兵操 文事 游藝
JINGWU ARMY DRILL, LITERARY STUDIES, RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
[Parts Four–Six of 精武本紀 The Annals Of Jingwu, published Dec, 1919]
[translation by Paul Brennan, Dec, 2019]
[PART FOUR] ARMY DRILL
A BRIEF RECORD OF THE JINGWU ARMY DRILL UNIT by Zheng Zhuochen
The idea for the Jingwu Association to have a course in army drill came from Yuan Hengzhi, formerly the Association president and currently one of its directors. Yuan is an expert in martial arts and is also skilled in military science. As an enthusiastic instructor, he has had impressive success. However, it was very difficult to obtain funding in the beginning, and the members were usually too young to be able to draw any extra finances from their own households. For this reason, the uniforms were extremely simplified, not what would really be called military uniforms, until instructor Zheng Zhuochen later suggested using the boxing arts uniforms for the time being.
During winter, the members of the drill team wore breeches to fend off the cold, and so people teasingly called them the “breeches army”. However, their formations were kept very simple, morale was very high, and although the classes for training field operations were not equipped with machine guns or large cannons, they were at least able to train during times of bitter cold, dividing into teams to practice attacking and defending against each other. For their combat training with artillery, they attached iron pipes to a large piece of bamboo. Since this alternate “cannon” made a reasonable booming sound, the troops at that time were very fond of it and found it to be an adequate representation of an actual 40mm-caliber cannon.
I have been in charge of the unit to this day, and after several years of poorly equipping the troops just to keep them equipped, membership has been increasing to become more substantial [having now grown to the size of a full platoon] and the uniforms have finally been perfected, both of these things boosting morale.
The Jingwu army drill unit is a technical course that requires the fulfillment of two years in order to graduate, as well as an attitude of tireless learning and of seeking to understand every detail. Particularly since the European War [World War I, which ended just a year before], military tactics and strategy have advanced with giant strides, and so one will not succeed unless one does one’s very best to examine all principles.
For example, there is a rule that once my infantry has reached to within five hundred meters of the enemy, I am supposed to park my cannons. However, in the Siege of Qingdao, a battle between the Germans and the Japanese [Oct 31–Nov 7, 1914, the only WWI battle that took place in Asia, with victory going to the Japanese], the Japanese infantry was already too close to the enemy anyway and so they continued to advance with their cannons. Based on their experiment in the field, there seems to actually be a reduced risk of overall casualties by not stopping at a certain distance.
Jiang Baili [who a few years before had been a military advisor to President Yuan Shikai and then turned against him when Yuan declared himself a new emperor] made a record of what he had learned from studying European battlefields [having studied military science in Germany several years before WWI]: “The fearsome artillery of the German army cannot be withstood unless the enemy is deeply entrenched or hidden behind thick fortifications. So far only the French army has been able to take advantage of the German mentality of attack to use fortifications to their own advantage… Therefore control the enemy’s strength by manipulating his offensive position, and then take the battlefield afterward…”
This is but a glimpse of theory, a case of “scaling a fish with your fingernails” [a method which usually would pry away just a few of the scales]. Alas, Western cultural influence has already crowded in and brought down our walls. I have often said to the troops: “We represent the Jingwu attitude of uncompromising willpower. Within these ruined walls [i.e. the nation], we will use our infantry to quickly move in and refortify, building an impregnable defense to keep out the wind and rain [i.e. foreign dominance].”
Photo 1 – The “breeches army” of previous years:
Photo 2 – The breeches army training for field operations [part 1]:
Photo 3 – The breeches army training for field operations [part 2]:
Photo 4 – Flag-raising ceremony for “Double Tenth” [China’s Independence Day] (Oct 10, 1916):
Photo 5 – The army drill unit in 1917
(Portrait of the Jingwu army drill unit, 1917):
Photo 6 – The current army drill unit, with drill instructor Zheng Zhuochen:
Photo 7 – Troops making a formation [which spells 武 “martial”]:
Photo 8 – Troops making a formation [by lying on the ground to spell out 精武 Jingwu]:
Photo 9 – The military band:
Photo 10 – An example of the diploma from the Army Drill Unit:
Two-year certificate of the Jingwu Athletic Association Army Drill Unit:
本團 團員金光曜 二年滿約給授 此書為證
This document verifies that team member Jin Guangyao has completed two years of instruction.
中華民國六年十一月卄五日 團長鄭灼辰 會長王閣臣
[Signed and stamped by] Unit Commander Zheng Zhuochen & Association President Wang Gechen, Nov 25, 1917
(stamp of the China Jingwu Athletic Association)
MARTIAL ARTS TECHNIQUES FOR ARMY USE by Chen Tiesheng
The army charges in, using bayonets and sabers. If they were also to employ techniques from our nation’s martial arts, specifically methods for the spear, large saber, and single saber, then they would be invincible. The two photos below demonstrate martial arts techniques for use by army troops. The workings of the military have often been a state secret and not spoken of in much detail. But I hope my countrymen who give attention to such training will come together and more openly discuss these things.
（一）技擊術軍用實施法 鄭灼辰 金光曜
Martial arts techniques for army use (photo 1) performed by Zheng Zhuochen [left] & Jin Guangyao [right]:
（二）技擊術軍用實施法 霍東閣 鄭灼辰
Martial arts techniques for army use (photo 2) performed by Huo Dongge [left] & Zheng Zhuochen [right]:
[The shadow formed by the figure below produces the character 工, which is also seen on the pin on his jacket. 工 means: to labor, to work, to make stuff. This drawing is by 楊左匋 Yang Zuotao, who signed his named as S. Y. Young.]
[PART FIVE] LITERARY STUDIES
THE CALLIGRAPHY CLASS by Chen Tiesheng
After the Manchus took over China [in 1644], they feared that our people might take up arms to bring down the new rulers. Therefore boxing arts and use of weapons were strictly forbidden. During the next two hundred sixty years, literate men could not be martial, and martial men had even less hope of becoming literate. What was needed was someone like Fu Anqi [Xiuqi] [Book of Wei, chapter 70 – bio of Fu Yong (Fu Xiuqi)]: “He can mount his horse to kill traitors, then dismount and write the declaration of victory.” Alas, such a person is as rare as a phoenix.
In 1916, Jingwu Association member Wang Hanli started a calligraphy class that would take place during the leftover time after martial arts lessons, in which students would focus on the basic eight strokes [丶 dotting stroke, ˊ lifting stroke, 乛 twisting stroke, 一 horizontal stroke, 丨 vertical stroke, 亅 hooking stroke, 丿 left-curving stroke, 乀 right-curving stroke]. There are now more than fifty people in the class, who all find a way to be there regardless of extremes of heat or cold, and who all strive for a high standard, deeply embodying the “Jingwu doctrine”. So that we do not follow the old pattern of being valiant but shamefully illiterate warriors, all members who pursue advanced martial studies ought to also be studying calligraphy. They should be holding their writing brush with the same elegance as wielding a sword. The two arts are interrelated.
I have been the unworthy director of the calligraphy class for more than three years now without any problems. How can this be? I have no idea. But it seems to be working, there has been no cause for complaint, and these worldly scholars have taught me a lot as well.
