SIMPLE INTRODUCTION TO TAIJI BOXING (TAIJI QUAN QIAN SHUO)

太極拳淺說
SIMPLE INTRODUCTION TO TAIJI BOXING
徐致一
by Xu Zhiyi
[published Sep, 1927]

[translation by Paul Brennan, Aug, 2014]

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - callig

太極拳淺説
Simple Introduction to Taiji Boxing
莊蘊寬題
– calligraphy by Zhuang Yunkuan

會稽顧燮光題詞
FOREWORD BY GU XIEGUANG OF KUAIJI

偉哉太極拳源淵溯武當能以靜制動能以柔制剛創者張三丰闡明王與楊內家擅機勢養生得異方始知馮河流血勇徒徬徨吾友徐致一英雋國之光專門研經濟逸才工文章澄慮萬念靜摩練百夫防孜孜德日進拳拳膺弗忘旣先北方學復矯南方強大智固若愚神祕難自藏著書啓後學及階能升堂捷如矢離彀利如穎脫囊誨人曰不倦當者走且僵美哉歎觀止國技凌八荒微妙臻無極自然老與莊聞風懦夫立近道藝乃昌
Great is Taiji Boxing, tracing back to Wudang.
It can defeat movement with stillness, hardness with softness.
It was created by Zhang Sanfeng, then clarified by Wang Zongyue and Yang Luchan.
The internal arts excel at timing and position, and are peerless for cultivating health.
Once you know the way a river is flowing, there is no need to fight against it.
     My friend Xu Zhiyi is a brilliant talent of our nation.
Even though his studies are not yet complete, he has produced an outstanding book.
He has contemplated the concepts endlessly and drilled the techniques over and over.
He is constantly improving himself and sincerely retains what he learns.
He began his training in the north, then earnestly progressed in the south.
     A wise man tries to appear ignorant, but his deeper knowledge is hard to hide.
In writing a book to enlighten students, Xu gives them the steps that lead to mastery.
He is quick as an arrow leaving a bow, sharp as a dagger drawn from its sheath.
He is a tireless teacher, fully committed.
     Its beauty beyond compare, this martial art will spread throughout the nation.
Its subtleties achieve perfection, for it has the naturalness of Laozi and Zhuangzi.
When weaklings learn of it, they will be empowered. So close to the Way, this art will flourish.

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - portrait 1

吳鑑泉先生
Wu Jianquan

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - portrait 2

著者徐致一
The author, Xu Zhiyi

太極拳單練姿勢之大要
MAJOR POSTURES IN TAIJI BOXING SOLO PRACTICE

坐身之姿勢
SITTING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 1

拗步之姿勢
CROSSED STANCE:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 2

舉足之姿勢
RAISED LEG:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 3

俯身之姿勢
STOOPING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 4

獨立之姿勢
ONE-LEGGED STANCE:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 5

斜飛之姿勢
DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 6

下身之姿勢
CROUCHING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 7

跨虎之姿勢
SITTING TIGER POSTURE:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 8

太極拳雙練姿勢之大要
MAJOR POSTURES IN TAIJI BOXING PARTNER PRACTICE

掤之姿勢
WARDING OFF:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 9

捋之姿勢
ROLLING BACK:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 10

擠之姿勢
PRESSING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 11

按之姿勢
PUSHING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 12

採之姿勢
PLUCKING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 13

挒之姿勢
RENDING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 14

肘之姿勢
ELBOWING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 15

靠之姿勢
BUMPING:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - photo 16

太極拳淺說編輯緣起
AUTHOR’S PREFACE

不佞習外家拳有年覺與體質不宜乃從吳先生鑑泉學太極拳術迄今已屆十稔賴同學陸君尹甫趙君壽邨等昕夕研究獲益不淺今春尹甫自吳中來書述南方太極拳風行狀甚詳並望不佞述其經驗所得以惠初學不佞夙以提倡體育為志因忘淺陋而草此編倉卒從事掛漏必多恐未足以副老友之所期耳
丁卯初夏徐致一謹識
For years I practiced external boxing arts, but I found that it was not right for my physique, so I instead learned the Taiji boxing art from Wu Jianquan, which I have now practiced for ten years. With the help of fellow students such as Lu Yinfu and Zhao Shoucun, with whom I have studied daily, I have obtained no small benefit.
     This spring, Lu sent me a letter from Wuzhong [in Jiangsu], describing in great detail the popularity of Taiji Boxing in the south and requesting that I explain what I have gained through experience for the benefit of beginners. I have long been a devoted advocate of physical education, but due to my crude level of understanding and my haste to complete the task, this book is sure to be inadequate in many ways and I fear it will not live up to the expectations of my venerable colleagues.
     – sincerely written by Xu Zhiyi, early summer, 1927

[GENERAL COMMENTS]

一本書志在普及。以淺顯文言達意為止。故定名曰淺說。
– The purpose of this book is popularization, therefore it conveys concepts only in language that is easy to understand, and this is why it is called a “simple introduction”. 一本書雖以說理為主但亦不作玄妙空衍之談。
– Although this book is devoted to explaining theory, it does not engage in any obscure and impractical discussion.
一太極拳勢詳圖曁拳經註解等。坊間已有專著多種。本書故不複述。
– For photographs of Taiji Boxing postures or commentary to the Taiji Classics,
there are already many volumes in bookshops. This book therefore does not seek to imitate them.
一太極拳立身姿勢。與外家拳不同。頗關重要。推手八法。亦為習技擊者所須知。故於篇首。附刊數圖。以示一斑。
– Taiji Boxing postures are different from those of external boxing arts, a point which is crucial to understand. As the eight techniques within pushing hands must also be understood by practitioners, this text includes some photos of them for demonstration.
一著者學識有限。謬誤在所不免。倘蒙海內方家指正。無任感幸。
– Since my knowledge is limited, errors are inevitable. If the nation’s experts would give me corrections, I would feel blessed indeed.
著者坿識
(also by the author)

胡序
PREFACE BY HU WEIDE

徐君致一成太極拳淺說一書將付梓以予亦曾習太極拳索言以弁其端予竊攷之詩無拳無勇漢書皇甫嵩傳雖兒童可使奮拳以致力是卽拳藝之嚆矢漢書藝文志載有手搏六篇列於兵家技巧一門亦拳術之遺也然書缺有間矣近來外人著體育諸書汗牛充棟其關於拳學者與我國之拳術要不無精粗之分耳徐君習太極拳十餘年功力甚深尤多心得以是學向以口授為多自王氏太極拳經黄氏內家拳法諸書外作者甚少後學不易問津因成是書以餉學者意甚盛焉學者得名人指授復以是書為導師事半功倍蓋可斷言然則徐君之嘉惠後學豈淺鮮哉徐君為吳君鑑泉高足北方學者未之或先今將南旋吾知是學亦與之俱南矣因喜而為之序丁卯仲夏吳興胡惟德
Now that Xu Zhiyi has completed this book and is about to send it to the publishers, he has asked me, as I have also practiced Taiji Boxing, to find some words to introduce it. So I will steal a line I have read in the Book of Poems [poem 198]: “They are without fists, without courage.” And another from the Books of Later Han, Bio of Huang Fusong [actually from Romance of the Later Han, chapter 61]: “Even a boy can devote himself to boxing.” Such quotes as these were the harbingers of the boxing arts. In the Bibliographical Records of the Books of Han, there is listed “six chapters on barehand fighting”. From traditions of military skill, we have inherited the boxing arts, but unfortunately there is a lack of books on the subject. In recent times, foreigners have written a huge number of physical education books concerning boxing studies, and our own nation’s boxing arts should not go without analysis.
     Xu Zhiyi has practiced Taiji Boxing for more than ten years, his skill is very deep, and he has amassed a great deal of knowledge with which he has personally taught many students. Apart from texts such as Wang Zongyue’s Taiji Boxing Classic and Huang Baijia’s Boxing Methods of the Internal School, there are very few authors, and so it is not easy for students to delve into it. Because of this, Xu has very generously decided to make a book to provide for students. Students who have already received personal instruction from noteworthy teachers can then also use the book as a teacher and thus get twice the result for half the effort, which I can attest to. That being the case, Xu’s benefitting of students in this way could never be considered something insignificant.
     Xu is a top student of Wu Jianquan. “Among the students in the north, there is maybe not even one who can be considered his superior.” [Mengzi, chapter 3a, talking of the scholar Chen Liang]. Now that he has come to the south, I know he will be great here as well. I am therefore delighted to write this preface.
     – written by Hu Weide of Wuxing, second month of summer, 1927

周序
PREFACE BY ZHOU YICHUN

太極拳者亦吾國古時拳術之一也吾友徐君致一致力於斯已十稔矣今年夏以其研究所得編輯太極拳淺說一書以詔示後學甚盛舉也書成請序於余余於此道未嘗問津烏敢置一語顧朋儕之習此者甚夥見其一切動作純任自然柔輭易行意隨形轉凡用心專而歷程久者雖以衰弱之身軀罔不得健強之效果養心存性却病延年誠無有逾於此者矣余知此書行世人必手執一篇而為體育家之借助焉中華民國十六年六月周詒春序
Taiji Boxing is one of our nation’s ancient boxing arts. My colleague Xu Zhiyi has devoted himself to it for already ten years. This summer, he has put his studies into this book of instruction for students, a very worthy undertaking. When the manuscript was completed, he invited me to write a preface. I have not yet had guidance in this art, so how can I dare to say anything about it?
     Watching friends who practice it often, I see that in every movement, there is a pure naturalness, supple and effortless, intention in harmony with the changes of the postures. By maintaining mental focus in it over a long period of time, no matter how weak and feeble one’s body, everyone gains health and strength. It cultivates calm and restrains the temperament. It prevents illness and prolongs life. Obviously it can do anything.
     I am sure this book will become popular, that everyone will grab a copy, and that it will be an aid to physical education experts everywhere.
     – written by Zhou Yichun, June, 1927

黃序
PREFACE BY HUANG ZHONGHUI

太極拳者殆技而進乎道者也以靜待動以柔克剛不矜才不使氣雍容大雅行所無事而應敵制勝莫測端倪不可思議乃至老弱婦孺苟得其術亦可衞生保身而不滋流弊宜乎其傳習日廣駸駸乎羣推為國技之冠焉昔洪楊之役吾家一日而自殺者三十九人此無他不甘受人戮辱而無拳無勇不能自存於亂世固亦大可哀矣四十年來暱交北方健者若單刀王五大刀李三曁柔術李瑞東輩甚稔吾國武術門戶頗多而以太極為最平易最眞實如布帛粟菽可資終身而不可須臾離也徐君致一旣得其術於名師復能破除成見參以新理如力學幾何及心靈術等隨事卽物侔色揣稱積久貫通得若干篇舉召其徒弱女邦儀受教甫晬而同學數百已無敵者同志謀廣其傳以救吾族之文弱樂而序之黃中慧十六・六・十四
Taiji Boxing is a skill that approaches the Way. It uses stillness to defeat movement, softness to defeat hardness. With neither showing off nor loss of temper, it is dignified, elegant, and effortless. And when an opponent is defeated by it, he has no comprehension of what was done.
     Furthermore, if this art is obtained by the old and weak, or by women and children, it can also maintain health as well as defend the self, instead of being an additional harmful habit. It should be practiced daily and thereby it will swiftly push forth to become the best of our national skills. Long ago at the battle of Hongyang, thirty-nine of our people committed suicide in one day, for no other reason than that they could not bear to be executed in disgrace. Those with no fight or courage in themselves are unable to endure through troubled times. Truly this is a great pity.
     Forty years ago [1887], there was a close friendship between experts in the north such as Single Saber Wang Wu [Big Saber Wang Wu – Wang Zhengyi], Big Saber Li San [Double Saber Li Fenggang], and Li Ruidong, a master of the soft arts whose skill was extremely refined. Our nation’s martial arts styles are rather numerous, but Taiji is both the most unassuming and the most authentic, in the same way that clothes and food can sustain you throughout your life but cannot be done without for even a short time.
     Xu Zhiyi obtained his art from a famous teacher, but was then able to go beyond preconceived notions and draw from modern sciences, such as mechanics, geometry, psychology, and so on. Studying them, he found patterns. Contemplating them, he over time amassed a thorough knowledge, and he has now produced a number of writings. Giving instruction also to the weak and the women of our nation, he is unrivaled among his hundreds of fellow students. As my comrade seeks to spread this material widely in order to rescue the meek and weak of our nation, I am very pleased to write a preface for him.
     – written by Huang Zhonghui, June 14, 1927

陸序
PREFACE BY LU HONGJI

余束髮受書卽喜閱武術小說每讀紅線聶隱娘傳虎虎然有生氣輒為之眉飛色舞聞父老言甘鳳池白泰官之為人則傾心崇拜至欲裹糧入山冀一遇其人無如髫年體弱吳中風氣又尚文不右武無法覓得良教師指示途徑以是廢然而止然初未斷念也年事稍長値歐化東漸各學校競重體育尚運動靑年學子多於課暇以蹴踘等為戲學校亦歲時開運動會以為之倡時余適長吾郡實業學校乃與諸同志在城南組織體育觀摩會日往練習各種技術光緒季年留學扶桑覩夫彼邦之聲名文物其國人之重視體育與夫校中同學日人對於柔道劍術弓術各部研究不遺餘力然後知彼邦之體育發達者於西來鍛鍊身體方法以外固深得我東方武術之精神焉往常端居深念以為吾國國技之高尚偉大允為世界獨步而歐美各國之體育家不尚血氣之勇於心理生理方面兼修並顧亦為吾國所不及安得有人焉以科學的方法嶄新的頭腦研究國技的原則原理發揮而光大之以為吾國體育界別開一新紀元者乎今不圖於吾友徐君致一見之徐君浙人居海上幼入澄衷小學卽以好身手著名迨後由中學而專門大學同學咸推為選手與他校角球無戰不勝由是運動家之名大著每逢各校開聯合運動會凡跳高擲球賽跑等項目君無次不獲錦標旣畢業於北京法政大學派赴江蘇審計分處任事與余同官時路局人員常作球戰邀君參加輒奏奇捷民國五年後奉調入審計院復與余同事公餘輒抵掌縱談武事乃由京友介紹一武術教師延主余家講授各種拳法及刀棍等術徐君銳進無前余以少年失學進步較難私念中歲無論如何精進恐終未能深造因思改習內家拳術以符養生之旨適都中體育研究社成立延請太極拳泰斗吳君鑑泉主講余與徐君乃偕往求見執贄為弟子吳師鑒余輩之誠亦悉心教授十稔以來苦心練習幾於寒暑無間其門下高足弟子復日與余等遊更相印證藉資歷練徐君天資絕高三四年間卽已盡得此中三昧每與人角輒得心應手無往不利余固望塵莫及卽吳師門下亦鮮能與之抗手矣比年因有慨斯術之不傳於世公餘出其所得著為淺說舉凡心靈術生理學物理學以曁有關身心之各科無不旁證曲引以淺顯之筆推衍而發明之倘所謂以科學的方法嶄新的頭腦研究國技的原則原理者乎余鑒於世之研習斯學者非牢守祕不示人之舊習卽故為幽深玄妙之空談斯界尚無創作初學艱於問津因勸其付梓行世以餉來者書成徐君來函索序乃謹述其緣起如此並為世之同志者告焉
民國十六年六月旣望 尹甫陸鴻吉序於新都之寓舍
Once I had been taught to read in my boyhood, I took special delight in martial arts novels. I constantly read the tales of the swordswomen Hong Xian and Nie the Hermitess, which thrilled me till I was enraptured. When I heard my elders talking about experts like Gan Fengchi and Bai Taiguan, I was so captivated I wanted to pack up some provisions and go out into the world hoping to meet such people. Unfortunately I was a weak-bodied boy and the mood in my hometown of Wuzhong was that literary studies were superior to martial studies. Unable to find a good teacher to instruct me, I almost gave up in disappointment.
     But before I had lost all hope, a little time had passed and Western influence had gradually spread to the East. Various schools were now competitively pushing physical education, offering many extra courses of exercise for young students, such as soccer and other sports. Schools also seasonally held games to promote it further. By that time I was old enough to attend our prefecture’s school of commerce, and all my comrades and I formed a sports study society on the south side of the city, where we each day practiced all sorts of skills.
     In the last year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu [1908], I was studying abroad in Japan, examining their nation’s famous historical relics, and I found that their countrymen take physical education seriously. Within the schools, Japanese classmates practice judo, kendo, and kyudo, and strive to their utmost in these studies. I then knew that if that nation’s flourishing physical education came west to us, then beyond methods of training the body, we would also deeply grasp the essence of our Eastern martial arts.
     I often contemplated how noble and mighty our nation’s martial arts are, how they would be peerless throughout the world if not for the physical education experts of Europe and America, who although they do not emphasize bold courage, they cultivate and consider both the psychological and physiological aspects. They also think our nation to be inferior and do not see how there could be anyone here who can use scientific methods and have new ways of thinking. The study of our martial arts principles and theories will grow and become glorious, and a new era will begin for our nation’s physical education community. This has unexpectedly brought forth my colleague, Xu Zhiyi.
     Xu is from Zhejiang and grew up in Shanghai, going to Chengzhong Elementary School. Excelling in sports, he went from high school into a technical college where his classmates all encouraged him to be an athletic contestant. The college won every soccer game against other schools, and because of this, his fame grew as an outstanding athlete. Every time the schools met for sports events – high jump, shot put, running, and so forth – Xu never failed to get the prize. After graduating from Beijing Legal University, he went to take a position in a Jiangsu accounting firm, where we worked together. At that time, the staff of the railway administration often held soccer games, inviting Xu to participate, and his playing was always extraordinarily agile.
     After 1916, he accepted a transfer to the Academy of Accounting, where we were again colleagues, and in our spare time we always talked about martial arts. Then a martial arts instructor recommended by a friend came from Beijing to live in my house. He taught us various boxing techniques, as well as saber and staff arts. Xu keenly progressed ahead of the rest of us, while I found it harder to progress due to the deprived education of my youth. I considered the age I had already reached, and I feared that no matter how much heart I put into the training, I would never for the rest of my life be able to reach a very deep level at it. Because of this, I decided to switch to practicing internal boxing arts, which conform to the aims of cultivating health.
     Fortunately, the Physical Education Research Society had been established within the city, and the eminent Taiji Boxing authority Wu Jianquan was engaged to give a seminar.
Xu and I went together to seek him out and present him with gifts to become his pupils. Wu looked upon us with respectful sincerity and has carefully instructed us for the last ten years. We have arduously trained, never taking a break regardless of winter cold or summer heat. Xu, his most brilliant disciple, and I return each day to further verify what we have learned through our training. Xu, being extraordinarily gifted, within three or four years had already achieved the knack of it, and whenever he has a bout with someone, he always succeeds with ease. I am too inferior even to be compared to him. Wu’s other students can rarely contend with him.
     This year, because he is annoyed this art has not been spread throughout the world,
Xu has given his spare time to writing this Simple Introduction, presenting psychology, physiology, and physics, making connections between body and mind, all accompanied by evidence and written in language that is easy to understand, putting forth ideas with clarity. By way of scientific methods and new ways of thinking, I think research of martial arts principles and theories will gravitate toward the practice of this art. If students do not cherish its secrets, they will not be able to demonstrate its traditional training methods to other people, and therefore Xu has not composed this work in the impenetrably mysterious jargon encountered within martial circles. Because beginners have difficulty knowing what direction to go, he has been urged to get this booked published and distributed in order to provide for those who may come to the art. When the manuscript was completed, Xu asked me to write a preface, so I have sincerely made this introduction to inform all of our comrades everywhere.
     – written by Lu Hongji of Yinfu in the Xindou Apartments, during the full moon, June, 1927

