing set or weapon set, you must stand rather than sit, otherwise you are sure to be met with contempt, or even be made to move from your seat. If the seat you have chosen happens to be the teacher’s place, or that of a senior student, or of a parent or uncle, then there will be no restraining the amount of contempt you will face. Once the person has finished his set, you must express praise for his performance.
     When performing yourself, you should remove your hat and long robes. You must not take off your shirt or go barefoot, but at least dispense with hat and jacket. You are then to apologize to everyone present for not being good enough, otherwise your fellow martial artists will think you are being disrespectful toward your teacher, scornful toward your ancestors, and arrogant. A silent bias will grow against you and you will soon find yourself challenged, leading to a lengthy enmity.
     If you go up to people and seek to borrow a saber, sword, or other weapon [to perform with], you must not be blunt and casual about it, but must instead start by asking their permission. Once you have been lent a weapon, you should go away off to the side before examining it. You must hold it so its sharp edges are facing toward yourself, never toward the other person, otherwise it would extremely disrespectful, not to mention that you might even injure him. The most important thing is that you must not polish his sword with your fingers and spit. If you do this, you will be especially despised.
     While seated at a banquet table, when fellow martial artists hand you tea or pour you some wine, you should always express respect and admiration for their etiquette. Once you have received, you should stand and toast to their hospitality, never overlook it.
     In ordinary speech, always avoid commenting on whether someone’s skill is good or bad. Even though you may simply be chatting and have no prejudice about someone’s abilities, that person’s reputation and therefore livelihood may as a consequence be struck a significant blow. He will do everything in his power to seek revenge, and so you must be aware of this.

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以上各條,略舉大槪,一知半解,在所不免。至所述太極之妙用,余在十餘年前,初聞此言,以為業此者宣傳之辭。今以各師之講授,自身之經過,以及同學朋友之試驗,到爐火純靑時,碻有神妙莫測之作用。余非小說家,何必過炫其說,要在善學者,刻苦求之,自得之耳。
中國自古以來,武器甚多,形式各異,(名稱不一,而一般所稱之十八般武器,名式如下:)
長槍、大刀、戈、矛、戟、槊、斧、鉞、爪、钂、鈀、叉、棍、鎚、劍、刀、鞭、弓、鐧由鞭而成,弩由弓而成,鑣由矛而成,匕由劍而成,故不列。
All the various items above are inevitably just a general idea, a mere smattering. As for the wonders of Taiji, I first heard about them more than ten years ago and have since set out to propagate such teachings among the public. By way of instruction from various teachers and personal experience, as well as experimenting with fellow students and colleagues, you can reach a high level of proficiency and truly obtain a magical and incomprehensible ability. But I am not making a novel here, so I do not need to impress with dazzling words. All that matters is to point out to good students that if you work hard, you will naturally succeed.
     [As for weapons,] there have since ancient times in China been a great variety of weapons in a great variety of shapes. Their names are different, but they are commonly referred to collectively as the “eighteen kinds of weapons”: long spear, large saber, dagger-axe, spear, halberd, lance, axe, hook, claw, trident, rake, fork, staff, hammer, sword, saber, whip-rod, and archer’s bow. Since maces are based on whip-rods, crossbows are based on bows, darts are based on spears, and daggers are based on swords, they have not been listed among the eighteen.

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附言
POSTSCRIPT

鄙見國術名稱,宜改為武術二字,較為適當。因國術之稱,範圍過於廣泛,凡屬中國之藝術,圖・畫・琴・棋,百工六藝,皆可稱為國術,豈獨僅僅乎武術哉?或曰稱為武術,恐與軍事相混合。實則不然,行陣作戰之學,皆冠以軍字,如軍事計劃,軍事訓練,陸海空軍,陸軍大學,軍官學校,或簡稱為軍人,軍官,軍佐,軍械等,世界各國皆同,决不與武字相混淆。或曰:此係中國之技術,須加以國字。試問中國一切學術,一切機關,皆冠以國字可乎?東西洋各國,其本國之學術,並不皆冠以國字,其重在事實與性質,明矣。邇來中央國術館,兼研究西洋撲擊,日本擊劍諸藝,不如易以武術二字為當,質之海內賢達,以為如何?
In my opinion, the term we use often for martial arts – “national arts” [“guo shu”] – should be changed to simply “martial arts” [“wu shu”]. It is more suitable. This is because the term “national arts” has too great a scope. The arts of China – our drawing and painting, our music and chess, the traditions of the “hundred crafts” and the “six arts” – can all be considered national arts. Why should we single out our martial arts?
     Someone may say: “But if we say ‘martial arts’, it runs the risk of conjuring a military connotation.” Nonsense, the studying of battle formations is always labeled “military”. There is military strategy and military training, military colleges and military academies. There is the army [“land military”], navy [“sea military”], and air force [“sky military”]. There are soldiers [“military men”], field officers [“military officials”], noncombatant officers [“military assistants”], ordnance [“military mechanisms”], etc. This is the same in every country in the world and nowhere is it ever confused with “martial arts”.
     Someone may say: “This has to do with specifically Chinese skills, and so we must apply the word ‘national’.” If we let that be the case, then should not all of Chinese science and every Chinese invention be labeled “national” as well? In every country, east or west, the learning that occurs in one’s native land is never labeled “national”, for the keys in any field of understanding are the facts and the context of itself.
     Recently the Central “Guoshu” Institute has also been conducting courses in such arts as Western boxing and Japanese fencing, therefore it would surely be better to change the “guoshu” to “wushu”. I ask you, is there an intelligent person anywhere in the nation who would not agree?

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武術偶談附錄
APPENDICES TO MARTIAL ARTS DISCUSSIONS

一、莫干山劍池照片
1. Photo of Sword Pond at Mt. Mogan
二、豐城劍匣亭照片
2. Photo of the Sword Casket Pavilion in Fengcheng
三、古劍匣
3. The Ancient Sword Casket
四、重建劍匣亭記
4. On the Restoring of the Sword Casket Pavilion
五、歷代劍俠名人表
5. List of Famous Sword Heroes in History

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 31

劍池
Sword Pond

莫干山劍池卽干將莫邪鑄劍處池在岩石洞不甚寬廣上有飛瀑折叠下注境殊幽勝摩崖二字不知何代所刻
元秀誌
Sword Pond at Mt. Mogan is where Mo Ye and Gan Jiang made swords. There is a rocky cave there which is not very wide, and a waterfall above it that is rolling over a series of rocks as it pours downward, making it an especially distinctive place. Engraved there are the two words “sword pond”, but it is not known in what era this was carved.
     - note by Huang Yuanxiu

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武術偶談 (1936) - photo 32

江西豐城縣古劍匣亭
The Ancient Sword Casket Pavilion in Fengcheng county, Jiangxi

亭中有〇者卽古遺干將莫邪之石劍匣其詳見古劍匣篇及劍匣亭記
In the center of the pavilion is the ancient stone sword casket of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye, explained below in the two sections that follow:

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古劍匣
THE ANCIENT SWORD CASKET

此周秦物也,昔闔盧扃斷兵庫,啓鑰失其故有,得白兔二,召劍師干將莫邪視之云:精氣之為物也。請鑄劍,劍成雌雄二具,龍文星象,洵為神物。秦星不敢佩帶,深藏地窟,以鎭王氣者,為神物謀也。迨東晉時,張華雷煥察日邊有劍氣,求分野,屬豐城,祈及微渺而掘獄所,深及於淵,得石匣藏周代之兩劍,今之遺匣,當時之藏匣也。吾邑旣以劍名,而有此匣,當相為愛惜,以緬前賢,恍如在覩,特不能不遺憾毀博物志之九卷者。
光緒丙午季春月邑人李鏞謹識:
This object is from the time of the Zhou and Qin dynasties, locked away long ago among King Helu’s military treasures. He had shown two white rabbits to the swordsmiths Gan Jiang and Mo Ye, and told them: “It is essence and energy that makes things.” He then requested they make two swords, one masculine and one feminine, engraved with exquisite script and astrological markings to make them truly magical objects. The Qin emperor did not dare to wear them at his waist and so buried them deep in his cellar, thinking that such magical objects might suppress his royal power.
     Then during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Zhang Hua and Lei Huan observed there was a sword energy in addition to the sunlight. Seeking its source, they found it to be in Fengcheng. They prayed profoundly and excavated the spot deeper and deeper until had they obtained the stone casket containing the two Zhou Dynasty swords. The casket we have inherited is the casket that was hidden away in those ancient times. Our city is already known for the swords, and we also have the casket. We cherish it as a way to look upon those worthies from long ago, for we cannot help but regret the loss of [the complete version of] Records of a Great Variety of Things [by Zhang Hua].
     - written by Li Yong of Fengcheng, third month of spring, during the reign of Emperor Guangxu, year 43 of the cycle [1906]

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重建劍匣亭記
ON THE RESTORING OF THE SWORD CASKET PAVILION

