FLYING GOOSE PALMS

飛雁掌
FLYING GOOSE PALMS
黃漢勛演式說明
performance and text by Huang Hanxun [Wong Honfan]
[published in Hong Kong within 新武俠 New Martial Hero (issues #37–39), autumn, 1971]

[translation by Paul Brennan, Jan, 2022]

引言
FOREWORD

漢勛一介武人,讀書有限而學人著書立說已屬大胆之作,初本用作同學參攷及備忘之用而已,後為利便遠道購取起見始由三五書局代售,更非為出版圖利,但求每年將收益作為出版新書之用,積二十有五年始編印,二十八種頗覺遲緩,如以螳螂派拳械對事計之祇三份之一耳!其他未出版者都已寫成講義及拍妥相片。惟近日市面竟將拙著翻板用書中圖片翻印其絀劣可知。漢勛乃藉藉無名之拳術教師而已,竟承書商錯愛,予以大力宣揚真出意料之外也。
拳術自清末拳匪之亂後式微迄今,有心人不禁為之痛惜!現方露復興之象,各派先進後起均能負起寫述本派之歷史與拳理乃前所本有之佳兆,書商為圖區區之利而犯摧殘武術復興實為武術界之共同大敵也。茲為應許凱如先生(念佛山人)之命而將十餘年前所攝之「飛雁掌」(又名「落鷹掌」)應之。漢勛决於年底退休,茲將之刋出者,乃一攷騐蓋非為名利也。讀者諸君幸垂詧之,並予指教焉。
七一年七月十五日黃漢勛
I am an ordinary martial artist and not a highly literate person, and so to write books on the subject is surely rather presumptuous of me. I started making these books simply for fellow students to use as reference material and to refresh their memories when they forget the next movement, then later I realized how convenient these little books are for people far away who are seeking this material, and so I began getting them distributed through a number of bookstores. This project has not been for profit, and any money that it has generated each year went right back into publishing new books.
  The first of these books was published twenty-five years ago [Secrets of the Mantis Boxing Art (1946)] and thereafter a collection of them slowly grew to twenty-eight volumes. Even that much represents only about a third of the boxing and weapons sets in the Mantis system, the rest contained in still-unpublished manuscripts and photographs. Recently my books have been getting reprinted, putting their inferiority on display once more. I was merely an unknown boxing arts instructor, but due to the undeserved kindness of booksellers, I unexpectedly ended up known as a vigorous promoter of these arts.
  Boxing arts have been in decline ever since the Boxer Rebellion. Enthusiasts find this situation to be unendurable. There are some signs of hope these days, with practitioners of every style writing books about their art’s history and boxing theory, and with booksellers distributing those volumes, the common cause being to revive lost martial arts. At the request of Xu Kairu (pen name “The Buddhist Hermit”), I now present Flying Goose Palms, photographed more than ten years ago. I have decided to retire at the end of this year, and so I am now publishing some more material to test whether or not there is still a market for it. I hope readers can bring themselves to examine this trifling thing and then offer me corrections to any errors they may find.
  - written by Huang Hanxun, July 15, 1971

飛雁掌說明書
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FLYING GOOSE PALMS BOXING SET

1「背轉雙蓄勢」
STANDING WITH YOUR BACK TURNED, BOTH HANDS STORING POWER

(假定形勢由東而西)如插捶或梅花拳之起式,如第一圖片
You will travel from east to west, the same as in the beginning of the Charging Punches boxing set and also Plum Blossom Fists. See photo 1:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 1

2「入環掠翅式」
KNEELING STANCE, SWATTING WINGS

如梅花拳之第一式,進右脚以成入環步,兩掌分右長左短自腰間撥出如第二圖片。
The same as in the first technique of Plum Blossom Fists, your right foot advances, your left foot following, and you go down into a kneeling stance as your hands go from your waist with an action of deflecting away, your right hand at long range, left hand at short range. See photo 2:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 2

3「提腿迎面掌」
LIFTING LEG, PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE

提起右前脚以成獨立之勢,右掌往上橫撥,左掌亦橫平而出如第三圖片。
Your right leg lifts to make a one-legged stance as your right hand deflects upward, the palm positioned sideways, and your left palm goes out straight ahead, also with the palm sideways. See photo 3:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 3

4「登山右反掌」
MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT BACKHANDED PALM STRIKE

