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English Translations of 21-Form's Chinese Movement Names... with Video!

For anyone interested, here's my translation of the 21-Form Chinese name literal translations copied out from a Facebook post, so it's easier to search for in the future. Again, if there are discrepancies to the video clip (http://youtu.be/KfD035mD3U0) from February 2014 Tucson Retreat of Mr. Teng Ruey Chen, the original namer of the movements in Chinese, describing the poetic names, please consider that as the more official version.

1. Commencing Form – Yin Yang Opening and Closing (Commencing Form) 陰陽開閤 Yin Yang Kai He
2. Left & Right Holding Ball – Auspicious Lion Playing with Ball 祥獅戲球 Zuo You Xi Qiu
3. Whirl & Hook – Waving at the Heaven and Wiping the Earth 揮天抹地 Hui Tian Mo Di
4. Pull & Push – Double Hook and Push Palms 雙鉤推掌 Shuang Gou Tui Zhang
5. Drag & Shoulder – Powerfully Uprooting Mountains and Rivers 力拔山河 Li Ba Shan He
6. Brush Knee & Push – Taming the Dragon and Releasing into the Depths 降龍放淵 Xiang Long Fang Yuan
7. Circle & Press – Brushing Off Dust and (Re)turning Body 抹塵還身 Mo Chen Huan Shen
8. Whirl, Turn & Push (Both Hands) – Dissolving Force for Advancing 化勢為進 Hua Shi Wei Jin
9. Turn, Tap, Fend & Push – Turning Body and Forward Push 轉身前擠 Zhuan Shen Qian Ji
10. Turn, Right Palm Strik – Five Thunders Bombarding the Crown 五雷轟頂 Wu Lei Hong Ding
11. Row Backward & Forward – Left and Right (Dragon) Playing with the Phoenix 左右戲鳳 Zuo You Xi Feng
12. Split Hands on Both Sides – Splitting Heaven and Earth Twice 二分天地 Er Fen Tian Di
13. Brush off, Press Down, Elbow Strike & Push – Brush, Press, Chop, Push (Spinning According to the Force) 掃、按、劈、推 (迴旋順勢) Sao, An, Pi, Tui (Hui Xuan Shun Shi)
14. Turning with Holding Ball (Horizontally) – Holding Ball and Turning Body 抱球轉體 Bao Qiu Zhuan Ti
15. Left & Right Kick – Left Right Seize and Kick 左右擒踢 Zuo You Qin Ti
16. Relax, Whirl, Fend and Push (1+3 times) – Chi Piercing and Unifying into One 氣貫合一 Qi Guan He Yi
17. Turn, Brush & Strike (Right & Left) – Returning Palms Encroaching the Palace 回掌逼宮 Zhang Bi Gong
18. Grab & Kick – Feeling for the Clouds and Kicking the Moon 摸雲踢月 Mo Yun Ti Yue
19. Dash Both Hands Push – Unifying Chi to Attack the Heart 合氣攻心 He Qi Gong Xin
20. Both Hands Lift – Raising the Great Cauldron and Returning to Emptiness 捧鼎歸虛 Peng Ding Gui Xu
21. Closing Form – Gathering Chi and Completing Exercise (Closing Form) 納炁圓功(收勢) Na Qi Yuan Gong (Shou Shi)

More detailed explanations for individual obscure items:
#2 - The "Auspicious Lion" can also be the "Lucky Lion", in Chinese customs, lions are symbols of good fortune and omens.
#7 - Mr. Chen explained "Returning Body" really means after the dust is brushed off, the body is returned to its former pure self, or to neutral.
#11 - Mr. Chen mentioned the character "dragon" doesn't appear in the Chinese movement name, but it's implied because dragon is often paired with a phoenix to symbolize male and female or yang and yin, and in here represent the cooperation/coordination of both hands.
#16 - 气贯,"Chi Piercing" is not only through the body trunk, but to every part of the body and extremities.
#20 - We had discussions about the best word to represent "鼎“, and cauldron is chosen over tripod, but it's mainly the visualization of lifting something wide and heavy that's most important.