太極拳淺說目次
CONTENTS

第一章 小引
Chapter One: Foreword
第二章 太極拳源流略述
Chapter Two: A Brief Look at the Origin & Development of Taiji Boxing
第三章 太極拳之優點
Chapter Three: The Merits of Taiji Boxing
第四章 太極拳與心理學之關係
Chapter Four: Taiji Boxing in Relation to the Study of Psychology
第五章 太極拳與生理學之關係
Chapter Five: Taiji Boxing in Relation to the Study of Physiology
第六章 太極拳與力學之關係
Chapter Six: Taiji Boxing in Relation to the Study of Mechanics
第七章 太極拳之練法
Chapter Seven: Taiji Boxing’s Practice Methods
第八章 餘意
Chapter Eight: Further Thoughts
第九章 附錄
Chapter Nine: Appendices

太極拳淺說
SIMPLE INTRODUCTION TO TAIJI BOXING

第一章 小引
CHAPTER ONE: FOREWORD

吾國拳術。發源甚古。昔人以之鍛鍊身心。重在却病延年。其法大抵簡而易行。人人可學。自技擊之風尚。盛行於世。一切姿勢。競尚險奇。每以難能為可貴。遂漸失體育眞意。後之人。復從而標新立異。自為派別。致拳術門類。日形繁雜。主奴之見。亦由是而起。初學罔知選擇。弱者強其所難。輒有事倍功半之歎。著者亦常引以為憾。太極拳者內家拳術之一也。其法簡而易行。一切姿勢。悉任自然。無男女老幼可終身習之而無害。實深有得乎古之導引術者。其施諸技擊也。亦純以心氣為主。仍不離乎修養之術。非如外家拳法。專務力勝。其言虛實變化。則一以易理為本。其言心氣功夫。則與孟氏養氣之說。尤相符合。其關於生理物理各點。則又與今之科學原理。一一可通。凡茲數端。非所謂藝而根於道者乎。著者性喜武術。初習外家拳。亦甚感興味。近十年來始專修太極拳術。蓋深信各種拳術。雖均有獨到之處。然法簡效宏。堪為普及體育之資者。則以斯術為最宜。用是不揣譾陋。就其經驗所得。編為淺說。俾世之有志養生者。知所問津焉。
Our nation’s boxing arts began a very long time ago. People in the past trained body and mind with the purpose of preventing illness and prolonging life. Their methods were generally simple and easy to do, and everyone could learn them. Now that martial arts are fashionable and have spread everywhere, people are with every posture contending to be more impressive than each other, always taking the most difficult movements to be the most praiseworthy, until gradually they have lost the real intention of physical education. Because new generations like to do new things, they have naturally come up with new styles, with the result that systems of boxing arts have become increasingly complex and exhibit a broader range of abilities. Consequently, beginners have no idea which to choose. The weaker ones strive to do what is too difficult and then sigh that they are doing twice the work for half the result. I constantly find this to be regrettable.
     Taiji Boxing is one of the internal boxing arts. Its methods are simple and easy, and all of its postures are natural. Regardless of man or woman, young or old, all can practice it for their whole life without harm. It is actually the ancient limbering arts that have given it all of its martial skills, and because it operates entirely by way of mind and energy, it is never separate from the cultivation arts. Such is not the case with external boxing arts, which are devoted to winning through strength. When Taiji practitioners talk of the transformations of emptiness and fullness, they are drawing from the principles in the Book of Changes, and when they talk of the skill of using mind and energy, they are drawing from Mengzi’s discussion of cultivating one’s energy [Mengzi, chapter 2b]. It conforms to the various rules of physiology and physics, and thus with modern scientific principles, one after another. For these several reasons, can it not be said that the art is based in the Way?
     I delight in martial arts. I began by practicing external styles and took great pleasure in them, but ten years ago I began to focus more on training in the Taiji boxing art. I firmly believe that every kind of boxing art, despite their distinct characteristics, has basically simple methods and will produce great results. But for the purposes of spreading physical education, it is this art that is the most suitable. Therefore, disregarding my low abilities and my ignorance, I have compiled what I have gained through experience into this Simple Introduction in order that those who have aspirations toward good health will know what to ask for guidance in.

第二章 太極拳源流略述
CHAPTER TWO: A BRIEF LOOK AT THE ORIGIN & DEVELOPMENT OF TAIJI BOXING

拳術門類。雖以姿勢不一。而殊其名稱。然其最大派別。則不外內外兩家。內家主柔。勁蘊於內。外家主剛。勁顯於外。內外之分。意卽在此。外家盛於少林。久為海內所宗仰。內家祖張三丰。三丰何時人。傳者不一其說。證諸甯波府志明張松溪事略。則三丰為宋之武當丹士。似尚可信。唯謂其拳術得自神授。未免附會。三丰之後。得其眞傳者。至元世祖時。始以山右王宗岳見稱。王氏述三丰遺論。著太極拳經及行功心解等多編。附錄於後說理精妙。言簡而賅。今所流傳者。實宗其說。明黃百家著內家拳法。附錄於後則稱『三丰精於少林。從而翻之。故名內家。』似內家亦出於外家也。黃氏所記拳法。名目繁多。類於外家。唯觀其「練旣熟。不必顧盼擬合、信手而應。」等語。則又與王氏所述太極拳理脗合。然仍是一般拳術。以簡馭繁。由博返約之法。與太極拳術之純以虛靜為主者。不無精粗之別。據黃氏自述。彼所從受業者為王征南氏。征南固宗於松溪者。就甯波府志所載。松溪與少林僧校技一事附錄於後觀之。則松溪所用。固太極功也。第該志復載松溪以七十老人。猶能舉手劈巨石。可見松溪非僅以柔術擅勝。或曰柔之極者。剛自至焉。揆諸孟氏養氣之說。非不可通。然何以黃氏內家拳法。未嘗一論及之。王氏行功心解。雖間有言剛勁者。似亦不專作堅硬解。此中異同。無從考證。殊為憾事。松溪所傳皆南派中人。北派則由王宗岳傳河南蔣發。蔣氏傳懷慶陳長興。傳至京師者以陳氏高足楊露蟬為第一人。得其眞傳者。除楊氏諸子外。有萬春、凌山、全佑、等數人。全佑之子吳師鑑泉。卽著者所從問業者也。古燕許君禹生著太極拳勢圖解。述其流派甚詳。可供參攷。本刊限於篇幅。僅誌其大槪如此。
Although the various schools of boxing arts have different postures with specific names, the major distinction is to categorize them into the two schools of internal and external. The internal school emphasizes softness – energy is inwardly concealed. The external school emphasizes hardness – energy is outwardly revealed. The distinction between the two is precisely this. The external school is replete with styles of Shaolin, which has long been held in esteem throughout the nation. The internal school comes from Zhang Sanfeng, although in which era he lived is not reported consistently.
     According to the Bio of Zhang Songxi from the Records of Ningbo Prefecture, Zhang Sanfeng was a Wudang elixirist of the Song Dynasty. This much seems believable, but then it says his boxing art was received through divine means, which rather strains credulity. After Zhang, the authentic teaching was obtained during the reign of Kublai Khan, starting up again with Wang Zongyue of Shanxi, who was famous for expressing the inherited theories of Zhang Sanfeng, writing the Taiji Boxing Classic and the essay Understanding How to Practice (both included below in Chapter Nine). These texts explain the principles exquisitely, in language that is simple and concise. What has been passed down to us truly descends from his explanations.
     Huang Baijia’s Boxing Methods of the Internal School (also included below in Chapter Nine), says: “Zhang Sanfeng was a Shaolin expert, but he turned the art on its head and thereby created the internal school.” It appears the internal school came from the external school. Huang records boxing principles and the names of many techniques which would be categorized as belonging to the external school, but then we read words such as these: “Skill will only be achieved through practice. It is not necessary to seek for someone to copy, only to respond to opponents with whatever works.” It is noticeable how they conform to Wang Zongyue’s Taiji boxing theory. Usually it is the case in boxing arts that the training goes from the simple to the complex then back to the simple, but Taiji Boxing is entirely based in emptiness and stillness, and so makes a constant distinction between generalities and details. Going by Huang Baijia’s descriptions, it is the same kind of material that was passed down to Wang Zhengnan, whose art was surely descended from that of Zhang Songxi.
     According to the Bio of Zhang Songxi (which is also included below in Chapter Nine), Zhang had a fight with Shaolin monks. Examining the account, what Zhang was using was clearly the Taiji skill. Also of note is that it records that Zhang at the age of seventy could still chop barehanded through huge stones. This would indicate that Zhang was not winning exclusively by way of soft arts, but then it has been said that softness at its extreme will naturally manifest as hardness [paraphrasing from How to Practice]. Consider Mengzi’s discussion of cultivating energy [Mengzi, chapter 2a] and this will cease to be an impenetrable concept. [Mengzi describes his “noble energy” as having extreme hardness but is produced by allowing it to grow rather than forcing it.] Though it is unclear why Huang’s Boxing Methods does not touch upon this. Although Wang Zongyue’s Understanding How to Practice mentions hardness of energy, it does not seem to specify it as distinct from stiffness. It is very unfortunate that this similarity or difference cannot be fully verified.
     Zhang Songzi’s lineage became the “southern branch”. The “northern branch” comes from Wang Zongyue teaching Jiang Fa of Henan. Jiang taught Chen Changxing of Huaiqing. Chen’s top disciple, Yang Luchan, obtained the authentic teachings and brought them to Beijing. Beyond his own sons, Yang also taught Wan Ling, Ling Shan, Quan You, and many others. Quan You’s son, Wu Jianquan, is who I myself have learned from. Xu Yusheng of Guyan described the branching styles in great detail in his book on Taiji Boxing postures [1921], which you may consult. This volume on the other hand is of a more limited length and only presents a general picture of these things.

第三章 太極拳之優點
CHAPTER THREE: THE MERITS OF TAIJI BOXING

凡拳術皆有優點。亦皆有弱點。蓋有所專。則必有所偏。其特性固如是也。今之好為軒輊之論者。於其所習之拳術。則推崇之。唯恐不至。反之。則攻擊之。不遺餘力。雖由門戶之見使然。實皆未明拳術之特性也。太極拳以虛靜為主。一切動作。重柔輕剛。喜外壯者每以為病。顧太極拳本以修養精神為其無上功效。其施諸技擊。亦非以力勝。其與外壯功夫相形見絀處。適足以知其特性之所在。與諸家拳術之各有特性。初無二致。爰本此旨。述其優點如左。
All boxing arts have their merits, their strengths and weaknesses, their focuses, their inevitable prejudices, and their special characteristics. Those who nowadays like to discuss which systems are good or bad end up praising the one they are already practicing. Though they will probably not be very accurate in their assessment, they will nevertheless fight to the very best of their ability. Although it is natural to be biased, the issue is actually that people are not clear about the special characteristics of their own art.
     Taiji Boxing uses “emptiness and stillness” as its main principle. Every movement is serious about softness and dismissive of hardness. Those who fall in love with the external posture always get into trouble, for supreme achievement of this art is the cultivation of spirit. Its fighting method is not a matter of winning through strength, and thereby other styles pale by comparison. You now adequately know the special characteristics of this art. All of these arts have their special characteristics, though none of them in the beginning will seem different from any other.
     The merits of this particular art are described below:

(甲)養生方面
A. ITS HEALTH ASPECTS

一、身心合修
1. It cultivates both body and mind.

外功拳以發達肉體為主旨。蓋深信健康之精神。寓於健康之身體也。靜坐功以修養精神為主旨。則謂精神充實。足以改造身體也。分而言之。固各有其是。合而言之。則亦各有所偏。昔達摩大師傳易筋洗髓二經。內家拳主先身後心。皆足證養生之道。貴乎身心兼修。太極拳一入手。卽從身心兩方同時進行。故謂之身心合修。其法詳見王氏行功心解。學者宜自參之。
In the practice of external boxing arts, the aim is to develop the body. They are imbued with a strong sense that the health of the spirit depends on the health of the body.
     In the practice of meditation, the aim is the cultivation of spirit. It is considered that when the spirit is sufficiently strengthened, the body will be transformed.
     Looking at them separately, it is apparent that each has its own truth. But looking at them together, it becomes clear that each simply has its own emphasis. Damo long ago passed down to us the Sinew Changing Classic and the Marrow Washing Classic, in which the “internal boxing arts” happen to be emphasizing body first, then mind. All of this shows that the methods of building health actually value cultivating body and mind simultaneously. Once you begin in Taiji Boxing, both body and mind are progressing together, therefore it cultivates both. The details of this concept are to be found in How to Practice.

二、動作緩和
2. The movements are mild.

劇烈運動。見效雖速。然其流弊。亦不勝言。太極拳一切動作。以柔緩隨和為主。明足以舒展筋骨。暗足以調和氣血。卽舍修養精神而言。亦最合於體育原則。
Although strenuous exercise will show fast results, it will also cause unbearable problems. Every movement in Taiji Boxing should be soft, slow, compliant, and gentle. It noticeably stretches out the muscles and joints, and invisibly regulates the energy and blood. This means that while it cultivates the spirit, it also conforms entirely to the principles of physical education.

三、姿勢平順
3. The postures are smooth and harmonious.

太極拳以立身中正安舒。語見行功心解運勁無過不及。語見太極拳經為其重要原則之一。故一切姿勢。悉任自然。自然者平穩和順之謂也。與劇烈派拳術以險奇為勝者。迥不相同。
The posture is “upright and comfortable” (from How to Practice) and the energetic movement is a matter of “neither going too far nor not far enough” (from the Classic). These are each important basic principles. Therefore every posture is completely natural, meaning that it is smooth and harmonious. Strenuous boxing arts seek to be as risky and dramatic as possible, entirely different.

四、發達自然
4. Development is natural.

人體各部之發達。在生理上均有一定程序。劇烈運動。不合生理程序。最易發生流弊。太極拳行功之時。一動無有不動。一靜無有不靜。語見行功心解於肢體任何部分。皆無偏重之虞。故在生理作用上。有補助之功。無妨害之弊。蓋卽所謂順其自然之性也。
Every part of the human body develops, according to physiology, in a proper sequence.
Strenuous exercise does not conform to the proper physiological sequence and very easily gives rise to bad habits. When practicing Taiji Boxing, “if one part moves, every part moves, and if one part is still, every part is still” (from How to Practice). There is no particular area of the body that has any extra stress upon it. Therefore it accords with physiological function, being a beneficial practice rather than an obstructive abuse. The character of this art is to do what is natural.

五、治病特效
5. It is particularly effective at treating illness.

拳術有治病之效。固人人所知。唯練劇烈運動。消耗體力過多。弱者不易補充。反屬有礙。太極拳以適應生理變化。為其原則之一。其補助氣血處。純以婉和為主。不使呼吸與循環。絲毫失其常度。故雖有肺病者。亦可練之。而奏奇效。唯病發時仍宜靜養其他可治之病。自更不待言矣。
Boxing arts have the effect of treating illness, as everyone knows. However, strenuous exercise consumes too much of one’s bodily strength, which weaker people will not easily replenish. This is counterproductive. One of the principles of Taiji Boxing is to adapt to physiological changes. It boosts energy and blood by focusing entirely on mildness, and so it does not cause breathing or pulse to become the slightest bit irregular. Therefore even if you have lung disease, you can practice it, and you will achieve extraordinary results. (Although at the onset of an illness, you should of course convalesce.) As for other ways it can treat illness, you will learn through personal experience.

六、陶養性情
6. It sculpts your temperament.

人之性情不同。皆與體質有關。精神能變化體質。凡稍知心理學者。皆能言之。太極拳重柔道。以虛靜為主。如粗躁滯鈍等弊。均在禁忌之列。故練之旣久。便可於不知不覺中。養成一種優美之習慣。足為佩弦佩韋之助。若富於暴戾氣者。習之尤有明效。
Everyone’s temperament is different, but one’s temperament always has an influence over one’s outward character, therefore one’s consciousness can transform one’s character. Those with even a smattering of psychological understanding can all agree with this. Taiji Boxing emphasizes methods of softness, “emptiness and stillness” being the main principle. If you have bad habits such as rashness or bluntness, these are things to be pushed aside. By practicing this art over a long period, you will be unconsciously cultivating a habit of grace, which will help you learn to take criticism. If you have a tyrannical attitude toward others, this kind of training will have noticeable results upon you.

(乙)技擊方面
B. ITS MARTIAL ASPECTS

一、以靜制動
1. It uses stillness to overcome movement.

兵法重虛實。拳術亦然。拳術之虛實。在勁不在形。我之虛實。我自知之。人之虛實。當其蓄勁未發時。我皆無由知之。故於此時進擊敵人最為不宜。蓋敵人富有伸縮餘地。我若輕進。反為所乘。太極拳於此等處。必任敵人先我發勁、俟其逼近。則用逆來順。受之法。引使入我彀中。然後從而制之。卽打手歌所謂「引進落空合卽出」也則無不應手而仆矣。語云、知彼知己。百戰百勝。皆此以靜制動之妙用也。
The Art of War [chapter 6] talks a great deal about empty versus full. Boxing arts do likewise, but emptiness and fullness in boxing arts have more to do with energy rather than posture. I am already aware of my own state of emptiness and fullness, but if the opponent is storing energy and has not yet expressed it, I have no way of knowing the condition of his emptiness and fullness. It is therefore the worst moment for me to attack. I should be allowed extra room to maneuver, and then if I gently advance, I will turn the tables on him and take advantage of the situation. Such is the way in Taiji Boxing.
     I must allow the opponent to be the first to issue energy, awaiting his approach. Using his moment of coarseness, I respond with smoothness, the technique being that of receiving, drawing him into my trap and thereby gaining control over him. (From Playing Hands Song: “Guiding him in to land on nothing, I then close on him and send him away.”) Always and with ease he will made to fall away. As the saying goes: [Art of War, chapter 3] “Knowing both self and opponent, in a hundred battles you will have a hundred victories.” The secret to all this is to use stillness to overcome movement.

二、以柔克剛
2. It uses softness to overcome hardness.

自來論拳勁者。每引經義為訓。故於剛柔之分。輒以陰陽二字為其註解。此二字涵義至廣。固足槪括一切。唯初學則鮮有不病其寬泛者。其實凡一種勁。若有抵抗性者。不問其勁之大小。應皆謂之剛勁。反之。若有一種勁。能隨敵勁以為伸縮。而不含抵抗性者。應皆謂之柔勁。柔勁以伸縮性為最要。若無此性。則一遇敵勁。便無復活之望。此種勁可名之曰死勁。剛勁以強為勝。遇強則折。勢所必然。其致敗之由。雖與死勁不同。然其結果。則無以異焉。可見以柔敵剛。猶之以活勁與死勁較。勝敗之數。不卜可知。太極拳以因敵變化。示其神奇。語見十三勢歌蓋卽本乎此理。非習斯術者故神其說也。
When we begin to discuss energies in boxing arts, we typically try to explain their true meanings. Therefore the distinction between hardness and softness gets explained via the passive and active aspects. But the meaning of those two terms is so broad, indeed utterly general, that beginners rarely have no confusion over their vagueness.
     Basically, any kind of energy that has an element of resistance will pay no attention to how large or small the opponent’s energy is, and this should always be considered hard energy. On the other hand, any kind of energy that is able to follow the opponent’s energy flexibly contains no element of resistance, and this should always be considered soft energy.
     The key to soft energy is elasticity. If you are without this quality when you encounter an opponent, you will have no hope of recovering your position. Such an energy can be called “lifeless”. Hard energy tries to win through strength, and so when it encounters strength, it inevitably breaks down. Although the source of its failure is different from that of lifeless energy, the result is the same. It can be seen that using softness to meet hardness would be comparable to a contest of lively energy [elastic softness] versus lifeless energy [inelastic softness].
     In determining victory and defeat, there should be no predicting between them. In Taiji Boxing, “the magic lies in making adjustments based on being receptive to the opponent” (from the Thirteen Dynamics Song). It basically comes down to this principle, but for those who do not practice this art, such words may seem mystical.

三、以小勝大
3. It uses the smaller to defeat the larger.