Calligraphy practice (photo 1):
Calligraphy practice (photo 2):
Photo 3 – the best examples from the members of the 1917 calligraphy class:
These characters were drawn by Yao Chanbo: 碧、之、道、祠、為、脩
by Ms. Chen Shichao: 心
by Ms. Huang Wanxiang: 南
by Zheng Zhuochen: 成、道
by Chen Gongzhe: 槀、成、真
by Huang Shanxiang: 之
by Lu Weichang: 事、猶、子、如、字、育、時、設、未、主、也
– Jingwu calligraphy class – 1917
Photo 4 – best examples from the 1919 calligraphy class in Class A:
These characters were drawn by Lu Weichang: 設、備、相、闾、者、也、正、皆
by Zheng Zhuochen: 与、之、南、去
by Yao Chanbo: 至、南、鳥、氏、焉
by Zhou Xisan: 傲、和
by Liang Shaotian: 中
by Chen Gongzhe: 沉、風、丑、也
Photo 5 – best examples from the 1919 calligraphy class in Class B & Class C:
These characters were drawn by Ms. Huang Wanxiang: 去、日、寺
by Huo Dongge: 相
by Wang Hanli: 力
by Chen Shichao: 內
by Jian Weiqing: 忠、瑞、為、試
by Feng Lan’gao: 師、益
by Li Zhixi: 乃、化
by Huang Hanjia: 君
by Tang Qiongxiang: 曰
by Zhang Xipeng: 卿
by Li Guoquan: 邦
by Jin Guangyao: 人
by Li Yongjin: 𦍒、十
(The [twenty-three] characters above were drawn by those in Class B.)
by Lu Xueying (wife of Chen Gongzhe): 忘
by Zhao Lianhe: 多
by Huang Shanxiang: 雖
(The [three] characters above were drawn by those in Class C.)
“Flock of Crows at Sunset” painted by Gao Fenghan:
Gao Xiyuan [Fenghan] [1683–1749] was made a “Premier Painter of our Times” [during the reign of the Qing Dynasty emperor Qianlong (1736-1795)]. This painting belonged to my late father, who was a great collector. At the top it is adorned by the equally lovely calligraphic strokes of Gao’s top student Li Yu. I have recently given it as a present to Yang Meibin.
- written sincerely by Chen Tiesheng
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PAINTING CLASS by Chen Gongzhe
The act of painting in ancient China strongly emphasized spontaneous expression, whereas painting in the West focuses on drawing objects exactly as they are. These are different paths and therefore suit different temperaments, but they are equal in terms of sheer artistry and no different in terms of their principles. The Jingwu Association has a painting class, of which Shen Bocheng is head instructor. The students in recent years have been studying perspective and are indeed making progress. Below is a sample of some of their achievements:
Some achievements of the painting class [the example in the upper right signed “漢佳 (Huang Hanjia), 1919”]:
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT by Lu Xueying (wife of Chen Gongzhe)
Photography is something modern, with new things being invented for it every day. During our previous impoverished years, no one studied it, but nowadays it has become compelling and thought-provoking. Jingwu Association members are quite addicted to it. After passing the tests required by the department directors, they are given a certificate. Being a pretty sight in itself, an example of one has been included in this book.
Photo of the Jingwu Association photography department on an excursion:
Photography department on an excursion:
One of our photographic successes (photograph by Yao Chanbo):
Photographic studies certificate:
Certificate of the Jingwu Athletic Association Photography Department:
This verifies that Chen Shouzhi has learned and applied our methods of measuring light and photographing scenery. By the assessment of this photography department, his work has achieved a level of beauty. As we feel that he qualifies to a high standard, he is hereby presented with this document as proof of these credentials.
攝學部主任 葉向榮 陳公哲
[Signed and stamped by] the directors of the photography department: Ye Xiangrong & Chen Gongzhe
Nov 4, 1918
(stamp of the China Jingwu Athletic Association)
Three pictures [two photos, one painting]:
 “Three Pools at Sunset” – photograph [developed on tinted glass plate] by Chen Gongzhe, autumn, 1917:
Inscription for “Three Pools at Sunset” by Wang Jingwei:
Chen Gongzhe is a skilled photographer. He once traveled to West Lake and selected a beautiful spot to take a photo as a memento. Over the course of four days, he took a small boat onto the lake a dozen times to get this shot. Truly it can be described as exquisite, even transcendent. A certain gentleman from Hankou strongly wanted to buy it from him. Everyone in the world is familiar with the art of photography nowadays, but it is rare in our country to find someone who has studied it so deeply and become so highly skilled at it. Chen is unique for how much careful attention he puts into it and his work evokes a great sense of beauty. How can one look at this and not sigh with admiration?
- inscribed by Wang Zhaoming, called Jingwei
 “Mist Over Sutai [in Suzhou]” – photograph [developed on tinted glass plate] by Chen Shichao:
 “Galloping Fast to Lead Troops into Battle” painted [with primary colors onto copper surface] by Yang Zuotao:
ON MAKING A MOTION PICTURE OF THE JINGWU ASSOCIATION by Guo Weiyi
The modern era has seen the new inventions of the phonograph and cinematograph, one recording sound, the other recording images. Due to these devices, people centuries in the future will be spared the regret of not being able to see what their ancient progenitors were up to. Motion pictures are now fashionable in our nation, with copies of film reels everywhere being peddled from Europeans and Americans, hardly any of our countrymen making their own. The Jingwu Association’s Chen Gongzhe, who is addicted to the study of photography, said to me during the autumn: “Foreigners have a technique for making their photos move, and therefore their images spread around very quickly. If we present the Jingwu Association’s boxing sets in moving pictures, it would be a great way to promote physical education.”
After not even three months, I had completed a motion picture, using five thousand feet of film [i.e. five reels, a thousand feet per reel, the standard at the time being 35mm film and probably recording at only 16 frames per second, 35mm at 16fps meaning about fifteen minutes for each reel, therefore amounting to a typical feature-length film of close to an hour and a quarter of material], depicting the Jingwu Association’s history and people, boxing sets and weapon sets, boxing arts performances at gatherings of unprecedented size, group demonstrations of martial arts, as well as various other kinds of exercise, literary studies, army drill, recreational activities, all of it.
This will be the harbinger to our countrymen’s ability to produce films about our boxing arts. [The extent of just how influential his film was is not clear, but it is conceivable that it did indeed provide the seed for all of Kung Fu cinema.] The future development of martial arts will make giant strides, for this medium will prove to be powerful indeed. [Alas, this film recording the Jingwu Association’s activities seems to have been lost (perhaps simply mislaid, or lost potentially due to 35mm film being both flammable and perishable, and so if the film had not accidentally burned, it may have faded to blankness after a few decades anyway, especially if improperly stored), but at least we can know what we are missing since the Annals contains the list of the sixty-five scenes that were on its five reels, the caption cards for this silent movie, within the Appendices.]
INVENTION OF A NEW ZOOM-LENS DEVICE by Cheng Zipei
Photographic studies director Chen Gongzhe has recently invented a zoom-lens device, for which he sent a registration to America and obtained a patent. This is one of the achievements of the Jingwu photographic studies department. The device has the features and fulfills the functions of a mirror case.
1. When traveling, one will encounter scenery which cannot be photographed using an ordinary mirror case or zoom-lens, and can only be done with this device.
2. It combines the ordinary lenses of a telescope with a zoom-lens, three lenses in one, and so is worth three mirror cases, and thus saves a lot of money.
With these two advantages, you can avoid the extra trouble of having to lug around a mirror case.
The zoom-lens device invented by Chen Gongzhe:
A MOBILE DARK ROOM by Cheng Zipei
This kind of dark room is specially made for travelers and is also intended to be an important piece of military equipment. Although such things are made by Europeans and Americans, it is not likely that you will find one so complete. Designed entirely by Chen Gongzhe, it looks similar to a portable leather case. It is made of wood, is light in weight, and contains all the photographic equipment that one should have. It seems rather modest compared to a large dark room in an ordinary house, but this one instead has a dark curtain that is drawn over it, which is just as useful and provides good ventilation rather than the stuffy air in a usual dark room. It is fitted with two pipes for developing fluid to be put in and drained out, an electric lamp, a thermometer, a timer, and a sizable developing tray which can handle more than thirty four-inch developing plates at a time. The rest of the tools for developing prints and the containers for fluids amount to forty-two items altogether. The price of manufacture is very moderate. In the Jingwu Association, many of us who delight in photography have one, and we always find it to be an excellent instrument.
