Articles

Translation of Chinese Article Excerpt “Tongbei Ten Treads Tan Tui” by Ma Xianda

By  | 

TRANSLATION OF CHINESE ARTICLE EXCERPT “TONGBEI TEN TREADS TAN TUI” BY MA XIANDA

By: Matthew Lee

Written February 22nd, 2021

“The article excerpt consists of an introduction to and history of Tan Tui, in particular Ma Style Tongbei Tan Tui, including a poem describing Ma Style Tongbei Tan Tui, and is followed by step-by-step instructions of some movements from its Taolu (套路; tàolù, forms).” —Quote taken directly from the write-up

Abstract: The following is a translation of an excerpt of a Chinese article, roughly translated as “Tongbei Ten Treads Tan Tui” by Ma Xianda, for the Chinese “Sports World” academic publication.  Although such a task is usually not worth sharing publicly, I have decided to do so in the spirit of sharing great knowledge and information about the well-known but rare Ma Style Tongbei traditional Wushu system.  It is ironic that despite being well-respected in the Wushu community, little is known about Ma Style Tongbei, especially such a system that has had a huge sphere of influence on modern Wushu and its greatest exponents, despite being steeped in a rich history of traditional Chinese martial arts development.  This is my attempt to promote awareness and better understanding of such a great Chinese martial arts system.

Last night, I was shown, among other things, an article written in Chinese about Ma Style Tongbei (马氏通备; Mǎshìtōngbèi, not to be confused with the traditional Wushu style 通背拳; tōngbèiquán, literally “through-the-back” fist) Tan Tui (弹腿; tántuǐ, Springing Leg), and of the late Grandmaster Ma Xianda of this traditional Wushu system.  Since I was asked to translate this, I took it upon myself to do so as a favor to Master Narcyz Latecki, head instructor of Chinese Martial Arts Division of Athletic Balance, LLC, who himself trained Ma Style Tongbei directly under Ma Xianda.  And even though my doing this is not a big deal, I decided to share this rough translation of the article excerpt, which is presumably written by Ma Xianda as it also bears his name, on Jiayoowushu.com, to get people to know about this great Chinese martial arts system.  Regrettably, I initially tried to translate the entire article, but elected not to, as this was not feasible at the rate that I was going with my poor Chinese reading and comprehension skills, within a short time.  Unfortunately, certain characters were also either not clearly legible or faded on paper and therefore ineligible (bolded), which leads me to believe these papers have been sitting around for quite a long time, making a complete and accurate translation impossible.  I would also like to apologize in advance for all the extra notes and additional edits, I tried to make everything comprehensible in English, while still maintaining the integrity of the Chinese sentence structure (and Chinese is extremely dense).  Part of the credit goes to my dad for helping to identify characters that I could not identify myself.  The article excerpt consists of an introduction to and history of Tan Tui, in particular Ma Style Tongbei Tan Tui, including a poem describing Ma Style Tongbei Tan Tui, and is followed by step-by-step instructions of some movements from its Taolu (套路; tàolù, forms).  For those that want to see the article excerpt online or do not find my translation satisfactory, below is the article excerpt including a written transcript.

“通备十蹚弹腿

马贤达

近几年来, 随着群众性武术活动的蓬勃兴起, 笔者不断接到发自全国各地纷至齐来的群众来信, 其中大部分是询问如何学习武术, 练好武术的门径, 同时恳望为他们提供一些自学武术的材料。  鉴于工作繁忙, 未能一一函复, 为此常感歉疚!  今受 《体育世界》 盛约, 特推荐自近代以来, 许多武术家借以登堂入室, 攀登武术高峰的基础教材—通备十蹚弹腿, 以诚谢广大武术爱好者的热望, 并渴愿它能作为自学武者的益友。

弹腿, 在浩繁的武术流派中, 自成体系, 是一门独立的拳术, 故人们也曾称其为 ‘弹腿门’。  这种拳术, 在北方极为盛行, 一度成为武林注目的拳派。  并且, 随着武术技法的发展与变化, 弹腿在其自身的发展过程中, 逐渐被许多流派所吸收, 或与其它流派相结合, 进而形成了不同劲力, 不同风格, 以及技法相异的弹腿类别。

一般说来,弹腿分为两类; 一类是以十二路 (蹚) 构成的, 称作 ‘谭腿’, 据传起源于龙潭寺, 故以此取名; 另一类是以十路 (蹚) 构成的, 强调发力疾速, 寓有弹脆劲道, 故命名为 ‘弹腿’。  又武术界向有 ‘南京到北京, 弹腿出自教门中’ 的说法, 故亦称 ‘教门弹腿’。