劍津,在福建延平郡,嘉慶庚申夏,余隨侍家嚴宦遊閩中,路過津旁,舟人告以此間有雙龍盤屈於潭下,余徘徊留之不能去。因憶晉雷煥令豐城,掘獄得石匣,藏劍二,送一與張華,華曰:此干將也,莫邪何為不至?然神物終當合耳。今旣得雙劍之所在,而古匣存與否?恨不得至豐城一訪,為可惜也。越七年,以邑丞來江右,又十三年,補職豐城,因得考所云石匣者。夫匣有蓋有底,茲之匣蓋存,其底失所在。或曰:底沒於滎塘故池中,每歲三月三日,池上風,雨迷離雙龍歸朝故匣者,其卽此底與?姑勿深論,第念劍神物也,匣亦神物也世之相隔千有餘歲,張華雷煥去而上仙,干將莫邪化而為龍,獨留此一匣,經兵燹之摧殘,城池之遷徒。依然無恙於人間,安知非造物顯示神迹,而不欲終晦耶?考匣之顚末,先是埋於土窟,晉時出諸舊治獄基,明代移置今治學宮,至我朝嘉慶十有一年,前令朱,始於尊經閣東偏,覆之以亭,曾幾何時,亭遭水圯,匣復淪於草莽。夫以天生神物,旣不獲與砥礪砮丹,同登天府,徒聽其晦而顯,顯而復晦,如此亦良足慨已!夏六月,余兼理邑篆,與諸紳士謀重建,相厥故址,築高數尺,為亭復其舊觀,仍妥匣於中,俾遊斯亭者,觀匣之為物,窈然以深。如人之中藏若虛,確乎不拔,如人之品望敦重,麤而平,剛而直,如人之大雅在骨,不露嶙峋焉。以塊然之質,為他山之助,將見人材蔚起,牛斗之間,文光更盛於龍光,而謂後之人有不踵而珍之者乎?夫然後知神跡之不可輕也,夫然後知神跡之不終晦也。昔蘇文忠公過石鐘山下,以小舟泊絕壁,務求石鐘之所由名。余於石匣,自過劍津後,每思一訪,不意歷經數十年,以風塵末使,相遭於萍水,亦未始非天假之緣,以慰吾慕古之懷也。故書以為記:
大淸道光四年歲次甲申六月己亥豐城縣縣丞兼理縣事秋浦姚敏德記:
Sword Pond is in Yanping prefecture, Fujian. In the summer of year 57 of the cycle during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing [1800], I attended my father on a trip to Fujian. As we passed by the Pond, a boatman told us there was there a pair of dragons coiled under the water. I hesitated to go any farther. But it sparked my memory that Lei Huan in the Jin Dynasty excavated in Fengcheng [in the neighboring province of Jiangxi] and found a stone casket containing two swords [a “pair of dragons”]. One was delivered to Zhang Hua, who said: “This is Gan Jiang. Why is Mo Ye not here?” The divine objects were ultimately reunited and were now in Fengcheng. I wondered, was the ancient casket also there or not?
     Unfortunately I could not then make a visit to Fengcheng. More than seven years later, I came to Jiangxi as a city official. It was then another thirteen years until my duties finally took me to Fengcheng and I got to examine what was said about the stone casket. In addition to the caskets covering section, there is a base for it to rest on. The covering section was there, but its base had been lost. A woman told me: “The base disappeared into a pond in the village of Rongtang. Every year on the third day of the third month, there is a breeze above the pond, and in a rainy mist the twin dragons return from their casket to see if the base is there.”
     She did not talk deeply on the subject, merely recited that the swords were magical objects and that the casket was also a magical object, and that they had been separated for a thousand years. Zhang Hua and Lei Huan have ascended to become immortals, the swords of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye have transformed to become dragons, and the casket alone has gotten ruined through the course of wars and relocation to a pond. But cozy in our human world, we cannot really know that the Creator has not performed a miracle and does not want the obscurity of the caskets base to end yet.

     Examining the casket’s process from beginning to end, first it was buried in a hole in the ground. Then during the Jin Dynasty, it was uncovered among an assortment of other old objects. In the Ming Dynasty, it was moved to a modern institute of study. Then in the 11th year of the reign of our Qing emperor Jiaqing [1806], at the command of Zhu Rujin [Fengcheng county magistrate], it was placed for the first time to the east side of the Venerable Scripture Chamber and covered by a pavilion. Not long after, the pavilion was ruined by flood and the casket was again temporarily consigned to the wilderness. Being an innately magical object, it cannot be obtained through effort, only luck, and thus we hear of it disappearing, reappearing, and disappearing again, making us greatly sigh.
     In summer, in the sixth month, with the authority of my city administrator’s seal, I and members of the gentry made plans to rebuild the old site. We constructed many feet high, restoring the pavilion to its former appearance and readying it to again contain the casket, so that travelers to the pavilion can see the casket [minus base] for themselves and be moved by it. A person may be unswervingly indifferent to it, another may find it plain and say so bluntly, another may be reserved in his refinement and not show that he is impressed, and still another may be of a solitary disposition and his quests will take him elsewhere. But some talented person may become inspired and rise to new heights, far up among the constellations of Ox and Ladle, transcending from mere literary brilliance to dragon-like glory, and it will be said in future generations that he is admired even by those who do not follow in his footsteps. Then we will know the miracle cannot be treated lightly, that the miracle will have no end.
     When Su Dongpo went to Mt. Stone Bells, he berthed his little boat below a precipice to find out why that place had such a resonant reputation. Ever since I passed by Sword Pond, I always wanted to see the stone casket. I never expected that after a couple of decades I would be able to. As a travel-wearied official, I finally encountered it among the duckweeds. Fate has never yet played false with us, and now I have been sent fulfillment for my heartfelt admiration of ancient works. Thus I have recorded these words.
     - written Yao Minde of Qiupu, assistant to the Fengcheng county magistrate, day 36 of the day-cycle, sixth month, year 21 of the year-cycle, fourth year of the reign of Emperor Daoguang [1824]

[Note: The pavilion was demolished during the Cultural Revolution and the casket again went missing. Once it had been recovered in the 1980s, the pavilion received yet another restoration, though it now looks rather different than in the priceless photo above.]

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歷代劍俠名人表
LIST OF FAMOUS SWORD HEROES IN HISTORY

名別 類別 朝代 事徵 書名
name / title / era / story / source:

顓頊氏 帝 上古
[1] Master Zhuanxu / emperor / ancient times
居位有曳影之劍,騰空而舒,若四方有兵,此劍則飛起,指其方,則尅代之。 拾遺記
He ruled with the swords of Shadowmaker and Skyflyer. If armies came from anywhere, these swords flew up, pointed in their direction, and cut them down. (Record of Recollected Lost Works [book 1])

仲由 儒 春秋
[2] Zhong You [Zilu] / scholar / Spring & Autumn period
戎服見孔子孔子問曰:如何好?曰:好長劍,拔劍而舞之。曰:古之君子,以劍自衛乎? 孔子家語
Dressed in martial attire, he met Confucius. Confucius asked him: “What do you like to do?” “I like to draw my long sword and dance with it.” “Didn’t gentlemen in ancient times use swords to defend themselves?” (Sayings from the School of Confucius [chapter 10])

莒子庚輿 君 春秋
[3] Juzi Gengyu / ruler / Spring & Autumn period
虐而好劍。苟鑄劍,必試諸人,國人患之。 公羊傳
He was cruel but loved swords. Whenever he had a sword made, he had to test it on somebody, so everyone feared him. (Gongyang Gao’s Commentary to the Annals [Spring & Autumn Annals, 23rd year of Duke of Zhao])

曹沫 將 春秋魯國
[4] Cao Mo / general / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Lu
沫為魯將,與齊戰三敗北,魯以地和。盟于柯。沫執匕首刼齊桓公,公莫敢動。盡復魯侵地。 史記曹沫傳
Cao Mo was a Lu general who was defeated by the kingdom of Qi three times, rendering Lu a pacified territory. While forming the alliance at Ke, Cao Mo took out his dagger and threatened Duke Huan of Qi. The duke was too afraid to move, and so he returned all the territory to Lu. (Historical Records, Bio of Cao Mo [Bios of Assassins])

鉏麑 刺客 春秋魯國
[5] Chu Ni / assassin / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Lu
晉靈公不君,忌趙盾諫,使鉗麑賊之。盾朝服端坐。麑歎曰:不忘恭敬,民之主也。賊民之主不忠,棄君之命不信。觸塊而死。 左傳
Duke Ling of Jin was no gentleman. He shunned the admonishment of Zhao Dun and hired Chu Ni to murder him. Zhao was in court dress and sitting properly. Chu sighed in admiration and said: “One who never forgets such respectfulness is worthy of being the ruler of the people. To murder the ruler of the people would be disloyal. But to ignore the command of my prince would be unfaithful.” So he threw himself at a pagoda tree [presumably with his sword braced against the tree and pointing at himself] and died. (Zuo’s Commentary to the Annals [second year of Duke Xuan])

專諸 刺客 春秋吳國
[6] Zhuan Zhu / assassin / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Wu
吳公子,欲立。具酒請王僚。使專諸置匕首魚炙之腹中而進之。至王前。專諸擘魚以匕首刺王,死,專諸亦死。 史記專諸傳
The son of the Duke of Wu wanted power. He invited the king and his officials to drink with him. He had Zhuan Zhu hide a dagger within the belly of a broiled fish and bring it forward. Once in front of the king, Zhuan Zhu tore open the fish and stabbed the king, who died. But Zhuan Zhu also was killed. (Historical Records, Bio of Zhuan Zhu [Bios of Assassins])