先將提起之右脚往後踏下後,左脚同時再往後落下如小跳之狀,左掌橫封而返,右掌則自上反蓋而下如第四圖片。
Your right foot comes down to the rear and your left foot scoots back farther behind it, your feet changing position with a small hop, as your left hand seals downward with the palm sideways and your right hand covers downward in front with the back of the hand. See photo 4:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 4

5「退式穿統捶」
RETREAT, THREAD & THRUST

沿上式之右登山式不變,先動後脚標後半步,形成右登山式(斯為螳螂拳中常有之步法也);當標步之時左下橫掌向前穿出,右上直掌則往後收,收至盡而以統捶式統出,左掌緊傍右肩之上如第五圖片。
Remaining in a right mountain-climbing stance, your rear foot darts backward a half step and your front foot follows it back (a type of footwork that is frequently used in Mantis Boxing) as your left sideways palm threads out forward, your right palm withdrawing, and then your right hand goes out as a thrust punch, your left palm going next to your right shoulder. See photo 5:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 5

6「退式封統捶」
RETREAT, SEAL & THRUST

步如前式之退法,左掌由右肩臂上封出,往下而收;而右拳亦以收而復出之勢直統而出如第六圖片。
Repeat the footwork of the previous posture as your left hand goes out, seals downward, and withdraws, and your right fist withdraws and then goes out with another thrust punch. See photo 6:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 6

7「走步高挑手」
HOPPING STEP, CARRYING HIGH

先上左後脚,再上右前脚,以成右七星之勢,但兩脚進前並非逐脚進前而是以小跳法;右手與左掌相碰而上(挑手),如第七圖片。
First your left foot advances, then your right foot, your feet advancing with a small hop, finishing in a right big-dipper stance, as your right fist lowers and then carries upward with your left palm slapping against your right forearm on the way. See photo 7:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 7

8「七星右補捶」
BIG-DIPPER STANCE, RIGHT FILLING PUNCH

與上式原步不變,以右拳收囘再用補捶法打出便是,如第八圖片。
With your stance not changing, your right fist withdraws and then strikes out with a filling punch. See photo 8:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 8

9「引針右腰斬」
DRAWING THE NEEDLE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST

右手照上式往前一封,左手跟着再封,當兩手分先後作封手時,用縱跳法往前走以成左七星之勢,而右掌便可以腰斬之法撇出,如第九圖片。
Your hands each go forward with a sealing action, right hand then left, as your feet hop forward, right foot then left, finishing in a left big-dipper stance, then your right hand flings out with an action of slicing through the opponent’s waist. See photo 9:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 9

10「引針左腰斬」
DRAWING THE NEEDLE, LEFT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST

先以右腰斬之掌往前封,再以左後手向前封,右脚自後進前而成右七星式,同時左掌亦以腰斬之勢切去其勢與上相同,祇左右之差耳!如第十圖片。
Your right hand goes forward with a sealing action, then your left, as your right foot goes forward to make right big-dipper stance, then your left palm cuts away with the action of slicing the waist. It is the same technique as in the previous posture, only on the other side. See photo 10:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 10

11「登山右圈捶」
MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SWINGING PUNCH

沿上式,右前脚踏前以成右登山式,右拳往左前圈去,至中正而止,如第十一圖片。
Your right foot steps forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your right fist swings across forward and to the left, stopped in the centerline by your left hand meeting your right forearm. See photo 11:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 11

12「登山右挫捶」
MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, RIGHT SUBDUING PUNCH

沿上式左右脚皆不變原來位置,左手先由上封落右拳自下逆衝而上,同時原步乘勢拖前半步之遙,如第十二圖片。
Maintaining a right mountain-climbing stance, your feet dart forward a halt step as your left hand seals off downward and your right fist thrusts out upward from below. See photo 12:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 12

13「入環右腰斬」
KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT SLICING THROUGH THE WAIST

左後脚進前一步,右脚乘勢拉前,以成左入環步,左手往前向上穿出,右拳抽囘而易掌橫撇,斬出如第十三圖片。
Your left foot advances and your right foot pulls in to make a kneeling stance as your left fist threads out forward and upward, your right fist pulling back, becoming a palm, and flinging out forward with a slicing action, the palm positioned sideways. See photo 13:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 13

(以上十三式俱是由東而西者,由下式起則易勢矣)
(In Postures 1–13, you have been traveling from east to west. In the next posture, you will begin traveling from west to east.)