以十路 (蹚) 为结构的弹腿, 有和查拳结合在一起的,被称作 ‘查拳弹腿’。  其劲力, 技法和查拳相一致, 是查拳入门的基础教材。  流传于河南, 河北, 山东一带的古老长拳, 也有十路弹腿, 是出学者入门的必修教材。  源自武术之乡的沧州, 盐山一带的通备劈挂门, 也有一套十蹚 (路) 弹腿, 它在通备拳系中占据十分重要的位置。  先辈们在传艺授徒时, 把它看作是入门的根基, 提高的阶梯。  就是这套弹腿, 在近代通备拳的传袭史上, 造就了无数的武术巨匠与名家。  例如, 清末享有盛名的通备劈挂拳大师李云标先生和他的弟子黄林彪先生, 都是从通备弹腿开门, 并以弹腿先行, 传授后人, 培养了许多武艺超群, 【?】声海外的武术名家。  至今在中外武林名师赫赫的神枪李树 (书) 文先生, 他在拜八级名师张拱辰, 黄小海为师后, 因根基不足, 在张拱辰先生的推荐下, 再拜黄林彪为师, 学习通备弹腿,数年后, 才传授了通备劈挂。

清末, 名震京城的京师大侠王正谊 (大刀王五) 再拜双刀李凤岗为师前, 曾启蒙于通备大师肖和成先生处, 他虽以刀法冠武林, 但在武艺上的成就, 乃是从通备弹腿起家的。  和大刀王五齐名的清末另一位武术家霍元甲, 注重和擅长的弹腿, 也为武林皆知。  由他创立的精武体育会, 仍是以十二路弹腿传世的。  后世所称的 ‘精武门’ 谭腿, 是具有代表性的艺业, 至今还在广泛的传播于海内。

弹腿其所以许多武术名师, 流派所重視, 并把它作为学艺树基的门径, 因为这一特有的形式, 结构和操练手段, 是经过多少代先辈授艺, 习武的实践, 不断总结, 不断改进, 而被大家确认为是一套行之有效的功练【?】内容, 所以被广为采用, 广为传习。  正如黄林彪先生的传授【?】高足马凤图大师早在1920年订正 《通备十蹚弹腿歌》 中指出【?】的; ‘十蹚弹腿十路拳, 今昔武艺率本源’ 也就是说, 在古今无意中,弹腿具有务本正源的作用。

弹腿, 套路简捷, 拳势质朴, 技法明膫, 易学易练。  在拳势结构上, 着重于下盘桩步和腿法; 上盘辅之以单势拳法。  桩步, 是以马, 弓, 仆, 歇等四种步型为基本, 构成札步站桩的主要内容; 腿法以弹踢 (传统的习惯, 称做弹腿) 为主, 辅之以箭弹。  套路结构, 是用一组拳势, 左右交互进行, 一般是每一蹚 (路) 由右势——左势——右势, 组成重复演练的形式, 以加深和强化动力定型。

通备弹腿, 其套路结构与其它弹腿相同, 唯独在起势, 收势上贯以通备拳法中的单劈手招势, 使之在操肩, 操腰方面具有独到之处。  在腿法上, 它不似其它弹腿套路仅是单一的弹踢结构, 而是包含有点腿, 钉【?】腿 (穿桩腿), 侧踹 (边桩腿), 落地沟踢 (换腿跺子) 以及共有的弹踢, 箭弹腿等腿法, 因而更具有操习腿功的显着特点。  在身法上, 要求吞吐伸缩,   大开大合, 拧腰切胯, 三体同功。  在劲道上, 追求滚劲, 勒劲, 劈劲, 挂劲, 翻扯辘辘劲。  在练法上, 进究肩沉气按, 溜臂合腕, 意劲贯一, 内外相合, 通神达化, 刚柔皆寄于体,势势贯穿于通。”

(“Tōngbèi Shítāng Tántuǐ

Mǎ Xiándá

Jìnjǐnián lái, suízhe qúnzhòngxìng wǔshù huódòng de péngbó xīngqǐ, bǐzhě bùduàn jiēdào fāzì quánguógèdì fēnzhìqílái de qúnzhòng láixìn, qízhōng dàbùfen shì xúnwèn rúhé xuéxí wǔshù, liànhǎo wǔshù de ménjìng, tóngshí kěn wàngwéi tāmen tígōng yīxiē zìxué wǔshù de cáiliào.  Jiànyú gōngzuò fánmáng wèinéng yīyī hánfù wèicǐ cháng gǎn qiànjiù!  Jīn shòu 《Tǐyù Shìjiè》 shèngyuē, tè tuījiàn zì jìndài yǐlái, xǔduō wǔshù jiā jièyǐ dēngtángrùshì, pāndēng wǔshù gāofēng de jīchǔ jiàocái—Tōngbèi Shítāng Tántuǐ, yǐchéng xiè guǎngdà wǔshù àihàozhě de rèwàng, bìng kě yuàn tā néng zuòwéi zìxué wǔzhě de yìyǒu.