Photo 1 – Mobile dark room when closed:
Photo 2 – Mobile dark room with curtain drawn:
Photo 3 – Mobile dark room interior:
Specifications for the mobile dark room:
重量 箱重三十四磅 器械藥品十五磅 共重四十九磅
– Weight: case 34 lbs, equipment and developing fluids 15 lbs, total 49 lbs.
– Surface area:
合 二十五英寸又六 X 二十一英寸又三 X 七英寸又六
(when closed) 25.6in x 21.3in x 7.6in
開 二十五英寸又六 X 二十五英寸又半 X 二十六英寸又半
(when open) 25.6in x 25.5in x 26.5in
– Cubic proportions:
(closed) 2 ft, 3.6 in
(open) 9 ft, 9.7 in (therefore 4.2 times larger)
– Use of fluid:
(put in) 15 seconds per 10 ounces
(drain out) 4 seconds per 10 ounces
器械藥品 共四十二件 値洋五十圓
– Quantity of tools and fluids: altogether forty-two items, at a value of 50 silver yuan
– Value of case: 40 silver yuan
CHEN GONGZHE’S CALCULATIONS FOR EXPOSURE by Huang Yisheng
Chen Gongzhe once wrote a book called Shortcuts for Calculating Exposure, which we have all found to be very convenient and which has also gained great popularity outside of the Jingwu Association. He has recently produced another volume, a tiny booklet that will fit in a shirt pocket, barely three inches in length, containing the methods for calculating exposure already worked out. Open the book and there they are, saving you the trouble of doing the math, a very efficient tool indeed. After all, why should only Westerners be able to come up with new scientific products?
The Factorial Exposure Calculator and Record by Kung-Che Chen [Chen Gongzhe]:
A DISCUSSION OF PHOTOGRAPHY by Chen Gongzhe
Western photography has had years of inventions, improvements in equipment, and developments in practical application. This can be seen in their magazines and specialized books, giving details about the science that are beyond counting. Our nation alone has vanished into silence on the subject of photography. Chinese people have fallen far behind Westerners in this regard. There is no excuse for this.
The word “photograph” is a European term [an English word with Greek roots] that breaks down into “light” (photo) and “draw” (graph), and this translates as “drawing with sunlight” [which is also reminiscent of the word for photography in its infancy: “heliography”]. It is an art that is based in scientific experiments with optics, but its applications are downright supernatural.
Famous landscapes can be photographed and then looked at while in a room thousands of miles away, or old friends can take photographs of each other when they meet and still look at each other when far apart. These kinds of miracles have become commonplace. For other uses, doctors can take X-ray images to see right through a patient instead of needing to perform exploratory surgery, and explorers can get a clear bird’s-eye view of a terrain without having to trudge their way through it on land.
It is impossible to properly count the stars above just by looking up at them, but a photograph can isolate a section of the night sky. Thus photography is useful for astronomy. The transformations of flora or fauna cannot really be adequately observed by researchers once such processes are underway, but by taking a photograph of microscopic organisms, they will be frozen in that moment. The same is true for the study of mineralogical processes. These things all profit from photography, and thus it is useful for science in general. As for its usefulness for the military or for other human affairs, there is simply too much to say in any detail.
Motion pictures have become considered a crucial part of modern culture and are universally appreciated. We can now keep the most ephemeral of events, preserving them as grand spectacle for all to enjoy. When considering the art of photography as a whole, it has an endless surplus of peripheral benefits. Due to modern scientific advances, the true appearance of the natural world can now be revealed by a simple photograph. It is no longer necessary to skillfully apply pigments to a canvas in order to create an image from scratch, thus photography builds connections between societies, building so efficiently that people are amazed by the magic of it. Photography was invented nearly a century ago, and has since progressed like pounding waves, like galloping horses, like budding flowers.
After persevering at it for many years, I did not know the magic of it would only increase, for my dreams nowadays are never as good as my photographs. I once described it as the most ingenious science in the world, and I have become ever more tireless in my practice of it, finding it to be the single most interesting of all things. But any scientific enterprise has to be connected with other scientific fields, and then they will all advance together. Otherwise they would go off in different directions and become complacent in their own dogmas, unable to get all the way to the underlying truth. I therefore say that photography requires a deep foundation in scientific study.
The construction of the equipment may be a time-consuming craft, but the principles and methods will not be too difficult for someone who loves learning and enjoys solving problems. All things start out as ideas and then become realities. Working from a plan, you will then reap the benefits. This is why the Jingwu Association offers a specialized course involving using art and science as the foundation of study and then diving into systematic training. Although the current state of affairs for this field is dire and the alarm is constantly being sounded, there are some among my fellow countrymen who have worked hard to become skillful photographers, and I hope that from this point on we will all give it more attention.
☉醫學紀 簡玉鵬 偉卿
ON MEDICINE by Jian Yupeng, called Weiqing
Medical science is the most important branch of learning. The Jingwu Association has courses in both Chinese and Western medicine. The director of the Chinese medicine class is Luo Bokui. The director of the Western medicine class is Lin Jinhua, M.D. Both of these gentlemen are esteemed by society for their ethics and knowledge.
THE MANIFESTO OF THE JINGWU MEDICAL DEPARTMENT by Luo Bokui
Ah this luxuriant land… with this dirty China on it. I am ashamed our skills are not better, considering our lives amidst such trying chaos. There seems to be no way to rescue this generation in order to cure the nation, nor any morals left to be the acupuncture for society. People are fond of the idea of standing tall and fearless, but they have been living in the world in such a temporary way, the decades rushing by like nothing of significance is happening, a mere bubble popping, and now we in our desperate state. We are living at a horizon, trembling with fear for what might be beyond it while natural selection is busy getting rid of the dead wood. This is both comical and tragic. In 1912, we did after all take back our Chinese realm, which had never before been a republic since its beginning thousands of years ago.
This dramatically put China on the map. I was living in Guangdong, where I worked in a hospital like a horse in a stable, and yet I still had ambition. This worn-out horse defiantly stamped its hooves and made plans, hoping to help the nation forward. The nation then meandered its way sideways for several years, leaving me fed up that the government was so corrupt with decadence and that society was so overgrown with weeds. Our people both above and below had become ignorant and selfish. So many had drooping cheeks, sad without even knowing why. They persistently clung to their pessimism, which only clogged their minds. Thus I gave up my medical position, unwilling to have anything more to do with the cancerous misery that had so recently spread through my own hometown, and I retired to Shanghai, whereupon I was graciously invited by the Jingwu Association to give lectures about medicine. Ignoring my own areas of ignorance, I have dared to contribute my opinions and have formed a solid partnership with its members.
Medicine begins with the “Su Wen” and “Ling Shu” [the two parts of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine], describing refined ancient principles for easing troubled people. These skills were further developed by Zhang Zhongjing of the Han Dynasty, who wrote Treatise on Injurious Diseases and Treasure Chest of Essential Prescriptions, fully equipping us with a methodology to be carried forward into the future and benefit new generations of students. Zhang is to medicine what Confucius is to Confucianism. We can describe all physicians since as “many rivers returning to the sea”. There are none who do not receive and rely on his teachings. Other authors have come after him of course, to address the changing circumstances of the times and the differing physiques of other territories. Thus although their ways of determining treatment all grew from the same root, they each branched off into a variety of approaches. Here are some noteworthy examples:
Liu Hejian [1120–1200]: “Of the six kinds of air [wind, cold, heat, humidity, dryness, and fire], it is fire that transforms our condition.” Thus he performed treatments that usually involved making sweat flow.
Li Dongyuan [1180–1251]: “The earth is the mother of all things.” Thus he focused heavily on digestion.
Zhang Zihe [1151–1231]: “Sweating and vomiting are the way to go.” Thus he was good at attacking illness [i.e. prescribing purges].