Here is the companion video:
http://youtu.be/KfD035mD3U0

please feel free to help

please feel free to help critique to make this translation better! There are some word translations I'm not completely satisfied with, but due to the limiting structure/length/context of the phrases, it's hard to expand the more hidden meanings without writing a whole another post to describe one move's name.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Thanks for this, Jeffrey!

Thanks for this, Jeffrey!

I'll translate the Butterfly

I'll translate the Butterfly Form Chinese names after I understand the form better myself! =)

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Thanks for this. I have and

Thanks for this. I have and am working on that clip. Very busy.

Thanks Jeffrey!

Thanks Jeffrey!

thanks Jeffrey very cool

thanks Jeffrey very cool translation:)

3. Waving the Heaven [not at]

3. Waving the Heaven [not at]
6. Dragon Falling down [from the sky] Landing to Abyss
8. Change position for entering
10. Top can be also interpr. as Crown
12. Split Heaven and Earth Twice
16. Chi piercing unifying into One
20. Raising Tripod and returning it empty.

Victor, thanks for the input!

Victor, thanks for the input!
I have a few comments for your suggested corrections:
3. English grammatically speaking, I think it should be "waving at..."
6. I just watched a version of the missing video from Tucson that I mentioned earlier, Mr. Teng Ruey Chen explained #6 as "letting the dragon go into a very deep place," so this is inline with how I translating it as release (放) into the depths. Also, 降龙 (xiang2 long2) should be similar to the context of 降龙伏虎 - taming the dragon and tiger, so 降 here is used as "xiang2" meaning tame, not "jiang4" which would mean lower or coming downward. This also creates the contrast with 放 to mean you have such power to control the dragon and then freeing it too. Also if you think of the motion of that movement, the opened hand in the push is more like the releasing motion, instead of any kind of swooping downward motion which your translation would suggest.
8. Also in the video from February, Mr. Chen explained it as "taking all the power AWAY [in order] to advance..." If you think about the form movement and application, you are horizontally wiping away the incoming force then attack. So I think my translation is closer to both Mr. Chen's explanation and also the form's application.
16. 贯is a tough one to explain, it has both the meaning of fill/full, or piercing/stringing through, but in this context I think it just means having the chi thoroughly throughout the body. "piercing" my own body doesn't sound quite right, although not wrong either. Just a matter of choosing the slightly more appropriate word in English.
20. Mr. Chen explained it as "all the power comes from nothingness..." so instead of returning the tripod/it empty, it's probably better to describe this as the person returning TO the nothingness/emptiness.
I really like your suggestions for 10 and 12, I'll correct as you suggested.
Thanks again!

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Thank you, Jeffrey L. Wong,

Thank you, Jeffrey L. Wong, very detailed, I will correct my translation according, especially with the dragon.
16. I feel guan here still also refers to connecting all the joints THROUGH your own structure like connecting 3 roots of the body, "piercing" yourself.

Yeah, as I said, piercing is

Yeah, as I said, piercing is not wrong, I just can't find a short word to mean "having chi throughout the body", maybe I should just use this longer phrase.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Still some doubts about 8,

Still some doubts about 8, because 化 here should not lose the meaning of "transformation", "changing" the force not just "wiping".

化 (hua4) as in "融化" meaning

化 (hua4) as in "融化" meaning dissolve, not "变化" that means transform. Dissolving seems to be more aligned with what Mr. Chen said about "taking the force away", meaning making it disappear. Also, it's already quite common in most internal arts that 化 means dissipating/dissolving incoming forces.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
It's certainly up for debate,

It's certainly up for debate, if you can make a case for finding a form application to transform an attack into something else, then "transforming" would be the right word. My limited understanding is I'm rendering the incoming force into ineffective against me, turning it into nothing, so dissolving seems appropriate. Of course you can argue that turning the force into nothing is a transformation.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Still I feel that the power

Still I feel that the power what I use to dissolve opponent energy is 化勁, power of transformation which is born from chansi from the feet

Thank you for answering my

Thank you for answering my question Jeffrey and Victor for joining in the discussion, it is very helpful indeed. I'm really looking forward to discussing with you the hidden meanings lost in Chinese to English translation one day. The names are very poetic and beautiful and it makes a lot of sense to discuss them in the context of the particular forms, energy and application. It made me keen to see the Butterfly Form translations too, whenever you wish to spend some more time doing an invaluable favor to those hungry for knowledge (incl. myself) .