此言太極拳破敵之時。常以小力勝大力。蓋太極拳所用之術。着形於外勁蘊於內着與勁能合而用之曰術無形之中。皆以力學為根據。其發勁之時。或先使敵人重心。失其主宰。或利用合力原理。順勢追擊。故無須大力。而敵人自倒。此中妙處。迥非以硬打硬進為勝者所能夢見也。
When Taiji Boxing is used to defeat opponents, it always uses a smaller force to defeat a larger force. The skill it applies (Technique is shown outwardly. Energy is stored inwardly. When technique and energy can be combined, this is called skill.) lies in formlessness and is always rooted in the science of mechanics. When issuing, either first make the opponent lose control of his balance or make use of the principle of net force and then seize the opportunity to attack. Therefore you will not need a large force and the opponent will automatically topple away. The subtlety of these things is something that can only be dreamt of by those who try to win by using hardness in striking and advancing.

四、以順避害
4. It uses smoothness to avoid harm.

太極拳用勁之法有二。曰走。曰黏。人剛我柔謂之走我順人背謂之黏語見太極拳經走以化敵。黏以制敵。二者交相為用。乃能變化無窮。太極拳種種動作。俱成圜形。一圜之中。卽含無數走黏。隨機應變。純恃感覺。其最要法則。則不外順之一字。蓋應敵之法。非柔卽剛。用剛則與敵勁逆而不順。不順則無由走。不走則無由化。不化則無由黏。不黏則敵之變動無由感覺。輕進者不審敵勢。以能招架為勝。一遇大力壓迫。未有不創巨痛深者。皆不知用順以避害耳。
In Taiji Boxing, there are two ways of applying energy: yielding and sticking. (From the Classic: “He is hard while I am soft – this is yielding. My energy is smooth while his energy is coarse – this is sticking.”) Yielding is for neutralizing the opponent, then sticking is for controlling him. As they both make use of each other, they are able to alternate without limit. Every kind of movement in Taiji Boxing makes a rounded shape. Within one of its curves are infinite occasions for yielding and sticking. Act according to the situation, relying entirely on sensation. The most important principle is to never depart from the concept of smoothness.
     When dealing with an opponent, if you are not being soft, then you are being hard. If you are being hard, then you will be acting with coarseness against the opponent’s energy rather than using smoothness to go along with it. If your energy is not smooth, you will have no way to yield. If you do not yield, you will have no way to neutralize. If you do not neutralize, you will have no way to stick. If you do not stick, you will have no way to sense the opponent’s changes. If you carelessly advance, you are not examining the status of the opponent and are liable to be deflected away or suddenly crushed by a large force, and those who have not happened to be injured through such circumstances often do not quite grasp that it is by use of smooth energy that harm is prevented.

(丙)其他方面
C. ITS OTHER ASPECTS

一、人人可練  
1. Everyone can practice it.

太極拳人人可練之理由。大略如左。
The reasons Taiji Boxing can be practiced by everyone are outlined below:
(一)太極拳一切姿勢。純任自然。平正簡易。毫不費力無論婦孺或老弱。皆可練習。
i. All of its postures are natural, balanced, simple, and do not require any effort. Therefore it can be practiced even by women and children, or by the old and weak.
(二)太極拳施諸技擊。純以柔順為主。不求力勝。有志技擊而自恨膂力不足者。皆可練習。
ii. Its martial applications focus entirely on suppleness and yielding, never seeking to win through strength. Therefore it can be practiced even by those who have a martial ambition but are embarrassed by an inadequate physical strength.
(三)太極拳有治病特效。凡體弱多病而所患並非不治之症者。皆可練習。
iii. It is particularly effective at treating illness. Therefore it can be practiced even by the physically weak, chronically ill, and those who are worried they have a disease that may be incurable.
(四)太極拳重意不重形。與任何拳術同練。皆無妨碍。故愛外功者。亦可練習。唯每次練習時。須先練外功拳。後練太極拳耳。
iv. As it emphasizes intention rather than what it looks like, it can be practiced alongside other boxing arts without creating any hindrance. Therefore it can be practiced even by those who also love practicing external styles, although the order of practice during a session has to be: external arts first, followed by Taiji.
(五)太極拳主漸進。每日早晚練習。並不費時。如志在修養祇須早晚各盤架子一次每次僅需十分鐘而已若練技擊每日推手半小時卽得益不少故雖餘暇無多。亦可練習。
v. It emphasizes gradual progress. To practice it each morning and evening is really not very time-consuming. (If your ambition is self-cultivation, you only need to go through the solo set once each morning and evening, and the set only takes about ten minutes. If you are training for fighting, doing pushing hands for thirty minutes every day will give you no small benefit.) Therefore it can be practiced even by those who do not have much free time.
(六)太極拳動作極靜。練時並不擾人。需地亦不在多。卽在。旅行中。亦可練習。
vi. As its movements are very quiet, it will not disturb other people when practiced, and it also does not use very much space. Therefore it can be practiced even while traveling.

二、便於演習
2. It is easier to practice.

凡練技擊。最重演習。如練別種拳術。兩人對手時。各不相讓。最易發生危險。膽小之人。及不勝跌撲之苦者。皆非所願。太極拳有推手法。以為演習應敵之用。其法專練感覺。主化不主攻。若不妄動蠻勁。决無危險之虞。故最便於演習。
Typically when practicing martial arts, what is most emphasized is drilling the techniques. Training in other boxing arts involves two people being unyielding with each other. This very easily gives rise to dangerous situations in which the more timid person can no longer stand it and falls down in pain. This kind of thing is not what we want. Taiji Boxing has its pushing hands methods for drilling how to deal with an opponent. These methods focus on training awareness and emphasize neutralizing rather than attacking. Since the movements are not rash actions and the power is not ferocious, it assuredly lacks the risk of becoming dangerous. And therefore it is the easiest to practice.

三、趣味濃厚
3. It is highly enjoyable.

太極拳種種動作。俱作環形。一環之中。處處有虛實變化。初學不知變化。自無多少虛實。練之旣久。則虛實變化。自能因應咸宜。太極拳一名長拳卽謂其虛實變化如長江大河滔滔不絕也無論單練雙練。均如對奕一般。趣味異常濃厚。行功心解云、「意氣須換得靈、乃有圓活之趣。」蓋卽指此而言也。
Since every kind of movement in Taiji Boxing makes a rounded shape, there is everywhere within one of its curves a switching between emptiness and fullness. In the beginning of the training, you will not comprehend these transformations and will naturally be without any sense of emptiness or fullness. But after you have practiced over a long period, your alternating between emptiness and fullness will naturally be able to fit every situation. (Taiji Boxing’s other name of Long Boxing describes this switching between emptiness and fullness: “It is like a long river flowing into the wide ocean, on and on ceaselessly…” [Treatise]) Whether solo practice or partner practice, it is like playing chess, so unusually enjoyable. “Your mind must perform alternations nimbly, and then you will have the delight of being rounded and lively” (How to Practice) points to this idea.

第四章 太極拳與心理學之關係
CHAPTER FOUR: TAIJI BOXING IN RELATION TO THE STUDY OF PSYCHOLOGY

太極拳主身心合修。練時務須以心行氣。以氣運身。語見行功心解乃能盡其妙用。此種練法。純以心理作用為其根據。極為眞實可信。蓋吾人精神力量。至為偉大。能使人之生理作用。完全受其支配。其甚者。如篤信宗教之人。能跣足行火上。不畏燙傷。或蹈白刃而不感痛苦。其淺者。如人逢喜事。每覺四周景象。皆饒佳趣。且能增其食欲。是等現象。皆足為心理作用。影響於生理作用之明證。須知吾人神經作用。因其生理組織。有中樞與末梢之分。故所受外界刺戟。亦有感覺與知覺之不同。感覺者乃神經末梢。受外界刺戟而起之一種單純作用。初無認識外物之力。如聲感於耳。色感於目。以及臭味之於鼻舌。皆為生理上各種感官。所應有之感覺。其作用但能感覺於前。不能想像於後。繼感覺之後。而立卽加以想像者。則為知覺。知覺者乃由感覺之波動。經神經纖維而達於神經中樞。所發生之想像作用也。知覺為吾人種種觀念之發源地。觀念與運動中樞有極密切之關係。如思執物而手自動。見酸梅而口卽流涎。皆為吾人觀念驅使運動中樞。所發生之生理現象。今之催眠術及心靈術等。卽利用此種心理作用。以發揮其不可思議之功效。凡稍知心理學者。皆能言之。太極拳各種姿勢。平淡無奇。練時又不許用力。未練拳術之人所用之力多是蠻力在拳術中謂之僵勁初學之人。不知其意味所在。常易發生厭倦。實皆不知利用心理作用之過。行功心解第一句。卽說以心行氣。蓋卽示我人以最大要訣。無如初練之人、每以為拳術一道。非教師以灌漑方式傳授弟子。則弟子必難得其法術。實為一大誤解。不知教師所負之責任。在能示人以正確之方法而已。若夫術之得與不得。則在學者對於敎師所示之方法。是否忠實練習以為斷。卽如以心行氣一語。原是一正確之方法。而學者多未嘗注意及此。乃欲藉平淡無奇之姿勢。依樣胡蘆。以為入道之階。宜乎其不能有功矣。然則究應如何。方為合法。以最普通用語說明之。卽所謂想當然耳。想當然者。乃一切動作。吾人應確信其必有當然之效果。而加以想像之謂也。如意欲行氣。則應作行氣想。如意欲沉重。則應作沉重想。如意欲沉氣。則應作氣沉丹田想。推之一切方法。凡有所欲皆應作如是想。此種方法。一經道破。固極簡單。然其效驗。亦非一蹴可幾。十三勢歌所謂「勢勢存心揆用意。得來不覺費功夫。」蓋卽指此而言。故欲見效。必須練習之人。每當行功之際。不問其效果如何。應時時作如是想。無稍間斷。久而久之。由習慣而漸成自然。則一切想像力。能支配生理作用。以遂其心之所欲。實為當然之結果。太極拳經「默識揣摩。漸至從心所欲。」等語。卽與此意相符。學者切勿以空論視之。是為至要。著者初習太極拳。卽深信斯術與心理學極有關係。去歲得一女弟子。練不多時。便著奇效。初頗以為異。嗣知其曾習心靈術。乃益信拙見不虛。惜著者對於心理一學。未嘗深究。故僅能述其大槪如是。亦不知所說當否。甚願海內宏達。進而教之。俾斯術益見昌明。固非著者一人之私幸焉。
Taiji Boxing emphasizes the cultivation of both body and mind. When practicing, you must “use mind to move the energy, and use energy to move your body” (How to Practice) to then be able to achieve the full extent of its wonders. This kind of practice method is entirely grounded upon psychological function, yet its effects are indeed true and trustworthy.
     The power of our minds is huge and able to take complete control over our physiological functions. An extreme example is the sincere belief of those religious people who can walk barefoot over fire without fear of being burned or who can dance along sharp blades without feeling pain. A lighter example is when people gather at a social event and notice they are surrounded by delicacies, and this then increases their appetite for food. Such phenomena are enough to demonstrate that psychological function has influence over physiological function.
     It has to be understood that because the function of our nerves is arranged physiologically, there are nerve centers and nerve endings. Thus when we receive external stimulation, there will be a distinction between the sensation of it and the perception of it.
     Sensation means the nerve endings receive an external stimulation and generate a simple effect based on it. In the first instant there is no ability for consciously recognizing external objects. When a sound is sensed by your ear, a color is sensed by your eye, a scent is sensed by your nose, or a taste is sensed by your tongue, these are all physiological sense organs responding directly to sensations. This instant of sensation can only be truly felt in that instant and cannot really be imagined afterward. An instant later, sensation has prompted imagination, and then it becomes a matter of perceiving rather than sensing.
     Perception is when the fluctuations of sensation pass along the nerve fibers to the nerve centers, producing an effect upon the imagination. Perception is thus the source of our various ideas about what we are sensing. There is an intimate connection between thought and the motor centers. For instance, if you have the notion of grabbing an object, your hand automatically moves, or if you see a delicious fruit, your mouth starts salivating. These are both cases of our thoughts prompting our motor centers, producing physiological phenomena. In modern times, hypnotism and mentalism utilize these kinds of psychological functions to create incredible effects. Those with even some slight knowledge of psychology are able to discuss this.
     The various postures in Taiji Boxing are quite unremarkable. When practicing, you must not use effort. (Those who have not previously practiced boxing arts usually put forth an effort that is sheer brute force, which in boxing arts is called “stiff energy”.) Not understanding the significance of this, beginners will often become easily exhausted, never realizing that it is a matter of taking advantage of psychological function. The first phrase of How to Practice, “use mind to move energy”, reveals the key secret.
     Unfortunately, beginners tend to think the way of boxing arts is that unless the teacher is actively filling the student with techniques, it will be very difficult for the student to obtain the art. This is actually an enormous misunderstanding. They do not grasp that the responsibility the teacher bears is nothing more than being able to demonstrate the proper methods to the student. As to whether the art is obtained or not, this is up to the student’s approach to the methods the teacher has demonstrated and is dependent entirely on whether or not he is faithfully practicing. To “use mind to move energy” was originally one of the proper methods, but students usually pay no attention it, and so if they want to take some unremarkable postures and just copy them mechanically, and then expect to enter the ranks of master, they will be deservingly incapable of achieving any skill.
     What then is the right way to study the art? The most common expression that applies to it is “take it for granted”. By this I mean that in every movement we should firmly believe the results will occur and then apply our imaginations to them [i.e. taking for granted actively rather than passively]. If you wish to move energy, then you should have the thought of moving energy. If you wish to sink heavily, then you should have the thought of sinking heavily. If you wish to sink energy, then you should have the thought of sinking energy to your elixir field. Strive in every technique to perform it as you imagine it should be done.
     This kind of method will bring you to a breakthrough. It is extremely simple, but to get the desired results, you cannot just give it one nudge and expect the effect to carry over through several movements. “In every movement, very deliberately control it by the use of intention, for once you achieve that, it will all be effortless” (Thirteen Dynamics Song) expresses the idea. Therefore if you want to see results, you have to be the practicing type, and when practicing, not have to wonder what the results will be. You should constantly perform it the way you are thinking it, without the slightest discontinuity between thought and action.
     Over the course of time, this will gradually go from deliberate to natural, and then the power of each thought will be able to control physiological function, and whatever is in your will to do, it will automatically come true. “By absorbing through experience and by constantly contemplating, gradually you will reach the point that you can do whatever you want” (Classic) conforms to this idea. Be sure not to regard it as a bunch of empty words, for it is very important.
     When I began practicing Taiji Boxing, I was deeply convinced of a strong relationship between this art and psychology. I last year gained a female student who after training for only a short while had produced extraordinary results. I at first thought this to be unique, but then I learned she had practiced mentalism, and this increased my feeling that my opinion was not unfounded. Unfortunately my own investigation into psychological studies has not yet been very thorough. Therefore I can here only express general ideas and I am not even sure of the validity of what I have been saying. I deeply hope that knowledgeable people throughout the nation will come forward and instruct me so that this art may increasingly show development, and not just for my own personal improvement.

第五章 太極拳與生理學之關係
CHAPTER FIVE: TAIJI BOXING IN RELATION TO THE STUDY OF PHYSIOLOGY

凡拳術皆有一定之姿勢。姿勢之優劣。與人之生理作用。至有關係。太極拳一切姿勢平淡無奇。或有疑其功效淺薄者。不知其各種姿勢無不脗合於生理原則也。著者不敏。請為擇要分述於後。
All boxing arts have postural standards, distinctions between what makes the posture good or bad that are related to human physiological functions. Taiji Boxing is always so posturally unremarkable that some suspect it may be of meager effectiveness, and they do not understand that the various aspects of posture all conform to physiological principles.
     I am not clever, so please pick out what is relevant to you from the explanations that follow:

一、虛領頂勁
1. FORCELESSLY PRESSING UP YOUR HEADTOP

人之頭部。大腦在焉。大腦皮質有種種神經中樞。分司人體各機關指揮之責。其重要自不待言。頭容正直。為各家拳術。所同有之姿勢。正直之法。切忌用力。用力則肌肉收縮。頸部必立形木強。其流弊所至。不但有礙於血液之暢行。與呼吸之順利。且足使大腦皮質。卽各種神經中樞所在地與腦脊髓間之連絡。在無形中發生障礙及不良之影響。太極拳對於頭部之姿勢。曰虛領頂勁。一名頂頭懸。頂勁者。謂如有勁。直貫於頂。虛領者。謂當用虛靈之意。卽不用力自引其頂。頂頭懸者。謂人之頭頂當如懸於空中一般。合而言之。卽謂人之頭容。須於正直之外。兼有虛靈自然之妙。方為合法。十三勢歌「滿身輕利頂頭懸」句。及行功心解「精神能提得起。則無遲重之虞」句。皆與虛領頂勁有關。不可不知。此頭部最重要之姿勢也。除此以外。尚有須同時注意者三端。附述於下。
In the head lies the brain. The cerebral cortex has a great variety of nerve centers, divided into departments for directing all of the body’s organs. The importance of this need not even be stated. The head’s appearance is upright, as it is in every school of boxing arts. But the means of making it upright is never a matter of using effort to do so. If you use effort, the muscles will contract and your neck will stand stiff as a board. The bad habits this will create will not only obstruct smooth bloodflow and smooth breathing, but in the area where your cerebral cortex (where every nerve center is located) contacts your spinal cord you will also imperceptibly develop a hindering and harmful effect.
     In Taiji Boxing, the posture as regards the head is called “forcelessly press up your headtop”, also called “headtop suspended”. To “press up your headtop” is like there is energy coursing through straight to your headtop. To do so “forcelessly” is the idea of using mere imagination (meaning not using effort) to guide it to your headtop. The meaning of “headtop suspended” is that your headtop seems to be suspended in midair, in other words that the appearance of your head has to be upright and that it also has to have the subtlety of being effortless and natural in order for it to be correct. “Your whole body will be aware and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended” (Thirteen Dynamics Song) and “if you can raise your spirit, then you will be without worry of being slow or weighed down” (How to Practice) are both statements that have to do with forcelessly pressing up your headtop, a principle that has to be understood, for it is the most important quality of the head’s posture.
     There are also three related points that must be paid attention at the same time, explained below:

(甲)忌努目
A. Do not glare.

練太極拳務須態度沉靜。力避劍拔弩張之態。太極拳論「神宜內斂」句。行功心解「神舒體靜」句。及「外示安逸」句。均是此意。用力努目。旣為眼球隨意轉動之礙。且使精神外露。亦有提氣之害。卽在生理方面說。眼肌不可過勞。眼球當順其調節作用。亦為當然之原則。努目適與此背。切宜戒之。
When practicing Taiji Boxing, you should have a serene bearing, not a look akin to having a drawn sword or a loaded crossbow. “Spirit should be collected within” (Treatise) as well as “spirit comfortable, body calm” and “outwardly show ease” (How to Practice) each express this idea. Glaring with angry eyes will keep your eyes from following along with the movements of your intention, will cause your spirit to be outwardly revealed, and will produce the error of lifting up your energy. As for the physiological aspect, your eye muscles should not be overworked and should instead be used moderately and naturally. Glaring with angry eyes is contrary to this practice and should be avoided.

(乙)口宜閉忌咬牙
B. Your mouth should be closed, but do not gnash your teeth.

人之呼吸。按照生理。本應由鼻空出入。閉口之效。卽所以養成此種良好之習慣也。唯用力緊閉。則失純任自然之意。且齒部過受壓迫。亦與生理有礙。不可不愼。
A person’s breathing, according to physiology, ought to be through the nose, resulting in the mouth being closed. This will cultivate a good habit. But closing your mouth tightly will violate the principle of naturalness and will cause your teeth to be worn down, a physiological hindrance that you must be mindful of.

(丙)舌抵上腭
C. Your tongue is to be touching your upper palate.

此法能使口內唾腺。時時分泌津液。以為潤喉之需。蓋初練之人。一經動作。則血行必漸加速。易使咽喉乾燥。而礙及呼吸。殊與調息有關。若行此法。其弊自免。且能補助消化作用。尤有注意之價値也。
This will cause your salivary glands to constantly secrete saliva and moisten your throat. In the beginning of the training, once there is any movement, blood circulation will gradually quicken, which will easily dry out your throat, hindering your breath. This principle is therefore concerned with the regulating of the breath, and by practicing with it in mind, you will avoid such problems. It also can aid digestive function, and so it is worth giving attention.

