弁言FOREWORD

凡百事物。單看不知優劣。不明眞偽。若集合多數同類之事物。陳列眼前。比較之下。誰優誰劣。誰眞誰偽。是非立判。以此例彼。可不言而喻也。蓋近年學習太極拳者衆。出版物日增。一般熱心太極拳者。徬徨歧路。無所適從。所以本書集合各家之名著。作有統系之研究。將不同之點。列表比較。使學者一望而知。各家太極拳略有不同意義之所在。考各家太極拳之源流。均稱係丹士張三峯所傳授。按其名稱拳式。各有變更。或別為老式。或別為新派。或又別為折衷。或多幾手。或少幾式。亦有一式而分數式者。亦有式同而名異者。亦有名同而式殊者。循此以往。再傳數十年。又不知變更至於如何程度也。推究其因。不外各各師傳。稍有出入。無關宏旨。然而初學者不知就裏。如墜五里霧中。眞偽莫辨。懷疑日深。本書集我國名家太極拳架式理論與名稱。闡明眞相。俾研究斯學者有所區別。不為曲學者所蔽。則出奴入主之弊泯矣。

In all things, we each notice that at first we do not know what is superior or inferior, nor understand what is genuine or fake. But once we gather several similar examples before our eyes in order to compare which is superior or inferior, which is genuine or fake, differentiation will naturally be achieved by the way they contrast with each other.
     Nowadays, practitioners of Taiji Boxing are numerous and publications are constantly on the increase. The common enthusiasm for it has led to all sorts of wrong paths and uncertainties. Therefore this book gathers together works by various experts who have made systematic studies [Part Two]. I also present distinctions between them by putting them into a comparative list so that you may understand at a glance where they have had slightly different ideas [Part One, Chapter One, Section Three].
     Examining the origins of the various schools of Taiji Boxing, they all claim it was passed down from the elixirist Zhang Sanfeng. As for the names of the boxing postures, each school has it variations, sometimes older postures, sometimes newer versions, sometimes somewhere in between, some with many techniques, some with fewer techniques. Where one school has one posture, another school may consider it to be several. Postures may be the same but the names are different, or names may be the same but the postures are different. Something was formerly taught one way, but in the course of teaching over several decades, people became unaware of the extent to which changes had been made.
     When we look for the reason for this, we find it is simply because variety of transmission leads to slight inconsistencies, unimportant ones for the most part. However, beginners will not know what lies within. It will be as though they have entered into miles of fog, unable to distinguish between what is real and what is fake, and their doubts will increase by the day. This book collects the postures, principles, and terminology of our nation’s notable Taiji Boxing experts in order to clarify the genuine art, giving students the ability to differentiate instead of misguiding students so as to keep the art inaccessible, and thereby eliminating the error of sectarian bias.

劍學內功小言 A FEW WORDS ABOUT INTERNAL TRAINING FOR LEARNING THE SWORD ART

凡吾人所習之青萍劍。昆吾劍。謂之劍術可。謂之劍學亦可。然而皆外功也。是不可不以內功輔之。必內外兼修。而後劍學乃得以互相調劑。而益臻完美。以上二十七動作。有明亮於眼者。有開通耳竅者。有養氣助肺呼吸者。有益於五臟六腑及腦髓者。要皆內功之要旨。入學之階梯也。九式為劍學之基礎。亦即內功之進階。總之。於手足腰腿各部。有百益而無一害。學者循序以進。自有佳境。勿待編者喋喋也。
We can consider the practice of Qingping Sword and Kunwu Sword to be “sword arts” or “sword knowledge”, but it is in either case external training. Therefore it is necessary to engage in internal training [“nei gong”] to supplement it, for the internal and external must both be cultivated, and then your study of the sword will be properly enriched and fulfilled. The first twenty-seven movements brighten the eyes, open the ears, improve the breathing of the lungs, and benefit the vital organs and the brain. The purpose of the internal training is to provide a stairway into the learning of the sword art. The final nine postures are the basics in a study of the sword, and yet are still a phase of internal training. To your hands, feet, and hips, these exercises will bring countless benefits and not one harm. If you proceed according to the proper sequence, you will discover a beautiful experience for yourself and need not wait for me to tell you what to feel.