Zhu Danxi [1281–1358] was of this opinion: “A person’s active energy is usually excessive and the passive energy is usually insufficient.” Thus he focused on nourishing the passive energy.
Zhang Jingyue [1563–1640] was of the opposite opinion: “A person’s energy is fundamentally active.” Thus he focused on supporting the active energy.
Students then received explanations from their particular teacher and they ended up holding views that are different from the students of other teachers, resulting in the same kind of disputes within Confucianism between the Han school of thought and the Song school of thought. However, they all have grounds for their views, as well as sets of principles that nevertheless use a shared terminology.
Medical practitioners are able to ardently study and ponder the material, and then adapt it according to the time and place. To diagnose a person’s illness and then seek an effective remedy, they have more than enough knowledge to draw from in order to handle the task. If they were to stubbornly stick to only one school of thought for a means of dealing with a problem, they would be operating from an unnecessary bias [“choosing a glamorous red color over a simple white color” – from the preface to Jiang Yan’s Miscellaneous Poems], which would cause them to have a more limited view. Behaving in this way, there can be no progress toward a greater truth.
I say that the purpose of the medical tradition is first of all to verify the treatments of common illnesses and codify the theoretical principles. This will involve consulting Western medicine. Let us not push it away only to get stuck in our ancient traditions and devote ourselves to obscure theories, but instead strive purely and simply for the most suitable and practical methods. Let us enhance general medical knowledge and formulate it into a systematic study so that we can achieve faster results. This is also my personal ambition and I hope for correction in my own studies.
This athletic association is called “Jingwu” because here they cultivate a martial [“wu”] spirit [“jing”]. They are so enterprising that they are willing to take the whole world upon their shoulders. Since their main emphasis is health, they desire a clearer understanding of health and thus a knowledge of medicine. Medicine is a specialized science. Although the theory is meticulous and profound, every aspect of it is imbued with common sense. The general idea is that those who are ill should be cured and those who are not yet ill should be made stronger to prevent them from becoming ill in the first place. It will in no small way be of benefit to the progress of physical education as well as the study of health. Everyone in the Jingwu Association has shown great interest in it.
Instruction in traumatology (led by director Lin Jinhua, M.D.):
THE DEBATING TEAM by Liang Shaotian
If we want to transmit the ideas of our people and to discuss whether the reasoning of those ideas is true or false, we need these sharp tools: the written word and the spoken word. People tend to consider the written word to be superior and thus do not use the spoken word with as much care. They may write compositions that are flowing and dignified, but when the time comes to speak, they stammer, unable to articulate their ideas, or are too timid to explain, or their thoughts are too unstructured. Incapable of moving people the way they can through writing, they only end up appearing ignorant.
In ancient times, the disciples of Confucius fell into four categories of study. [Lun Yu, 11.3: “For (1) virtuous conduct, there is Yan Hui, Zi Qian, Bo Niu, and Zhong Gong; (2) eloquent speech: Zai Wo and Zi Gong; (3) practical governing: Ran You and Zi Lu; (4) literary studies: Zi You and Zi Xia.”] Neither spoken language nor written language was to be favored to the neglect of the other. Writings such as “Zhu Zhiwu Gets the Qin Army to Retreat” [Master Lü’s Commentary to the Spring & Autumn Annals, Duke of Xi, 30th year] and “Lü Xuanzi Severs Relations with Qin” [Lü’s Commentary, Duke of Cheng, 13th year] are now considered to be peerless. In their own time, they were merely seen as effectively worded speeches, but thousands of years later they seem to hum with life.
When Su Qin had audience with the King of Qin, a pile of books made no impression on him, and so he conversed with the ministers instead, dazzling them with brilliant wit, and by this means obtained results. I feel that the heroic tales of Meng Ben and Wu Huo, the strategies of Sunzi and Wuzi, the writings of Sima Qian and Ban Gu, and the debates of Zhang Yi and Su Qin are all equally as inspiring.
The Jingwu Association has a Mandarin class for breaking down the barrier of dialects, at last bringing the citizens of Wu and Yue together in the same room [Wu and Yue being warring states in the 5th century BC, here referring to the modern inhabitants of southern Jiangsu / northeastern Zhejiang, somewhat divided in the early 20th century by differences of regional dialect]. Taking advantage of this opportunity, we have also established a debating class, a skill that is truly indispensable in our current national situation.
Furthermore, there is no lack here of PhD graduates from European and American universities. (The judge of the debating team is Luo Panhui, called Qinsan, who studied law in the United States, graduating [from the University of Chicago Law School] with a Juris Doctor degree [and was in fact the very first Chinese person to receive this degree from an American university].) There is therefore no difficulty at all in obtaining qualified teachers. In days to come, putting into practice what is learned here will lead to the spreading of boxing arts and the explaining of martial skills with the greatest of effectiveness. I hope my colleagues will all exert themselves.
The debating team:
OUR NATIONAL LANGUAGE by Yun Zuocheng
Our nation has thousands of dialects. The reason for these divisions was expressed by Yangshe Xi of the Spring & Autumn era, who said [from Master Lü’s Commentary to the Spring & Autumn Annals, Duke Xiang, year 31]: “Gongsun Qiao [prime minister of the state of Zheng] made rules. The feudal lords came to depend on those rules. How then are such rules to be abandoned?” [i.e. Once someone has set a standard and other people are following it, it is too late to prevent it from becoming the norm.] Currently throughout the world, there is attention given to the ways that European countries have studied their languages since ancient times. In this field, we too now have experts, who give particular attention to grammatical variations, and who have established specialized courses in educational institutions throughout the nation.
Our nation’s several thousand years’ worth of dialectal divergence is generally grouped into ten types:  the area north of the Yellow River,  south of the Yellow River,  east of Mt. Tai,  west of Mt. Tai,  within Shaanxi,  source of the Yangzte River,  middle length of the Yangzte River,  Yangzte River basin,  Fujian / Guangdong, and  Yunnan / Guizhou. Examining further, a dialect divides into dozens of subdialects, the complex differences of which are too numerous to count.
Failing to understand what other people are saying, their ideas go unexamined. Without cross-communication of ideas, dividing lines between dialects settle into place. Once such divisions emerge, the influence upon the nation’s political affairs and the society’s ability to communicate with itself is by no means insignificant. Unifying under a national language is therefore something we must do without delay. [As the easiest version of spoken Chinese, Mandarin (i.e. guo yu, meaning “national speak”) became established as the lingua franca that unifies all of the regions of China.]
[The drawing below depicting the “sick men of Asia” is unsigned, but could possibly also have been made by Yang Zuotao.]
[PART SIX] RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
DISCUSSING CHESS by Zeng Qiwen
Foreigners often ridicule us by saying: “When Chinese people get together, it’s always for gambling.” Slander! Well, it is true nowadays that if you stroll around in any decadent urban area, you will see it everywhere, and so maybe the accusation is not entirely false. Games such as “thirteen cards” [Chinese poker] and five-card draw poker obsess our countrymen to such an extent that more than half of the people attending a funeral are playing instead of mourning. We in the Jingwu Association hate gambling. Anyone found gambling will be expelled. The word “gamble” itself is simply not part of the Jingwu vocabulary. However, during spare time after classes, it is permitted to play harmless and elegant chess.
According to the Records of a Great Variety of Things [by Zhang Hua], encirclement chess [commonly known as “go”] was created by the ancient rulers Tang and Yao, and representation chess [or Chinese chess, similar to Western chess in that it has representative pieces: general, advisor, elephant, horse, chariot, soldier, and cannon] was passed down from Ji and Fa.
Encirclement chess has long been in decline. Apart from two or three famous players, playing this game is rather like playing the Guangling Melody [a notoriously difficult zither tune from the end of the Eastern Han era that apparently no one has been able to do proper justice to ever since]. However, it is said that new moves are still being invented, clever stratagems that earlier players never tried, proving that old manuals for the game were not exaggerating [about its complexity].
