Chapter 13: Oral Secrets, #3

 

三、曰分虚实。

Third saying: Separate Empty and Full.


拳论所谓。 处处总此一虚实。

The boxing manual calls this: “(one place has empty and full), everywhere always has that same empty and full”.  (quote from TJQ Classic attributed to Zhang Sanfeng)

以右手与左脚相贯一线之劲
右脚与左手亦然。
如右手左脚实。 则右脚左手虚。 反是。 则亦然。
是为分清。
According to this, the right hand and left foot are mutually threaded by jin forming one unified stream.
The right foot and left hand are just the same.
If the right hand and left foot are full, then the right foot and left hand are empty, and vice versa.
This is the true meaning of “separating clearly”.

总之全身负担。
只许放在一只脚上。
如两脚分担。
便是双重。
In summary, the burden (weight) of the entire body,
can only be placed over a single foot.
If both feet share the burden (weight),
then the posture is double-weighted.

其转变时。
要注意尾闾与夹脊得中。
方为不失中定。
至要至要。
At the very moment of shifting the weight,
it is important to pay attention and ensure the wei-lu and jia-ji points achieve dynamic centeredness (de zhong).
By this method, you won’t lose zhong-ding.
Extremely important, extremely important.

按转变一语。
即是变换虚实之枢机。
不经道破
真永不知有下手处也。
This (method of) transferring (the weight) is the teaching (“one word”)
crucial to changing between empty and full.
(the one word describes the pivot opportunity enabling you to transform empty and full)
Not having the teaching (manual/classic), the method will not be revealed (the path will be broken).

右手实劲。
交与左手。
其枢机在夹脊。
左脚实劲。
交与右脚。
其枢机在尾闾。
但要尾闾与夹脊中正对直。
方为不失中定。

Substantial jin crosses between the right hand and left hand
via the critical point (pivot opportunity) of the jia-ji point.
Substantial jin crosses between the left foot and the right foot
via the critical point of the wei-lu point.
(At the moment of transfer,) It is most important to be sure the wei-lu and jia-ji are: dynamically centered, upright, correct, and vertical.
By this method, you won’t lose zhong-ding.

此语非潜心领悟。
不易得也。

Not concentrating and studying these words, you cannot easily comprehend (this method).

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Notes:

  • wei-lu and jia-ji points: wei-lu is in the base of the spine. Literally: the gate at the tail of the verterbrae. jia-ji is in the upper back, between the shoulder blades.

  • jin: the internal strength cultivated by tai chi.

  • zhong-ding: often translated as “central equilibrium”, one of the 5 steps. A point of  dynamic stability and centeredness from which change must proceed.

  • separate: character shows dividing lines over a knife.

  • empty / insubstantial: character shows a tiger on a hill (presumably scaring everyone away). empty, unoccupied, unreal

  • full / substantial: character shows strings of money under a roof. solid, true, actual, substantial.

  • “mutually threaded by a stream of jin”: Threaded is guan -- a word from the classics indicating that whole body is strung together continuously. It shows a picture of coins hung on a string (e.g. like vertebrae strung together in the spine). Stream is xian. The character shows a thread together with spring water. So, a stream, a line, a circuit of jin.

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Translation Copyright (c) 2013 by Lee Fife
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Zheng-zi 13 Chapters, Translation by Lee Fife is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://rockymountaintaichi.com/.