二、涵胸拔背
2. CONTAINING YOUR CHEST & PLUCKING UP YOUR BACK

從生理方面說。人體之強弱。與肌肉運動力之強弱。常為正比例。體操與武術。所以能使人強健者。其原因卽在於增進肌肉之運動力耳。唯人體肌肉有隨意肌與不隨意肌之分。隨意肌常隨意識而運動。不隨意肌則屬自動性質。而不受意識之指揮。故欲增加不隨意肌之運動力。除功深之人。能利用心理作用外。初學之人。則非藉重於適當之姿勢不可。太極拳對於軀幹部分之姿勢。其最要者。曰涵胸拔背。涵胸者乃使心窩微向內凹。俾內部橫膈板。因胸壁向內壓迫。自然降下。以為沉氣之助也。拔背者乃使背部微如弓背之突出。俾脊柱之背椎部分。背椎亦名胸椎在頸椎與腰椎之間此部分之脊骨因受重量壓迫常成前挺式淺弓形可由前挺式淺弓形。練成後挺式淺弓形。俾背椎部分。因前後皆能運動。而無形中脊柱全部可使囘復初生時之垂直性。拔背之用。在拳術技擊方面說。亦有極重要之關係。蓋背椎前挺。則氣貼於胸。而成上重下輕之勢。最易受擊而倒。且脊柱作前挺式淺弓形。則腿部之力。太極拳論云其根在脚發於腿卽謂發力之源在於腿也經脊柱中部而直達於兩臂。其勢不順。尤為發勁之阻礙。行功心解「力由脊發」及「氣貼背」二語。卽指此種功夫而言。又涵胸拔背之姿勢。雖與靜坐式之三折形相似。然太極拳係由動而靜。與靜坐功之由靜而動。途徑實不盡同。故太極拳之涵胸拔背。亦不可誤為固定之姿勢必須隨勢變動。乃能直接使肋間肌與橫膈板增加運動力。間接使內臟不隨意肌。增加運動力。俾呼吸循環消化排泄等生理作用。因此而呈良好之現象。其為重要。更不待言。此外應附帶注意者。尚有三要點。略述如下。
As for the physiological aspect of this, the extent of the body’s strength and the extent of the muscular movement’s power are always in direct proportion to each other. Calisthenics and martial arts can therefore make a person strong and healthy because they enhance muscular power. The muscles of the body divide into voluntary muscles and involuntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are moved consciously. Involuntary muscles move automatically and unconsciously. Therefore if you wish to enhance the strength of the involuntary muscles, but are not yet a practitioner of deep skill able to take advantage of psychological functions, merely a beginner, then you will only be successful if you concentrate on getting the posture right.
     Regarding the torso section, the most important Taiji Boxing principle is “contain your chest and pluck up your back”. Containing your chest means getting your solar plexus to slightly cave in, which folds your diaphragm inward, causing your chest wall to press inward and naturally downward, thereby aiding the sinking of energy. Plucking up your back means getting your back to slightly resemble the curve of a bow, so that the vertebrae of your spine (here meaning the thoracic vertebrae, between the cervical vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae. This part of the back often curves forward due to the supporting of weight.) can be trained to curve back instead of curving forward, enabling all of your vertebrae to have movement forward and back. [What is being described is the two ends of the thoracic section, especially the lower end where it meets the lumbar section, curving forward to produce a lordosis swayback effect. The intention is not to counterbalance this by bulging the back into a kyphosis hunchback effect. Both such extremes are to be avoided. The meaning here is that the two ends of the thoracic section are to be drawn back and thus straighten the spine from pelvis to skull. This effect would perhaps be expressed less confusingly by instruction to simply tuck in the tailbone and draw back the chin rather than to “pluck up the back”.] Then imperceptibly your spine will be induced to return to the more straightened appearance it had when you were an infant.
     The function of “pluck up the back” lies in the martial aspect of the art, for which it is extremely important. If your spine is sticking out forward, energy will get stuck in your chest and make you top-heavy and easily knocked down. Furthermore, if your spine is slightly curving forward, the power of your legs (As the Treatise says: “Starting from your foot, issue through your leg.” This means that the issuing of power begins in your legs.) traveling through the middle of your spine to go directly into your arms will not reach its destination smoothly, and this will be a particular hindrance to your issuing of energy. “Power comes from your spine” and “energy sticks to your spine” (How to Practice) both have to do with this kind of skill.
     Although “contain your chest and pluck up your back” resembles the position of the spine in the “three folded” posture of seated meditation, Taiji is stillness within the context of movement whereas meditation is movement within the context of stillness. They are not done in entirely the same way. For the version of containing the chest and plucking up the back in Taiji Boxing, you must not commit the error of interpreting the principle as a frozen state of posture, but must instead allow it to adjust with the changes of the movements. You will then be able to directly enhance the strength of your intercostal muscles and diaphragm, and indirectly enhance the strength of your organs and involuntary muscles, thereby greatly improving the physiological functions of respiration, circulation, digestion, and excretion. The significance of this principle thus needs no more words.
     There are also three related points important to pay attention to, explained briefly below:

(甲)鬆腰
A. Loosen your waist.

鬆腰者拔腰之反也。拔腰有提氣之弊。故宜戒之。鬆腰則氣自下沉。能使兩足增力。下盤穩重。且上下肢之虛實變化。有不得力處。亦全恃腰部轉動合宜。以資補救。鬆腰則肌肉舒展。可使腰部感覺靈敏。轉動便利。於技擊上有重要之效用。若從生理方面說。則鬆腰可使腹式呼吸。增其容量。卽拳術家所謂沉氣功夫也。又腰部常作適當之運動。與腎腸兩機關。亦有良好之影響。太極拳論「其病必於腰腿求之」句。十三勢歌「命意源頭在腰隙」句。及「腹內鬆淨氣騰然」句。皆指鬆腰而言。不可不知也。
Loosening your waist is the opposite of hoisting up your waist, which would cause the problem of lifting up your energy and should thus be avoided. Loosening your waist will cause energy to sink down and can increase the strength of your legs and stability of your stance. If you have not achieved efficient switching of emptiness and fullness between your upper and lower limbs, the remedy for this depends entirely on the appropriate turning of your waist. Loosening your waist will stretch out the muscles, which can make your waist feel more nimble and turn more easily, and this will have a significant effect upon your fighting ability.
     As for the physiological aspect, loosening your waist can increase the capacity of your abdominal breathing, what boxing experts call the “sinking energy skill”. Furthermore, when your waist is often given proper exercise, it will have a good influence on your kidneys and intestines. “The problem must be in your waist and legs, so look for it there” (Treatise) as well as “their command coming from your lower back” and “if there is complete relaxation within your belly, energy is primed” (Thirteen Dynamics Song) are all statements pointing to loosening your waist. This principle has to be understood.

(乙)尾閭中正
B. Center your tailbone.

尾閭卽尾骶骨。在脊柱之最末端。此處若不中正。則脊柱之直度。必先受其影響。而精力亦難於上達矣。十三勢歌「尾閭中正神貫頂」一語。卽是此意。又初學之人。每遇重心在一足時。練太極拳兩足須時時變換虛實為重要原則之一其側身遷就之姿勢。往往過於必要之限度。易使全身骨骼。陷於不自然之狀態。甚與生理有礙。尤宜於尾閭中正一事加之意也。
Your tailbone is the bone at the bottom of your sacrum, at the very end of your spine. If this area is not centered, the straightness of your spinal column will be the first thing to be affected, which will then make it difficult for energy to be transmitted upward. “Your tailbone is centered and spirit penetrates to your headtop” (Thirteen Dynamics Song) is exactly this idea. When a beginner puts his weight onto one leg (While practicing Taiji Boxing, the legs will have to constantly switch roles of empty and full, an important basic principle.), he typically moves his body sideways more than is necessary, which easily causes his skeleton to slip into an unnatural position, a great physiological hindrance. And so you should give extra attention to the principle of centering your tailbone.

(丙)垂臀
C. Hang your buttocks down.

此言蹲身時。宜使臀部下垂。方為合法之姿勢。蓋初練之人。稍稍蹲身。便將臀部外突。致使脊柱椎骨間受不自然之壓迫。最足為鬆腰拔背之礙。故亦為應行注意之一點也。
When squatting your body, your buttocks should be hanging down for the posture to be correct. When beginners even slightly squat, they instead end up sticking their butts out, causing unnatural pressure between the vertebrae, which at the very least would hinder the loosening of the waist and the plucking up of the back. Attention should therefore be given to this point.

三、沉肩垂肘
3. SINKING YOUR SHOULDERS & DROPPING YOUR ELBOWS

四肢運動。為隨意運動。其運動之當否。固由於意識之精粗。但不良之習慣。亦能使意識失其效用。故初練之時。雖屬隨意運動。亦非有相當之注意不可。太極拳對於上肢部分之姿勢。其最重要者。曰沉肩垂肘。沉肩卽寒肩之反。寒肩者。如人畏寒而兩肩上聳也。此種姿勢。最足阻礙膊帶部分。卽肩骨鎖骨及其肌肉等之發展而使胸廓受不良之影響。殊與生理不合。沉肩之功效。在使肩部鬆垂。以為沉氣之助。並使兩臂於發勁時。可免牽掣之累。寒肩則適得其反。故拳術家均引為大戒。垂肘為沉肩之聯帶姿勢。肘如張翅。不但為沉肩之害。且使肋骨部分。失其嚴密之護衞。亦不可不知也。其關於手部之姿勢。約有二端如左。
The movement of the limbs follows the movement of the intention, and so whether the movement is done right or wrong derives from how refined or crude the intention is. However, bad habits can cause the mind to lose its effectiveness. In the beginning of the training, although the movement follows the intention, it will not work unless you have corresponding attention.
     Regarding the upper body, the most important Taiji Boxing principle is “sink your shoulders and drop your elbows”.
     Sunk shoulders are the opposite of “shivering shoulders”, as when a person lifts his shoulders up out of fear of the cold. This kind of posture will at the very least hinder the ability of the “shoulder belt” (meaning the muscles connecting the shoulder bone and collar bone) to flatten out and will have a bad influence on the rib cage that would be in opposition to its physiological function. The effect of sinking the shoulders is to cause them to loosen and hang down, aiding in the sinking of energy, and also to keep the arms from becoming weary when issuing. Lifting your shoulders is contrary to what will be effective, and so boxing experts tend to warn against it.
     Dropping your elbows is related to sinking your shoulders. If your elbows come up like wings, not only will this ruin the sinking of your shoulders, it will also keep you from closely guarding your ribs, and so it must also be understood.
     There are additionally a couple of related features of the hands, which are explained below:

(甲)舒指
A. Extend your fingers.

此言手指須有舒展之意。切忌用力拳曲。或過於硬直。卽遇握拳之勢。亦宜鬆不宜緊。庶符全身悉任自然之意。須知手指之姿勢。在練習太極拳時。應視為全身運動之導引。切忌以此為攻擊敵人之唯一表示也。太極拳論「形於手指」句。卽是此意。
The idea here is that your fingers must be extending rather than curling into fists, but they should also not be stiffly straight. Likewise when making a fist, it should be loose rather than tight, conforming to the naturalness of your whole body. You need to understand that the posture of your fingers during practice should be regarded as guiding your body’s movements and should never just have an appearance of attacking opponents. “Expressing it at your fingers” (Treatise) is exactly this idea.

(乙)突掌
B. Stick out your palms.

此言手掌表示前推時。須使掌心微有突意。以為引伸內勁之助。論其生理作用。則有舒展臂腕肌腱之效。故不可忽。然亦不可誤為發勁而過於用力。蓋過於用力。非僵卽脆。僵則滯鈍。脆則勁斷。均與太極拳運勁之道不合。學者不可不愼焉。
This describes the palm in the position of a forward push, in which you must give the palm an intention of slightly protruding in order to aid the drawing in and extending of internal power. As for the physiological effect, this stretches out the tendons of the arm and wrist, and thus must not be overlooked. However, you also must not make the mistake of issuing with too much exertion, which will cause stiffness and brittleness. With stiffness, the energy will be sluggish. With brittleness, the energy will be interrupted. Neither of these conform to Taiji Boxing’s way of moving energy and so you will have to be mindful of them.

四、川字步
4. THE THREE-LINE STANCE

太極拳之樁步。通稱川字步。卽兩足前後立。足尖俱向前。須在兩點上。

如形
  。

或形

  。

前後斜度。及左右距離。宜就身軀高矮。以為伸縮之標準。蹲身亦不可過度。蓋過於費力。旣與生理不合。且易引起呼吸緊促。尤為沉氣與調息之大礙。不可不注意也。又步之虛實。亦有一定之姿勢。大致如左。
Taiji Boxing’s stance is called the “three-line stance”. Your feet stand with one in front, the other behind, the toes of both feet pointing forward. The feet are placed at two points [with an imaginary third line running between them],

for instance:

      |R
L|

or:

L|
      |R

They are on a diagonal to the front and back, separated to the left and right. The standard of distance between your feet depends on your own body’s height. You must not squat down too far, for excessive effort is not physiologically sound, and it would also lead to quickening of the breath. As it would be a huge obstruction to the sinking of energy and the regulating of breath, going overly low must be paid attention to.
     There is a fixed pattern to the emptiness and fullness of the feet, which is explained generally below:

(甲)虛步
A. The empty foot:

兩足時時變換虛實。使全身重量。由兩腿輪流負擔。旣可調劑疲勞。且予骨節以相當之活動。此太極拳川字步合於生理關係之優點也。虛步之姿勢。以能隨意起落為最要。腿彎應伸應屈旣不如外家拳限制之嚴。足尖或足跟。亦可順勢起落。以符自然之意。切忌自相牽掣。太極拳論「由脚而腿而腰、總須完整一氣、」等語。係槪指兩腿而言。學者未可以虛步而忽之也。
The feet are constantly switching the roles of empty and full, causing your body’s weight to be supported by each leg in turn, which can regulate fatigue as well as give equal exercise to the joints. These are the physiological advantages of Taiji Boxing’s three-line stance.
     The most important feature of the empty foot is that it is able to rise and lower in accordance with the intention. Whether the leg is straight or bent is not so strict as with external boxing arts, nor the distinction of touching down with the toes or heel, which instead conforms to whatever is more natural, neither being frowned upon. “From foot through leg through waist, it must be a fully continuous process” as well as other phrases (Treatise) are generally indicating both of the legs, yet you must never overlook the empty one.

(乙)實步
B. The Full Foot:

實步卽虛步之反。最要之姿勢。為腿彎不可伸直。蓋不如此。則全身重量。偏於骨骼之支撐。不但有形勢不穩。與變換不靈等弊病。且肌肉部分。因此減少鍛鍊。亦非生理所宜也。
The full foot is the opposite of the empty foot. The most important feature of it is that the leg is bent and must not be straight. If straight, then the weight of your body will be braced by your skeleton in a posture that will not only be unstable, but will make moving into other postures awkward and harmful. Furthermore, the leg’s muscles will receive a workout so diminished as to be physiologically inappropriate.

以上各點。係專就固定之姿勢。略述大槪。闕漏自所不免。其未盡之處。為行文便利計。當於第七八章中。附論及之。割裂之咎。閱者諒焉。
The various points above have to do only with major elements that are described briefly and generally, and so gaps of information are unavoidable. This chapter not being an exhaustive study means the style of writing in it is very easygoing. In chapters Seven and Eight, I have placed related sections that analyze some of these things further. Pardon me for not placing that material within this chapter.

第六章 太極拳與力學之關係
CHAPTER SIX: TAIJI BOXING IN RELATION TO THE STUDY OF MECHANICS

從技擊方面說。力學與拳術最有密切之關係。太極拳純以小力勝大力。尤與力學原理。隱相符合。今舉其著要各點。分述於後。
From a martial aspect, mechanics [the Chinese term more literally meaning “the science of forces”] and boxing arts are intimately related. Taiji Boxing always uses a small force to defeat a large one, and so it especially conforms to the principles of mechanics. The important points of this are analyzed below:

一•合於夸端動例之點
1. CONFORMING TO NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION

行功心解云。「發勁須沉着鬆淨、專主一方。」又曰「發勁如放箭。」蓋謂擊人之力。其意向所指。當如箭之直趨於的。方為合法。若作剛疾解。則不免失之毫釐。謬以千里矣。須知力之本性。不受外力。則不變方向。卽奈端動例所謂「動路必直」也。習外功拳者。其發勁也。能使敵人受損傷。而未必隨手傾倒者。皆緣其所發之力。本在傷人。故祗達身而止。且恐為人所執。往往一擊卽囘。是其前進正力。已先受自身負力之阻。奈端動例第二一遇敵身應有之反力。奈端動例第三自失其前進之本性矣。太極拳一發勁。能擲人於尋丈之外。雖屬乘勢追擊之功。亦由於所發之勁。能順乎力之本性。直使前進。並不以已達敵身為其止境也。附錄奈端動例。以資參攷。
“When issuing power, you must sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction” and “issue power like loosing an arrow” (How to Practice) both describe the force with which you are attacking an opponent. The intention should be like an arrow going straight to a target, then the method will be correct. If you act with strength or urgency, you will inevitably “miss by an inch, lose by a mile” [as mentioned in the Classic]. It is necessary to understand the inherent nature of force, that if it does not receive an outside force, it will not change direction, what Newton’s first law of motion means by “the path of motion will be straight”. [As a small point of interest: though the transliterating of Newton’s name has by now become standardized in Chinese as 牛頓 “Niudun”, Xu in 1927 renders it as 奈端 “Naiduan”.]
     In the practice of external boxing arts, issuing energy can cause the opponent to be injured, yet will not necessarily topple him with ease. This is always because the force issued is intended for injuring him, and will therefore finish upon reaching his body. Moreover, it would perhaps as a result become controlled by the opponent, who would usually then return a strike, and this is due to your forward force being already prevented from reaching his body [i.e. deflected away in the direction of his blocking] (as in the case of Newton’s second law of motion). But if your issued force did reach his body, there would then be an opposing force (as in the case of Newton’s third law of motion), consequently dispelling the forward quality of your force.
     When Taiji Boxing issues energy, it can throw an opponent more than thirty feet away. Although this is the skill of riding along with the opponent’s own momentum [during a moment in which his forward energy has reversed] to attack him with it, it also comes from your own issuing of energy and can thus comply with the nature of force to continue forward in a straight line [since your issued energy is added to (producing acceleration) and in the same direction as his retreating momentum] instead of the situation of ceasing upon reaching the opponent’s body.
     Included here for reference are Newton’s laws of motion:

奈端動例第一、
Newton’s First Law of Motion:

[Since Newton originally wrote these laws in Latin (published 1687), it is appropriate for the Latin text to be included: “Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare.”
The 1729 translation by Andrew Motte is probably the closest to the Latin original: “Every body perseveres in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed thereon.”]
凡物若不受外力。則靜者不自動。動者不自止。動路必直。速率必均。
It is always the case that unless influenced by an outside force, an object at rest will not move by itself and an object in motion will not come to rest by itself. The path of motion will be straight and the speed will be consistent.

奈端動例第二、
Newton’s Second Law of Motion:

[Newton: “Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi motrici impressae, et fieri secundum lineam rectam qua vis illa imprimitur.”
Motte: “The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impress’d; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impress’d.”]
動之變。與外力為正比。變動之路直。與外力同向。換言之。卽凡外力加於一物。一力有一力之效。多力有多力之效。
Changes of motion that contrast the main force with an outside force will change the straight line of the motion toward the same direction as that of the outside force. Put another way [now drawing from Newton’s elaborating upon the second law: “Si vis aliqua motum quemvis generet, dupla duplum, tripla triplum generabit, sive simul et semel, sive gradatim et successive impressa suerit.” (Motte: “If a force generates a motion, a double force will generate double the motion, a triple force triple the motion, whether that force be impressed altogether and at once, or gradually and successively.”)], whenever an outside force is added to an object, one degree of force will have the effect of one degree of force, whereas many degrees of force will have the effect of many degrees of forces.