中華國術秘傳 少林護山子門羅漢拳圖影SECRET TEACHINGS OF CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS: SHAOLIN MOUNTAIN-GUARDING MIDNIGHT STYLE LUOHAN BOXING ILLUSTRATED

余自垂髫致力拳藝,迄已二十餘年,此二十餘年中曾北走幽燕,西游甘陝,湖海一騎,挾以自豪者,子門羅漢拳亦其一也。此拳余受自第三業師,師法號企岳,系出少林,傳少林當代邁殊大師衣缽,功精內外,余北面執禮躬承提命者凡六年,惜限於天資,未窺堂奧,祇涉蹊徑面已。惟師愛余甚,末後乃以此拳授余,並謂余曰,此乃少林護山法拳,舍達摩點穴拳外,當推翹楚。少林拳藝震天下,然率皆混稱曰少林拳、少林棒,而不知少林系中尚有三乘十二門也。子丑寅卯四門為上乘,辰已午未四門為中乘,申酉戌亥四門為下乘,上乘恃以護山,向不外傳,外傳者僅中乘,而又以午門為多,至上乘中之子門拳,不但拳不外傳,並名亦不使外溢。此拳虎視龍驤,左顧右盼,有雷電飛騰、風雲叱咤之勢,研而精之,當者辟易,今以子天資渾厚、氣度寬大,用以相授,當不致挾以行不逞也,爾其珍之!余受而習之,又將六年,雖未精進,尚多心得。值茲國府提倡國術之際,國術運用,已納於正當途徑,爰為公開之貢獻,演而出之,以供同好,此舉或不致有忤師意也。不然,終恐此大好國術,因年湮代久,漸成廣陵散耳,
霞天謹識
I have devoted myself to boxing arts ever since childhood, more than twenty years. Over the course of these twenty years, I traveled north beyond Hebei west beyond Shaanxi, south and east to the coasts, and to the lakes everywhere in between. Of all that I have learned in my travels, Midnight Style Luohan Boxing is the best.
  I learned this boxing set from my third teacher, the monk Qi Yue [“gazes up at the peak”], who himself learned the Shaolin art from the great master Mai Shu [“walks with distinction”], mastering both the internal and external skills. I had so far applied myself faithfully to the northern arts for six years, but due to my lack of talent, I never really managed to get a proper glimpse of their profundities, only scratching the surface. However, my teacher liked me, and so he decided in the end to go ahead and teach me this boxing set. He told me: “This art is known as Shaolin Mountain-Guarding Boxing. Going beyond Damo’s method of striking acupoints, it will take you the rest of the way into mastery.”
  The Shaolin boxing art has shaken the world, and yet although everyone talks of Shaolin Boxing and Shaolin Staff, nobody knows about Shaolin’s “three levels”, divided into the “twelve styles”. The four styles of Midnight, Post-Midnight, Pre-Dawn, and Dawn are the higher level. The four styles of Post-Dawn, Pre-Noon, Noon, and Post-Noon are the middle level. The four styles of Pre-Dusk, Dusk, Post-Dusk, and Pre-Midnight are the lower level. At the highest level is the Mountain-Guarding set, which is not taught to laymen. Laymen may be taught no higher than the middle level, most commonly the Noon Style. The Midnight Style within the higher level is not only not taught to laymen, it is not even shown to them.
  This set turns in all directions with a dragon’s proud poise and a tiger’s angry glare. It has the energy of a surging storm or a roaring wind. If you study it and become skillful at it, then when you feel pressed to retreat, you can use it to activate your abilities and amplify your bearing. This set ought to be taught, not hidden away as a treasure for oneself. I learned it and have been practicing it for the last six years. Although I have still not mastered it, I have gained much from the experience.
  Now that the government is promoting Chinese martial arts, these arts have been given a better chance at survival. I have therefore decided to publish a book about this boxing set in order to share it with all those who may be interested. I only hope this action will not go against my teacher’s wishes. I simply fear that if I do not share this wonderful martial art, it will gradually slip into oblivion and become as extinct as the notorious Guangling Melody.
  

