Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Taijiquan Treatise

The Taijiquan Lun (Treatise, Theory, Discussion, Thesis)

"English Translation of "The Taijiquan Lun," with extensive and good commentary, by Yonatan Vexler, Qufu Teacher's University, Shandong, China

Published in "Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness," Volume 27, No. 1, Spring 2017, pp. 38-51.

This Treatise is sometimes attributed to Wang Zongyue.

"Taiji (complementary duality) originates from wuji (non-polarity).  It is the process of motion and stillness, also known as the creator of contrast (the yin and yang).  Motion causes separation, while stillness leads to unity.  I allow opponents to advance, and I advance when they recoil.  When my opponents are hard and I am soft it is to flow, successfully following their motions is to stick.  When they move fast, I quickly react, and when they move slowly, I slowly follow.  There can be a thousand scenarios, but the one principle applies to all.  Engrain this principle in practice to understand force, understanding force will lead to higher levels of advancement.  Without a long time of serious practice, one cannot advance.

Emptiness leads power up, while breath sinks down the dantian.  Don't lean, and don't bend.  Able to become shadow and suddenly materialize, if opponents go left, nothing will be there, of opponents go right, let them be led to the right.  If opponents look up, let them go up, and if opponents lean down, let them go lower.  If they go forward, let them have to go more forward, and if they go back, let them have to go even further back.  A feather's weight can't be added, sensitive even to a fly landing on one's skin.  They cannot follow me, only I can follow them.  To be a hero that encounters now opposition, this is what one must do.

Many schools try to mimic this.  There are many different methods, but most emphasize the strong defeating the weak and the slow yielding to the quick.  When the strong beat the weak and the slow yield to the quick, it is only natural ability, and has no relation to the power that comes from learning and wisdom.  Consider the phrase, "four ounces overcoming a thousand pounds", and it obviously cannot be done with brute strength.  Consider the old man who can fend off a gang of attackers; is this outcome determined by sheer speed?

Stand like a balanced level, and be as dynamic as a cartwheel can spin.  Shift weight as needed to be lively, for being uncoordinated stagnates the flow.  If you see one practicing for years without advancing, being controlled by the opponent, it's because one has not heard of the fault of being uncoordinated.  To avoid this fault, one must know about yin and yang.  To stick is to flow, to flow is to stick, yang is within the yin, and yin is within the yang.  They (the passive and the active) compliment each other, so one can understand force.  Identify different forces to advance your training.  Carefully study this knowledge, put it to practice, and you will be able to do anything.

The most basic idea is to follow your opponent.  Many make the mistake of planning ahead.  As the saying goes, "off by an inch, off by a mile", so a student must be able to clearly distinguish!  Hence, there is this treatise."

English Translation of The Tijiquan Lun by Yonatan Vexler, 2017

Tai Chi Chuan Classics 

Cloud Hands Taijiquan   

Chang San Feng

Thirteen Postures of Tai Chi Chuan

The above four webpages were prepared by Mike Garofalo

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