by Wu Yu-hsiang (Wu Yuxian) (1812 – 1880)
sometimes attributed to Wang Chung-yueh
as researched by Lee N. Scheele
The hsin [mind-and-heart] mobilizes the ch’i [vital life energy].
Make the ch’i sink calmly;
then the ch’i gathers and permeates the bones.
The ch’i mobilizes the body.
Make it move smoothly, so that it may easily follows the hsin.
The I [mind-intention] and ch’i must interchange agilely,
then there is an excellence of roundness and smoothness.
This is called “the interplay of insubstantial and substantial.”
The hsin is the commander, the ch’i the flag, and the waist the banner.
The waist is like the axle and the ch’i is like the wheel.
The ch’i is always nurtured without harm.
Let the ch’i move as in a pearl with nine passages
so that there is no part it cannot reach.
In moving the ch’i sticks to the back and permeates the spine.
It is said “first in the hsin, then in the body.”
The abdomen relaxes, then the ch’i sinks into the bones.
The shen [spirit of vitality] is relaxed and the body calm.
The shen is always in the hsin.
Being able to breathe properly leads to agility.
The softest will then become the strongest.
When the ching shen is raised,
there is no fault of stagnancy and heaviness.
This is called suspending the headtop.
Inwardly make the shen firm,
and outwardly exhibit calmness and peace.
Throughout the body, the I relies on the shen, not on the ch’i.
If it relied on the ch’i, it would become stagnant.
If there is ch’i, there is no li [external strength].
If there is no ch’i, there is pure steel.
The chin [intrinsic strength] is sung [relaxed], but not sung;
it is capable of great extension, but is not extended.
The chin is broken, but the I is not.
The chin is stored (having a surplus) by means of the curved.
The li* is released by the back,
and the steps follow the changes of the body.
The mobilization of the chin is like refining steel a hundred times over.
There is nothing hard it cannot destroy.
Store up the chin like drawing a bow.
Mobilize the chin like drawing silk from a cocoon.
Release the chin like releasing the arrow.
To fa-chin [discharge energy],
and aim in one direction!
In the curve seek the straight,
Be still as a mountain,
move like a great river.
The upright body must be stable and comfortable
to be able to sustain an attack from any of the eight directions.
Walk like a cat.
Remember, when moving, there is no place that does not move.
When still, there is no place that is not still.
First seek extension, then contraction;
then it can be fine and subtle.
It is said if the opponent does not move, then I do not move.
At the opponent’s slightest move, I move first.”
To withdraw is then to release,
to release it is necessary to withdraw.
In discontinuity there is still continuity.
In advancing and returning there must be folding.
Going forward and back there must be changes.
The form is like that of a falcon about to seize a rabbit,
and the shen is like that of a cat about to catch a rat.
* Scholars argue persuasively that the use of the word li here is a mistranscription and the passage should read chin.