奈端動例第三、
Newton’s Third Law of Motion:

[Newton: “Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales et in partes contrarias dirigi.”
Motte: “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.”]
正力與反力相等。又曰。凡動必復。
When a main force and an opposing force are equal, then the motion of an object will be entirely reversed.

二•合於合力原理之點
2. CONFORMING TO THE PRINCIPLE OF NET FORCE

以太極拳應敵。遇敵發勁來擊。最忌逆其方向而抵抗之。宜順從敵勁之方向。以力引之落空。使敵陷於危險之地位。方為合法。此種合法之力。卽所謂化勁是也。其合於合力原理之點。以圖證之如左。
When using Taiji Boxing to deal with an opponent, it is crucial to avoid going against the direction of his issued energy and resisting it. You should instead yield to the direction of his energy, drawing in his force to land on nothing and thereby causing him to fall into a dangerous position. It will then be the correct method, and the force in this kind of method is called neutralizing energy. It conforms to the principle of net force, demonstrated in figures 1-3 below.

figure 1:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第一圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 1

figure 2:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第二圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 2

figure 3:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第三圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 3

右圖甲乙甲’乙’甲”乙”等三線。均表示敵力之分量及其方向。乙丙線。乃表示尋常拳術。橫格敵勁時。所用外力之分量及其方向。乙’丙’與乙”丙”二線、則表示太極拳所用化勁之分量及其方向。甲丙甲’丙’甲”丙”等三線。均表示外力(卽乙丙乙’丙’乙”丙”等三力)加入於敵力。(卽甲乙甲’乙’甲”乙”等三力)後。所生合力之分量及其方向。以第一圖各線與第二三圖各線比較之。得式如左。
The three lines of A1→B1, A2→B2, and A3→B3 all show the extent of the opponent’s force and its direction. The line of B1→C1 demonstrates the typical boxing technique of deflecting aside the opponent’s energy by imposing an outside force upon it, and the extent and direction of this force. Lines B2→C2 and B3→C3 demonstrate Taiji Boxing’s neutralizing energy, and the extent and direction of this force. The three lines of A1→C1, A2→C2, and A3→C3 show the outside force (the three forces of B1→C1, B2→C2, or B3→C3) added to the opponent’s force (the three forces of A1→B1, A2→B2, or A3→B3), producing the extent and direction of the net force. The scenarios in these three figures are compared below:

(子)第一第二兩圖之比較
i. Comparison of figures 1 and 2:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 1《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 2

甲乙=甲’乙’
A1→B1 = A2→B2
乙丙=乙’丙’
B1→C1 = B2→C2
甲’丙’─甲丙=丁’丙’
A2→C2 – A1→C1 = D2→C2
∴甲’丙’>甲丙
Therefore: A2→C2 > A1→C1

(丑)第一第三兩圖之比較
ii. Comparison of figures 1 and 3:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 1《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 3

甲乙=甲”乙”
A1→B1 = A3→B3
甲丙=甲”丙”
A1→C1 = A3→C3
乙丙─乙”丙”=丁丙
B1→C1 – B3→C3 = D1→C1
∴乙”丙”<丁丙
Therefore: B3→C3 < D[B]1→C1

右(子、)式甲’丙’大於甲丙。卽證明太極拳之化勁。能以同量之力。得多量之效。卽使敵勁落空而陷於更深之危險(丑、)式乙”丙”小於乙丙。卽證明太極拳之化勁。能以少量之力。得同量之效。按圖解之。均極明顯。自無待煩言也。
Explanation i shows that the force of A2→C2 is greater than A1→C1. This proves that Taiji Boxing’s neutralizing energy can use equal force and yet achieve a greater result (and thereby causing the opponent’s force to land on nothing and getting him to fall into an even more dangerous position). Explanation ii shows that the force of B3→C3 is less than B1→C1. This proves that Taiji Boxing’s neutralizing energy can use less force and yet achieve an equal result. These results are clear from the diagrams and need no further explanation.

三•合於反力原理之點
3. CONFORMING TO THE PRINCIPLE OF OPPOSITE FORCE

又太極拳擊人時。能利用反動力。尤與合力有關。蓋甲物加力於乙物之上。則乙物亦加力於甲物之上。兩力常相等。揆之奈端動例等三。乃為當然之事實。如人以手推牆。同時牆亦以同量之力。反加於手。或如以繩牽物。同時物亦牽人。以及鎗礮子彈出膛時。鎗礮必發生反撞等。皆足為反動力之明證。至物之受力而移其原有位置者。乃正負兩力中。必有一力大於其他一力所生合力之結果也。按力學說。凡二力在一直線上。其計算合力之法。同向則相加。異向則相減。當如第四第五兩圖所示。
When attacking an opponent with Taiji Boxing you can utilize opposing force, especially in relation to net force. If object A adds force to object B, then object B also adds force to object A, the two forces being always equivalent, as per Newton’s third law, a simple matter of fact. If you push on a wall, the wall is putting the same amount of force into your hands. Or if you pull an object at the nd of a rope, the object is at the same time pulling on you. Or when a ball is shot from a cannon, there is sure to be a recoil that rolls that cannon backward. All of these examples are sufficient to prove the principle of opposite forces. When an object receives force that moves it from its original position, there is then a greater-than or less-than between the two forces. It is certain that one force is larger than the other, consequently producing a net force. In accordance with the principles of mechanics, let us place two forces along a straight line and calculate the net force. If they go in the same direction, they are to be added together. If they go in different directions, one is to be subtracted from the other. See figures 4 and 5 below.

figure 4:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第四圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 4

第四圖甲乙表示第一力之力量。作二么匿算。甲丙表示第二力之力量。作四么匿算。兩力同向。故圖中以甲丁表示兩方相加之合力六么匿也。順勢擊人為各家拳術所同尚。此圖卽其明證。然此與反動力無關。不足為太極拳所獨有之優點也。
In figure 4 above, A→B shows the extent of the initial force, amounting to two notches along the calculating bar. A→C shows the extent of the second force, bringing it up to four notches. As the two forces are in the same direction, A→D thus shows the net force of both added together: six notches. Taking advantage of a momentum to attack an opponent is something that in every school of boxing arts is to be valued, as proven in figure 4. But it therefore has no bearing on the subject at hand, being insufficient to show the unique qualities of Taiji Boxing.

figure 5:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第五圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 5

第五圖甲乙表示正力。作四么匿算。甲丙表示負力。作二么匿算。兩力反向。故圖中以甲丁表示兩力相減之合力二么匿也。外功家以巨力擊人。常不免受反力之影響。其不經濟處。此圖卽其明證。太極拳擊人時。其第一力之效用。並無立卽制勝敵人之意。乃首在探知敵人之反動力。或其所加之抵抗力。已至若何程度。俾得以第二力移其反動力或抵抗力。使敵人陷於不穩之地位。然後以第三力擊之。則敵人無不應手而仆矣。故太極拳之第一力。常為虛着。第二力則為化勁。第三力始為發勁。如第二力不能移動敵力。則第三力應仍用化勁。推而至於第四第五力。應皆如是。方合太極拳先化後打之意。化勁與反動力之關係。以圖證之如左。
In figure 5 above, A→B shows the main force, amounting to four notches along the calculating bar. A→C shows the resisting force, amounting to two notches. As the two forces are in opposite directions, A→D thus shows the net force of both when the smaller amount is subtracted from the larger: two notches. Practitioners of external arts use a huge force to strike opponents, and so they always and unavoidably receive the impact of an opposite force, which is not an economical way to fight, as proven in figure 5.
     In Taiji Boxing, when attacking an opponent, the effect of your first force is not intended to immediately defeat him, but to first of all search for and know his opposing force or how much resistance he will add to your force. Once you know the degree of this, you can put out a second force to shift the direction of his opposing force or resistance, causing him to fall into an unstable position. You may then put out a third force to attack him, and thus he will always and easily fall away.
     Therefore Taiji Boxing’s first force is always an empty technique, the second force is the neutralizing energy, and the third force is the beginning of the issuing energy. However, if the second force fails to shift the direction of the opponent’s force, then the third force should still be used to neutralize, and the push will happen with the fourth or fifth force. It should always be done like this, and then it will conform to the Taiji Boxing intention of “first neutralize, then attack”. The relationship between neutralizing and opposite force is shown in figures 6 and 7 below.

figure 6:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第六圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 6

第六圖。甲乙與丙乙等量而反向。卽表示正力與負力相等之情形。子點為兩力相抵之點。其合力等於零。故在此時。太極拳可用乙丁之力。卽化勁使敵人之反動力。由丙乙之方向。而變為丙丁之方向。卽使敵人之身。由直立之姿勢。而成為後仰之姿勢。不穩可知矣。太極拳論「若將物掀起」句、之掀起二字。卽是此意。
In figure 6 above, A→B and C→B are equal forces in opposite directions. This demonstrates the situation of a main force and a resisting force being equivalent to each other. Point 1 is where the two forces counterbalance. The net force is zero. Therefore at this moment, Taiji Boxing can use the force of B→D (i.e. neutralize), causing the opponent’s opposing force to veer off from the direction of C→B to the direction of C→D, making his body go from a posture of standing erect to one of backing off, and he will be noticeably unstable. The lifting in the Classic’s “like when you reach down to lift up an object” is exactly this idea.

figure 7:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第七圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 7

第七圖。戊丙係表示敵人所加之抵抗力。戊丙與丙乙之合力。較甲乙單力為大。故太極拳不與之抗。而用乙丁之力。卽化勁順其勢而移動之。使戊乙之方向變為戊丁之方向。並增加其前傾之力量。卽使敵身由直立之姿勢。而成為前俯之姿勢。其危險亦無待言矣。太極拳能以小力勝大力。此其原因之一。學者不可不知也。
In figure 7 above, E→C demonstrates the opponent adding resistance. The net force of E→C and C→B compared to the force of A→B (a single force), is greater. Therefore Taiji Boxing does not resist against it, but instead uses the force of B→D (neutralizing), taking advantage of the momentum and shifting the direction of it, causing the direction of E→B to veer off to the direction of E→D, which also increases the extent of his forward inclination, making his body go from a posture of standing erect to one of leaning forward, the danger of which goes without saying. Taiji Boxing can use a small force to defeat a large force. This is one of the explanations why, and you have to understand it.

四•合於對力原理之點
4. CONFORMING TO THE PRINCIPLE OF EQUAL FORCE

凡兩力平行。大小相等。而方向相反者。則無合力。如第八圖則謂之對力。
When two forces of equal size move along parallel lines but in different directions, there is a net force of zero, and they are thus called equal forces. See figure 8:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第八圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 8

對力之勢。常使物轉。故太極拳每逢敵人以右手擊我左方。或以左手擊我右方。則我卽側身以避之。而同時以我之右手或左手。向敵之左方或右方發勁擊之。無須大力。卽能使敵身旋轉。如第八圖。甲乙代敵之兩肩。子丑代反向之兩種勁。其結果則兩肩易其原有之位置矣。如敵已感覺不穩。而立將所發之勁收囘。尤足使敵人被擊而後退。蓋已由對力之形勢。而變為合力之形勢矣。其圖如左。
Equal forces cause objects to rotate. Therefore in Taiji Boxing, whenever an opponent uses his right hand to attack my left side, or uses his left hand to attack my right side, I turn my body sideways to evade it while at the same time using my right hand to issue energy to his left side, or using my left hand to issue energy to his right side. The force does not need to be great, and yet it can make him spin away. In figure 8 above, A and B represent the opponent’s shoulders, while 1 and 2 represent opposite directions of force. The result is that his shoulders are moved from their original position. Once he feels unstable, he will immediately withdraw his issued energy, and this will be more than enough to make him retreat from the energy he is attacked by. This changes the situation from one of equal forces to one of net force, as in figure 9:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第九圖《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 9

右圖子為敵之第一勁。其效用已因收囘而消滅。丑為我方所發之勁。正在進行。寅為敵之第二勁。與第一勁為反向。亦正在進行。丑寅兩力之合力為卯。卽表示我以少量之力。丑力而收多量之效也。
In figure 9 above [with A and B still representing his shoulders], 1 is the opponent’s initial force, which I have already received and dispelled, 2 is the direction in which my energy issues, which goes straight forward, 3 is his second energy reversing from his first, also straight ahead, and 4 is the net force of 2 and 3. This demonstrates that my small amount of force (2) has the effect of harvesting a great amount.

五•合於重心原理之點
5. CONFORMING TO THE PRINCIPLE OF CENTER OF GRAVITY

凡物皆有重心。或在物內。或在物外。隨形體而變異。有穩與不穩及中立卽無穩與不穩等三種區別。如第十圖。
Every object has a center of gravity, sometimes inside an object, sometimes outside an object, depending on variations of structure. It may be in a position of stability, instability, or neutrality (meaning neither stable nor unstable). These three distinctions are shown in figures 10a-10c below.

figure 10a:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第十圖甲《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 10a

錐形體(甲)為穩之形勢。因其重心垂線。不易越出基點之外也。
Cone A above demonstrates stability. This is because the vertical line of the center of gravity will not easily shift beyond the base.

figure 10b:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第十圖乙《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 10b

(乙)為不穩之形勢。因其重心垂線。微動之。卽出於基點之外矣。
Cone B above demonstrates instability. This is because if the vertical line of the center of gravity shifts at all, it will go beyond the base.

figure 10c:

《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - 第十圖丙《太極拳淺說》 徐致一 (1927) - figure 10c

(丙)為中立之形勢。因其重心垂線。無論如何移動。一經靜止。可仍囘基點之內也。
Cone C above demonstrates neutrality. This is because however the vertical line of the center of gravity shifts, it will still remain within the base once the object is at rest.

故欲維持物之穩勢。須使基點擴大。或重心下降。乃為一定不易之理。人之重心。在腹之下部。非利用外物外力决無降於極度或體外之可能。如走繩索者。每恃長桿兩端繫重物為助。卽是此理。未練沉氣之人。氣多上浮。重心亦隨之上升。若再加力於其上身部分。則愈成上重下輕之勢。其重心垂線極易越出基點。如圖(乙)常有傾倒之虞。然沉氣之功。雖能使重心下降。俾人體得較穩之形勢。但人之兩足。所佔之基點。前後廣則左右窄。左右廣則前後窄。如向其窄處擊之。則重心垂線。仍易越出基點也。可見技擊之事。僅恃重心下降。亦非至穩之道。太極拳應敵之時。一方旣利用敵人反力。以搖動敵人重心。為其先務。化勁之效卽在於此說已見前一方對於自己之重心。則時時以變換方法。使之穩定。並不以一味沉氣。為其不二法門。須知太極拳之姿勢。旣以全身重量寄於一足。為其重要原則之一。是其重心垂線。僅與一足有關。自不待言。其一足之基點。較之兩足站實者。更為狹小。亦屬不可掩之事實。以常理言。此等狀態。豈非反多傾倒之虞。然太極拳仍能不失其穩定之形勢者。其故果何在哉。一言以蔽之。皆兩足能變換虛實之功耳。所謂變換者。卽一足不穩時。立將全身重量。移於他足之上。使由不穩之形勢。而復歸於穩定之形勢。易言之。卽基點之地位。時時隨重心之變動而變動。使重心垂線。一經靜止。可另在一基點之內。而不受其原有之限制也。如圖(丙)前述走索之例。亦有無須長桿者。見者每以為異。其實卽此種功夫登峯造極時。所同有之成績。皆深合力學原理。而無絲毫神祕性者也。
Therefore if you wish to maintain the stability of an object, you must either broaden its base or lower its center of gravity, and then you will have achieved the principle of unchanging stability.
     A person’s center of gravity lies in the lower abdomen. Without utilizing some object or outside force, one would certainly be without the ability to lower extremely or externally. For instance, a tightrope walker always relies on a long pole (i.e. the weight at both of its ends) for assistance, which is exactly this principle. If you have not trained at sinking energy, your energy will often float up, and your center of gravity will follow it by rising upward. If force is then added to your upper body, you will become even more top-heavy, the vertical line of your center of gravity will be very easy to shift beyond your base (as in the case of cone B), and you would always be in danger of leaning.
     However, while the skill of sinking energy can cause your center of gravity to lower so that your body can obtain a more stable posture, the base that your feet occupy will be either wide to the front and back while narrow to the left and right or will be wide to the left and right while narrow to the front and back. If you are attacked at the narrow section, then the vertical line of your center of gravity will again easily go beyond your base. It is clear from this that matters of fighting only depend on the center of gravity lowering and not on methods of total stabilization.
     When Taiji Boxing responds to opponents, one aspect of it is to make use of the opponent’s opposing force to sway his center of gravity and put him in an urgent situation. (The effectiveness of neutralizing lies in this scenario, as explained earlier.) Another aspect of it has to do with your own center of gravity, whereby you will frequently use methods of adjustment to stabilize yourself rather than trying to stubbornly sink your energy, this being the only reasonable course to take.
     You need to understand that the situation in Taiji Boxing is to shift the weight of your body onto one foot. This is a key principle. It means that the vertical line of your center of gravity is over only one foot, and thus obviously your base involves only one foot. Compared to a base involving both feet, this is actually even narrower, as well as harder to conceal. Commonsense dictates that this kind of condition would work against you and put you more often at risk of leaning. Nevertheless, you are able with Taiji Boxing to keep from losing stability, and the reason for this, put succinctly, is that the feet have the ability to alternate between states of empty and full.
     Alternating means that when one foot is unstable, the weight is immediately switched over to the other foot, causing a return from instability to stability. In other words, the position of your base is constantly adapting to the changes of your center of gravity, so that the vertical line of your center of gravity can be at another position inside your base once you are settled (as in the case of cone C) and is not limited only to the original placement. The example above of walking a tightrope can also be achieved without need of a long pole. This at first would never seem to be the case, but actually once this kind of skill becomes perfected, the result will be the same [due to subtly alternating states of empty and full throughout the rest of the body]. All of these things deeply conform to the principles of mechanics and are not the slightest bit mystical.

以上各端。凡有志技擊者。非融會貫通不可。本書限於篇幅。祗能述其大槪。深以簡略為歉。如有不易了解處。若能兩人同閱。按圖比擬。則其精妙處。或可於言外得之也。
The various examples above are for those interested in fighting, but they will not be easily grasped without a more comprehensive study. As this book has limited space, I can only give a general idea and I must deeply apologize for its sketchiness. If there are parts that are difficult for you to understand, you can review them with a partner and work together according to the diagrams, and then it should make perfect sense. Or you can use your imagination until you get it.