三才劍圖解 ILLUSTRATED SANCAI SWORD

余少體羸多病,十八患疔幾殆,乃始翟。然從友人習刺擊諸術,已果有效,而是時胥君心一以恆授余以王家拳,王家拳者,縣人王越羣氏字燕舟所剏,習焉者稀矣,惟胥君父兄傳其術獨精,余因詣其家謁其尊人懷澄先生,先生高年耽靜,喜余之至,忽超踊如少壯人,其兄吉六以謙亦出技遍肄之,用相娛樂,余之識吉六自此始,吉六隱市沽間,長不滿七尺,目光炯炯,能為顏真卿書,閒為文,辭簡而有意,望之踆踆焉如不勝衣,詎知其武藝之工如此,又焉能測其意之所至耶。其後余游江南,不相聞者十餘年,值風雨晦明之際,時時念吉六,以為若斯人果遂沉沒而不出耶,乙亥之秋,余館金陵盋山,有持所為書來見者,吉六也,大喜,詢之,則已從張公之江游,朝莫持盈尺之管,為國術館編拳術教本,成書數種矣。今年夏,又以所編三才劍見示,且屬為序。吉六技日專,文日工,不僅能狀其動作之形于外者毫髮無遺憾,又并其精微之意而傳之,雖其胸之所存未必遂止於此,然可藉此稍稍自見於世,余復何恨,惟余讀漢書藝文志,兵家技巧一門所列書目有百九十九篇,其所謂手搏者,疑即拳術劍道者,蓋劍術也,其一時之盛可知已,後世一命為文人,便以習武為羞,而椎魯之夫傳習於里巷,又不能文之以言其動作之意,以廣其流衍,而其用,亦僅限于自衛餬口,未有知為自強保種之資者,近日學校始曉然於體育之重,又但學外國距躍曲踊競走鬥泳蹴鞠擲餅諸術,莫有以此為意者,開設科目,比之附庸而已,夫外國之術或失之激,孱者為之窮力盡氣,顏沮色喪,扶持久而後復,此豈有益於身哉。中國武術,操之愈勤,而功愈見,練之愈熟,而效愈出,運及周身而不滯於方隅,出之和平而無分於強弱,健身之法,莫善於此,寶燕石而棄趙璧者,其為不知類歟。今中央國術館,成立有年,張公提倡于上,奇材異能之士日至,吉六復能文之以辭,一洗往日之陋,吾知國術之興殆不遠矣,若由是而推及寰區,使舉世之人,雲從風行,盡登壽域,豈不懿哉,豈不懿哉。
民國二十五年九月四日愚弟王煥鑣序於浙江大學
When I was young, my body was frail and I was often ill. By the time I had suffered the twentieth boil on my skin, I began to feel alarmed about the situation. I thereupon learned various martial arts from friends, which indeed had an effect on my health, but much more so when I learned Wang Family Boxing from the focused and dedicated Xu Yiqian.
  Wang Family Boxing was created by Wang Yuequn, called Yanzhou, a native of Nantong. Practitioners of it are very rare and Xu’s father passed it down to him alone. I had visited Xu’s father, Xu Huaicheng, because of the achievements of their family. He was already an old man settled into his retirement, but he was happy to receive me and suddenly demonstrated a leap as impressive as that of a robust young man. His eldest son Jiliu, called Yiquan, had also learned many skills for his own enjoyment. My acquaintance with Xu Yiqian thus began because of this.
  Xu is a somewhat reclusive man and does not stand out since he is not remarkably tall, though his eyes are very bright. He is skillful at calligraphy in the style of Yan Zhenqing and he writes compositions in language that is simple and deliberate. He has the unassuming look of a scholar, as though his clothes are about to overwhelm him, and so it is surprising and unexpected for such a man to also be skillful at martial arts.
  I later traveled south of the Yangzte River and lost touch with him for more than ten years due to the distraction of various hardships, though I frequently thought about him and wondered if he had simply vanished into obscurity. In the autumn of 1935, I came to study at the Martial Arts Institute in Nanjing and was delighted to find that Xu Yiqian was there. He had come at the request of Zhang Zhijiang, who was unsatisfied with the Institute’s literary output. Xu has thus been producing boxing arts textbooks, several of which have since been published. In the summer of this year, he showed me his manuscript for the Sancai [“Three Realms”] Sword set, and he urged me to write a preface for it.
  He both practices his skills and writes about them every day, and thus not only are his movements flawless in appearance, he is also able to transmit the deeper ideas of these arts. Instead of being satisfied at having obtained his own understanding, he goes further and shares this material with the world, which seems to me to be quite impeccable conduct.
  I read in the “Bibliographical Records” in the Book of Han that there were a hundred ninety-nine chapters on military skills, among them “six chapters on bare-handed fighting” and “thirty-eight chapters on swordsmanship”, and so we can know that such things already had a strong presence in those early days. However, scholars in later generations became embarrassed to practice martial arts, and it was left to simpler men to pass it down in alleyways. These illiterate men were incapable of writing down the principles in order to further the spread of martial arts. The purpose of these arts was therefore limited to self-defense and bodyguard services, and their value as a means of strengthening the masses was not yet understood.
  Schools have recently come to know the value of physical education, but have only been utilizing foreign forms of exercise, such as: long jump, high jump, running, swimming, soccer, discus throwing, and so on. To start a school without having these things in the curriculum would look downright amateurish. However, foreign exercises are too intense for weaker people, draining all of their energy until they look completely demoralized and then requiring they take a long time to recover. How can this be beneficial for the body?
  The practicing of Chinese martial arts is very different. The more diligently you work at it, the more results you will see, and the more refined your skill becomes, the more the effects will show. It is a means of exercising the whole body rather than overemphasizing any particular part. It is a moderate form of exercise rather than being suitable only for the strong. There is no better method for invigorating the body. Those who do not understand this show a total lack of discernment, like someone who treasures stones from the Kingdom of Yan and discards jade from the Kingdom of Zhao.
  It has now been a good many years since the Central Martial Arts Institute was established. Its director Zhang Zhijiang has been promoting it well and more martial arts masters are drawn to it each day, including Xu Yiqian with his literary skill which will help to wash away the uneducated past that is associated with practitioners. I am sure that a prosperous age for our martial arts is not far away, that they will spread throughout the nation and become so popular that they will live on forever. How marvelous it will be.
  - written by Wang Huanbiao at Zhejiang University, Sep 4, 1936