14「入環右滾手」
KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT ROLLING HANDS

沿上式,向右方全身而轉即成右入環步,兩掌分長短循步法轉移而撥去,即為螳螂出洞之滾手,亦即本拳之第一式,如第十四圖片。
Your body turns around to the right to make a right kneeling stance as your hands arc across, deflecting away with your right hand at long range, left hand at short range. It is the same technique as in Posture 1, also the same as in Posture 49 of Mantis Leaves the Cave. See photo 14:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 14

15「入環右漏手」
KNEELING STANCE, RIGHT SLIPPING HANDS

此式之定式實與上式無異,但前式之掌乃自內撥出者,而此式則由外反向內拍入,亦與螳螂出洞之滾漏手相同,如第十五圖片。
Your feet scoot forward, still making a kneeling stance, as your hands draw a counterclockwise circle back to where they were. This posture finishes in the same position as the previous posture, but whereas that technique deflects outward from inside, this technique slaps inward from outside. It is the same technique as in Posture 49 of Mantis Leaves the Cave. See photo 15:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 15

16「背踢雙撥掌」
KICK BEHIND, DOUBLE DEFLECTING HANDS

左脚踏下,右脚往後踢去,雙掌隨之往後撥出。與崩步拳之勢略同,如第十六圖片。
Your left foot comes down fully and your right foot kicks out behind as your hands deflect across to the rear. It is the same techniques as Posture 9 of the Avalanche Steps boxing set. See photo 16:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 16

17「馬式雙封手」
HORSE-RIDING STANCE, DOUBLE SEALING HANDS

上式與此式雖由西向東打去,但皆向西而望,此式與崩步拳之「順手牽羊」勢完全相同,如第十七圖片。
It is the same technique as in Posture 10 of Avalanche Steps, your right foot retreating to make a horse-riding stance, your hands grabbing and pulling across to the right. Although you are looking to the west, you are still traveling from west to east. See photo 17:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 17

18「弧形右屯掌」
CURVING INTO PLACE, RIGHT BRACING PALM

沿上式提右脚,右掌往上一拖,如18甲圖(過渡式);
Your head turning again to the right, your right foot lifts as your right hand stretches upward. See photo 18a:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 18a

再轉一小圈而向右方轉去,至盡為止,所提之脚亦同時踏下以成為與上式不變之騎馬式;當馬式已成之時我弧形之掌亦一變而成為屯掌,如第十八乙圖(定式)。
Your right hand arcs away to the right, draws a small circle inward, and then braces out forward as your right foot comes back down into a horse-riding stance. See photo 18b:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 18b

19「弧形左屯掌」
CURVING INTO PLACE, LEFT BRACING PALM

沿上式提左後脚往前以成獨立式,同時以左掌穿出如19甲圖(過渡式)
Your left foot lifts forward to make a one-legged stance as your left hand threads out. See photo 19a:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 19a

隨將穿起之掌往左兜一小圈,以成所謂弧形;當我掌法做妥後,即將提起之脚踏下以成騎馬式,左掌再以屯掌法打出,如第十九乙圖(定式)。
Your left hand arcs away to the left, draws a small circle inward, and then braces out forward as your left foot comes down into a horse-riding stance. See photo 19b:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 19b

20「掌刁跨虎勢」
SITTING-TIGER STANCE, PALM & HOOK

先將上式之右後脚往後撤退,以成類似登山式之步,左掌在上,右擋收脅下,如第20甲圖(過渡式);
Your right foot steps behind you to almost make a mountain-climbing stance, your body turning around to the right, as your left hand goes upward and your right hand withdraws below your left ribs. See photo 20a:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 20a

再拉後左脚以成左跨虎之勢,而同時雙手作交叠式之「打花」法,復分為右掌橫於頭上,左刁手往後鈎去,即如「偷接」收式之形勢,如第20乙圖(定式)
Then your left foot pulls back to make a left sitting-tiger stance as your hands cross, left hand on top, and then spread apart with a flourish, your right going over your head with the palm sideways, your left hand hooking away behind. This technique is the same as the closing posture of the two-person set Steal & Catch. See photo 20b:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 20b

21「入環雙屯掌」
KNEELING STANCE, DOUBLE BRACING PALMS

(此式開始再由東往西矣)全身一坐往前一標便成左入環式,同時雙手收胸部再平正打出便成,如第廿一圖片。
(With this posture, you beginning traveling again from east to west.) Your body darts forward and squats down to make a left kneeling stance as your hands withdraw to your chest and then push out straight ahead. See photo 21:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 21