Representation chess is just as ingenious, presented in books such as Zhu Jinzhen’s Secret Within the Tangerine, published during the reign the Ming Dynasty emperor Chongzhen [1627-1644], and Wang Jian’an’s Plum Blossom Manual, published during the reign of the Qing Dynasty emperor Kangxi [1662-1722], as well as Xie Xiaxun’s [co-authored with Pan Dingsi] New Chess Manual in Memoriam of our National Humiliation, published recently [Aug, 1916]. These books describe formations of attack and defense that are all constantly changing into unpredictable patterns.
The game involves two armies of equal strength facing each other on a battlefield. If I do not properly manage my forces every step of the way, the enemy will take advantage of a gap and attack. He will act according to my position to apply a stranglehold, and then no matter how powerful my forces or how bold my general [equivalent to an orthogonally moving king in Western chess], I will be unable to maneuver on the field. If I do not see clearly and recognize what is going on, he will wipe out my soldiers [pawn] and horses [knight] one after another and then invade as he pleases. If he makes a surprise attack upon my position at the right moment, my chariots [rook] and horses will not be able to coordinate with each other, my advisors [diagonally moving king] and elephants [bishop] will not be able to cover my flanks, and the enemy will drive straight through as if cutting down dead trees.
One who is good at warfare will first examine the overall situation, solidify a strategy, and then act. If attacking or defending, he will not become boastful after a small victory or discouraged after a small defeat. If he is in a weaker position, he will build defenses against potential threats and use diplomacy to seek peace. If he and his enemy have equally powerful positions, he will wait for opportunity and attack where the enemy does not expect. If he is in the stronger position, he will just drive on through to capture the enemy king. He observes the field with severity, but moves onto it cautiously, for there is some distance to cover to get to the target. Such games may be very small in scale, but they bring you closer to the means of handling the larger scale.
圍棋 陳士超 簡偉卿
Encirclement chess, being played by Chen Shichao [left] & Jian Weiqing [right]:
象棋 吳見眞 黃怡生
Representation chess, being played by Wu Jianzhen [left] & Huang Yisheng [right]:
SOME RAMBLINGS ABOUT CANTONESE OPERA by Chen Zhuomei [Tiesheng]
Cantonese opera and Beijing opera are two completely different paths, but if we are able to follow those paths, they would seem to be mostly the same thing. Cantonese opera’s “xipi” style [“western leather” – also called 湖廣 huguang, a style spread over Hunan/Hubei and Guangdong/Guangxi (i.e. Cantonese opera)] shows up in Beijing opera’s “four-level melodies”, while Cantonese opera’s “counter-erhuang style” [erhuang meaning “double reeds” (i.e. Beijing opera)] is also very similar to Beijing opera itself. [A term for Chinese opera in general is 皮黃 “pihuang”, which is an abbreviation of 西皮 xipi and 二黃 erhuang, meaning “Cantonese opera and Beijing opera”, and so a connection and similarity can reasonably be assumed from the start.] Beijing opera’s Black Basin Strategy is similar to Cantonese opera’s Sacrificial Tower, the tone of which is more than halfway the same. What in Cantonese opera is called the “bangzi” style [“wooden clappers” (i.e. Shaanxi opera)] is similar to the xipi of Beijing opera, and the erhuang style in both Cantonese and Beijing opera is pretty much the same. Therefore I say that Cantonese songs are simply a variation of Beijing songs, and this is because we Cantonese people originally came mostly from the area of Fujian and Jiangxi.
There are six kinds of general classifications of Cantonese opera: erhuang, bangzi, greater songs, lesser songs, paizi [“arrangement” songs, for announcing the beginning of a drama or punctuating events throughout it], and Kunqiang melodies [melodies from Kunshan, between Shanghai and Suzhou]. The erhuang style contains: main woodblock, adagio, double flow, rolling flowers, sighing woodblock, leftward flinging, xipi, luantan [“random strumming”], three-legged stool, and reverse stringing. The bangzi style contains: main woodblock, adagio, medium woodblock, rolling flowers, sighing woodblock, and bangzi reverse stringing.
As for the “greater songs”, in my youth I once heard Yan Laolie (i.e. Yan Xingtang) say that there are sixteen: “Continuous Covering”, “Willow-Shaking Gold”, “Waves Washing the Sand”, “Butterflies Flying Together” (containing “Willow Green Woman” within it), “Straw Sandals Woodblocks”, “Beaded Curtain”, “Golden Spindle”, “Arrival of Spring”, “Small Ripe Peaches”, “Cloud-Covered Mt. Hua”, “Weeping Heavens”, “Greater Open Door”, “Lesser Open Door”, “Three Waves in Succession” (comprised of three songs: “Gazing at the Moon While Carrying a Ladder”, “Thunder at Dawn”, “Holding Back the Curtain”), “Fisherfolk Music”, and “Plucking Strings Melody”. Yan is a master of Cantonese opera. At that time, he was the general music tutor to the profligate sons of the four wealthiest Cantonese families of Pan, Lu, Wu, and Ye, for which he arranged the six types of “master” classes: old master, young master, teacher, venerable master, master-in-law, and grandson master).
Cantonese opera is performed in three ways: the “headstrongs” (a term used in Shanghai for amateurs), the “old cross-section” (involving the eight traditional orchestral instruments), and the “regulars” (i.e. theatrical troupes). The best of these three is the headstrongs. Gongs, drums, and stringed instruments are brought together, combined with three strikes on one woodblock to prevent any of them from slipping off-beat. Playing off-beat is called “eating the bag” [perhaps as opposed to eating the food within a bag].
The old cross-section is now outdated because it goes beyond the beats on the woodblock to add additional phrasing (initiated by the stringed instruments) that goes on too long. In Cantonese cities today, it is used only by “blind concubines”, because they accompany it with “throat singing”. Indeed all of the roles in opera – male roles, female roles, painted-face roles, and clown roles – will have a moment to sing (what is technically called “monologuing”), often a moment in which one person may sing for up five or six hours, and so there has to be longer use of the woodblock and interspersings of additional phrasing to create gaps to rest the singer’s voice.
Theatrical troupes are more concerned with the use of the hands, and thus use of gongs and drums frequently do not match up with the stringed instruments, for the woodblock beat has to shorten and then shorten again in order to conform to the hand gestures of the actors, a mistiming that constantly makes opera lovers cringe. However, the headstrongs produce music that flows without confusion and expresses the leisure of the wealthy. Due to their meticulous study of their craft, no theatrical troupe can catch up to their level.
Of Yan’s students, Lü Yincun was the best at the erxian [“two strings” – a bowed instrument] and tiqin [“lifted stringed instrument” (four-stringed – bowed)], Liu Fengshan was the best at the sanxian [“three strings” – a plucked instrument], and Chen Ziming was the best at the yueqin [“moon-shaped stringed instrument” (four-stringed round bodied guitar – plucked)]. I saw Yan during my youth, but now he and even all of his students have passed away. Yan’s playing of stringed instruments and his singing were both at the highest level. Even at the age of seventy, he could still sing the vivacious female role. His neighbors never know that it was the voice of an old man with white hair and a white beard.
Everyone knows of paizi, erhuang, and bangzi, but the Kunqiang style is only performed any longer by theatrical troupes. Someone said then whenever we think of dramatic pieces nowadays, they are just the remnants of the Kunqiang style. Yan responded that this was not so, or at least that it cannot be asserted for sure, considering that luantan [meaning non-Kunqiang] is now the trend of the times. Twenty years ago, there was someone in the part of the young male character who cried out so superbly, performing Master Luo Swallows a Needle entirely using the luantan style, that no one has gone back ever since.