行功歌訣SONG OF THE EXERCISES

子午卯酉晝夜還。燒酒房事總休貪。輕擊重打有先後。日就月將無斷間。昔人依此成羅漢。我輩學來作奇男。千錘萬鍊猶嫌少。功夫何惜一百天。
Practice at midnight, at noon, at sunrise, at sunset, devoting all of your time to it.
Distractions such as wine and sex should be avoided.
To go from striking lightly to hitting heavily, seeing true progress,
requires working at it day after day and month after month without any interruption.
  It was with this attitude that previous generations created the Luohan Exercises.
If our generation would study it, we would produce remarkable men.
Even thousands of hammerings and smelting would not be enough.
Honestly, how could you expect to achieve skill in just a hundred days?

行功一道。或全用或摘用。皆要淸心寡慾。朝乾夕惕。行時固宜存神固氣。由心經而達於四肢。自時流通略無矯強。即不行時。作止語默。亦須全眞養氣。使無散亂。斯為精行功矣。
In other words, practicing any art, whether some or all of it, requires complete dedication and no vices, and the discipline to work at it all day long. When practicing, there has to be constant spirit and steadfast energy. Guided by the mind, energy reaches to the limbs, flowing naturally and without forcing it to happen. When not practicing, get into a habit of stillness and silence, like a Daoist monk cultivating oneness, keeping you free from distracting disorder. This is the essence of how to practice.

聽:LISTENING

非耳聽也,以意揣奪而聽敵意以動機,以手捫索而聽敵手之動向也,以手捫索而聽時,即心解所謂「彼不動,我不動。」聽之而不自作主張,隨彼之緩急而緩急之,即從人之謂也,此聽之前半一段工夫也,以意揣奪而聽時,即心解所謂「彼微動,我先動」是也,微動是機,非意聽不可得,先動是意,非意動不能先,此聽之後半段工夫也,皆本老氏「外其身而身存,後其身而身先」之旨也,意聽,手聽,亦當如老氏所謂「綿綿若存,用之不勤」乃可。
This does not refer to listening with your ears. Use your intention to anticipate the opponent’s action, “listening” for his own intention to move. Use your hand to touch and examine, “listening” for his direction of movement.
  Listening with your hands relates to this saying from Understanding How to Practice: “If he takes no action, I take no action.” Listen for what the opponent is doing and do not simply act on your own. Go along with his speed of movement and match it, “following the opponent”. This is the first half of listening.
  Listening with your intention relates to the next part of the saying: “But once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted.” The slightest of actions cannot be “heard” without the listening of intention, and to act before him cannot be done without the use of intention. This is the second half of listening.
  Both kinds of listening are like this saying from Laozi [DDJ, chapter 7]: “He puts himself behind others and thus ends up placed in front. He goes away and thus ends up staying.” Listening with your hands and intention is also like another saying from Laozi [DDJ, chapter 6]: “The Way goes on forever, accomplishing without effort.”

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