要離 刺客 春秋吳國
[7] Yao Li / assassin / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Wu
吳王使要離刺慶忌,離請戮其妻子,斷其右手,詐以負罪出奔衞。慶忌果信其謀,渡江圖吳。離於中流因風勢以矛鈎忌冠。順風而刺之。忌死,離亦自殺。 吳越春秋
The king of Wu ordered Yao Li to kill Qing Ji. Yao offered to slaughter his own wife and children, and to have his own right hand cut off, as a ploy to appear to be a desperate criminal and flee to be under Qing’s protection. Qing believed the plot, then while crossing the river on the way to Wu, Yao’s spear pointed at Qing because the wind was behind them, so he stabbed it forward, and Qing died. Yao then also killed himself. (Annals of Wu & Yue [second year of King Helu])

丘來丹 刺客 春秋魏國
[8] Qiu Laidan / assassin / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Wei
來丹以其父被黑卵所殺。初將手劍報仇,不能,復借周孔之寶,劍名宵練,三斬黑卵。不血刄。三擊其子,亦如投虛,歎而歸。 列子湯問篇
Qiu’s father was killed by Hei Luan. He decided to get revenge by killing Hei with a sword. But having no ability, he then borrowed a precious sword from Wei Kongzhou, which was named Night Visible. He made three slashes at Hei Luan, but there was no blood on the blade. Then he made three stabs at Hei’s son, again in vain. So he sighed and went home. (Liezi, chapter 5)

赤比客 刺客 春秋楚國
[9] Chi Bi’s killer / assassin / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Chu
干將被楚王殺,其子赤比欲報仇。王知之,亡去。遇客。客許代報。赤比自取頭與劍付客。客持見王,王喜。客請以頭入湯鑊煮之。王臨視,客斬王頭,落湯中,客亦自擬頭墮湯中。 搜神記
Gan Jiang was killed by the king of Chu and his son Chi Bi sought revenge. As the king knew of this, Chi Bi fled, only to meet his own assassin, who promised to also fulfill Chi Bi’s revenge against the king. Chi Bi then killed himself, and the assassin took his head and sword and showed them to the king, who was delighted. The assassin asked the king to look in at Chi Bi’s head in a bubbling caldron. When the king looked in at it, the assassin chopped of the king’s head, which fell into the boiling water. The assassin then cut off his own head, which fell into the boiling water too. (Collection of Supernatural Tales [book 11])

佽非 劍客 春秋荊
[10] Ci Fei / sword master / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Jing
佽非渡江,兩蛟繞其船。非瞑目勃然攘臂拔劍,赴江刺蛟,斷其頭,船中人得以盡活。 淮南子
As Ci Fei was crossing the Yangzte river, two dragons coiled around his boat. Facing death unflinchingly, he pushed up his sleeves, pulled out his sword, went into the water, attacked the dragons, and cut off their heads, saving the people in the boat. (Huainanzi [chapter 12])

蘭子 劍客 春秋宋國
[11] Lanzi / sword master / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Song
蘭子以術干宋元。弄七劍。迭而躍之,五劍常在空中。 列子說符篇
Lanzi used his skill to perform for the rulers of Song and Yuan. He juggled seven swords, tossing them in alternation so there were always five in the air at a time. (Liezi, chapter 8)

越處女 劍俠 春秋越國
[12] The Maiden of Yue / sword hero / Spring & Autumn period – kingdom of Yue
越王使袁公聘處女,欲求劍術,遇諸途,女請以術試。於是袁公卽杖箖箊竹,竹枝上頡橋末墮地,女卽捷末。袁公飛上樹。變為白猿。別去見越王。談劍術。此為劍俠之始。 吳越春秋
The king of Yue sent Duke Yuan to employ the Maiden of Yue, seeking her sword art. Encountering her on the road, she gave an invitation to test her skill. Thereupon Duke Yuan grabbed them some bamboo stalks that had dried but not yet fallen to the ground. The Maiden was so fast with her tip, Duke Yuan fled up into the tree as though he was a monkey. The maiden then went to see the king of Yue and discuss her sword art. This is the beginning of the “sword heroes”. (Annals of Wu & Yue [Goujian, year 13])

豫讓 刺客 戰國
[13] Yu Rang / assassin / Warring States period
豫讓為其主,智伯報仇。一藏于廁,再伏于橋下,皆為趙襄子所覺。襄子義之。持衣與讓,拔劍擊其衣,遂自伏劍而死。 戰國策
Yu Rang was a minister to Zhi Bo [who was killed by Zhao Xiangzi] and intent on being his avenger. He hid in wait for Zhao in his bathroom, then again under a bridge. Both times Zhao discovered him before he could act. But Zhao showed honor to Yu Rang by giving him his jacket for him take his revenge on. Yu Rang drew his sword and cut through Zhao’s jacket. Then he fell on his own sword and died. (Strategies of the Warring States [book 1 of Zhao, chapter 4])

聶政 刺客 戰國
[14] Nie Zheng / assassin / Warring States period
政感嚴遂之知,許報韓傀仇。東孟之會,傀適在焉。政獨持劍直入刺殺之,兼中烈侯。政亦遂死。 戰國策
Nie Zheng was moved by his friend Yan Sui and promised to take revenge on the Han minister Kui. There was a government meeting at Dongmeng and Kui would be there. Nie Zheng went in alone, holding his sword, and stabbed him right though, killing him and killing at the same time the Marquis Ai. Nie Zheng then also killed himself. (Strategies of the Warring States [book 2 of Han, chapter 22])

荊軻 刺客 戰國
[15] Jing Ke / assassin / Warring States period
燕太子丹懼秦皇兼倂,求軻刺之。軻以樊于期之頭,及燕督元之地圖獻。得近。旋為皇識破。軻持匕首刺之,逐諸庭。皇以佩劍擊斷軻股,軻知事不濟,倚柱笑駡為左右殺。 史記荊軻傳
Prince Dan of Yan feared the Qin emperor would annex his territory, so he entreated Jing Ke to assassinate him. Jing used the head of Fan Wuji and the map of Dukang in Yan as presents to get close to the emperor. Unrolling the map for him to look at it, Jing Ke pulled the concealed dagger out of it and stabbed at him, chasing him all over the hall. The emperor drew the ceremonial sword he was wearing and cut Jing Ke’s thigh. Jing Ke knew the situation was now hopeless, so he leaned against a pillar, laughing, cursing his killers as they swarmed upon him from all directions. (Historical Records, Bio of Jing Ke [Bios of Assassins])

高漸離 刺客 戰國
[16] Gao Jianli / assassin / Warring States period
漸離以秦天下,變姓名為宋家庸,一日擊筑,客皆流涕。秦王聞而召之,使擊筑,與皇近。舉筑扑皇,不中遂誅。 史記荊軻傳
Gao Jianli went to the state of Qin and changed his name to Song Jiayong. One day, he played the zither, reducing all the listeners to tears. The Qin emperor heard about this and summoned him to hear him play. As soon as he was close to the emperor, he tried to strike him with his zither, but he missed and was then put to death. (Historical Records, Bio of Jing Ke [Bios of Assassins])

趙文王 國君 戰國
[17] King Wen of Zhao / ruler / Warring States period
喜劍。劍士夾門。而客三千餘人,日夜相擊劍于前。 說劍篇
He loved to watch swordplay. More than three-thousand swordsmen had crowded through his palace gate, day and night fighting each other for his entertainment. (“Discussion of Swords” [Zhuangzi, chapter 30])

趙主父 國君 戰國
[18] Zhu Fu of Zhao / ruler / Warring States period
主父受神人隱身術,入秦昭王所居之宮,人不知。夜靜。以匕首刺王,中之而不傷。 瑯嬛記
Zhu Fu learned the art of invisibility from a holy man. He entered the residential palace of King Zhao of Qin in the dead of night without anybody knowing, intent upon assassinating the king with a dagger. He reached the target, but then left the king unharmed. (Records from the Divine Library [book 1])

頂莊 頂伯 武土 俠客 楚漢
[19] Xiang Zhuang & Xiang Bo / warrior & heroic guest / Chu-Han Contention
項羽鴻門宴沛公,范增令項莊舞劍,因擊沛公。項伯亦起舞,以身翼沛公。 高祖本紀
Xiang Yu gave a feast at Hong Gate for the Duke of Pei [Liu Bang]. Fan Zeng ordered Xiang Zhuang [Xiang Yu’s cousin] to perform a sword dance in order to strike the Duke of Pei. But then Xiang Bo [Xiang Yu’s uncle] also got up to join in the dance and used his body to shelter the Duke of Pei. ([Historical Records,] Annals of Gaozu [Xiang Yu])