22「登山左揷掌」
MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, LEFT CHARGING PALM

殿右脚。進左脚,以成左登山式,收右拳於腰部,左掌直插而出,如第廿二圖片。
Your right foot stomps and your left foot advances to make a left mountain-climbing stance as your right fist withdraws to your waist and your left palm charges forward. See photo 22:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 22

23「跨虎穿挑掌」
SITTING-TIGER STANCE, THREAD & CARRY

沿上式進右脚以成右跨虎式,腰部之拳化掌由下直挑而上,左掌收貼右肩,如第廿三圖片。
Your right foot advances to make a right sitting-tiger stance as your right fist becomes a palm and carries upward from below, your left hand withdrawing to your right shoulder. See photo 23:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 23

24「馬式右屯掌」
HORSE-RIDING STANCE, RIGHT BRACING PALM

沿上式將前跨虎之脚標前,拉進以成騎馬式,而右掌同時化作橫齊之掌屯出,左掌仍貼於右肩不動,如第廿四圖片。
Your right foot darts forward to make a horse-riding stance as your right hand braces out with the palm sideways, your left hand remaining at your right shoulder. See photo 24:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 24

25「跨虎穿挑掌」
SITTING-TIGER STANCE, THREAD & CARRY

由上式馬式而上左脚以成為左跨虎之勢,同時左掌亦由下往上挑起,右掌反收貼左肩處,如第廿五圖片。
Your left foot steps forward to make a left sitting-tiger stance as your left fist carries upward from below, your right hand withdrawing to your left shoulder. See photo 25:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 25

26「馬式左屯掌」
HORSE-RIDING STANCE, LEFT BRACING PALM

沿上式,左前跨虎之脚拉前標進以成騎馬式,左掌同時化為平橫掌跟馬屯去,如第廿六圖片。
Your right foot darts forward to make a horse-riding stance as your left hand braces out with the palm sideways. See photo 26:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 26

27「跨虎穿挑掌」
SITTING-TIGER STANCE, THREAD & CARRY

一切動作,作用全與第廿三式同,如27圖片。
Same as in Posture 23, your right foot steps forward to make a right sitting-tiger stance as your right hand carries upward. See photo 27:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 27

28「馬式右屯掌」
HORSE-RIDING STANCE, RIGHT BRACING PALM

一切動作,作用皆與廿四式同,如第廿八圖片
Same as in Posture 24, your right foot darts forward to make a horse-riding stance as your right hand braces out. See photo 28:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 28

29「右掠翅踢腿」
RIGHT SWATTING WINGS, KICK

沿上式,兩掌先往後收,然後分張短與右脚同時打出,如第廿九圖片。
Your palms first pull back to the rear, then strike out in unison with your right foot, your right hand at long range, left hand at short range. See photo 29:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 29

30「跨虎右挑掌」
SITTING-TIGER STANCE, RIGHT CARRYING PALMS

當上式右脚踢出後即往左後方作小跳式撤退,並以極普遍之跨虎挑掌作定式,如第三十圖片。
Your right foot comes down to the left rear with a small hop, your left foot scooting back, and your right foot pulls in to make a right sitting-tiger stance as your hands rise up with a carrying action. See photo 30:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 30

31「弧形左屯掌」
CURVING INTO PLACE, LEFT BRACING PALM

(由此式起再由西向東)沿上式,先踏下右脚,再提起左脚以成獨立之勢,左掌向上往前一拖,如31甲圖(過渡式),
(With this posture, you beginning traveling again from west to east.) Your right foot comes down and your left foot lifts to make a one-legged stance as you turn around to the left and your left palm stretches upward and forward. See photo 31a:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 31a

再落步標前,用屯掌法屯出,如第31乙圖片(定式)。亦如19之甲乙同)全式亦與十九式同。
Your left foot comes down darting forward into a horse-riding stance as your left hand braces out. It is the same technique as in Posture 19. See photo 31b:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 31b

32「弧形右屯掌」
CURVING INTO PLACE, RIGHT BRACING PALM

提右脚進前以成,如32甲圖之勢;
Your right foot lifts forward as your right hand threads out. See photo 32a:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 32a