For bangzi style reverse stringing, ask today’s Cantonese opera masters and very few know how. This is because the erxian is being replaced by the violin, or they use the foot-long five-string, which is easy to obtain. As for the singing of Cantonese actors, the headstrongs say that previously there were only two and a half famous roles to perform, the two major roles being the warrior role or “new glory” and the vivacious female role or “immortal flower”, and the young male character of “tranquil” being only half a role. But famous actors are now as common as trees. When one is expert enough in opera to discuss it, he is nowadays deemed a “famous actor” even though he might actually consider himself to be inadequate.
The art of singing requires not only a good throat, but also a keen sense of hearing, for the singer’s voice must be neither quieter nor louder than the sound of the stringed instruments. [Too quiet and the voice will be buried under the sound of the strings], too loud and the sound of the strings will be buried under the voice. This does not make for exquisite music. However, although people will easily notice when the voice is too quiet, they will just as easily fail to notice when the voice is too loud. Perfecting the roles of “new glory” and “immortal flower” is entirely a matter of experience, because the work involved in getting them right cannot really be described in words.
In the past there were the “Yellow River songs”. According to Yan, these songs had already been lost. What we nowadays call Yellow River songs, such as “Cao Fu Becomes an Immortal”, “Zhou Yu Returns to Heaven”, “Surrounding Nanyang”, and so on, are not really the ancient Yellow River songs. They all involve bowed stringed instruments, such as the erxian and violin. The quality of the sound produced by the hand comes naturally and cannot be forced, whereas in the case of the sanxian and yueqin [which are plucked stringed instruments], there are a few ways to make it sound good without really being good at it. Bowing has to be melodious and for that the sinews have to have stamina. The bow cannot go back and forth with rushing and jerking, instead there has to be a quality of “eating flow” (meaning its movements over the strings have to done as a single flow throughout). This action is a matter of finding just the right level.
The sanxian involves “pushing along” [sliding along a fretless neck], but the yueqin involves “rolling the fingers” [over to the next fret] (the fretting hand never coming all the way down to the neck surface), for which the “millstone hand” is the best method [with the fingers the coming down on the frets in succession from forefinger to little finger or coming away in succession from little finger to forefinger]. The yueqin of the headstrong tunes re at the sixth fret [of the upper string], unlike do at the sixth fret, which is used today only by theatrical troupes who are using the eight kinds of traditional orchestral instruments. The youth of today prefer to use the higher tuning. The phrase “one more fret” has become the general rule, for they do not understand that it is the melody that makes it pleasing to the ear [rather than precise tuning, one of the major differences between Chinese and Western music]. Tuning too high makes a maddening sound. The goal for the most part is to get it to be a “moderate” sound.
When playing the flute (the “horizontal bamboo”), the sound should be as “round as an eyeball”, not a flat sound, and then it will be beautiful. When it comes to the art of singing, it is a “one way path” [i.e. out the mouth, as opposed to a bow moving back and forth, a strumming hand moving up and down, a fretting hand moving inward or outward, the fingering of a flute rolling the fingers onto the holes and off of the holes], projecting clear and far. Unfortunately, although we know it when we hear it, we cannot then explain it with speech.
Someone asked what Cantonese actors are like nowadays. The laughing response was that they were entirely concerned with how their faces look, and did not know how to play instruments or sing, especially the all-female theatrical troupes. The audience is made up of only the undiscerning eyes of the commoner, and the performers employ only the most common tricks to appeal to them. Are these actors? Are these artists? The world is indeed coming to an end.
The Cantonese dramas are literate and beautiful, such as Ji Zha Hangs Up his Sword, Su Wu Tends the Sheep, Li Guinian’s Song, Mansion of the Swallows, Li Ling Responds to Su Wu’s Letter, Twelve Gold Tablets Sent to Summon Yue Fei, List of the Heart’s Outpourings, most of these having been composed by Feng Bitang, as well as Li Bai Drunkenly Drafts a Threatening Letter, Maiden Aches with Loneliness, and so on, all written by poets and scholars.
In 1912, the members of the Men-of-Integrity Troupe started performing dramas entirely in the local Guangdong accent. Having established their own style, they have become endlessly fascinating to listeners. The words are also poignant (the dramas written by Huang Luyi being the best) and incredibly likable. But the singing method has to be uniform. Old songs have to be sung entirely in the old style. Songs sung in the local accent have to be sung entirely in the local accent. Neither can be mixed with the other, otherwise it would only invite the ridicule of experts.
In Cantonese opera, the players of the stringed instruments each have special names. The yueqin player is called “top hand” because his role (restricted to the singer’s pattern) is to set the standard for the other instruments. The musical notation is based on the sound of the “horizontal bamboo” (i.e. bamboo flute), but the yueqin player directs what the flutes play. The sanxian player is called “two hands” because he is in charge of two instruments: sanxian, flute (including double flute). The erxian player is called “three hands” because he is in charge of three instruments: erxian, cymbal, double cymbals. The erxian is considered the “lord” of the stringed instruments. The tiqin player is called “eight hands” because he is tasked with being able to play eight instruments: erxian, sanxian, yueqin, tiqin, cymbal, gong, bass drum, and “drumbeat hands” (i.e. wooden clappers), so that he can substitute for any of the players.
The instruments all listen for the commands from the clapper. If the singer is not carrying a clapper himself, he uses finger gestures to cue the clapper player: thumbs-up position – allegro; shaking the forefinger up and down as though making a continuous percussive beat – “rolling flowers”; pointing with both the forefinger and middle finger – moderato; pointing with only the forefinger – adagio; sticking out both thumb and forefinger to make a ninety-degree angle – eight-beat start (the singer always starting a song with an eight-beat count); sticking out all five fingers like a bamboo shoot or raising the palm with all five fingers sticking out – finish, or a transition from singing to speaking.
Playing Cantonese instruments together [showing (left to right) cymbal (on which is written 真对 “truly answering”), erxian, a second erxian, double cymbals, woodblocks, yueqin, sanxian, and gong]:
Musical notation for Cantonese opera: ` means stop, Ⅹ means allegro, Ⅸ means adagio, 米 means moderato, 𠃊 means continuous. This is a formal part of the major songs. In the old days, they were always used, but nowadays cannot really be found in use anywhere.
For the xipi style, the headstrongs originally used the longer woodblocks of the erhuang style (commonly called “double-woodblock adagio”). Theatrical troupes have another method that goes la–so–la–do, do–la–so–la–do–so–la–so, do–so–la–do–re–so–re, la–re–do–mi–so, which the headstrong rarely know about. They are also unaware of the recent melodies based on bangzi moderato.
The bangzi style has “yearning between lovers”, and so does the erhuang style. For instance, in songs such as “Pian Cai Exorcises the Demons”, if percussion is used, it will be accompanied by strings (using the phrasing so–so–so–so–ti–la–do–re, so–so–so–so–ti–la–do–re, so–mi–mi–do–re, mi–re–so–la–do–re, mi–re–mi–re to finish, the main component of “double flow”). The so–so–so phrasing can be used three or four times as the actor walks around on the stage, as is common in these kinds of songs.
Not only can the so rhythm be used for the yearning in the erhuang style, fitting the double flow, there are also other rhythms, such as a re rhythm, changing the so–so–so–so–ti–la–do–re rhythm above to re–re–re–re–ti–la–do–re in order to better harmonize with the moment. However, for one who wants to sing these rhythms without percussion accompaniment, the erhuang style yearning cannot be played prior to the double-flow woodblock. I once found a music book present this in the wrong order, and even went so far as to include the performing of yearning between lovers among the arias to be performed without face paint, truly a book in need of correction.
Martial arts masters often form a strong bond with music, like with the six types of “master” classes mentioned above. There is a Huo the Hero, who is both an eminent figure in Cantonese opera circles and famous in Zhuhai [which neighbors Macao] for his boxing arts skill. Music may seem to be an almost excessively peaceful art in comparison, but nevertheless music and martial arts are very useful for each other.