梁刺客 刺客 漢景帝時
[20] The Assassin Sent by the King of Liang / assassin / time of Han Emperor Jing
梁王怨袁盎阻其為嗣,使人刺盎。刺者至關中,聞人稱盎不容口。遂不忍刺,置其劍。 漢書袁盎傳
The king of Liang resented Yuan Ang for criticizing his succession, and so he sent someone to kill him. When the assassin reached Guanzhong [now called Shaanxi], everyone praised Yuan as a man who always stood up for what he believed. He felt he could not bear to kill such a man, but then he pulled himself together and put his sword into him. (Books of Han, Bio of Yuan Ang [Bios, part 19])

淮南太子 太子 漢
[21] Prince of Huainan / prince / Han Dynasty
淮南王安太子,學用劍,自以為人莫及。 淮南王安傳
Prince An of Huainan learned how to use a sword, and he considered himself to be peerless. ([Books of Han,] Bio of King An of Huainan [Bios, part 14])

蜀刺客 刺客 漢建武間
[22] The Assassin Sent by the People of Shu / assassin / time of Han Emperor Jianwu
來歙攻公孫述,乘勝遂進,蜀人大懼。使客刺之,遂中。 後漢書來劍傳
Lai Xi attacked Gongsun Shu, defeating him and then advancing. The people of Shu were very afraid of him, so they sent an assassin, who killed him. (Books of the Later Han, Bio of Lai Xi [Bios, part 5])

楊賢 刺客 漢建武間
[23] Yang Xian / assassin / time of Han Emperor Jian Wu
隗囂令楊賢刺杜林于隴坻。賢見林身推鹿車,載致弔喪。嘆曰:何忍殺義士!亡去。 杜林傳
Kui Xiao ordered Yang Xian to assassinate Du Lin at Longdi. Yang Xian found Du Lin pushing along a deer cart laden with offerings for his younger brother’s funeral. Yang Xian sighed and said: “How can I bear to murder such an honorable man?” And so he left him alone. ([Books of the Later Han,] Bio of Du Lin [Bios, part 17])

梁刺客 刺客 漢
[24] The Assassin Sent by Liang Ji / assassin / Han
梁冀忌崔琦直諫,遣歸,令刺客陰殺之。客見琦耕於陌上懷書奮讀,客哀其志,令琦自逃。 崔琦傳
Liang Ji [governor of Henan] ignored the admonishment of Cui Qi [a court official] and sent him home, then ordered an assassin to secretly kill him. The assassin found Cui Qi plowing a field while trying to read a book, and so he took pity on his willpower and told him to run away. ([Books of the Later Han,] Bio of Cui Qi [Bios, part 70a])

劉刺客 刺客 後漢
[25] The Assassin Sent by Liu Ping / assassin / Later Han
先主領平原相。劉平素輕之,使客刺之。客不忍,語之而去。 蜀志先主傳
Liu Bei lead his forces to Pingyuan. Liu Ping had always despised him and so he sent an assassin to kill him. But the assassin could not bear to do so, said so, and left. (Records of Shu [三國志 Records of the Three Kingdoms], Bio of Liu Bei [book 2 of Shu])

王越 將 漢靈楦間
[26] The King of Yue / general / during the reigns of Han emperors Huan and Ling
劍術之善,噪震京師。 典論自序
An expert in the sword art, the noise of his fame shook the capital. (Preface to Cao Pi’s Literary Treatises)

阿言 將 漢靈楦間
[27] E Yan / general / during the reigns of Han emperors Huan and Ling
具得王越劍法。 典論自序
He obtained the entire sword art of the King of Yue. (Preface to Literary Treatises)

鄧展 將軍 漢
[28] Deng Zhan / general / Han
手臂挽五兵,空手入白刃。 典論自序
An expert in various weapons, he was able chop through blades with his bare hands. (Preface to Literary Treatises)

曹丕 太子 魏
[29] Cao Pi / prince / Wei Dynasty
幼學擊劍,閱師孔多,楦靈間,虎賁王越善劍術,稱于京師。河南史阿言者與越游,具得其法。丕從阿學之精熟,聞平鹵將軍鄧展善斯術,與論劍。旣而比較其術,丕竟勝之。 典論自序
In his youth, he learned how to fight with a sword, and in his experience, he taught a great many. During the reigns of emperors Huan and Ling, the warrior king of Yue was an expert at the sword art, and known as the best of them all. The Henan governor E Yan traveled to Yue and obtained the king’s entire sword art, and then Cao Pi learned from E Yan and became highly proficient. He heard that the Pinglu general Deng Zhan was an expert and discussed the art with him. They then had a test of skill and Cao Pi won. (Preface to Literary Treatises)

鄧遐 劍客 晉
[30] Deng Xia / sword master / Jin Dynasty
襄陽城北沔水有蛟,常為人害。避遂拔劍入水,蛟繞其足。避揮劍截蛟數段而出。 鄧避傳
There was a dragon in the Mianshui section of the Han River north of the city of Xiangyang
which was frequently killing people. Deng Xia therefore drew his sword and entered the river. As the dragon coiled around his feet, Deng Xia waved his sword, chopping the dragon into several pieces, and came out of the river. (Bio of Deng Xia [太平御覽 Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era, book 275 – Brilliant Generals, part 1])

沐謙 刺客 晉
[31] Mu Qian / assassin / Jin
劉裕忌憚司馬楚之,遣沐謙刺之。楚之聞謙病,齎湯藥往省之,謙感其意,出匕首於下,告以狀。遂委身事之。 魏書司馬楚之傳
Liu Yu feared Sima Chuzhi, so he sent the female assassin Mu Qian to kill him. Sima heard that Mu was ill [though she was pretending to be so as to get close to him], so he personally brought her some restorative soup. She was so touched by this that she revealed her dagger and told him everything, whereupon she entered his service instead. (Books of Wei, Bio of Simu Chuzhi [Bios, part 25])

呂元伯 刺客 晉
[32] Lü Yuanbo / assassin / Jin
劉義隆忌憚王慧龍,遣客刺呂元伯購其首,元伯偽反問來求,慧龍疑之,探其懷有尺刀。元伯請死,慧龍宥之。 王慧龍傳
Liu Yilong feared Wang Huilong, so he sent assassin Lü Yuanbo to take his head. Lü pretended to have fallen on hard times and asked Wang for help. Wang suspected him and had him searched, finding a sword on him. Lü begged to die, but Wang forgave him. ([Books of Wei,] Bio of Wang Huilong [Bios, part 26])

鄭植 刺客 梁
[33] Zheng Zhi / assassin / Liang Dynasty
扶風大守東昏,使植至雍州,潛為刺客。雍州刺史鄭紹叔知之,密白高祖,置酒飲之,幷請觀兵馬強盛,囘去。不敢動。 梁書鄭紹叔傳
Fufeng prefectural chief Dong Hun sent Zheng Zhi to Yongzhou [old name for Fengxiang, Shaanxi] as a secret assassin. But the Yongzhou governor Zheng Shaoshu [Zheng Zhi’s younger brother] knew of this and secretly warned the visiting emperor, who then threw a banquet at which they invited Zheng Zhi to view the local military forces. Zheng Zhi then left, not daring to act [now knowing that the forces of Fufeng would have no chance against Yongzhou]. (Books of Liang, Bio of Zheng Shaoshu [Bios, part 5])

棗强氏 刺客 唐祖末年
[34] The Man from Zaoqiang / assassin / end of the reign of the first Tang emperor
唐祖親征河北,令楊師厚分兵攻棗強縣,半浹旬,方拔其壘。旣陷之日,無少長皆屠之。時城中遣一民,詐投軍中,李周彝收為部伍。謂周彝曰:請一劍願先登,以收其城。未許。民急抽茶担擊周彝頭,仆地,左右擒之。民本欲窺楊師厚,不能辨,誤中周彝。 北夢瑣言
While personally leading his army through Hebei, the Tang emperor commanded Yang Shihou to split off his forces to attack Zaoqiang county. After penetrating halfway through the territory for a week, they came upon stone walls that blotted out the sun, there to protect children and elderly from being slaughtered. Meanwhile from within the walls was sent out a man named Min to pretend to join the attacking army. Li Zhouyi received him into his ranks. Min told Li: “Please let me be the first swordsman to scale the walls and enter the town.” Li said it was not yet time. Min suddenly slipped his bags of tea off the pole at his shoulder and struck Li with it, who fell to the ground, and Min was then captured from all sides. He originally wanted to single out Yang Shihou, but could not figure out who he was, and so he targeted Li by mistake. (Chatter of Dreams from the North [book 16])

虬髯容 劍俠 隋
[35] The Guest With Curly Whiskers / sword hero / Sui Dynasty
知李靖是丈夫。傳授兵書。後興唐。一日與靖飲,開革囊取一人頭幷心肝。却頭囊中,以匕首切心肝,共食之。曰:此人天下負心者。銜之十年,今始得之,吾恨釋矣。 杜光庭虬髯客傳
Knowing Li Jing was a brave man, he gave to him all his martial manuals, with which Li would later help the Tang Dynasty to prevail. One day, the Guest was drinking wine with Li. He opened a leather bag containing a human head and heart. Leaving the head in the bag, he sliced off a chunk of the heart with his dagger while they ate their meal together. He said: “This was a heartless man. I have sought him for ten years and now at last I have found him, I’m sorry to say.” (Du Guangting’s The Guest With Curly Whiskers)