Ad 16. Pleco dictionary gives

Ad 16. Pleco dictionary gives a meaning of guan3 as either pass through/pierce or "be linked together, follow in a continuous line". Which somehow resembles the pushing which completes the movement.

Regarding 16: "threading the

Regarding 16: "threading the joints" requires piercing the centers to make continuous flowing energy.

this is a great topic, but I

this is a great topic, but I would like to point out a few things;

a) this topic should really be in our forum so it can be archived for the future.

b) as Jeff already pointed out, English grammar is an issue and so is the subtle meaning behind words and phrases, for instance, I would not translate 11 as "TOYING with the phoenix" but "PLAYING with the phoenix", as in English, "toying with" something generally has negative connotations, whereas "playing with" is more positive. For instance, you don't "toy" music, you play music, which is more inline with Ruey's intent for that move. Or another example, you would never say in English "I'm toying with my dog".

c) since we could never have a "perfect" translation, I think ideally, the best approach would be to learn the pinyin and have a short paragraph to explain the meaning of the characters since written Chinese can so often have dual meaning which is often necessary to understand the full context of a given phrase, etc.

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I believe 16 is an allusion

I believe 16 is an allusion to the old tai chi phrase that talks about making the qi like a string of pearls. You need to pierce the center of the pearls in order to string them together into one.

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Ok, seems most higher levels

Ok, seems most higher levels agreed to using "piercing" as the word, I'll update and copy into our forum when I get home. This is been a very positive exercise for me, because it forces me to review the form ib many aspects.
I hope it's beneficial to all ILC practitioners too to give everyone a slightly different vantage point when practicing, and to expand your minds.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Bartosz Samitowski, pleco is

Bartosz Samitowski, pleco is good, but if you want to deal with wenyan, better use bkrs.info

"raising the great tripod"?

"raising the great tripod"? lolz
we gotta do something about that...

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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Ashe Higgs, we do not. Mr

Ashe Higgs, we do not. Mr Teng said it is good translation when talking to my Sifu in Feb 2014.

it's very literal but makes

it's very literal but makes no sense in English.

He's on retreat in Thailand right now. Maybe when he gets back I can go to his house and video another discussion.

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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Perhaps there's some

Perhaps there's some explanation to the tripod thing?

Ashe, Bartosz, this is the

Ashe, Bartosz, this is the kind of tripod we are visualizing

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
ah, we would use the word

ah, we would use the word "cauldron" in English, and that would make a lot more sense "raise the great cauldron and return it to emptiness".

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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this is a tripod

this is a tripod

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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Yeah, cauldron was another

Yeah, cauldron was another word I considered, but cauldrons don't always have legs.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
I know about camera tripods,

I know about camera tripods, but they are not real "pods" which are containers.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
cauldron

cauldron

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no native English speaker

no native English speaker will envision a three legged pot when you use the word tripod.

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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Yep, that makes perfect sense

Yep, that makes perfect sense. It seems safer to say cauldron than to say tripod.

Fine, will change

Fine, will change

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Re: tripod: on the emphasis

Re: tripod: on the emphasis on legs vs cauldron. Without the triangle energy (tripod) there is no way to heat the cauldron. The classics focus on the dantien at the expense of the legs. Do we lose something if we change the focus from the tripod to the cauldron?

I'm for tripod, but in this

I'm for tripod, but in this case, it's just emphasizing picking up something big and heavy, so it's less importance.

    Jeffrey Wong
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Final correction is made here

Final correction is made here. Also copied to http://iliqchuan.com/.../english-translations-21-forms... . Please reference that link for future corrections and any additional info.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
Since the concept of triangle

Since the concept of triangle energy as a specific technical reference point didn't come along until *well after* the names of the forms it shouldn't be an issue. Ruey's intent was not to reference the triangle energy, but the "beggars hand".