My fellows are equally capable at singing Beijing opera. It is said that Beijing songs require energy from the elixir field, being so difficult to sing. However, Cantonese opera is performed with more of an exaggerated accent, and so Cantonese songs are actually more difficult than Beijing songs. Beyond the six kinds of Cantonese opera, there is also the soulfulness of Cantonese folk songs and the puppet-theater style of singing in puppet shows (most in this profession being from Shunde County [now Shunde District, in Foshan]).
Puppet shows nowadays tend to simply use “basic singing” (as actors call it) and the puppet-theater style is in decline. The storytelling of the blind bards, the Yangzhou songs, and the southern ballads are all performed in Cantonese language. The blind-bard stories are accompanied by the Cantonese zither (similar to storytelling in Shanghai being accompanied by stringed instruments). Several words within a phrase are stretched out for a few beats, gaps which are filled by the zither. In the southern ballad of the “Dragon Boat Song”, every phrase is mixed with percussion. The eight traditional instruments are played in good order to allow the subtlety of the storytelling to shine through. With striking woodblocks to maintain the pace, these songs compel an audience. Theatrical troupes use “Suzhou drumming”, comprised of playing only woodblocks and no stringed instruments, rather like in the modern colloquial-speech farces that are common in Shanghai.
Both Beijing songs and Cantonese songs use three strikes with one woodblock. Exceptions are seven strikes with one woodblock for Cantonese folk songs and four strikes with one woodblock for Kunqiang songs (which is not the same thing as Kunqu opera).
The qixianqin [“seven strings”] is the most ancient of the instruments. Throughout the twenty-one provinces [which was the amount in 1919], there is no difference in the way it is tuned or the fingering method that is used to play it. Therefore this instrument is truly a unifier within traditional Chinese opera.
This article is the result of simply taking some sheets of paper and writing freely and randomly, making a jumble of ideas rather than structuring an essay. I am merely supplying some information based on things I have learned over the last thirty years as they have come to mind.
MY CASUAL OPINIONS ON BEIJING OPERA by Chen Zhuomei [Tiesheng]
As a layman, I cannot properly discuss Beijing opera, but I have heard a great deal of it and am very familiar with both the erhuang style and xipi style. Although I cannot speak about it in great detail, I have obtained a slight understanding. There was the sound of Sun Juxian’s notes [“huangzhong and dalü” – the first two notes of the Chinese chromatic scale, and by extension all the notes], who was adored by listeners throughout his life. And there was the way Tan Xinpei’s sounds rose and fell, controlling and releasing them however he pleased. (Ten years ago, my colleague Wang Tielou once made bios of famous actors based on the several decades of what he had seen and heard for himself, in which he rated them from worst to best. Only for Wang Jiuling, Cheng Changgeng [trained by Tan Xinpei], and half a dozen others did he make commentary, judging them entirely for their artistry in singing, about which he knows a great deal. The swindling foreign devils living in Shanghai are instead obsessed only with how the actors paint their faces. These two aspects are truly as different as clouds and soil. However, modern Beijing’s celebrities leftover from imperial days are themselves narrow-minded stubborn old men, and so they end up equally in error, Beijing’s celebrities and Shanghai’s foreign devils, different and yet the same.) Tan Xinpei is imitated most, Sun Juxian rarely, but comparing between Sun and Tan should not be determined in that way.
There are people nowadays who recommend that we should just abandon the singing art altogether, and such comments are really no help at all. I say that the dramatic arts should have both varieties, singing and speaking, which are like the two wheels of a cart. We must not take care of just one and ignore the other. This is true in our nation and indeed in all nations. Furthermore, in our nation nowadays, plays performed in colloquial speech are not really of a very high quality, aimed at appealing to the masses and thus attracting the beastliest of men, women, and those swindling foreign devils.
To treat spoken drama in this way is simply unjust. It would be better to instead abandon this bastardization of spoken drama to keep it away from that gang of swindlers. (The former Spring Willow Society [an organization devoted to researching literature and the arts, which that lasted from 1906 to 1915] had great appreciation for drama, as well as other arts.) Therefore if singing drama is abandoned, not only would it be the end of the world anyway, but spoken drama is not yet good enough to replace it. I worry that if this issue is not given attention, the owners of unprofitable theaters will cave in to the shenanigans of swindling foreign devils with their attitude of “a sucker is born every minute”, relying on the capacity of the lowest common denominator to not know what to look for.
In recent years, Kunqu opera seems to be having a bit of resurgence. The poetry of Kunqu is the most beautiful, but alas it seems to be becoming a more decadent style of opera, though most of us are not literate enough to notice whether or not this is true. For playing the roles of the virtuous woman, Chen Delin and Feng Zihe are very pleasing to listen to. Chen is certainly the better of the two, but Feng’s voice is wonderfully crisp and clear, never in poor taste. Mei Langfang seems somewhat inferior and I do not understand why he has such a great reputation, but I guess we all have our favorites.
The most popular drama performances recently have usually involved performing four lines at a time in a slow and casual manner, which is the way the old theatrical troupes would fake spoken drama. So far, only Tears-of-Blood Tablet has a proper plot, while others such as New Tea-Flowers, Magnificent Emerald Fringe, and Revealing the Living Buddha are just a lot of running around and can hardly even be called drama.
As for Shaanxi opera, I have not heard enough it to be qualified to make a comment about it.
Photo 1 – Our earlier Beijing orchestra:
Photo 2 – Our current Beijing orchestra:
WESTERN STRINGED INSTRUMENTS by Lu Xueying (wife of Chen Gongzhe)
There are many orchestras of brass instruments in Shanghai, but not as many for strings. Those of us in the Jingwu Association who strongly appreciate Western literature tend to also become obsessed with Western music, and so we specially invited the musician Situ Mengyan to give us instruction. After persevering for a long time, we have made progress in both Chinese and Western music. Perhaps someday we will be worthy of a place among the musicians of the world.
Western stringed instruments class:
At the piano:
ON THE VIOLIN by Chen Gongzhe
Chinese and foreign music are the same in that they both are played with dignity, being food for the ear, fuel for the mind. And they are different in that they both have unique instruments and rhythms, tend to be performed in different venues, one more often in a theater, the other more often in a courtyard, and have their own systems of tuning.
I love music, but I lack ability and have not studied enough. This is because I have not had the single-minded determination to put in many continuous years of work, and so I have achieved little more than a glimpse of what makes it tick. However, just as the lame never forget what it was like to walk and the blind never forget what it was like to see, whenever impressive music fills my ears, it always fills me with a yearning, turning all things into inspirations. It is a means of transcending the world without leaving itself behind.
Let us take for example the four stringed instruments of Western music [violin, viola, cello, bass], of which the violin is considered the most soulful. In the early stages of learning to play the instrument, it merely entertains the ear, but after a long time, it also develops the mind. Those in our nation who consider it to be a very high-brow form of music practice it in order to examine its pros and cons, to discuss its strengths and its drawbacks. In response to those who admire traditional Chinese music as being the most refined, my opinion is that the violin is almost always superior. It produces a different kind of song and yet requires the same kind of craftsmanship. Though really there is no need to judge which is better or worse. Suffice it to say, I am moved by it.
Those in our nation who consider our music to be refined, from ancient times to today, know that it is supposed to be respected and yet have no sense of why it has been carried forward in the first place. Therefore the stringed instruments of the era of the Three Dynasties [the ancient dynasties of Xia, Shang, and Zhou] have remained as they were all the way up to the present day, without either degrading or improving. This is not the case for the violin.
The first violins that were made had fewer strings, similar to the two-stringed Chinese instruments that we still have today, but are different from the way they were originally made because they went through many generations of improvement until finally perfected by Antontio Stradivari [two hundred years before this book was made]. Violins made nowadays simply do not compare to his. His violins have no equal for their harmonious sound and beautiful shape, and he seems to have been constantly improving them. Because the instrument evolved, it has not gone extinct.