李靖 將 唐
[36] Li Jing / general / Tang Dynasty
受虬髯客傳授兵法及劍術,佐高祖成帝業。 杜光庭虬髯客傳
Receiving the martial methods and sword art from “Curly Whiskers”, he then assisted the first Tang emperor in establishing his reign. (Du Guangting’s The Guest With Curly Whiskers)

裴旻 劍客 唐
[37] Pei Min / sword master / Tang Dynasty
旻為吳道子舞劍。走馬如飛,左旋右抽,擲劍入雲,高數十丈若電光下射。旻引手執鞘承之,劍透空而下。又旻常與幽州都督北伐,為奚所圍。旻舞刀立馬上,矢四集,皆迎刀而斷。奚大驚,引去。 獨異志
Pei Min performed a sword dance for the painter Wu Daozi. His steps were swift as a horse as he whirled all around to the left and right. He threw his sword into the clouds, hundreds of feet up as though a lightning bolt had shot down, then reached out holding his scabbard, and his sword came down right into it. Pei Min also frequently campaigned in the north with Youzhou army commander Sun Quan. Their forces surrounded the Xi clan. Pei immediately danced with his sword. His blade intercepted arrows from all directions. The Xi people were amazed and decided to be on their way. (Records of Unique Tales [book 2])

車中女子 劍俠 唐開元中
[38] The Maiden of Chezhong / sword hero / Tang – Kaiyuan era
吳郡士人入京,適宮苑失物,捕賊,誤收士入獄。女子飛入獄,以絹縛士人胸膊及己身,聳然飛出宮城數十里而下。 劍俠傳
A scholar from Wu prefecture had come to the capital and was mistakenly arrested for stealing from the imperial gardens. The Maiden got into his prison, tied strong silk around his chests and arms, and also her own body, then leapt up and away, bringing him down many miles from the city. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

崐崙磨勒 劍俠 唐大曆中
[39] Mo Lei of Kunlun / sword hero / Tang – Dali era
負崔生與姬,飛出峻垣十餘里,甲士五十人,圍崔生院,又持匕首飛出高垣,瞥若翅翎,疾同鷹準,攢矢如雨,莫能中之。 劍俠傳
He put Cui Sheng and his concubine over his shoulder and flew over the high city walls to come down several miles away. Later fifty armored soldiers surrounded Cui Sheng’s home, so Mo Lei grabbed his daggers, jumped out over the walls, and stabbed as rapid as flapping wings, as fast as eagles pouncing. Arrows fell on him like rain, but none of them could hit the target. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

蘭陵老人 劍俠 唐
[40] The Old Man at Lanling / sword hero / Tang
老人偶居蘭陵,京兆尹往道缺,老人試劍術,以長劍七口,舞于中庭。迭躍揮霍,閃光電激,或橫若掣帛,旋若欻火,有短劍二尺餘,時時及尹之鬚。尹歸臨鏡,知鬚剃落寸餘。 劍俠傳
The old man occasionally visited the town of Lanling. From the capital was a man named Zhao Yin who could not quite attain his level. The old man demonstrated his sword skill by dancing around the courtyard juggling seven long swords, punctuated by sudden leaps and slashes, blades flashing like flickers of lightning, waving them side to side as if whipping out silks, whirling around as though he was fighting off a fire. He then took two short swords, both just over two feet long, and played at Zhao’s beard. Zhao went to look in a mirror and found his beard had been trimmed down to less than an inch. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

公孫大娘 劍客 唐開元中
[41] Lady Gongsun / sword master / Tang – Kaiyuan era
其舞西河劍器,渾脫,瀏灕,頓挫,獨出冠時。曉是舞者,皇帝初公孫一人,而已。 唐本紀
Among her dances were “Western River”, “Deflecting Everything”, “Flowing Li River”, and “Broken Rhythm”. She was the best of all sword dancers known and the emperor regarded her as the best of all women. (Annals of Tang [Preface to Du Fu’s poem “Watching Lady Gongsun’s Student Performing a Sword Dance”])

李十二娘 劍客 唐大歷中
[42] Twelfth Lady Li / sword master / Tang – Dali era
為公孫大娘弟子,其在臨潁舞劍器,夔州別駕元特宅見之,壯其蔚跋。 杜甫觀公孫大娘弟子舞劍器行幷序
She was a pupil of Lady Gongsun. “In Kui prefecture, in the special residence of Bie Jiayuan, I got to see the sword dancing of Twelfth Lady Li of Linying. Her performance was magnificent and peerless.” (Preface to Du Fu’s poem “Watching Lady Gongsun’s Student Performing a Sword Dance”)

紅線 劍俠 唐
[43] Hong Xian / sword hero / Tang
潞州節度使薛嵩,憂魏博節度使田承嗣倂其地,紅線為之謀。是夜一更至魏,盜田金合,二更囘府。往返七百里。田失金合,一軍憂疑,嵩使人持書及金合授之,田極感謝。由是兩方交歡,紅線卽去。 劍俠傳
Luzhou governor Xue Song worried that Weibo governor Tian Chengsi intended to combine their territories, so his servant girl Hong Xian came up with plan. She snuck after dark into Weibo and stole a golden box from Tian’s room. In the middle of the night she returned to Luzhou, having covered over two hundred miles to go there and back. When Tian found he had lost his golden box, his soldiers searched for it but thought it would never be found. Xue then sent someone to return to Tian the golden box with a friendly letter. Tian was extremely grateful. From then on, the two territories had cordial relations with each other, but Hong Xian decided it was time to go away and live alone. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

僧俠 劍俠 唐建中初
[44] “The Monk Hero” / sword hero / Tang – beginning of Jianzhong era
士人韋氏,途遇僧,僧邀其至舍宿,久未至,韋疑之,取弓銜彈之。後至舍,僧厚待之,出其所中彈五枚,又授韋一劍,乞其盡藝殺其徒飛飛,韋引彈俟飛飛,彈盡被敲落,躍在樑上,循壁虛躡,復以劍逐之,飛飛忽近韋身,韋斷鞭數節,莫能傷之。 劍俠傳
A scholar named Wei encountered a monk on the road and the monk invited him to stay in his home. But it took such a long time to get to it, Wei became suspicious and loaded his pellet bow. Once they arrived, the monk was very generous to him. He came outside with five pellets for Wei and also handed him a sword. He then begged Wei to use all the skill he had to try and kill his disciple Fei Fei. Wei loaded his bow and awaited the monk’s disciple. Once he had shot off all his pellets, he leapt onto the roof and silently tiptoed along the wall, then used his sword to attack. But Fei Fei was suddenly close to Wei’s body and Wei just barely blocked the short rod that was assaulting him out of nowhere. There was nothing he was able to do to harm the boy. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

聶隱娘 劍俠 唐貞元中
[45] Nie the Hermit Woman / sword hero / Tang – Zhenyuan era
娘魏博大將聶鋒之女,十歲,尼取之石穴中,教法五年,成就送歸。每夜失踪,及明而返。父卒,以劉昌裔有神算,服從之,後魏帥使精精兒來賊劉,娘殺之。又使空空兒至,空空兒之神術,娘莫及。使劉以闐玉周其頸,娘化蠓蠛潛入劉腸中,至三更。聞項上鏗然聲,娘自劉口中躍出,賀劉無患矣。後不知所之。 甘澤謠
She was the daughter of General Nie Feng of Weibo. When she was ten years old, a nun took her away into a cave and instructed her for five years in her arts. Once the training was completed, she sent her home. Every night she disappeared [to be with her secret fiancé], then returned at dawn. When her father died, Liu Changyi [Liu Wu] had a premonition that she was coming to kill him [on the orders of the new Weibo commander], and then she entered his service instead. An assassin named “The Proficient One” was now sent to take his head, but the woman killed him. Then a better assassin named “The Transcendent One” was sent whose skill would have been too much for her, so she told Liu to wear a jade collar around his neck, and she transformed into a fly and flew down into his intestines. At midnight, Liu heard a loud noise at his neck. The woman then leapt out of his mouth and told him he was safe. Later she left his service, and was never seen again. (Songs from the Sweet Marsh)

盧生 劍俠 唐元和中
[46] Lu Sheng / sword hero / Tang – Yuanhe era
有唐山人者,自言善縮錫。遇盧生。盧求其術,唐不肯。盧曰:我俠客也。出懷匕首。唐懼,言其術,盧笑曰:此術十得六七,某師仙也。 劍俠傳
The hermit Tang was said to be an expert in alchemy. He encountered Lu Sheng, who sought his art, but Tang was not willing to share it with him. Lu explained he was a swordsman and took a dagger from his jacket. In fear, Tang explained his whole art to him. Lu then laughed and said: “This is only half the art. I was already taught the whole art by a true expert [and just wanted to find out if you were a fraud].” (Tales of Sword Heroes)