第七章 太極拳之練法
CHAPTER SEVEN: TAIJI BOXING’S PRACTICE METHODS

前旣言各種拳術皆有特性。故其練法。當然各有不同。不得其法。必至事倍功半。自可斷言。太極拳之練法。其關於心理方面及生理方面者。如本書第四五章所述。已足供學者之參攷。因不復論。本章係僅述行功時所應注意之各點。以補前文之所不及耳。
太極拳之練法。有單人練法與雙人練法之別。茲分述其大槪如左。
It was mentioned earlier [in Chapter Three] that every kind of boxing art has its own special characteristics. They each therefore will of course have different training methods. If you do not obtain the methods of your art, it will require twice the effort to get half the result, which I can attest to from experience. Where Taiji Boxing’s training methods have to do with psychology and physiology, these aspects were already touched upon in chapters Four and Five, and since they can be easily referred to, the content of those chapters will not be repeated here. This chapter merely describes various related points that ought to be given attention, as well as filling in for some of the gaps in those chapters.
     Taiji Boxing’s practice methods divide into solo practice methods and partner practice methods, and the general ideas for each are described below:

一單人練法
1. SOLO PRACTICE METHODS

單人練法者。卽通俗所謂盤架子也。太極拳之架子。自始至終。約七十餘式。而同式者居其一半。實祗三十餘式。此三十餘式。初練時。若分而習之。平均每日一式。一月必可蕆事。次月則按原有程序。聯貫演習。亦以一月為期。當可盡其形似之功。第三月宜略知運用心氣之法。庶可使內神外形。漸漸相合。方為入門之初步。自此以後。如不習推手術。亦可按法自脩。唯如有所得。或有所蔽。仍宜時時向教師或先進之人。請其證解。以免誤入歧途。亦應知之一端也。至行功之法。第一式雖屬預備姿勢。亦不可輕視。站立之時。務須凝神一志。屏除雜念。俟其自覺心氣已臻沉靜。方可開始行第二式。此時謂之由靜而動。旣動之後一切動作。當純以心意為主。不妄用力為最重要之原則。太極拳論「凡此皆是意」句。十三勢歌「勢勢存心揆用意」句。及「意氣君來骨肉臣」句。又行功心解「以心行氣」句。及「先在心、後在身」句。已均明揭此旨。不難索解。唯初學之人。往往心知其意。而無由見諸實行。幾成為不可免之通病。此其故不在不能用心。在不知用心之步驟。及其方法耳。茲分為三步說明之。
Solo practice means going through the solo set. The Taiji Boxing solo set from beginning to end has more than seventy postures, but half of them are repeats, and so it has only a little over thirty distinct postures. In the beginning of the training, if you select and learn one of these thirty plus postures each day, you will have them all in about a month. Spend the next month linking them up into their original sequence and practicing them in order. By the end of that month, you should definitely be able to make the postures look skillful. Over the course of a third month, you should know something of the methods of moving by way of intention and can get your internal spirit and external posture to gradually unite. You will then have made the first step in learning the fundamentals.
     After this, if you have no interest in training in pushing hands, you can practice with the goal of self-cultivation. But while you will be learning some things and ignoring others, you should still frequently seek explanation from instructors and older students in order to avoid going astray, and then you will at least know that aspect of the art.
     As for the practice method, although the first posture is merely a posture of preparation, it nevertheless must not be neglected. When standing in it, you must focus your attention, ridding yourself of distracting thoughts, and wait until you feel your mind has achieved a state of calm, then you may begin moving into the second posture, at which time you are going from stillness to movement. Then every movement from that point on is entirely controlled by intention rather than rash effort – this is the most important principle. “In all of these cases, the problem is a matter of your intent” (Treatise) as well as “in every movement, very deliberately control it by the use of intention” and “mind is sovereign and body is subject” (Thirteen Dynamics Song) and also “use mind to move the energy” and “first in the mind, then in the body” (How to Practice) all clearly express this concept. It is not a difficult concept to explain, but beginners will often understand the idea in their minds yet have no way of realizing it in their practice. This is a commonly unavoidable flaw, and the reason for this is not because they are unable to use intention, but that they are not aware of the stages of progress toward using intention, nor the methods. The three stages are explained below:

(甲)輕靈
A. AWARENESS & ALERTNESS

太極拳論第一句卽說輕靈。可見輕靈為初步功夫。求輕靈之法。最重要者為一慢字。若從快處着想。每易流於浮滑。不可不愼。譬如舉手。由低處舉至高處。切忌一舉卽起。蓋一舉卽起。則意識之効用。僅及於動靜兩點。而動靜兩點之間。便不能時時皆有意識。導動作以俱進矣。易言之。卽意識忽有變動。則原有之動作。亦不能隨意識以俱變也。故心想舉手。必須手僅微微一動。便算一舉。若無意識續示。卽不再進。方可謂之眞輕。由低處舉至高處。須處處作無數一舉想。而時時有隨意變化之妙。方可謂之眞靈。行功心解「邁步如貓行、運勁如抽絲」句。卽指此而言也。
Since the first sentence of the Treatise mentions “aware and alert”, awareness and alertness can be considered the first stage of skill. The most important thing in seeking awareness and alertness is slowness. If you go through the techniques quickly, you will easily end up floating through them, something you must be wary of.
     For example, if you raise a hand, when taking it from its lowest point to its highest point, by no means simply lift it into place. If you do that, the effectiveness of your consciousness will only go as far as distinguishing movement and stillness. But throughout the grey area between movement and stillness, you will then be unable to have a constantly involved consciousness, and you will encourage your movements to become all about merely getting to the next movement. In other words, if your consciousness is ignoring the transition from one movement to another, you will not be able to transition from the original movement into the next movement and have it be driven by consciousness.
     Therefore when your mind wants to raise your hand, the hand only needs to be moved very slightly, and then each increment of the raising beyond that will not progress any further unless the movement is continued consciously. This can then be called authentic awareness. To raise the hand to its highest point, it has to go through countless increments of deliberate raising, constantly having the subtlety of following your intention. And this can then be called authentic alertness. “Step like a cat and move energy as if drawing silk” (How to Practice) points to this concept.

(乙)貫串
B. CONNECTION

貫串有單式貫串。與複式貫串之別。單式貫串。可分二端言之。
There is connection throughout a posture and connection from one posture to another. Connection within the postures can be divided into these two types:

(子)上下相隨
i. Upper body and lower are to coordinate with each other.

此係指外狀而言。卽手動時。腰腿脚均宜隨之而動。最忌自相牽制。眼珠雖不必過於轉動。眼神則不可不時時貫注。太極拳論「其根在脚」句以下一段。及行功心解「一動無時不動」句。皆指此而言也。
This has to do with the outward appearance of the movements. When your hands move, your waist, legs, and feet should be moving along with them. One part should never be guiding other parts. And although your eyes need not be moving excessively, they have to constantly be involved. “Starting from your foot, …” (Treatise) and “if one part moves, every part moves” (How to Practice) both point to this idea.

(丑)內外相合
ii. Inside and out are to join with each other.

此係指調息功夫而言。人之呼吸。最與動作有關。故姿勢之開合。當與呼吸之出入。息息相通。方為合法。所謂呼吸者。非單指肺呼吸而言。須利用腹呼吸。方能盡其妙用。蓋鼓盪丹田之氣。本為修養精神之要訣。且與變換人體重心。有密切之關係。尤為技擊家之所必知。太極拳論「氣宜鼓盪」句。及行功心解「以氣運身」句。皆指此而言也。
This has to do with the work of regulating the breath. One’s breathing is very related to one’s movement. Actions of opening and closing have to be closely linked to inhaling and exhaling in order to be correct. What is called breathing does not only have to do with the lungs, but also has to include the abdomen in order to then have the best effect. Rousing the energy in the elixir field is the trick to cultivating spirit. Furthermore, the shifting of weight is also closely connected to the breath, something that surely is especially understood by martial arts experts. “Energy should be roused” (Treatise) and “use energy to move your body” (How to Practice) both point to this principle.

複式貫串者。卽由甲式換至乙式、其過渡時之動作。須順勢進行。不可停頓。務使諸式之間。宛如以索貫珠。方為合法。太極拳一切動作俱成環形。卽從此處得之。然此非單式貫串已有基礙。决難圓轉如意。學者幸勿躐等而進。是為至要。此第二步功夫也。
Complex connectedness occurs when changing from one posture to another. The transitional movements must flow through and cannot come to a halt. This will ensure that the gap between postures will be the string in a string of pearls, and it will then be correct. In Taiji Boxing, every movement is rounded, and it is from this roundness that you will obtain this flow. But unless you have a foundation of connectedness within single postures, it will certainly be difficult to transition as roundly as you would wish.
     I hope you will not skip steps to try and get ahead. It is crucial to go through these stages in order. This is the second stage of skill.

(丙)虛靜
C. EMPTINESS & STILLNESS

此為第三步功夫。乃太極拳最精微處。非稍有根抵者殊難領會。蓋上述輕靈與貫串二事。尚可從有形處着手。唯此則純是用意不用力之功夫。當於無形中求之也。虛靜者卽實中求虛動中求靜之謂也。初練時。勢勢揆其用意。是從實處練也。今當幷此形迹而泯之。故謂之實中求虛。太極拳開式時。曰由靜而動。收式時。曰由動而靜。今則。式式之中。處處皆當作由動而靜想。務使一切姿勢。皆有動卽是靜。靜卽是動之意。故謂之動中求靜。此種練法。與心理作用最有關係。本書第四章足供參考。學者可自求之。
This is the third stage of skill, when Taiji Boxing is at its most profound level. If you have no foundation at all, it will be too difficult to understand. In the two stages described above, the stage of awareness and alertness, then the stage of connectedness, both can still use techniques that have shape, but this level is purely a matter of the skill of “using intention rather than exertion” and is to be found within shapelessness.
     Emptiness and stillness means that you are to be seeking emptiness within fullness and seeking stillness within movement.
     In the beginning of the training, every movement should be controlled by the use of intention, and that level of practice is a matter of fullness. Now as you come into this level, the element of shape will disappear, hence “seeking emptiness within fullness”.
     In the opening posture of the solo set, you go from stillness to movement. In the closing posture, you go from movement to stillness. But at this level, there should within every posture always be a feeling of going from movement to stillness. Seek in every movement to have the notion that movement is stillness and stillness is movement, hence “seeking stillness within movement”.
     This kind of practice method is most related to psychological function, as presented in Chapter Four for your reference.

二雙人練法
2. PARTNER PRACTICE METHODS

雙人練法卽推手法。推手亦稱打手。後附打手歌卽推手時應知之歌訣也。推手為練習技擊之法。凡盤架子有基礎者。推手時更可得其好處。蓋太極拳之技擊功夫。亦純以運用心氣為重要之原則也。推手之基本手法有八。術語謂之掤捋擠按採挒肘靠。掤主上承按主下抑捋主退化擠主進貼採主順取挒主斜按肘接肩靠則以濟手法之不足此其用法之大槪也圖附卷首太極拳應敵時。其最妙處。在以虛靜勝人。故太極拳實以無法為法。八法者不過為初學說法耳。學者切勿以已習八法。便謂懂勁。若不知此。是猶買櫝還珠也。茲將練習懂勁之法。擇要分述於左。
The partner practice methods are the pushing hands methods, also called “playing hands”. The Playing Hands Song, included below in Chapter Nine, encapsulates the special instructions which should be known when engaging in pushing hands. Pushing hands is a method of training for fighting, but one who has built a foundation through practicing the solo set will succeed even better at doing pushing hands. Taiji Boxing’s fighting skill furthermore takes the wielding of intention to be the major principle.
     Pushing hands has eight basic techniques, which in the terminology of the art are called ward-off, rollback, press, push, pluck, rend, elbow, and bump. (Ward-off is mainly an upward carrying. Push is mainly a downward pressure. Rollback is mainly a retreating neutralization. Press is mainly an advancing stickiness. Pluck is mainly an opportunistic seizing. Rend is mainly a diagonal pushing. Elbowing and bumping are for when the hand techniques are insufficient. These are just the general ideas for these techniques. See the photos included at the beginning of the book.)
     When Taiji Boxing is used to deal with an opponent, the greatest of its wonders lies in defeating him by way of emptiness and stillness, meaning that Taiji Boxing’s method is actually a matter of being without method at all. The eight techniques are just explanations for beginners. Once you have learned the eight techniques, be sure not to then claim you are “identifying energies”. If you do not understand this, you will seem to be undiscerning. This is but a process leading toward the training of identifying energies. Selected essentials of this process are presented below:

(甲)不頂
A. Do not crash in.

不頂卽毫不抵抗之意。蓋謂無論敵勁大小。皆宜以走法化之也。初練之人非大勁不走。皆是心中尚有抵抗之意。此病不除。則感覺必難練至極靈。太極拳經「一羽不能加」句。卽指感覺敏銳而言。皆由不頂而得之也。練不頂之法。首在用腰。腰有不足時。方可濟之以步。若輕於用步。則腰之效用。反至減少。而身法亦大受其影響矣。
Not crashing in means not even slightly resisting. Regardless of whether the opponent’s force is large or small, it should always be yielded to and neutralized. Beginners will only yield to a large force because there is still some resistance in their minds. If this error is not eliminated, it will be difficult to train one’s sensitivity to a high level. “A feather cannot be added” (Classic) indicates a keen sensitivity, and this is always achieved from a habit of not crashing in.
     Training this principle primarily lies in using your waist. When your waist is not enough, you can compensate by stepping. But if you are overly willing to step, the effectiveness of your waist will instead become reduced, which in turn will have a large and unfortunate impact on the movement of your whole body.

(乙)不丢
B. Do not come away.

不丢者不離之謂也。太極拳黏勁與走勁不頂卽走勁也並重。若一走卽離。則不但敵勁無由感覺。且不能利用黏勁。以收我順人背之效矣。不丢之法。並非專用兩手。須全身各處。均能黏住敵勁。方為合法。練時不可不注意也。
Not coming away means not disconnecting. Taiji Boxing’s sticking and yielding (not crashing in being the same as yielding) are equally important. If you disconnect when you yield, not only will you have no way of sensing the opponent’s energy, you will also be unable to make use of sticking, the effect of “my energy is smooth while his energy is coarse” [Classic]. The method of not coming away is not really concentrated in the use of your hands. You must use your whole body, any part being able to stick to the opponent’s energy, for it to then be correct. When practicing, you must pay attention to this principle.

(丙)先求開展
C. Strive at first to open up.

此謂初練時之姿勢。宜先從長大處下功夫。以擴充不丢不頂之限度。須俟功夫漸深。方可力求緊湊。盤架子亦當如是。蓋由大處練至小處。雖小而實大。猶物質之結晶也。
It is said that in the beginning of practicing the postures, you should start with the lesser skill of making the movements long and large, stretching the limits of “neither coming away nor crashing in”. You must wait for your skill to gradually deepen, then you can “strive to close up.” The solo set should be done in this way, training to go by way of the large to attain the small, for although small, it would actually be large, much like the substance of a crystal [i.e. consistent precision of microscopic structure amounting to greater overall strength of macroscopic structure].

(丁)勿先動勁
D. Do not be the first to express power.
 
先下手為強者。以快為勝者之說法也。太極拳則一反其意。以後下手為主。蓋所以待敵之勁。而利用之也。此種以靜待動之功夫。初學之人。常覺不慣。性急者尤難於自主。得之較為不易。練之之法。但在不問如何危險。須一意以不丢不頂應之耳。蓋不丢不頂。則敵之弱點。我皆能知。知之而不逕擊之。非強制不為功。久之則自成習慣。而所用之勁。亦自有似鬆非鬆。將展未展之意境矣。語見打手歌有此意境。則應用之時。可無慌亂之弊。且能隨意擊敵。百無一失。其効用殊未可以言語形容也。
It is said that the first to move will be in the stronger position and that speed will then bring victory. Taiji Boxing reverses this concept: it is the one who responds to action that will be in charge of the situation. Therefore wait for the opponent’s energy and take advantage of it. This is the skill of awaiting movement with stillness.
     Beginners often feel unaccustomed to this. They get impatient and find it hard not to take the initiative themselves, and they do not consider how risky such a method of practice is. It is necessary to be devoted to the principle of neither coming away nor crashing in. By neither coming away nor crashing in, I can then know all of the opponent’s weak spots. But even though I know them, I do not need to attack them. If his actions do not give me reason to attack them, I am not being skillful if I do.
     After practicing in this way over a long period, it will naturally become a habit. The way of applying power is explained by “the power seems to be relaxed but not relaxed, about to express but not yet expressing” (Playing Hands Song). With this concept, you will then be able to apply power without falling into confusion and can attack the opponent in whatever way you wish without ever making a mistake. The usefulness of it is quite beyond the descriptive capacity of words.

(戊)宜知變換
E. Know how to adapt.

此言推手之道。初學時固宜按法演習。若已純熟。則亦不可死守成規。蓋旣練被動。自當兼練主動。方可竟其全功。故運勁須忽隱忽現。手法宜時虛時實。亦為習推手術者所應知之變換也。盤架子亦可參以此意。但非必要耳。
This has to do with the pushing hands training. Begin by practicing the push technique until you are skillful at it, but then you must not become stubborn about the way it is to be performed. Practice being pushed as much as pushing, and then you will eventually have the complete skill. When moving energy, it should “suddenly hide and suddenly appear” [Classic], and the maneuverings of your hands should be sometimes empty, sometimes full. When practicing the pushing hands skill, you have to understand how to adapt. You can also pay attention to this idea while going through the solo set, but it is not required.

(己)勁斷意不斷
F. “Power finishes, but the intent of it continues.”

太極拳以用意不用力為主。前文已言之矣。此言敵勁有不易黏隨時。不可因勁斷。而完全脫離係關。須暗中用意思接應。以冀斷而復連。此種功夫可稱為無形之不丢不頂。亦卽劍道中之合氣術也。練之之法。全在利用心理作用。久之自得。蓋與虛靜功夫同一途徑焉。
In Taiji Boxing, the use of intention rather than exertion is a main principle, as already described above. These words [from the Playing Hands Song] depict a moment when the opponent’s energy is not easy to stick to and follow, and instructs that you must not discontinue your own energy just because of it, nor entirely disconnect from him. You must secretly connect to him by way of intention, thus “disconnect but stay connected” [How to Practice].
     This kind of skill can be described as “neither coming away nor crashing in” invisibly. It is also the skill of “merging energy” within the sword method. Practicing this principle entirely lies with using imagination, then after a long time you will naturally grasp it, the work being the same process as for the skill of emptiness and stillness.

以上各項練法。從生理方面說。如輕靈。可免妨害筋骨之弊。貫串則合於平均發達之旨。虛靜為修養精神之妙法。與氣血最有關係。開展則有舒展筋骨之効。不丢不頂則於皮膚有補助而無損害。皆本書第五章所未及。特附述於此。以供學者之研究也。
The various practice methods above have to do with the physiological aspect. For example, awareness and alertness can prevent harm to your muscles and bones. Connectedness will maintain a more balanced development. Emptiness and stillness will have the subtle effect of cultivating your spirit, and will enhance the flow of energy and blood. Enlarging your movements will have the effect of improving your flexibility. By neither coming away nor crashing in, this will help keep your skin from being injured. Such things that were not mentioned in Chapter Five have been specially included in this chapter to supplement your studies.

第八章 餘意
CHAPTER EIGHT: FURTHER THOUGHTS

或問。太極拳緣何名太極。
[1] Someone asked me: “Why the ‘Taiji’ in Taiji Boxing?”
予曰。太極者陰陽未分之謂也。動之則分而為陰陽。靜之則合而為太極。太極拳從修養方面說。須由動處向靜處練。是猶陰陽之合而為太極也。從技擊方面說。其虛實變化。常蘊於內。而不形於外。是猶太極之陰陽未分也。故名太極。
I said: “A ‘taiji’ [‘grand pivot’] is the condition before dividing into the dual polarities of passive and active. When there is movement, it splits into passive and active. When there is stillness, they merge to become a taiji again. In terms of Taiji Boxing’s cultivation aspect, you must train to go from movement toward stillness. This is like passive and active merging to become a taiji. In terms of its defense aspect, its alternations between emptiness and fullness are concealed inwardly rather than revealed outwardly. This is like the taiji not yet splitting into passive and active. And hence the name Taiji.”

或問。太極拳於倦時練之。不惟不倦。反能忘倦。其故安在。
[2] Someone asked me: “If you practice Taiji Boxing when you’re tired, you not only cease to be tired, but you forget you even were tired. Why is this so?”
予曰。凡人發倦。皆緣體內疲勞素留滯不散所致。休息有消除疲勞之効。固人人所知也。練太極拳無須用力。旣不至增加疲勞。而其修養之法。則復以氣體鬆靜為主。實與休息同一功用。忘倦之効。其在斯歟。
I said: “Usually when a person is tired, it is because there is fatigue in the body which is kept in rather than dispelled. Rest has the effect of dispelling fatigue, as of course everyone knows. When practicing Taiji Boxing, you do not need to exert yourself, and so it does not add to your fatigue. Furthermore, its method of self-cultivation in fact does the reverse: it emphasizes energizing, relaxation, and quietude. Truly it has the same function as rest, in that the result is the forgetting of your weariness, and this is the reason why.” [Since Taiji apparently has the same effect as rest, it is therefore an EXERCISE that doubles as REST, an excellent example of the passive and active aspects in harmony.]