Those in our nation who are experts at discussing music always complain that Chinese stringed instruments are not harmonious, that the strings should be replaced with a different material and properly tuned. But as they were the only source of refined music in their time, they have thus remained in use even though they are outdated. Over the centuries and millennia, no one dared to criticize the way they are made, whereas the reason why Western music continues to spread around the world is because the old-fashioned instruments cease to get played, the older versions of stringed instruments, bells, and drums gradually fading from use, no longer interesting. Though this might not be an entirely accurate view, I find it to be a reasonable explanation.
Early on I tired of hearing the common dogma about our music and had to switch my focus from Chinese music to Western music. It is said that there was a man who did not care for high society or well-prepared meats. Although beautiful things and rich food were brought before him each day, they could not stir his soul. Then it turned out that a taste of musical delicacies did the trick without much difficulty. Noticing how deeply the music affected him, his servants then feared to change the selection of songs and conservatively fell into a safe pattern of mediocrity, meaning that the music was denied the potential to improve.
I therefore would instead like to take music both ancient and modern, both Chinese and foreign, studying them all together, and combine the best of them to make a system of study which will ensure that all music will get passed down without end. And especially the violin! My own understanding is still shallow, but everyone already celebrates music anyway and there are many organizations for doing so, and thus it is simply my humble hope to give people more music to enjoy.
A RUSSIAN MUSIC MASTER by Wu Jianzhen
The Jingwu Association uses music to cultivate a refined temperament, and that is why the recreation department has established a music class. This summer, a Russian music master visited and gave us a special performance. As everyone listened to such refined music, so dignified and balanced, it subtly drew forth this effect [paraphrasing from Historical Records, chapter 47]: “When one hears beautiful music, one even forgets about food.” This idea truly expresses the experience.
Performance of a Russian music master:
TENNIS by Yao Chanbo
Tennis is a gentleman’s game and an activity that is perfect for summer. It is fashionable in Europe and America, played by women and children as well, and has now also become very popular throughout East Asia. However, it is young people that it most attracts, who once they have free time at the end of their day will one after another file onto the courts. It can cause toxins lingering in the blood to get unobtrusively expelled through perspiration. Truly it has great benefits for one’s health.
☉記籃球 周錫三 陸象賢
BASKETBALL: by Zhou Xisan & Lu Xiangxian
Basketball is an indoor sport in winter and then becomes an outdoor sport once spring has warmed things up. It involves a referee who strictly maintains the rules. After four fouls, a player is told to leave the court. Players first practice on their own, then in formations, and then play in teams. Ever since basketball became a part of the Jingwu Association in 1917, the players have become addicted to it, practicing it obsessively, and some of them have developed a real knack for it.
Basketball (photo 1):
Basketball (photo 2):
SOCCER by Lu Weichang
This is a more strenuous form of exercise. In recent years, there are almost no schools in our nation that do not practice it. This game is good for enhancing the strength of the body and for rousing boldness of spirit. It is also excellent for building skillfulness at zigzagging around obstacles and can develop the virtue of teamwork. The best players have made the greatest achievements in the game since the European War, setting an example of the value of daily practice. Six of our nation’s southern universities have for several years been encouraging participation in this sport. This is why when the Jingwu Association changed to its new location in 1916, we specially set aside more than twenty acres for a ball field in order to have plenty of room to maneuver in this game.
Members who have become addicted to this sport are not only greatly benefiting their bodies and minds, it is also having a marvelous effect on their martial training. This is because practicing martial arts first requires learning to step with stability and then moving on to spirited leaping strides. As this game involves regular bursts of sprinting, it helps them learn to prevent strains and sprains, and the movement does not have the flaw of making one overly emphasize either hardness or softness. It is no wonder that members never get bored with the game, playing it even on the severest of winter days, and cannot stop talking about it.
However, our nation’s athletes have a tendency to go to extremes. During a match, it is common to see players deliberately crashing into players on the opposing team. Players usually gracefully accept the consequent penalty, but sometimes they simply disregard it (even though soccer has fixed rules that are recognized throughout the world), thereby hindering the values of teamwork and good sportsmanship, greatly perverting the whole point of getting involved in the game in the first place. I once quietly watched a match between famous teams. They occasionally crashed into each other, but then the players apologized to each other without embarrassment. I could not help but be moved by this and I mention it here in the hope that my sports comrades will be so enlightened.
Photo 1 – the soccer team in 1913:
Photo 2 – the soccer team in 1919:
SKATING by Tang Qiongxiang
Skating is a form of exercise that began in the nineteenth century. It has two functions: a winter pastime and a rapid means of traversing icy ground or a frozen body of water. In Europe, it is a common winter sport, especially in countries such as Holland and Norway, where even the seacoast often freezes over. There are two forms of ice skating competition: racing [speed skating] and artistry [figure skating], which involves all sorts of poses, spins, and elaborately changing patterns. Instead of ice skates, it is more practical for us [being in Shanghai, where there are only a few days of snowfall in winter and thus lacking lingering patches of ice] to simply use four-wheeled roller skates on a flat surface, though since ice is slipperier, it would of course be much easier to glide over.
TUG-OF-WAR by Chen Qiying
Tug-of-war has been an activity in our nation since ancient times and did not begin in Europe or America. It is a game, a test of strength between two groups, and its worth is not lost on those who value the martial spirit.
ZIP-LINING by Li Guoquan
Zip-lining is something that trains bravery. An iron cable is extended through the air, the two ends secured to wooden posts or from one wall to another. One end has to be slightly higher to create a downward momentum. There is a ring hung from two wheels on top of the wire. Your hands grip the bottom of the ring and you let your whole body hang in the air and follow gravity downward. Someone has to be ready with a long pole in case the wheels slip off or the cable slackens and you end up stuck halfway. That person then holds the pole up under your feet so you can grab around it with your legs and he pulls you along the rest of the way toward your intended finishing spot. For those who practice this, it is important to be extremely careful [“as if standing at a cliff edge or walking on thin ice” (from Book of Poetry, poem 195)], but it also has to be understood that being afraid will only make it more dangerous.
GAME HUNTING by Li Yongjin
Although going out into the wilderness and back a hundred times does not compare to wrestling a bear once, hunting is nevertheless an excellent means for increasing bravery. Practicing this skill has long been considered valuable by people in the military. Below is a photograph of Jingwu Association members on a hunt.
HIKING – Part 1 by Qiu Liang
Every year, the Jingwu Association has a hiking excursion. This photo shows a hiking trip in Kunshan [in Suzhou], where there is wonderful scenery and views of the terrain, a delightful place to hike. Although the mountains [“shan”] of Kunshan are not very high, they are surely no shorter than the tallest peak of Mt. Wu [in Hangzhou].
1916 Hiking group’s excursion (photo 1):
HIKING – Part 2 by Shen Jixiu
Jiangwan Town is a key gateway to Shanghai. When we arrived there, we had the photograph below taken as a memento. The house in the photo is the Chen Villa.
1916 Hiking group’s excursion (photo 2):
[Other activities in photographs only:]
自由車旅行姑蘇（一） 陳公喆 黃漢佳 盧煒昌 姚蟾伯
Cycling excursion to Gusu District [in Suzhou, about fifty miles west of central Shanghai] (photo 1 – showing [left to right] Chen Gongzhe, Huang Hanjia, Lu Weichang, Yao Chanbo):
Cycling excursion to Gusu (photo 2):
Cycling excursion to Gusu (photo 3) [here passing 南翔 Nanxiang in the Jiading District, now about ten miles west of the Jingwu Association]:
Cycling excursion to Gusu (photo 4):
Full lift of a heavy weight, performed by Huang Huilong:
Horizontal bar [with the photo showing a dramatic dismount]:
Rings & rope swings:
[Below is another drawing by Yang Zuotao, showing a general carrying a command banner and watching the battle progress.]