田膨郎 王小僕 劍俠 唐文宗中
[47] Tian Penglang & Wang Xiaopu / sword heroes / Tang – reign of Emperor Wenzong
帝失玉枕,索盜嚴。時蕃將王敬弘軍宴中宵,求好樂器。小僕刻將琵琶至。王奇之,問偸枕者何人。小僕曰:田膨郎也。市廛軍伍,行止不恆,勇力過人,且喜超越,千兵萬騎,亦難擒之。隔宿。田等入望仙門,小僕執毯杖擊之,折其足,就擒。 劍俠傳
The emperor had lost his pillow made of jade and initiated a rigorous search for the thief. One night, General Wang Jinghong of Fan was having a midnight banquet for his troops and he wanted music. Wang was amazed his servant arrived with a lute so quickly and asked him who if he knew who the thief was. The servant told him: “It was Tian Penglang. The soldiers in the business district would not be able to catch up with him, for he is unusually brave and strong, and he is an expert at walking the rooftops. With a thousand soldiers or even ten thousand cavalrymen, he would be difficult to catch.” The following night, Tian was about to leave the city through Holy Gate. The servant [was waiting for him and] struck his leg with a bat, breaking his leg [so he could not get away with his fast-walking skills], and Tian was arrested. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

李龜夀 刺客 唐宣宗朝
[48] Li Guishou / assassin / Tang – reign of Emperor Xuanzong
晉國公退朝入書齋,花鴨從,花鴨連銜公衣,却行。旣入。花鴨仰視吠急,公疑之。取劍向空祝曰:若有異類陰物,可出相見。忽樑上有人墮地,請罪。曰:吾乃李龜壽也。或有厚賄,令不利于公,公赦之。 江行雜錄
The Duke of Jin retired to his study, followed by his dog, Pretty Duck, who chomped on his robe to pull him back. The duke entered anyway and the dog looked up at him and started barking urgently, so he then became doubtful, took up a sword, and called to the air: “If there’s any strangers or magic spirits in here, come out so we can take a look at each other!” Suddenly a man dropped from the roof beams, apologized, and said: “I am Li Guishou. Someone gave me a large bribe to murder you.” The duke decided to pardon him [and employ him]. (Yangzte River Tales [太平廣記 Extensive Records of the Taiping Era, book 197: chapter 4 of Heroes, part 3])

荊十三娘 劍俠 唐
[49] Thirteenth Lady Jing / sword hero / Tang
李正郎有愛妓,妓父母奪以與諸葛殷。李語于荊娘。曰:六月六日正午,待我于潤州北固山。至期。荊娘將妓與妓父母首級授李。 劍俠傳
Li Zhenglang and a courtesan were in love with each other. But the woman’s parents instead forced her to become the courtesan of the wealthy Zhuge Yin. Li told this to Lady Jing, who said to him: “At noon on the sixth day of the sixth month, await me at Mt. Beigu in Runzhou.” When that time arrived, Lady Jing brought to Li the courtesan and the severed heads of her parents. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

京西店老人 劍俠 唐
[50] The Old Shop Owner West of the Capital / sword hero / Tang
韋行規遊京西,自恃弓矢。老人勸勿夜行。不聽。行數十里,有人起草中,尾之,連發矢中之。矢盡不退。韋懼,頃風雷總至。韋負一大樹,見空中電光相逐,勢漸逼樹杪。韋仰空拜命,電雷息,樹之技幹盡矣。返前店,老人笑曰:客勿恃弓矢,須知劍術。旋出桶板,昨夜之箭,悉中其上。 劍俠傳
Wei Xinggui was traveling through the area west of the capital, confident in his archery skill. An old man advised him not to travel at night. He paid no heed and went on for many miles. Someone rose up out of the grass behind him, so he fired his arrows at him. He used up all his arrows, but the still the man would not retreat, and Wei was terrified. Suddenly there was wind and thunder, so Wei hid under a big tree. He looked up at the sky and saw lightning heading his way. As it gradually approached the top of his tree, he looked up and called out a prayer. The storm stopped, but there was nothing left of the tree but its trunk. He went back to the old carpenter’s shop. The old man laughed and said: “Strangers should not rely on archery. They need to know the sword art.” Then he turned and pulled a fresh board out of a bucket. Wei saw the bucket was filled with all the arrows he had shot last night [and realized the old man had been the one standing in the grass and that his swordwork had caused what seemed to be lighting and had taken apart the tree]. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

梁上客 刺客 唐
[51] The Assassin on the Roof Beam / assassin / Tang
李洴公勉,為開封尉,縱一囚,罷職後,見故囚,囚迎家厚待,欲報恩。其妻以恩厚難報,請殺之。勉知。夜逃至津店。梁上人曰:我幾誤殺長者,乃去。未明。攜故囚夫妻二首以示勉。 唐國史補
While Li Mian, Duke of Qian, was magistrate of Kaifeng, he had pardoned a criminal. Later when he was no longer the magistrate, he happened to meet the man, who then welcomed him into his home, was a generous host, and wanted to repay his kindness. But his wife was embarrassed that such kindness would be too expensive to repay, and so she asked him to just murder Li instead. Once Li knew of this, he fled in the night. Arriving at a shop in Tianjin, a man up on a roof beam looked down at him and said: “I sometimes kill my elders by mistake.” He then went away, and just before dawn he brought Li the heads of the criminal and his wife. (Supplemental History of Tang [book 2])

長按客妾 劍俠 唐貞元中
[52] Chang Anke’s Concubine / sword hero / Tang – Zhenyuan era
長安客有買妾者,居之數年,忽爾不知所之。一夜提人首至,告其夫曰:我有父冤,故至此,今報矣,請歸,出門如風,旋至,斷所生二子喉而去。 唐國史補
Chang Anke purchased a concubine who then lived with him for several years, but suddenly he did not know where she was. One night she appeared holding up a human head and explained to him: “I had to avenge my father, which is why you see me like this, and why it is now time for me to let you know.” She asked to leave, [made a tearful farewell,] then went out the door like wind, suddenly whirling back in only to slit the throats of the two children they had together, and disappeared. (Supplemental History of Tang [book 2])

王子刺客 刺客 唐則天朝
[53] The Assassin from the Prince / assassin / peak of Tang
都督謝祐凶險忍毒,逼曹王自盡,王子令刺客于臥中,截祐首以去。 金鑾密記
Army commander Xie You was ruthless and cruel. He compelled King Cao to commit suicide. But then the king’s son sent a stealthy assassin to cut off Xie’s head. (Secret Records of the Golden Carriage [朝野僉載 Tales of Both Court and Commoners, book 2])

呂用之 方士 唐禧宗中
[54] Lü Yongzhi / sorcerer / Tang – reign of Emperor Xizong
用之以亡命歸高騈,騈與鄭畋有隙,用之預知畋遣刺客來刺騈。告騈:幷請以其黨張守一禦之,乃免。 通鑑
Lü Yongzhi returned to society after learning magic and offered his services to Gao Pian. There was a grudge between Gao and Zheng Tian. Lü had foreknowledge that Zheng had sent an assassin to kill Gao. He informed Gao and asked him to put himself under the protection of his colleague Zhang Shouyi, and Gao thus avoided danger. [Zhang had pretended to save Gao by clanging his sword at the entrance to his bedroom and splashing around some pig’s blood. Lü thereby succeeded in winning Gao’s favor through this scheme.] (Lessons in Government [book 254])

康王刺客 刺客 五代梁貞明元年
[55] The Assassin sent by King Kang / assassin / Five Dynasties period – first year of the reign of Emperor Zhenming of Liang
康王友孜,欲為帝,使刺客夜刺末帝。帝夢人害己,旣寢,聞榻上寶劍鏘然有聲。索寢中,得刺客,手殺之。 五代史人傳
King Kang Youzi wanted to become emperor, so he sent an assassin to kill the current emperor. The emperor had a dream of someone trying to harm him, and so he was already awakened because of it. He then heard the sound of a sword clang against furniture. He [jumped up, drew a sword,] tangled the assassin up with his bed ropes, and killed him himself. (New History of the Five Dynasties [book 13], Bios of Individuals [part 1])

田英 刺客 南唐保大十二年
[56] Tian Ying / assassin / Southern Tang – twelfth year of the reign of Emperor Baoda
受周大將荆罕儒之賞,旣殺契丹使之首,復刧江南番使頭。 南唐書
Receiving reward from general Jing Hanru of Zhou, he beheaded the Khitan envoy and brought ruin to Pan Shitou of Jiangnan. (Books of Southern Tang [book 18])

潘扆 劍客 五代南唐
[57] Pan Yi / sword master / Five Dynasties period – Southern Tang
嘗依海州刺史,鄭匡國,匡國後知其是劍客,試其術。扆探懷出二錫丸,置掌中,俄而氣出指端,如二白虹,旋繞匡國頸,有聲錚然,引手收之。復為錫丸, 南唐書
Zheng Kuanguo was prefectural governor of Haizhou. After he learned he had a sword master in his household, he asked for a demonstration of his skills. Pan took two pellets of tin from his jacket and placed them on his palm. After a while, energy came out of his fingertips like two white rainbows and coiled around Zheng’s neck with a deafening noise. Pan then drew them back to his hand and they became tin pellets again. (Books of Southern Tang [book 17])

