Chapter 13: Oral Secrets, #6

六、曰似拉鋸式之攬雀尾。

6th saying: Grasp Sparrow’s Tail is like two people using a pull-saw


即掤捋擠按之推手也。
往復相推。
喻之以拉鋸
This means the tuishou of peng, lu, ji, an also
has mutual pushing (tui) back and forth,
just like the pull-saw.

拉鋸者。
彼此用力均勻。
則往復可以暢通無阻。
In the pull-saw (example),
(if) each person applies force evenly,
then (the saw) can move back and forth unimpeded and without obstruction (smoothly)

如一面稍欲變化。
則鋸齒隨處可以紮住。
If one side wants to change (the action) even a little,
then the saw teeth will bind.

如彼使之紮住。
則我雖欲用力不得拉回時。
只可用推力送之。
便可複得相推如初。
if binding happens from the other (partner/opponent) exerting,
then even if I want to use force, I cannot pull (the saw) back (towards me).
The only possibility to regain (our) mutual pushing (sawing smoothly),
is to use pushing force (tui + li) to send it (towards the other).

此理在太極拳之推手上。
有二意。
This principle for tuishou in taiji quan has two meanings (yi).

一曰、捨己從人。
First saying: abandon the self, follow the other.


順其勢。
可以得化勁與走勁之妙用。
(By) following (going with) the other’s position (situation),
(I) can achieve the marvelous application of hua jin and zou jin.

二曰、彼微動。
己先動。
Second saying: (if) the other moves even slightly,

I move first.

此即彼欲用推力送來時。
則我亦先之以拉力拉回。
彼如以拉力拉去時。
則我亦先之以推力送之去。
This (saying means that):
If the other wants to use push li at the time of delivering (energy),
then I, matching (the other), first use pull li to receive (towards myself).
If the other wants to use pull li at the time of going-away (removing),
then I, matching, first use push li to send out removing (towards the other).
(first means before the other)

按拉鋸之喻。
其理可謂透徹之至。
此真家傳妙訣。
By means of the metaphor of the pull-saw,
the (underlying) principle can be explained with penetrating clarity.
This really is a true family transmission of a wonderful technique.

餘於此恍然大悟。
於彼微動。
己先動之著手功夫
(Studying the metaphor), I suddenly achieved a big realization.
Namely, this is the source of gongfu:
“If the other moves even slightly, I move first”.

苟能於此嫻熟。
則操縱在我不在彼。
If I (develop) ability at this skill,
then (the interaction) is controlled by me, not the other.

其餘又何論矣。
The remainder is simply that which builds on this theory (lun).

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Notes:

  • 推手 tuishou: push hands. peng, lu, ji, an are wardoff, rollback, press, and push.

  • 拉鋸 laju: literally pull+saw. What we call a two person saw

  • 攬雀尾 lan que wei: Grasp Sparrow’s Tail. The Wardoff/rollback/press/push sequence.

  • 妙用 mianyong: marvelous application. Mian is marvellous, subtle, wonderful.

  • 化勁, 走勁 hua jin and zou jin. Two jins: ways to move or interact with energy in the body or the other. hua is transform or change and hua jin is often called neutralizing skill or neutralizing energy. zou is walk-with, go-along-with, depart and zou jin is often called yielding skill or yielding energy.

  •  妙訣 mianjue: wonderful technique. Mian is marvellous as above. Jue implies a tactic or trick of the trade. Trick of the trade is nice since this is describing one of the secret family knacks.

  • lun: theory or treatise. Name of one of the classics (Wang Zongyue’s _Taijiquan Lun_).

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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/.