再落馬屯掌如第32乙圖(定式)。全式亦與十八式同。
Your right foot comes down darting forward into a horse-riding stance as your right hand braces out. It is the same technique as in Posture 18. See photo 32b:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 32b

33「撤式雙匿爪」
WITHDRAWING STEP, DOUBLE HIDDEN CLAWS

全身往後撤退。以成登山式。但左右步方向不轉,兩手分以刀手前後而出,如第卅三圖片。(即「一路摘要」內之雙匿爪)
With your feet maintaining their position, retreat into a right mountain-climbing stance as your hands both form hooking hands and spilt apart to the front and rear, your right hand using its hook to pull back to the right, your left hand shooting out forward with a wrist strike. It is the same technique as in Posture 55 of 1st Set of Picked Essentials. See photo 33:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 33

34「進式右撇掌」
ADVANCE, RIGHT FLINGING PALM

沿上式,全身標前仍成右登山式,右後之刀手往前橫撇而去,至與左手接觸時發出「必卜」之聲,如第卅四圖片。
Maintaining a right mountain-climbing stance, your feet dart forward a half step as your right hand flings out forward with the palm sideways, colliding into your left hand with an audible crack on the way. See photo 34:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 34

35「進式漏切掌」
ADVANCE, SLIPPING & CUTTING

全身再進仍成右登山式,右掌由上式遁腕部轉動而往右反切,其範疇至小也,左掌則全無變動,如第卅五圖片。
Your feet again dart forward, still maintaining a right mountain-climbing stance, as your right palm turns over, making a small circle at the wrist, and cuts across to the right, your left palm not moving. See photo 35:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 35

36「提腿番天印」
LIFTING LEG, OVERTURNED-SKY STAMP

沿上式,先提右脚以成獨立式,右掌一反如第36甲圖片(過渡式)。
Your right foot lifts up to make a one-legged stance as your right palm turns over. See photo 36a:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 36a

原步不變,收右掌於腰。換左掌蓋出如第36乙圖片(過渡式),
With your stance not changing, your right hand withdraws to your waist and your left palm takes its place by going out with a covering action. See photo 36b:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 36b

隨落右脚以成騎馬式,再出右掌而左掌橫蓋於頭頂上,便成整個之番天印也。如第36丙圖片(定式)。(此亦即「螳螂出洞」之番天印也)
Your right foot comes down to make a horse-riding stance as your right palm goes out again and your left hand goes over your head with the palm positioned sideways. It is the same technique as in Posture 30 of Mantis Leaves the Cave. See photo 36c:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 36c

37「跨虎左挑掌」
SITTING-TIGER STANCE, LEFT CARRYING PALMS

囘身向西,收左脚以成左跨虎步,兩掌互挑。如「一路摘要」之收式焉,如第卅七圖片。(至此全拳已完)
Your body turns around to the west and your left foot pulls in to make a left sitting-tiger stance as your hands both carry upward in the manner of the concluding posture of the 1st Set of Picked Essentials. This posture likewise concludes this set. See photo 37:

黃漢勛《飛雁掌》(1971) - photo 37

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[As a bonus, included below are three chapters from Huang’s Notes on the Mantis Boxing Art (1951).]