淘沙子 劍客 五代
[58] “Rinsed-Off Dirt” / swordsman / Five Dynasties period
偽蜀有隱迹於淘沙者,時休息于宇文化宅門大桐樹下。宇文異之,約再會。浹旬。淘沙子到其門,門僕見其破帽,厲聲駡之。宇文聞之,出迎。與飲酣,談道,辭去。翌晨扣門,將一新手帕裹一物,寄于宇文,開視之,乃髮髻一顆,至日高,門僕不來,令召之,云:五更睡中,頭髻被人截去。 茅亭客話
In Weishu was a recluse who left footprints in the rinsed-off dirt that had accumulated in the ditches. He then rested in the shade of a large tree belonging to Yuwen Hua’s estate. Yuwen saw that he was unusual and invited him to come visit. A week later, Rinsed-Off Dirt arrived at the door. The doorkeeper saw his broken hat and scolded him sternly. Yuwen heard this and went out to meet the visitor. They drank much together, discussed the Way, and then Dirt took his leave. The next morning, he knocked on the door and left something for Yuwen wrapped in a new handkerchief. Yuwen unwrapped it and saw that it was somebody’s topknot. As the sun rose higher, his doorkeeper still had not taken his post, so he called for him and was told: “Sometime before dawn, someone cut off my topknot while I was sleeping.” (Gossip From the Thatched Pavilion [book 3])

隱名士 劍士 五代
[59] The Anonymous Bodyguard / swordsman / Five Dynasties period
於腕間出彈子二丸,皆五色,叱令變化,卽化雙燕飛騰,名雙奴。又令變,卽化二小劍交擊。須臾,復為丸,入腕中。 雲仙雜記
Yan Nu had a bodyguard who could shoot out two multicolored pellets from his wrist. He shouted at them to change and they transformed into birds which flew up into the sky. He called them his bird slaves [“yan nu”]. He commanded them to change again, and they transformed into two small swords which fought each other. In an instant, they again became pellets and went back into his wrist. (Miscellaneous Records on Cloud-Dwelling Immortals [book 9])

李光輔 劍士 宋
[60] Li Guangfu / swordsman / Song Dynasty
眞宗時光輔善擊劍,詣闕。帝曰:若獎用之,民悉好劍矣。 宋史眞宗本紀
Li Guangfu was an expert sword fighter during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong. He went to see the emperor and was told: “We will praise you, and then everyone will know the excellence of your swordsmanship.” (History of Song, Records from the Reign of Emperor Zhenzong [book 6])

張乖崖 劍俠 宋
[61] Zhang Guaiya / sword hero / Song
乖崖一日與祝隱居遊,見棗樹有合拱之圍,探手袖間,飛一短劍,約平人肩,斷樹為二。隱居驚曰:我往受此術於陳希夷而未嘗為人言也。又一日,有舉子王元之于平野間見之,避道於百步前。曰:我視君,昂然飛步,神韻輕舉,知必非常人。 春渚紀
Zhang Guaiya one day was visiting the hermit Zhu. Zhang took a date from Zhu’s date tree in one hand. He extended his hand and a dagger flew from his sleeve at about shoulder height, cutting the date in two. Zhu was surprised and said: “I once saw Chen Xiyi do that trick, but I had never spoken of it with anyone.” Another day, imperial examinations candidate Wang Yuanzhi saw him in the countryside and made way for him in the road while he was still a hundred paces off. [Zhang asked why he did this, and] Wang explained: “When I see a gentleman walking with such bold strides and such an inspired aura, I know he must be an extraordinary person.” (Records from the Spring Islets [book 3])

西夏刺客 刺客 宋
[62] The Tangut Assassin / assassin / Song
韓魏公領四路招討使,駐延安。張元使西夏刺客。于夜攜匕首至公臥內。公語之,令取首去。客曰:不忍,得諫議金帶足矣。 淸波雜志
Duke Wei of Han had quelled surrounding rebellion and was staying in Yan’an. Zhang Yuan hired an assassin from among the Tangut people and sent him to stab the duke at night in his bed. The duke awoke and told the assassin: “Take my head and go.” The assassin said: “I cannot bear to now that you’ve told me to. That gold belt will be enough.” (Miscellaneous Records of Clarified Events [book 2, section 21])

苗劉刺客 刺客 宋
[63] The Assassin from Miao & Liu / assassin / Song
張浚討苗傅劉正彥,夜坐,警備甚嚴。忽有客至前,出一紙曰:此劉正彥募公賞格也。僕粗讀書,知順逆,豈以身為賊用?恐有後來者。 宋史張浚傳
Zhang Jun denounced Miao Fu and Liu Zhengyan. He sat down one night, his garrison on full alert. Suddenly a stranger appeared in front of him, pulled out a document, and said: “See here that Miao and Liu are recruiting criminals with offers of reward. Though my ability to read is poor, I know where my loyalties lie and I cannot be a criminal for their hire. But [spies will see that your defenses are not good enough and] I fear there will be more intruders like me.” [The next day, Zhang executed many criminals to keep them from becoming assassins.] (History of Song, Bio of Zhang Jun [Bios, part 120])

姜家劍仙 劍仙 宋
[64] The Divine Swordsman of the Jiang Household / divine swordsman / Song
姜廉夫一夕方就枕,忽一女子來,云:與有嘉約。一日,女云:已有厄,暫他避,出門不見。頃之,一道士來,令姜于靜室設榻堅臥,明日至正午啓門。久之,刀劍擊桌之聲不絕,忽若一物榻墮下,日午啓門,道士至。笑曰:無慮矣。令視墮物,乃一髑髏,如五斗大,用變化為水,道士與此女,皆劍仙。女先與一人綢繆,遽舍而從姜,故懷忿,欲殺女與姜。道士出力相救獲濟,女遂同室如。初 誠齋雜記
Jiang Lianfu had just gone to bed one night when suddenly a woman came in and told him she wanted to be his concubine. Then one day she said there was trouble and that she had to go away for a while. She went out the door and disappeared, then soon a Daoist came in. He told Jiang to set up a bed in quiet room and lie down on it with the door shut until noon the next day. After a long while, Jiang heard the noise of swords ceaselessly hitting each other, then suddenly the sound of something falling to the floor and rolling under the bed. At noon, the Daoist opened the door and came in with a smile. He said there was no longer anything to worry about and told him to look at what fallen under the bed – a giant skull. The Daoist applied some magic medicine and the skull melted away into water. He then told Jiang: “That woman and I, we are sword spirits. She was already married to this giant fellow, but she discarded him to be with you. This enraged him and so he sought to kill you and her. I put all my effort into saving you both, and now that I have succeeded, I will go.” Then the woman came back into the room to be with Jiang as before. (Miscellaneous Records of the Sincere and Pure [book 2])

角巾道人脫郭倫 劍俠 宋
[65] The Daoist Hermit Who Saved Guolun / sword hero / Song
郭于惡少窘辱,邀飲為謝。辭去曰:吾乃劍俠,非世人也。擲杯長揖。出門數步,耳中鏗然有聲,一劍躍出墮地,躡之,騰空而去。 劍俠傳
Guo was being insulted by some obnoxious youths. [After a Daoist intervened,] Gou offered him a drink in thanks. The Daoist accepted the drink, then said: “I am no ordinary person, I’m a sword hero.” He put aside the finished cup, bowed, and walked out the door. With a loud sound, a sword appeared and fell to the ground. The Daoist stepped onto it and flew away up into the sky. (Tales of Sword Heroes)

劉遂 劍師 遼
[66] Liu Sui / sword master / Liao Dynasty
聖宗時,命遂教神武軍士劍法,賜袍帶錦幣。 遼史聖宗本紀
Emperor Shengzong commanded Liu Sui to teach sword methods to his “Divine Warriors” army in Nanjing, rewarding him with beautiful clothes and wealth. (History of Liao, Records from the Reign of Emperor Shengzong [book 4])

察罕帖木兒 將 元
[67] Čaqan Temür / general / Yuan Dynasty
至正十一年,盜發汝穎,焚城邑,殺長史,所過殘破,江淮諸郡皆陷,朝廷徵兵致討,卒無成功。察罕帖木兒,乃奮義起兵,從者數百人,與李思齊合兵,襲破羅山,事聞朝廷,授中順大夫,所在義士,俱將兵東會,得萬人,與賊戰皆捷。 元史
In the eleventh year of the Zhizheng era [1351], rebels attacked Ruyang [in Henan] and Yingzhou [in Anhui], burning cities and towns, and slaughtering all those in charge, wreaking such havoc as to bring about the collapse of all the prefectures around the Yangtze and Huai rivers. The imperial government conscripted armies to punish them, but was ultimately unsuccessful. By the next year, Čaqan Temür had raised an army of many hundreds. Combining his forces with the army of Li Siqi of Luoshan [in Henan], they attacked and destroyed the rebels there. When the news came to the imperial court, he was given official titles for his righteousness and made commander of the eastern forces, tens of thousands of troops, with which he made victorious war upon the traitors. (New History of Yuan [book 220])

