Chapter 13: Oral Secrets, #1

First Saying: Relax (Song)

要松。 要松。 要松净。要全身松开。

Every day at least 10 times, my Master would tell me, emphasizing his words
“Must song! Must song! Must song completely! You must release (let go, loosen) the entire body!”

不松。 不松。不松就是挨打的架子。

(seeing me) Not doing this, he then said
“Not song! Not song! Not being song means precisely that you present your structure asking for a beating!”

按松之一字。 最为难能。

To act in accordance with this one character song is most difficult.
If you can relax completely, it will be more than enough to handle anything that occurs.

附于下。 使学者易于领悟。

In the following, I will try to give the general idea of my teacher’s regular oral instruction,
so that it is easier for those who study this teaching to comprehend.

松。 要全身筋络松开。

Song: most important to make the web of fascia and tendons through the whole body loose (relaxed and open).
It must be without the least bit of tension.
This results in the so-called “waist with a hundred pleats that seems to have no bones”.

若无骨。 只有筋耳。

Now listen: it can only be as if without bones if the tendons relax and open.
Having this (loosened tendons), the remainder (of the body) will not keep working against song.



  • 澄师: Chéngshī. Clear+teacher. ZMQ’s teacher Yang Chengfu ( (杨澄甫).

  • 鬆 (松): Song or relax. A most difficult character. Means precisely to relax. To release, let go, loosen. Character shows a picture of long hair being let loose to hang down or a pine bow bending.

  • 松开: Song Kai. To loosen. “Relax Open”.

  • “structure for a beating”:  架子 means structure or manner. Used to describe, e.g., a clothes-rack or the way you present/hold yourself. So, “presenting your structure for a beating (to be beaten up)”.

  • 筋络: Jin luo. “Tendon web”. What we’d now call fascia and used to be referred to as “sinews”. The web of white tissue throughout the body: tendons, ligaments, and fascia. There may also be an allusion to the chinese medicine system of “meridians”. That system is named 經絡 jing luo -- the “web” or network (luoalong which the base vital energy (jing) travels. What we think of as "acupuncture points" are the luo points where one can connect to the corresponding "vessel".

  • “waist with a hundred pleats”: literally, “waist with a hundred folds”. I think it must reference a pleated waistcoat or other garment. The word yao (waist) is probably significant.

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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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