論暗器的價值
ON THE VALUE OF HIDDEN WEAPONS

中國近世紀以來,在帝皇與軍伐專制統治之下,祗求鞏固其地位,對建設上,毫不經意,以致種種事業,比諸歐美便相形天壤矣,古代武器而仍用之於廿世紀科學昌明時代者,惟中國而已,寧不悲乎?
百年前國內之交通事業極為落伍,一切貨運行旅悉賴人工獸力,同時政治不修盜賊盈野,搶掠、劫奪之事幾無日無之,禀之官府,又視作閒文,上下玩忽,腐敗極矣,於是貿易中人,轉運銀貨,多委諸保鑣者,營鑣業頗不容易,一則須江湖之士賞臉,再則須有眞實武功,使湖海中人折服,否則便難立足矣,是以當時除以明晃晃之刀槍作武器外,尚須練就一、二種驚人暗器,如袖鏢、短箭、飛鉈、爪索之類,能百發百中,然單一種暗器便需十年八載之功,更遑論多種耶?
在當時假如有一技之長,便可衣食無缺,在江湖更可自命為英雄豪傑矣,時至今日火器普遍,此輩老去英雄便有無地可立之歎,在法律冶理之下,身懷利器,可處應得之罪,懷火器亦屬犯罪之列,衡量利害之下,祗百餘元便可購械凌人矣,又何苦埋頭練習十年八載乎?以是之故今之精通暗器者可謂絕無僅有也。
During the previous century, China was under the despotic rule of emperors and the military. They were concerned only with consolidating their position rather than giving any attention to building anything. As a result of this, all variety of undertakings were the complete opposite of the bold enterprise of Europe and America. Even among the scientific boom of the twentieth century, we were still using our ancient weapons. Pathetic.
  A hundred years ago, our domestic freight industry was very outdated, all goods still being pulled along by animals. Added to that, the government did nothing to prevent the woods from being filled with bandits. Robberies occurred daily and petitions to officials both high and low went ignored. Corruption was rampant. Transporters of valuable goods thus took to employing bodyguards.
  Selecting these bodyguards was not easy. They were sought from among the wandering performers, but they also had to have genuine martial skill in order to convince everyone of their superiority, otherwise they would carry no clout anywhere they were sent. Therefore beyond the flashing saber blades and spear tips, a few hidden weapons also needed to be trained, such as the sleeve dart, short arrow, flying weight, and rope claw, practicing until one was able to hit the target every time. Each of these weapons needed close to ten years to master on its own, never mind mastering many of them.
  In those days, if one had a special ability, he would not lack for clothing and food. Itinerant performers were thus able to get away with declaring themselves heroes. Today however, firearms have become so common that those old heroes have no place anymore. Under the law as it is now, people carrying sharp blades are considered to be committing a crime, and the same goes for guns as well, and yet if one is intent on harming another, a hundred bucks will get you a powerful weapon that you can use with ease. Therefore there seems to be very little point in learning to use a weapon that requires a decade of hard training. Consequently, people who are proficient with hidden weapons nowadays can be considered to be rare talents indeed.

習武必經之心理
LEARNING MARTIAL ARTS INVOLVES A PSYCHOLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION

由於武術小說所描述之傳奇人物,刻劃動聽之故,是以世人對武術中人,便幻生莫名之神秘,同時復有不少武師故意賣弄玄虛,做成種種類於坊本所說人物之模樣,未習武者先有此感應,然後發生崇仰决心,於是習武之心决矣,當拳脚一開之際,心理上必抱着無限企望與興奮,但反顧若干先進同學舞弄出悅目拳棒刀槍之類,恨不能馬上習之,其理智上早忘却他人,固曾經幾許精神氣力始克臻此之故,因此其腦海中又發生另一感覺矣。
苟能安靜渡此時期,則可順利進入第二階段,否則一蹶之下無能復振,習技初衷將由而斷送矣。
繼則見異思遷,常犯濫學之病,循至無可收拾之境,亦有自視過高者,自以為天下莫以為敵之慨,是誠荒天下之大謬也。
迨至三四年之後,又因朝斯夕斯之單調,與孤寂生活而至轉變其心理,抑亦世人喜新惡舊之通病也,此一時期最為煩燥,不但不見其進步,反而覺得日漸退落者,但試想凡百學術安有日夕苦練之下,反為退步之理耶?是心理之作崇而已?
至六七年之間漸趨於大成,則前途一片光明,以登彼岸矣。
獨惜火候尚在熾烈時期,非經許多折磨與夫社會間之薰陶,方可至爐火純靑,登峯造極之境界也,其時便可遇事忍讓,望之若懦夫者焉。
Martial arts fiction describes people with extraordinary abilities, which is why it is so fascinating to read. Ordinary people consequently look upon martial artists as being somewhat mystical. Many martial arts teachers deliberately exploit this mystique, patterning themselves after the types of people who appear in such books. Because those who have never practiced martial arts imagine that martial artists will be like those exaggerated characters, any resemblance to such fantasy in real life makes them want to learn.
  When beginning to learn how to use your fists and feet, it is necessary to be endlessly looking forward to what you will learn and enthusiastic about what you are learning. However, watching the impressive performance of advanced students will make you wish to learn that level of material right away. With such inspiration, you will quickly forget about all your other duties and you will exert much spirit and strength in order achieve, which will then put yet more ideas into your head.
  You have to be able to get through this beginning phase calmly in order to smoothly progress to the next stage. Otherwise you will encounter setbacks that you will not be able to recover from, spoiling the whole project of learning the art in the first place. For instance, you may get distracted by other parts of the training, lose your focus, and try to learn too much, ending up lost in a mess of confusion. Or you may start to feel after just a short while that you have already mastered the art and that nobody in the world can defeat you, which is utterly deluded.
  After three or four years, due to the tedium of practicing every morning and evening, as well as the loneliness, you will undergo a psychological transformation, ridding yourself of the common failing of ordinary people, that of loving things that are new and hating things that have become old. During this time, you may became very fidgety, because not only will you not be seeing any progress, you will even feel that you are gradually regressing. You will wonder after all your days and nights of hard work: “Is a new kind of mentality all I have to show for it?”
  But keep at it, and then within six or seven years, you will have gradually made a great achievement, and you will be well on your way to attaining mastery. By making good use of that early time in which your enthusiasm is strongest, passing through many ordeals and absorbing the influence of better men, you will eventually be able to reach the highest level. At such a level, you will be able to calmly endure whatever difficulties come your way, and people will falsely assume that means you are a coward.