張三丰 劍仙 元
[68] Zhang Sanfeng / divine swordsman / Yuan
元末明初之劍仙,本武當山丹士,明太祖召之不前,夜夢神授拳法,遂以絕技名於世,深通劍術,常以單丁殺賊百餘。 張三丰傳
A divine swordsman at the time the Yuan Dynasty ended and the Ming Dynasty began, he was originally a Wudang elixirist. He was summoned by the first Ming emperor but his way was blocked. That night in a dream, a deity taught him the boxing method, making him the most skillful in the world and giving him a thorough understanding of the sword art. At dawn, he used it to kill more than a hundred bandits single-handed. (Bio of Zhang Sanfeng)

玄貞子 劍俠 明正德武宗間
[69] “Mysterious Loyalty” / sword hero / Ming Dynasty – reign of Emperor Zhengde Wuzong
以下諸劍俠,出於明代野史之一,明寧藩謀叛,遍地私畜武士邪道,害國殃民,勢焰難制。于謙王守仁,用一班飛簷走壁,技勇絕倫之豪傑,而莫可如何。諸劍俠出而相助,本其正氣,盡其異能,始得搗其巢穴,逆藩被擒。但彼時是否確有其人,確有其事,不敢確定,不過據書摘錄,以供採擇。 明野史以下同
This and the following nineteen heroes are drawn from anecdotal Ming history. When Prince Fan of Ning conspired against the state, he everywhere seized livestock, his soldiers committed depravities, and he brought disaster to the realm and the people, his megalomania out of control. Wang Shouren [Yangming] of Yuqian employed a team of incomparably skillful heroes who were able to leap over walls. These sword heroes worked together, pooling their righteousness and abilities. They fought their way into the prince’s lair and the traitor was captured. Whether or not these were real people or their exploits actually happened, I will not dare to assert, I will only list them according to extracts from various books. (anecdotal Ming history, as are the following nineteen below)

一塵子 劍俠 明
[70] “A Bit of Dust” / sword hero / Ming
飛雲子 劍俠 明
[71] “Flying Cloud” / sword hero / Ming
默存子 劍俠 明
[72] “Keeping Quiet” / sword hero / Ming
山中子 劍俠 明
[73] “In the Mountains” / sword hero / Ming
霓裳子 劍俠 明
[74] “Rainbow Clothes” / sword hero / Ming
海鷗子 劍俠 明
[75] “The Seagull” / sword hero / Ming
凌雲生 劍俠 明
[76] The Scholar Ling Yun / sword hero / Ming
御風生 劍俠 明
[77] The Scholar Yu Feng / sword hero / Ming
雲陽生 劍俠 明
[78] The Scholar Yun Yang / sword hero / Ming
傀儡生 劍俠 明
[79] The Scholar Kui Lei / sword hero / Ming
獨弧生 劍俠 明
[80] The Scholar Du Hu / sword hero / Ming
臥雲生 劍俠 明
[81] The Scholar Wo Yun / sword hero / Ming
羅浮生 劍俠 明
[82] The Scholar Luo Fu / sword hero / Ming
一瓢生 劍俠 明
[83] The Scholar Yi Piao / sword hero / Ming
夢覺生 劍俠 明
[84] The Scholar Meng Jue / sword hero / Ming
潄石生 劍俠 明
[85] The Scholar Shu Shi / sword hero / Ming
鶴寄生 劍俠 明
[86] The Scholar He Ji / sword hero / Ming
河海生 劍俠 明
[87] The Scholar He Hai / sword hero / Ming
自全生 劍俠 明
[88] The Scholar Zi Quan / sword hero / Ming

張松溪 劍客 明
[89] Zhang Songxi / sword master / Ming
張三丰之高徒。 張三丰傳
He was Zhang Sanfeng’s top disciple. (Bio of Zhang Sanfeng)

呂四娘 劍俠 淸
[90] Lü Siniang / sword hero / Qing
以下劍俠九人,散見于稗官野史者甚夥。茲不贅記。
This and the following eight sword heroes appear in so many scattered anecdotes in books, their details will not be cumbersomely noted here.

周潯 劍俠 淸
[91] Zhou Xun / sword hero / Qing
曹仁父 劍俠 淸
[92] Cao Renfu / sword hero / Qing
甘鳳池 劍俠 淸
[93] Gan Fengchi / sword hero / Qing
呂元 劍俠 淸
[94] Lü Yuan / sword hero / Qing
路民瞻 劍俠 淸
[95] Lu Minzhan / sword hero / Qing
白泰官 劍俠 淸
[96] Bai Taiguan / sword hero / Qing
張福兒 劍俠 淸
[97] Zhang Fu’er / sword hero / Qing
陳美娘 劍俠 淸
[98] Chen Meiniang / sword hero / Qing

謝劍俠 劍俠 民國廿二年
[99] The Sword Hero Xie / sword hero / 1933
廿二年八月某日,湖南常德黃淸漢香粉店學徒耿杏兒年十七,益陽人。被一道士誘至一高山,旬日,同時。又誘來一人,年相等,將幷殺之以鑄劍。忽有人從空中飛騰而至,道士懼,其人曰:好櫱障,又欲害命,遂探懷取末藥少許,令道士呑之,卽倒地而斃,化為血水,遂將兩人救出,復騰空帶至漢陽鸚鵡洲囑其自尋親友,帶囘家去。問其人姓名,只答云姓謝,卽不見,故稱之為謝劍俠。謝劍俠與該道士均操北方口音,此事最確。 近聞錄
On a certain day in August, 1933, Huang Qinghan of Changde, Hunan, who had been an apprentice for seventeen years in a cosmetics shop to Geng Xing’er of Yiyang, was lured by a Daoist to a tall mountain where he stayed for ten days. There was at the same time another man who had been lured there and who was the same age as Huang. The Daoist was brainwashing them both to become sword assassins. Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere, frightening the Daoist, and told him: “You are an evil murderer.” Then he took a quantity of myrrh from his jacket and made the Daoist swallow it, who promptly fell down dead, the color drained from his face. He then took both men from there, hurried them away to Yingwuzhou in Hanyang [in Hubei], and advised them to return home and get help from their families. They asked him his name, but he only answered that his surname was Xie and then disappeared. Thus he was called “The Sword Hero Xie”. Xie and that Daoist both happened to speak with a northern accent. This story is indeed true. (from recent records)

陳世鈞 劍客 民國
[100] Chen Shijun / sword master / Republic
皖北籍,隱於關東者有年,能出沒無踪,日食全羊,與數日不食。冬不裘,夏不葛,以人盤劍,傳河北李芳辰將軍。
He was from northern Anhui. He spent many years living as a hermit in Guangdong. He was able to appear and disappear without trace. He could eat a whole sheep in a single day or go several days without eating at all. He wore no thick furs in winter nor thin clothes in summer. He taught the “human realm” sword art to General Li Jinglin of Hebei.

李景林 將 民國
[101] Li Jinglin / general / Republic
籍隸河北棗強縣,親受陳世鈞劍俠之傳授人盤劍術。曩在東省之日本軍人,及海內國術名家與劍術者,無不披靡。其他拳術,槍術亦極優良。 李將軍傳
He was from Zaoqiang county, Hebei. He learned personally from the sword hero Chen Shijun, who taught him the “human realm” sword art. He utterly defeated all contenders, be they the Japanese soldiers occupying the eastern provinces or famous martial artists and sword fighters of China. He also excelled in other boxing arts and spear arts. (Bio of Li Jinglin [See Huang’s 1931 Wudang Sword book.])

劍俠雖不多覯,但數千年來,代有其人。統系若何?却無可攷。蓋此道不尚文字,擇人以傳。其出沒隱現,猶神龍之不可端倪。俠固衆人所不識,俠之道,自非衆人所能言。或且事涉忌諱,史乘不敢書,士夫弗屑道。俠之與世,乃相去愈遠,而隔閡愈甚。本表所列,或出自經史傳紀。或從諸子雜記稗官野史中,蒐集而來。因其統系無可攷,僅以時代先後為次序。有非俠客一流而以善於用劍著稱者,爰亦選擇加入,幷以謝陳李三君,殿於後,此三人者,皆今之鳳毛麟角也。鄙人見聞不廣,掛一漏萬,知所不免,幸博雅君子,有以補益之。
民國廿三年冬月虎林黃元秀識於南昌百花洲行營。
Although sword heroes are not often encountered, throughout the last few millennia there have been such people. However, there is no way to examine what their systems were like, since these methods were taught personally rather than written down. Their arts have come and gone, appearing and then disappearing, vanishing like magic dragons. The general populace was very ignorant of such heroes and thus incapable of speaking about their methods. These arts were also something of a taboo, and so most chroniclers did not dare to write about them, and most scholars did not consider them worthwhile anyway. The further that heroes were placed from ordinary people, the greater the estranging distinction between them.
     This list was compiled from biographical records within historical texts, miscellaneous records from various schools of thought, and recorded anecdotal histories. Because the systems of these people cannot be examined, we are left with only their chronological placement in history. While perhaps not in the same rank as the rest of the “heroes”, there are some sword experts who are widely known, therefore the three gentlemen of Xie, Chen, and Li have been added to the end of the list, who are each modern rarities. As my knowledge on the subject is not extensive, I have listed perhaps only a hundredth of a percent of these stories, and I hope that more learned gentlemen will help fill in the gaps.
     – written by Huang Yuanxiu of Hulin at the field headquarters in Baihuazhou, Nanchang, Dec, 1934

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