或問。盛暑練太極拳。據功深者言。能使遍體涼爽。有是理乎。
[3] Someone asked me: “It’s said that one who has profound skill can, while practicing Taiji Boxing in the summer heat, pleasantly cool his body down. What’s the theory behind this?”
予曰。此亦氣體鬆靜之効耳。蓋氣體鬆靜。則皮膚血管與全身肌肉。皆極舒展。能使汗腺分泌。益臻順遂。本最合於排洩體温之調節作用。而內部呼吸與循環兩運動。又能藉丹田鼓盪之功。以增其傳導與蒸發之力量。尤為生理上所應有之現象。故遍體有涼爽之感也。
I said: “This has to do with the energy and body being relaxed and calm. The skin, blood vessels, and muscles of your whole body will thus be extremely comfortable, which will cause your sweat glands to secrete, thereby increasing a sense of smooth well-being. This regulating function is the body’s most efficient way of lowering temperature. The internal actions of respiration and circulation can also have the effect of rousing your elixir field in order to increase your ability to then evaporate the sweat away, which really is the proper physiological phenomenon. [In other words, relaxed calmness will get you to sweat just enough to cool you down and keep you from sweating so much that you become uncomfortably soaked.] Therefore there is a pleasantly cool feeling all over the body.”

或問。太極拳旣以意識為重。何以功深時。往往敵已跌出。而反有不自知者。
[4] Someone asked me: “Taiji Boxing emphasizes using consciousness. So why is it that when one has deep skill, the opponent is often already falling away and one does not know why?”
予曰。此神經反射中樞之反射作用也。如睡中搔痒。見閃光而閉目。及皮膚血管遇冷而自縮等。皆屬反射作用。蓋知覺神經所受之刺戟。不達大腦皮質。而逕由反射中樞。命令運動神經。致生反射作用耳。諺云熟能生巧。其故卽在於此。
I said: “This is a function of the nervous system’s reflex centers. For instance, scratching an itch while asleep, or closing one’s eyes when seeing a flash of light, or the way skin and blood vessels contract when encountering cold temperatures – these are all examples of reflex actions. When your sensory nerves receive stimulation, the information does not immediately go to your cerebral cortex and is instead shunted to your reflex centers, which send commands to the motor neurons, generating reflex action. As the saying goes, ‘skill comes from practice’, and this is the reason why.”

或問。太極拳旣主柔。何以行功心解有「運勁如百練鋼」一語。
[5] Someone asked me: “Taiji Boxing emphasizes softness, so why does Understanding How to Practice contain the phrase ‘wield power like tempered steel’?”
予曰。百練鋼應作柔而有彈性解。若作堅硬解。則失之矣。行功心解尚有「極柔軟然後極堅硬」句。卽隱含柔而有彈性意。可為佐證也。
I said: “Tempering steel makes it soft in that it gives it a springy quality. If it was made hard, then it would break. How to Practice also contains the phrase ‘extreme softness begets extreme hardness’. This implies the message of being soft yet having that springy quality, and can be considered a piece of supporting evidence for this.”

或問。拳術由博返約。有五字訣。曰敬緊徑勁切。太極拳亦有訣乎。
[6] Someone asked me: “Boxing arts can be reduced from a detailed knowledge down to five terms: ‘focused, sticky, expedient, potent, precise’. [See Boxing Methods of the Internal School in Chapter Nine.] Does Taiji Boxing also have a secret?”
予曰。太極拳之要訣。在一切字。切卽恰當之謂。其要素有二。一為時機。卽不得其時則不擊。一為力點。卽不得其點亦不擊。時與點合而為一。始可謂之恰當。能如是。則其他四字之義。亦盡在其中矣。故曰太極拳祇一切字訣耳。
I said: “The secret of Taiji Boxing lies in that word ‘precise’, and that word has two key aspects: timing and target. When you cannot catch the timing, do not attack. When you cannot reach the target, also do not attack. Once timing and target are combined into one, you can begin to say it is right. If so, those other four terms are then fulfilled as well. Therefore I say the secret of Taiji Boxing lies entirely in the word ‘precise’.”

或問。靜坐功主沉氣。習之不愼。每易得腸疝等症。太極拳亦主沉氣。不懼有流弊乎。
[7] Someone asked me: “Sitting meditation emphasizes sinking your energy. If you’re not careful when practicing, it’s easy to give yourself a hernia. Taiji Boxing also emphasizes sinking your energy, so shouldn’t you worry about hurting yourself?”
予曰。沉氣當徐徐行之。方為合法。若過於努力。本非所宜。太極拳一切以合於自然為主。原論有「氣宜鼓盪」句。卽不許硬壓丹田也。能守此意。自何至有流弊哉。
I said: “Sinking your energy should be done very gently – then it is right. If it is too forceful, it is inappropriate. Taiji Boxing always emphasizes what is appropriate and natural. The Treatise says that the “energy should be roused”, but this does not permit the forceful pressing of the elixir field. If you can maintain this intention, how could you hurt yourself?”

或問。太極拳之動作。俱作環形。若應敵時。亦按環形發勁。豈非較直擊為迂緩耶。
[8] Someone asked me: “The movements in Taiji Boxing are all circular. When encountering an opponent, if you emphasize a circular motion when issuing power, wouldn’t it be slower than a straight motion?”
予曰。環形動作者。皆化勁耳。非發勁也。太極拳以不先發勁為主。遇敵來擊。先以化勁化之。待其不穩。從而擊之。則用發勁。行功心解云、「發勁須沉着鬆淨、專主一方。」可見發勁固未許作環形也。
I said: “Circular movements always apply to neutralizing, not issuing. Taiji Boxing emphasizes not being the first to issue power. When the opponent attacks, first neutralize it, wait for him to be off balance, then attack by issuing power. In Understanding How to Practice, it says: ‘When issuing power, you must sink and relax, concentrating it in one direction.’ You can see from this that issuing power actually cannot be done with a circular motion.”

或問。化勁之義。
[9] Someone asked me about the meaning of neutralizing energy.
予曰。不頂為走勁。不丢為黏勁。走與黏合而用之。則曰化勁。走主退。屬於陰。黏主進。屬於陽。太極拳經「陰陽相濟、方為懂勁」句。蓋卽指化勁而言也。
I said: “Not crashing in – that’s yielding. Not running away – that’s sticking. Yielding and sticking combined – that’s neutralizing. Yielding emphasizes retreat and is passive. Sticking emphasizes advance and is active. In the Classic, it says: ‘The passive and active exchange roles. Once you have this understanding, you will be identifying energies.’ These words depict neutralizing.”

或問。敵人重心穩否。何由知之。
[10] Someone asked me: “How do you know whether or not the opponent is off balance?”
予曰。凡人受擊。或自己發勁擊人。如無反力以止其身體之傾斜。則重心垂線。必至越出基點。固定理使然也。太極拳用走勁者。卽不予敵以絲毫反力。而使之不穩耳。用黏勁者。卽不許敵由不穩而復歸於穩耳。明乎此。則知敵之重心穩定與否。皆我主之。豈有不瞭如指掌者哉。
I said: “Whether you are receiving an attack or giving one, if there is no reversal of force to stop him from leaning, then the vertical line of his center of gravity must go beyond his base of stability, and so the outcome will be inevitable. Taiji Boxing’s use of yielding energy means not giving him the slightest bit with which to reverse his force, thus causing him to go off balance, and then using sticking energy means to prevent his instability from returning to stability. Once you understand this, you will know whether or not the opponent is off balance. There, isn’t that clear?”

第九章 附錄
CHAPTER NINE: APPENDICES

(一)太極拳論
1. THE TAIJI BOXING TREATISE

一舉動。周身俱要輕靈。尤須貫串。氣宜鼓盪。神宜內斂。無使有缺陷處。無使有凸凹處。無使有斷續處。其根在脚。發於腿。主宰於腰。形於手指。由脚而腿而腰。總須完整一氣。向前退後。乃得機得勢。有不得機得勢處。身便散亂。其病必於腰腿求之。上下前後左右皆然。凡此皆是意。不在外面。有上卽有下。有前卽有後。有左卽有右。如意要向上。卽寓下意。若將物掀起而加以挫之之意。斯其根自斷。乃壞之速而無疑。虛實宜分淸楚。一處自有一處虛實。處處總此一虛實。周身節節貫串。無令絲毫間斷耳。
Once there is any movement, your entire body must be aware 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 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 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.

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。掤捋擠按卽乾坤坎離四正方也。採挒肘靠卽巽震兌艮四斜角也。進退顧盼定。卽金木水火土也。原注云此係武當山張三丰老師遺論欲天下豪傑延年益壽不徒作技藝之末也
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.
     (An original note says: “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.”)

(二)太極拳經 山右王宗岳遺著
2. THE TAIJI BOXING CLASSIC (by Wang Zongyue of Shanxi)

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。我順人背謂之黏。動急則急應。動緩則緩隨。雖變化萬端。而理為一貫。由着熟而漸悟懂勁。由懂勁而階及神明。然非用力之久。不能谿然貫通焉。虛領頂勁。氣沈丹田。不偏不倚。忽隱忽現。左重則左虛。右重則右虛。仰之則彌高。俯之則彌深。進之則愈長。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。槪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。活如車輪。偏沉則隨。雙重則滯。每見數年純功。不能運化者。率皆自為人制。雙重之病未悟耳。欲避此病。須知陰陽。黏卽是走。走卽是黏。陰不離陽。陽不離陰。陰陽相濟。方為懂勁。懂勁後。愈練愈精。默識揣摩。漸至從心所欲。本是舍己從人。多悞舍近求遠。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 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.

(三)十三勢歌
3. THIRTEEN DYNAMICS SONG

十三勢勢莫輕視。命意源頭在腰隙。變轉虛實須留意。氣遍身區不少滯。靜中觸動動中靜。因敵變化示奇神。勢勢存心揆用意。得來不覺費功夫。刻刻留心在腰間。腹內鬆淨氣騰然。尾閭中正神貫頂。滿身輕利頂頭懸。仔細留心向推求。屈伸開合聽自由。入門引路須口授。功夫無息法自修。若言體用何為準。意氣君來骨肉臣。想推用意終何在。益壽延年不老春。歌兮歌兮百四十。字字眞切義無遺。若不向此推求去。枉費功夫貽歎惜。
Do not neglect any of the thirteen dynamics,
their command coming from your lower back.
You must pay attention to the alternation of empty and full,
then energy will flow through your whole body without getting stuck anywhere.
     In stillness, movement stirs, and then in moving, seem yet to be in stillness,
for the magic lies in making adjustments based on being receptive to the opponent.
In every movement, very deliberately control it by the use of intention,
for once you achieve that, it will all be effortless.
     At every moment, pay attention to your waist,
for if there is complete relaxation within your belly, energy is primed.
Your tailbone is centered and spirit penetrates to your headtop,
thus your whole body will be aware 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.

(四)十三勢行功心解
4. UNDERSTANDING HOW TO PRACTICE THE THIRTEEN DYNAMICS

以心行氣。務令沈着。乃能收斂入骨。以氣運身。務令順遂。乃能便利從心。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。所謂變動虛實也。發勁須沉着鬆淨。專主一方。立身須中正安舒。支撐八面。行氣如九曲珠。無往不利。氣遍身軀之謂運勁如百練鋼。何堅不摧。形如搏兔之鵠。神如捕鼠之貓。靜如山岳。動若江河。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。斷而復連。往復須有摺疊。進退須有轉換。極柔軟。然後極堅硬。能呼吸。然後能靈活。氣以直養而無害。勁以曲蓄而有餘。心為令。氣為旗。腰為纛。先求開展。後求緊湊。乃可臻於縝密也。
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 aware and your headtop will be pulled up as if suspended.” Your mind must perform alternations nimbly, and then you will have the delight of being rounded and lively. 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 a falcon capturing a rabbit. 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 your spine. Step according to your body’s adjustments.
     To gather is to release. 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 lively 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。氣斂入骨。神舒體靜。刻刻在心。切記一動無有不動。一靜無有不靜。牽動往來氣貼背。斂入脊骨。內固精神。外示安逸。邁步如貓行。運勁如抽絲。全神意在精神。不在氣。在氣則滯。有氣者無力。無氣者純剛。氣若車輪。腰如車軸。
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.
     The whole of 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.

(五)打手歌
5. PLAYING HANDS SONG

掤捋擠按須認眞。
上下相隨人難進。
任他巨力來打我。
牽動四兩撥千斤。
引進落空合卽出。
黏連黏隨不丢頂。
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.

又曰。彼不動。己不動。彼微動。己先動。勁似鬆非鬆。將展未展。勁斷意不斷。
It is also said:
     If he takes no action, I take no action, but once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted.
     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.

(六)太極拳式名稱及其次序
6. TAIJI BOXING POSTURE NAMES & THEIR SEQUENCE

太極起式。
[1] TAIJI BEGINNING POSTURE
攬雀尾。
[2] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[3] SINGLE WHIP
提手上勢。
[4] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴亮翅。
[5] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS
摟膝拗步。
[6] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
手揮琵琶勢。
[7] PLAY THE LUTE
進步搬攔捶。
[8] ADVANCE, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉。
[9] SEALING SHUT
抱虎歸山。
[10] CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND ITS BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
十字手。
[11] CROSSED HANDS
摟膝拗步。
[12] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
攬雀尾。
[13] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
斜單鞭。
[14] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP
肘底看捶。
[15] GUARDING PUNCH UNDER THE ELBOW
倒輦猴。
[16] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY
斜飛勢。
[17] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手上勢。
[18] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴亮翅。
[19] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS
摟膝拗步。
[20] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
海底針。
[21] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
扇通背。
[22] FAN THROUGH THE BACK
翻身撇身捶。
[23] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
卸步搬攔捶。
[24] WITHDRAWING STEP, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
上步攬雀尾。
[25] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[26] SINGLE WHIP
雲手。
[27] CLOUDING HANDS
左高探馬。
[28] LEFT RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
右分脚。
[29] KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE
右高探馬。
[30] RIGHT RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
左分脚。
[31] KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE
轉身蹬脚。
[32] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
摟膝進步栽捶。
[33] BRUSH KNEE, ADVANCE, PLANTING PUNCH
翻身撇身捶。
[34] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
上步高探馬。
[35] STEP FORWARD, RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
右分脚。
[36] KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE
退步打虎式。
[37] RETREAT, FIGHTING TIGER POSTURE
披身踢脚。
[38] DRAPING THE BODY, KICK
雙峯貫耳。
[39] DOUBLE PEAKS THROUGH THE EARS
左分脚。
[40] KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE
轉身蹬脚。
[41] TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
撇身捶。
[42] TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
上步搬攔捶。
[43] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
如封似閉。
[44] SEALING SHUT
抱虎歸山。
[45] CAPTURE THE TIGER AND SEND IT BACK TO ITS MOUNTAIN
十字手。
[46] CROSSED HANDS
摟膝拗步。
[47] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
攬雀尾。
[48] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
斜單鞭。
[49] DIAGONAL SINGLE WHIP
野馬分鬃。
[50] WILD HORSE VEERS ITS MANE
玉女穿梭。
[51] MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE
攬雀尾。
[52] CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[53] SINGLE WHIP
雲手。
[54] CLOUDING HANDS
下勢。
[55] LOW POSTURE
金雞獨立。
[56] GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG
倒輦猴。
[57] RETREAT, DRIVING AWAY THE MONKEY
斜飛勢。
[58] DIAGONAL FLYING POSTURE
提手上勢。
[59] RAISE THE HANDS
白鶴亮翅。
[60] WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS
摟膝拗步。
[61] BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE
海底針。
[62] NEEDLE UNDER THE SEA
扇通背。
[63] FAN THROUGH THE BACK
翻身撇身捶。
[64] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
上步搬攔捶。
[65] STEP FORWARD, PARRY, BLOCK, PUNCH
上步攬雀尾。
[66] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[67] SINGLE WHIP
雲手。
[68] CLOUDING HANDS
高探馬。
[69] RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
撲面掌。
[70] PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE
十字擺蓮腿。
[71] CROSSED-BODY SWINGING LOTUS KICK
摟膝指襠捶。
[72] BRUSH KNEE, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
上步攬雀尾。
[73] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[74] SINGLE WHIP
下勢。
[75] LOW POSTURE
上步七星。
[76] STEP FORWARD WITH THE BIG DIPPER
退步跨虎。
[77] RETREAT TO SITTING TIGER POSTURE
轉身撲面掌。
[78] TURN AROUND, PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE
轉身擺蓮脚。
[79] TURN AROUND, SWINGING LOTUS KICK
彎弓射虎。
[80] BEND THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER
上步高探馬。
[81] STEP FORWARD, RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
撲面掌。
[82] PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE
翻身撇身捶。
[83] TURN AROUND, TORSO-FLUNG PUNCH
上步高探馬。
[84] STEP FORWARD, RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
上步攬雀尾。
[85] STEP FORWARD, CATCH THE SPARROW BY THE TAIL
單鞭。
[86] SINGLE WHIP
合太極。
[87] CLOSING TAIJI

(七)內家張三峯拳法 餘姚黃百家主一著
7. BOXING METHODS OF THE INTERNAL SCHOOL OF ZHANG SANFENG (by Huang Baijia of Yuyao)