論練功之益損
ON THE BENEFITS & HARMS OF THE TRAINING

練功亦有所損者乎?曰:有之,不得其法,妄逞其氣志,前者耗其力,後者散其氣,皆有所損也,諺云:量力而為,凡天下事物無不如是,何况用功乎?前者余練銕沙掌時。先師再三叮囑切戒酒色,持之以恆,至百日其功不散,至三年可得小成,欲竟全功者非六年不可,開始練習之時有三十餘人,皆興高彩烈抱大成之志,百日未至已減至不足十人之數,一年以外者,祗三人而已。
蓋溺於酒色者皮有所損,肌肉不堅之象,痛徹心髓還能久持乎?
今徵多數同學之意置有擴胸器及强腕器等用具以增其力,借助器械啓發頹懦,法固良善,然此種器皿西洋舶來而已,以人體先天而論,吾人固不及外人遠矣,若逞一時之氣强力而為,將來後果殊堪懸懸,苟以寶貴身軀用作試驗品,或一不愼徒供犧牲,殊無價値之至,曷若循規漸進,成功雖慢,終有達到之望,諺曰欲速則不達,誠非虛語也,不祗不達,誠恐功未成身先遭損,為此特論之如上述,至希用功諸同學本着量力而為之旨,抱漸進之心,以竟於成,此固余所馨香祝禱者也。
“Is there any potential harm in the training?” Yes: if you do not know what you are doing, you will waste your strength; and if you just want to show off, you will scatter your energy. There is a saying [from Zuo’s Commentary to the Spring & Autumn Annals, year 15 of Duke Zhao]: “Do what you can with what you’ve got.” [originally: “If I can advance, I’ll advance. If I can’t, I’ll retreat. I will act according to my ability.”] This is true in all tasks, even more so when you are doing something that involves hard work.
  While I was doing iron palm training, my teacher warned me over and over again to avoid alcohol and sex. “If you persevere for three solid months, your energy will not get scattered. If you persevere for three years, you will be able to attain some small achievement. If you want to complete the training, it will take at least six years.” In the beginning of this training, there were more than thirty of us, full of enthusiasm and ambition. After three months, our numbers shrank to barely ten, and then by the end of one year, there were only three of us left. Due to excessive alcohol and sex, the quitters had damaged their skin and weakened their muscles. Suffering so much, they of course could not endure the training.
  Most practitioners these days are keen on using devices to enhance their physical prowess, such as chest expanders, wrist strengtheners, and so on. These types of clever tools help to inspire the weak and timid. Although they are all excellent methods, these kinds of devices have been shipped to us by the West, indicating that when it comes to unleashing the body’s inherent physical potential, we seem to be far behind foreigners.
  If you spend some time strengthening yourself, this will bring great benefits in the future. However, if you treat your precious body as a lab rat for experimentation or you rashly sacrifice yourself in the name of improving yourself, then there is no point in doing all that exercise in the first place. Better to progress gradually. Success may be slow, but you are more likely to get there in the end. There is a saying [from Lun Yu, 13.17]: “If you want to get there fast, you will not get there at all.” These are truly not empty words. Behaving in that way, not only would you not reach your goal, you are bound to hurt yourself on the way. I hope you will embrace the advice to do what you can with what you’ve got. Equipped with a mentality of gradual progress, you will ultimately succeed. I will light some incense and say a prayer for you.

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