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for #5 "5. Drag & Shoulder –

for #5 "5. Drag & Shoulder – Power Pulling Mountains and Rivers"

I would suggest using the English word "haul" or possibly "tow" in place of "power pulling", which grammatically sounds very "Google translate" IMO.

"Draw" would also be a very good choice as you "draw a cart or wagon", or "draw up your strength or courage".

haul and tow both have the connotation of pulling very heavy loads, though haul has more of a sense of great strength being involved.

IMO "Draw The Mountains & Rivers" rolls off the tongue very nicely.

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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Is there a better word to

Is there a better word to mean pulling upwards (like "uprooting")?

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
uproot. lol

uproot. lol

and actually "uproot the mountains and rivers" also flows off the tongue ver nicely and retains some of the poetry involved.

discipline, concentration & wisdom
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also for #2 IMO should be

also for #2 IMO should be "auspicious" as opposed to "propitious".

auspicious is a more common term used when referring to the lions IIRC. at least I don't ever remember seeing propitious used before, but I have seen auspicious many times...

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updated to "auspicious" as

updated to "auspicious" as suggested.
also changed to "Powerfully Uprooting" because uproot is a verb, so it should be an adverb in front of it, hence "powerfully" instead of "power". I don't know why my brain couldn't think of it earlier, I knew it was awkward.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
lol!

lol!

I imagine that your brain started thinking more and more in a "Chinese" way during the process so conjugating verbs and tense would become more difficult in that frame of mind. makes sense actually.

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I think that retaining the

I think that retaining the "powerfully" is a bit redundant though. uprooting already implies great power is invloved

 

verb (used with object)

1.
to pull out by or as if by the roots :
The hurricane uprooted many trees and telephone poles.
2.
to remove violently or tear away from a native place or environment:
The industrial revolution uprooted large segments of the ruralpopulation.
3.
to destroy or eradicate as if by pulling out roots :
The conquerors uprooted many of the native traditions.
4.
to displace, as from a home or country; tear away, as from customs ora way of life:
to uproot a people.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/uproot?s=t

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Chinese language is full of

Chinese language is full of redundant characters put together to form a word. In this case I'm just trying to adhere to the Chinese movement name the best I can, as long as it's not grammatically wrong in English.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
2 more things I would like to

2 more things I would like to improve:
17 - "Returning Palms" for 回掌。 It's translated very verbatim but kinda difficult to understand in English, I would like another way to describe the palm was done with the body turning to the back, maybe "Reverse Palms"?
21 - "Completing the Exercise" for 圆功 complete is fine, but for the "kung" part, we all know there's no easy way to translate that in English, that's why Kung became a pretty standard word brought to English phonetically. But for our purpose, is there a better word than "exercise"? It could be something along the lines of "hard work" or "effort", but we talk about relaxation and effortless power, so of course "hard work" and "effort" shouldn't be used.

    Jeffrey Wong
>>>----------------->
I was wondering about

I was wondering about "returning palms" myself.

Also, I think your use of "Lucky Lion" works very well actually, as it rolls of the tongue much more naturally than auspicious.

re: returning palms i looked up 回 in mdbg and they define it as

to circle / to go back / to turn around / to answer / to return / to revolve / Hui ethnic group (Chinese Muslims) / time / classifier for acts of a play / section or chapter (of a classic book)

http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=worddict&wdrst=0&wdqb=%E5...

It seems Ruey was referring to the alternating, clockwise circling motion of both hands.  At the moment I would be stumped to come up with a simple English phrase that expresses this...

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http://youtu.be/KfD035mD3U0
when Ruey is discussing kick

when Ruey is discussing kick left and right #15 it confirmed my thought that we should use "seize" instead of "capture"

coming back to #17 after reviewing the video, I think it should be "circling palms assault the emperors fortress (or stronghold)". although "gong" literally is the palace, Ruey mentions that the emperors palace is the strongest, most fortified of places, which palace, especially in a post Disney world, doesn't quite give the same sense in English.

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