外家拳至少林已臻絕詣。張三峯旣精於少林。復從而翻之。是名內家。得其一二者已足勝少林。王征南先生從學於單思南。而獨得其全。余少不習科舉業。喜事甚。聞先生名。因裹糧至寶幢學焉。先生亦自絕憐其技。授受甚難其人。亦樂得余而傳之。有五不可傳心險者好鬭者狂酒者輕露者骨柔質鈍者居室欹窄。習余於其旁之鐵佛寺。其拳法有應敵打法色名若干。長拳滾砍分心十字擺肘逼門迎風鐵扇異物投先推肘補陰彎心杵肋舜子投井剪腕點節紅霞貫日烏雲掩月猿猴獻菓綰肘裹靠仙人照掌彎弓大步兌換抱月左右揚鞭鐵門閂柳穿魚滿肚疼連枝箭一提金雙架筆金剛跌雙推窗順牽羊亂抽麻燕抬腮虎抱頭四把腰等法穴法若干。死穴啞穴暈穴咳穴膀胱蝦蟆猿跳曲池鎖解喉頤合谷內關三里等諸穴所禁犯病法若干。懶散遲緩歪斜寒肩老步腆胸直立軟腿脫肘截拳扭臀曲腰開門捉影雙手齊出而其要則在乎練。練旣熟。不必顧盼擬合。信手而應。縱橫前後。悉逢肯綮。其練法有練手者三十五。斫削科磕靠擄逼抹芟敲搖擺撒鐮囂兜搭剪分挑綰衝鈞勒耀兌換括起倒壓發插削鈎練步者十八。㼭步後㼭步碾步冲步撒步曲步蹋步斂步坐馬步釣馬步連枝步仙人步分身步翻身步追步逼步斜步絞花步而總攝於六路與十段錦之中。有歌訣。其六路歌曰佑神通臂最為高斗門深鎖轉英豪仙人立起朝天勢撒出抱月不相饒揚鞭左右人難及煞鎚衝擄兩翅搖其十段錦曰立起坐山虎勢迴身急步三追架起雙刀斂步滾斫進退三迴分身十字怎三追架刀斫歸營寨紐拳碾步勢如初滾斫退歸原路入步韜在前進滾斫歸初飛步金雞獨立緊攀弓坐馬四平兩顧顧其詞皆隱略難記。余因各為詮釋之。以備遺忘。注略先生見之笑曰。余以終身之習。往往猶費追憶。子一何簡捷若是乎。雖然、子藝自此不精矣。先生之所注意。獨喜自負。迥絕乎凡技之上者。則有盤䂨。拳家唯斫最重斫有四種滾斫柳葉斫十字䂨雷䂨而先生另有盤滾則能以䂨破䂨此則先生熟久智生。劃焉心開。而獨創者也。方余之習拳於鐵佛寺也。琉璃慘淡。土木猙𤢆。余與先生演肄之餘。濁酒數杯。團圞繞步。候山月之方升。聽溪流之嗚咽。先生談古論今。意氣慷慨。因為余兼及槍刀劍鉞之法曰。拳成。此外不難矣。某某處卽槍法也。某某處卽劍鉞法也。以至卒伍之步伐。陣壘之規模。莫不淋漓傾倒。曰。我無傳人。我將盡授之子。余時鼻端出火。興致方騰。慕雎陽伯紀之為人。謂天下事必非齷齪拘儒之所任。必其能上馬殺敵。下馬勤王。始不負七尺於世。當是時西南旣靖。東南亦平。四海宴如。此眞挽強二石不若一丁之時。家大人見余𧿧弛放縱。恐遂流為年少狹邪之徒。將使學為科舉之文。而余見家勢飄零。當此之時。技卽成而何所用。亦遂自悔其所為。因降心抑志。一意夫經生業。擔簦負笈。問途於陳子夔獻陳子介眉范子國文萬子季野張子心友等。而諸君適俱亦在甬南。先生入城時。嘗過余齋。談及武藝事。猶為余諄諄剴切曰。拳不在多。唯在熟。練之純熟。卽六路亦用之不窮。其中分陰陽。止十八法。而變出卽有四十九。又曰。拳如絞花搥。左右中前後皆到。不可止顧一面。又曰。拳亦由博而歸約。由七十二跌。卽拳滾䂨分心十長字等打法名色三十五拿卽斫删科磕靠等以至十八。卽六路中十八法由十八而十二。倒換搓挪滾脫牽綰跪坐撾拿由十二而總歸存心之五字。敬緊徑勁切故精於拳者。所記止有數字。余時注意舉業。雖勉強聽受。非復昔日之興會。而先生亦且病貧交纏。心枯容悴而憊矣。今先生之死止七年。吾鄕盜賊亦相蟻合。流離載道。白骨蔽野。此時得一桑懌足以除之。而二三士子。猶伊吾於城門晝閉之中。當事者命一二守望相助等題。以為平盜之政。士子摭拾一二兵農合一之語。以為經濟之才。龍門秦士錄曰。使弼在必當有以自見。言念先生竟空槁三尺蒿下。甯不惜哉。嗟乎。先生不可作矣。念當日得先生之學。卽豈敢謂遂有關於匡王定霸之略。然而一障一堡。或如范長生樊雅等保護黨閭。自審諒庶幾焉。亦何至播徒海濱。擔簦四顧。望塵起而無遯所。如今日乎。則昔以從學於先生而悔者。今又不覺甚悔夫前之悔矣。先生之術所授者唯余。余旣負先生之知。則此術已為廣陵散矣。余甯忍哉。故特備著其委屑。庶後有好事者。或可因是而得之也。雖然木牛流馬。諸葛書中之尺寸詳矣。三千年以來。能復用之者誰乎。
Shaolin is the peak of refinement for the external arts. Zhang Sanfeng was a Shaolin expert, but he turned the art on its head and thereby created the internal school. Obtaining just a little bit of it is enough to defeat Shaolin. Wang Zhengnan learned it from Dan Sinan and was the only one of his students to obtain the entire curriculum.
     When I was young, I did not train at all for the civil service exams, for I preferred doing things that were a little more extreme. Once I had heard about Wang’s fame, I bundled up some provisions and went to the village of Baozhuang to learn from him. Wang was extremely proprietorial toward his art and very picky about accepting students, but he was happy to take me in and teach me. (There were five kinds of people who he would never teach: those who are devious, those who love to fight, those who are addicted to booze, those who gossip, and those who are klutzy.) There was not enough space in his house, so he trained me instead at the neighboring Iron Buddha Temple.
     His art has many colorfully named combat techniques (such as: Reaching Punch and Rolling Chop, Punch Across the Center to Each Side, Swinging an Elbow to Force the Door, Waving an Iron Fan Against the Wind, Letting Go of One Object to Fling Another Forward, Pushing an Elbow into the Crotch, Caving in with Your Chest to Pound His Ribs, Emperor Shun is Thrown into the Well, Cutting with Your Wrist to Attack His Joints, Sun Breaking Through Dawn Clouds, Dark Clouds Hiding the Moon, Ape Offers Fruit, Coil an Elbow in to Curl Up and Bump, Immortal Shows a Palm, Drawing a Bow in a Long Stance, Share an Embrace with the Moon, Left & Right Lifting a Rod, Sealing the Door with an Iron Bar, Hanging a Fish on a Branch, Filling the Stomach with Agony, Successive Arrows, Lifting Up a Gold Piece, Holding up a Writing Brush with Both Hands, Arhat Tumbles on the Ground, Pushing Open a Window with Both Hands, Leading a Sheep, Untangling a Rope, Swallow Tilts Up a Cheeks, Tiger Hides its Head, Wrapping All the Way Around His Waist, and so on).
     There are also many acupoint targets (such as: points which cause death, muteness, fainting, coughing, as well as the bladder, the “croaking toad”, the “jumping ape”, or Qu Chi [outer part of the bend at the elbow], Suo Hou [spot on the throat between the collar bones], Jie Yi [side of the jaw], He Gu [pit between thumb and forefinger], Nei Guan [inside of forearm near wrist], San Li [outside of forearm near elbow], among others), and many prohibitions against bad habits (do not be lazy, sluggish, or slouching, do not raise your shoulders, step like an old man, stick out your chest, stand too upright, pamper your legs, lift your elbows, sprain your fists, stick your butt out, bend at the waist, engage randomly, or put out both hands with the same reach). But the key principle is practice. Skill will only be achieved through practice. It is not necessary to seek for someone to copy, only to respond to opponents with whatever works, up or down, left or right, forward or back, and to notice the correct moment to engage.
     There are furthermore thirty-five hand techniques to practice (chop, erase, shake, knock, bump, wrap, urge, wipe, hack, beat, wave, swing, deflect, slash, clap, cover, meet, cut, spread, carry, entwine, thrust, hook, pull, dazzle, replace, switch, contract, lift, overturn, crush, shoot, insert, peel, and dangle) as well as eighteen stepping techniques (cushion step, rear cushion step, grinding step, racing step, scattering stance, crouching stance, stomping step, withdrawing step, horse-riding stance, high horse-riding stance, alignment stance, immortal’s stance, sideways-body step, turning-body step, chasing step, urgent step, diagonal step, and twisting-vine step).
     These elements are all used within the Six Lines and the Ten Sections of Brocade, each recorded in verse:
     The Six Lines:
     DIPPER POSTURE reaches out and locks up, turning you into a hero.
The THROUGH-THE-ARM punching posture of guardian gods is the highest skill.
IMMORTAL STANDS POINTING TO THE SKY.
Deflect aside and EMBRACE THE MOON, leaving none of it for others.
LIFTING A ROD makes it difficult for surrounding opponents to reach you.
CRUEL HAMMERING, THRUST & WRAP, then SWING BOTH WINGS.
     The Ten Sections of Brocade:
     BEGINNING POSTURE, TIGER SITS ON ITS MOUNTAIN.
TURN AROUND, THREE QUICK CHASING STEPS.
PROP UP TWO SABERS, WITHDRAWING STEPS.
ROLLING CHOPS WITH THREE ADVANCES AND RETREATS.
PUNCH ACROSS THE BODY TO EACH SIDE, TRIPLE PUNCHES.
PROP UP A SABER AND CHOP, RETURN TO BARRACKS.
     KNOTTED FISTS, GRINDING STEP, RESUME ORIGINAL POSTURE.
ROLLING CHOP, RETREAT TO FACE ORIGINAL DIRECTION.
ENTERING STEP, ADVANCING LIKE SLIPPING INTO A SHEATH.
ROLLING CHOP, JUMP BACK TO STARTING POINT.
GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG, PULL THE BOWSTRING TAUT.
LEVEL HORSE-RIDING STANCE, LOOK TO BOTH SIDES.
     Considering that these poems are obscure and brief, and therefore hard to hold in the mind, I have added detailed explanations for each of them so as to preserve the material for posterity. (This section of the text has not been included.) [See the complete text of Boxing Methods.]
     Wang looked at what I had so far recorded, then smiled and told me: “I’ve practiced this stuff my whole life, but I often still seem to have trouble remembering it all. How’ve you made it is as clear as this? I don’t think your skill in the art will ever be able to live up to this record you’ve made of it.”
     The thing Wang gave special attention to, was most triumphant about, and what puts his art above the rest, is his twisting chop. (Boxing experts all agree the technique of chopping is extremely important. There are four kinds of chop: rolling chop, willow leaf chop, crossed-body chop, and Lei Gong [the Chinese god of thunder] chop, to which Wang has added the twisting chop as a way to use a chop to defeat a chop.) This technique came from Wang’s many years of experience. With much thought came realization and then an original creation.
     My training at the temple was as precise as making glass and as demanding as constructing a building. After a practice, Wang and I would share some cups of wine, then walk in the moonlight once it had risen over the hills on the horizon, and I heard the brook gently babbling while he talked of old ways and new.
     Because he was so generous with me, he trained me at the same time in the methods of spear, saber, sword, and axe. “Once you have learned the boxing sets, the rest of this curriculum is no trouble. Some of the boxing techniques will be just like techniques for the spear, others like techniques for the sword or the axe.” Teaching me even about how to march squads of soldiers or plan for the encampment of an army, he poured out everything he knew to the last drop. “I have no disciples, so I will do my utmost to teach the art to you.”
     I was in those days breathing fire out of my nose and jumping all over the place. I admired men like Bo Ji of Suiyang, who thought that the world must not be run by narrow-minded pedants, but instead by those who are able to mount a horse and go kill the enemy and then dismount to seize their king. Only then could one stand tall in the world. But also in those days, peace had been brought to the southwest. Peace had been brought to the southeast. Peace had been brought to the whole nation. It was indeed a time when dragging two stones into place [i.e. building a fortress] was seen as inferior to hammering in a single nail [i.e. building a house].
     My parents considered me to be rebellious and out of control, worried that I would turn into a young libertine, so they decided to send me away to study for the civil service examinations. I had myself already become aware that the household was in financial trouble. Under these circumstances, what use would there be in completing my training? I found myself regretting that I had spent my time on it, so I suppressed my feelings and quelled those ambitions, putting my mind instead to the task of mastering the classics. With my bamboo hat and case of books, I set out on the road accompanying Chen Kuixian, Chen Jiemei, Fan Guowen, Wan Jiye, and Zhang Xinyou. All the young gentlemen were then congregated in Ningbo’s eastern quarter.
     Wang came to town and went to my dorm. He talked to me about martial arts with still the same tireless sincerity: “Boxing arts are matter of quality, not quantity. Once practiced to the point of skill, there will be no limit to the applicability of the Six Lines set. The techniques within it divide into passive ones and active ones, and altogether make a mere eighteen, the variations of each bringing them up to forty-nine…”
     He continued: “A technique such as Punch in Twisting-Vine Step can be performed in any direction – left, right, center, forward, back – and so you must not think of it as being done in only one way…”
     He further continued: “Also, boxing arts go from complexity to simplicity. From the seventy-two throwing techniques (such as Reaching Punch and Rolling Chop, Punch Across the Center to Each Side, and other colorfully named combat techniques), there are then the thirty-five hand techniques (chop, erase, shake, knock, bump, and so on), and then the eighteen techniques [testing, sending, aiding, seizing, pulling, pushing, crowding, absorbing, sticking, hoisting, curving, inserting, throwing, propping, rubbing, scattering, vanishing, ejecting] (contained in the Six Lines set). This reduces from eighteen to twelve (overturn, switch, twist, shift, roll, shed, lead, entwine, kneel, sit, drum, grab), and then reducing from twelve, always remember the five words (focused, sticky, expedient, potent, precise). Observe boxing experts, the way they really only think about a few terms…”
     I was at the time focused on preparing for the civil service exams, and despite making myself listen, I could not feel as inspired as I used to. Wang himself was destitute, ill, under stress, weary is his heart, sallow in his complexion, worn out…
     It is now a mere seven years since Wang died [1669], and our area of the countryside has since become infested with criminals. They wander the roads and litter the fields with the bones of those they prey upon. We now need a hero like Sang Yi who can get rid of them all, but all we have are some candidates for the civil service exams who spend their days snug behind city walls reciting prose and verse. The authorities have made a few proclamations of protection and aid, naively thinking this will somehow administer a pacification of such evil men. The exam candidates for their part have come up with a few slogans about soldiers and farmers joining forces, naively thinking this would somehow have the capacity to manage the situation.
     It says in the “Record of the Warrior of Shaanxi” in Great Philosophical Discourses [by Song Lian]: “If Deng Bi was still here, things would surely look different.” [Not many years after the mighty Deng had died, the realm was in chaos.] When I read these words, I cannot help but think about how much we are to miss you, Wang, buried there three feet under the artemisia. Unfortunately he cannot help us now.
     I think so fondly about those days of learning from him, but I would not presume to proclaim that such training represents a meaningful scheme for assisting the ruler in pacifying warlords. However, for safeguarding the walls of a single city, like men such as Fan Changsheng or Fan Ya did in protecting their own communities, it does seem to me to be a reasonable course of action. And while it seems impossible that so much trouble has spread throughout the nation, and under our bamboo hats we gaze all around watching the dust rise and have nowhere to flee to, such is the present reality facing us!
     There was a time when I regretted that I was learning from Wang, but now I deeply regret that I ever regretted it. I alone was taught his art, but I abandoned his learning. As a result, this art has since become buried away in a big tomb. This is unbearable to me, and so I have devoted myself to writing down as much of these details as I can in order that future generations of enthusiasts can obtain something of the art. But then again, Zhuge Liang wrote in detail the dimensions for his trojan-horse ox thousands of years ago, but who has made any use of it yet?

(八)甯波府志所載張松溪事略
8. BIO OF ZHANG SONGXI FROM THE RECORDS OF NINGBO PREFECTURE [Book 31: “Those With Skills”]

張松溪善搏。師孫十三老。其法自言起於宋之張三峯。三峯為武當丹士。徽宗召之。道梗不前。夜夢玄帝授之拳法。厥明以單丁殺賊百餘。遂以絕技名於世。由三峯而後。至嘉靖時。其法遂傳於四明。而松溪為最著。松溪為人。恂恂如儒者。遇人恭謹。身若不勝衣。人求其術。輒遜謝避去。時少林僧以拳勇名天下。値倭亂。當事召僧擊倭。有僧七十輩。聞松溪名。至鄞求見。松溪避匿不出。少年慫恿之。試一往。見諸僧方校技酒樓上。忽失笑。僧知其為松溪也。遂求試。松溪曰。必欲試者。須召里正約。死無所問。許之。松溪袖手坐。一僧跳躍來蹴。松溪稍側身。舉手送之。其僧如飛丸隕空。墮重樓下。幾死。衆僧始駭服。嘗與諸少年入城。諸少年閉之月城中。羅拜曰。今進退無所。幸一試之。松溪不得已。乃使諸少年舉圜石。可數百斤者。累之。謂曰。吾七十老人。無所用試。供諸君一笑可乎。舉左手側而劈之。三石皆分為兩。其奇如此。〔松溪之徒三四人葉近泉為之最得近泉之傳者為吳崑山周雲泉單思南陳貞石孫繼槎皆各有授受崑山傳李天目徐岱岳天目傳余波仲陳茂弘吳七郎雲泉傳盧紹岐貞石傳夏枝溪董扶輿繼槎傳柴元明姚石門僧耳僧尾而思南之傳則有王征南征南名來咸為人尚義行誼修謹不以所長炫人葢拳勇之術有二一為外家一為內家外家則少林為盛其法主於搏人而跳踉奮躍或失之疎故往往得為人所乘內家則松溪之傳為正其法主於禦敵非遇困危則不發發則所當必靡無隙可乘故內家之術為尤善其搏人必以其穴有暈穴有啞穴有死穴相其穴而輕重擊之無毫髮爽者其尤秘者則有敬緊徑勁切五字訣非入室弟子不以相授葢此五字不以為用而所以神其用猶兵家之仁信智勇嚴云〕
A native of Yin county, Zhejiang, Zhang Songxi was a superb fighter. His teacher was Sun Shisan, who said that his art started in the Song Dynasty with Zhang Sanfeng, an elixirist of the Wudang mountains. Emperor Huizong summoned Zhang Sanfeng, but his route was blocked and he could not get through. That night in a dream, the first Song Emperor gave him the boxing method, and the next day he single-handedly killed more than a hundred bandits. Thereafter his unique skill became famous everywhere.
     After Zhang Sanfeng’s time, his art went on, and during the reign of Emperor Jiajing [1521-1567], it reached Siming, where Zhang Songxi became the top master of it. Zhang Songxi was as courteous as a Confucian scholar, respectful to everyone he met, seeming to be deferential even to his own clothes. When someone sought his art, he declined them with modesty and evaded the subject.
     The Shaolin monks were at this time famous fighters throughout the nation, and during the period of Wokou piracy, they had been called upon to fend off the pirates. A mob of seventy of the monks, having heard of Zhang Songxi’s fame, went to his native Yin county to seek him out. Zhang stayed in and hid himself away, but the young monks taunted him to come try his luck. Meeting them all in the upper level of a restaurant while they were comparing their skills with each other, he suddenly started laughing at them. They knew he was Zhang Songxi and then sought to test him. Zhang said, “If you insist upon it, you must talk to the headman of the village to see whether or not death would be permitted.” Then slipping his hands into his sleeves, he took a seat. One of the monks then attacked him with a jumping kick, and Zhang turned his body slightly sideways, lifting his hand to send him away, and the monk flew off like a shooting star, falling heavily to the lower level and almost died. The rest of the monks were astonished and dispersed.
     Once when he was entering a city among some youths, they sealed him off within the arched gateway. They surrounded him and saluted, and he was told, “Now that you can’t go forward or back, we trust you will grant us a bout.” Zhang had no choice, so he had the youths pile up some round stones of hundreds of pounds. Wearily he said, “I’m a seventy year old man with no use at all but to see if I can make you gentlemen laugh.” He raised his left hand, leaned in, and brought it down with a chop. And the three stones were split in two. His skill was something rare.
     [Of Zhang’s few disciples, the best was Ye Jinquan. Ye Jinquan taught Wu Kunshan, Zhou Yunquan, Dan Sinan, Chen Zhenshi, and Sun Jicha, each of which had students. Wu Kunshan taught Li Tianmu and Xu Daiyue. Li Tianmu taught Yu Bozhong, Chen Maohong and Wu Qilang. Zhou Yunquan taught Lu Shaoqi. Chen Zhenshi taught Xia Zhixi and Dong Fuyu. Sun Jicha taught Chai Yuanming, Yao Shimen, the monk Er, and the monk Wei. Dan Sinan taught Wang Zhengnan. Wang Zhengnan, called Laixian, was a man who valued honor. His behavior was friendly and he cultivated caution, never showing off his abilities.
     The skills of fighters are divided into two schools: external and internal. As to the external school, Shaolin is the most well-known style. Its method focuses on offense. Hopping and leaping around, one’s structure sometimes gets compromised, and thus an opponent is often given something to take advantage of. As to the internal school, Zhang Songxi’s teachings are the most authentic version. Its method focuses on defense. If an opponent is not in a bad position, one does not issue power, and so when one does issue power, it is sure to blow the opponent away. Giving the opponent nothing to take advantage of, the art of the internal school is therefore the better one.
     When fighting people, those of the internal school always make use of acupoints, acupoints which caused fainting, muteness, or death, and when targeting these acupoints, whether striking them lightly or heavily, they never miss at all. The major key to their art lies in a five-word formula: “focused, sticky, expedient, potent, precise”. Unless one was a direct disciple, one was not taught this. These five terms do not depict techniques, only a way of upgrading technique, in the same manner as these words from Sunzi: “Generals must be humane, sincere, smart, bold, and strict.”]

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