Chapter 13: Oral Secrets, #8

八、曰撥不倒。不倒翁。
8th Saying: (When) pushed not falling (like a) not-falling-doll

  (budaoweng: a toy doll, weighted in the bottom, that rights itself after being pushed against.) 

用身輕靈。
其根在腳。
Apply the body (so it is) qing ling
The root is in the foot

非具有鬆沉兩種功夫。
不易辦到。
Without having cultivated the gongfu of song and chen (sinking),
this is not easy to accomplish.

按不倒翁之重心。
在乎下部一點。
By budaoweng (is meant that) the center of gravity
rests on one point in the lower part of the body

拳論所謂偏沉則隨。
雙重則滯。
The boxing treatise (quan lun) has the saying:
“the result (rule/norm) of sinking on one side is responsivness (sui);
The result of double weighting is stagnation (zhi)”

如雨腳同時用力。
一撥便倒無疑。
Inevitably (like as rain), if both feet simultaneously exert force,
undoubtedly one push will easily (make you) fall/collapse.

用身稍有板滯。
一撥便倒無疑。
If the body use is even slightly stiff and stagnant
undoubtedly one push will easily (make you) fall/collapse.

要之全身之勁。
百分之百。
沉於一隻足心。
其餘全身皆松浮。
In brief, the jin of the whole body (must)
absolutely (one hundred percent)
sink (chen) on the sole of a single foot,
(while) the rest of the whole body, every bit of it, must be song and floating.

得能輕於鴻毛。
其餘全身皆松浮。
Achieve the skill of “qing (light) as a goose feather”,
then (you) won’t fall when pushed!

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Notes:

  • 不倒翁 / Bùdǎowēng: bottom weighted doll that can’t be pushed over. A traditional chinese toy. Literally the “old man who can’t be knocked over”. Weng/old-man is a “man with neck feathers”.

  • 輕靈 / qing ling : light and lively. One pair from the yang family 8 secret words. Per oral teaching, qing (lightness) often refers to the physical body while ling (lively, agile) refers to the mind and energetic body.

  • 重心 / zhòngxīn: the center of gravity. Literally weight/heavy/important + heart. Also used for the “heart of the matter”. In this phrase, appears to have the center of gravity meaning.

  • 隨 / suí: follow, go along with, adapt to. One of the core push hands skills (following). I translated as “responsiveness” here.

  • 滯 / zhi: stagnant, sluggish. This fault appears multiple times in the oral secrets, sometimes as part of the compound 板滯 / banzhi (plank/board + stagnant). I’ve translated this as stiff and sluggish. banzhi is a term of literary criticism for “dullness in writing”.

  • 一撥 / yi bo: one push. bo means pushing, poking, adjusting with the hand.

  • “whole body must be song and floating”:  float (bo) is floating, as a piece of wood on water. Also appears in compounds meaning inflated and easily moveable.

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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.
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