Tántuǐ, zài hàofán de wǔshù liúpài zhōng, zì chéng tǐxì, yī mén dúlì de quánshù, gù rénmen yě céng chēng qí wèi ‘Tántuǐmén’.  Zhèzhǒng quánshù, zài běifāng jíwéi shèngxíng, yīdù chéngwéi wǔlín zhùmù de quánpài.  Bìngqiě, suízhe wǔshù jìfǎ de fāzhǎn yǔ biànhuà, Tántuǐ zài qízìshēn de fāzhǎn guòchéng zhōng, zhújiàn bèi xǔduō liúpài suǒ xīshōu, huò yǔ qítā liúpài xiāng jiéhé, jìn’ér xíngchéng liǎo bùtóng jìnlì, bùtóng fēnggé, yǐjí jìfǎ xiāngyì de Tántuǐ lèibié.

Yībānshuōlái, Tántuǐ fēnwéi liǎnglèi; yīlèi shìyǐ shí’èrlù [tāng] gòuchéng de, chēngzuò ‘Tántuǐ’, jùchuán qǐyuán yú Lóngtán sì, gù yǐcǐ qǔmíng; lìngyīlèi shìyǐ shílù [tāng] gòuchéng de, qiángdiào fālì jísù, yùyǒu táncuìjìndào, gù mìngmíng wéi ‘Tántuǐ’.  Yòu wǔshù jiè xiàng yǒu ‘Nánjīng dào Běijīng, Tántuǐ chūzì Jiàomén zhōng’ de shuōfa, gù yìchēng ‘Jiàomén Tántuǐ’.

Yǐ shílù [tāng] wéi jiégòu de Tántuǐ, yǒu hé Cháquán jiéhé zàiyīqǐ de, bèi chēngzuò ‘Cháquán Tántuǐ’.  Qí jìnlì, jìfǎ hé Cháquán xiāng yīzhì, shì Cháquán rùmén de jīchǔ jiàocái.  Liúchuán yú Hénán, Héběi, Shāndōng yīdài de gǔlǎo Chángquán, yěyǒu shílù Tántuǐ, shì chū xuézhě rùmén bìxiū jiàocái.  Yuánzì wǔshù zhī xiāng de Cāngzhōu, Yánshān yīdài de Tōngbèi Pīguàmén, yěyǒu yītào shílù Tántuǐ, tā zài Tōngbèiquán xì zhōng zhànjù shífēn zhòngyào de wèizhi.  Xiānbèimen zài chuányì shòu tú shí, bǎ tā kànzuò shì rùmén de gēnjī, tígāo de jiētī.  Jiùshì zhètào Tántuǐ, zài jìndài Tōngbèiquán, zàojiùle wúshù de wǔshù jùjiàng yǔ míngjiā.  Lìrú, Qīngmò xiǎngyǒu shèngmíng de Tōngbèi Pīguàquán dàshī Lǐ Yúnbiāo Xiānsheng hé tā de dìzǐ Huáng Línbiāo Xiānsheng, dōu shì cóng Tōngbèi Tántuǐ kāimén, bìngyǐ Tántuǐ xiānxíng, chuánshòu hòurén, péiyǎngle xǔduō wǔyì chāoqún, [?]shēng hǎiwài de wǔshù míngjiā.  Zhìjīn zài zhōngwài wǔlín míngshī hèhè de Shénqiāng Lǐ Shù [Shū] Wén Xiānsheng, tā zài bài Bājí míngshī Zhāng Gǒngchén, Huáng Xiǎohǎi wéi shī hòu, yīn gēnjī bùzú,zài Zhāng Gǒngchén Xiānsheng tuījiàn xià, zàibài Huáng Línbiāo wéi shī, xuéxí Tōngbèi Tántuǐ, shùnián hòu, cái chuánshòule Tōngbèi Pīguà.

Qīngmò, míngzhèn de jīngshī dàxiá Wáng Zhèngyì [Dàdāo Wáng Wǔ] zàibài Shuāngdāo Lǐ Fènggǎng wéi shī qián, céng qǐméng yú Tōngbèi dàshī Xiāo Héchéng Xiānsheng chù, tā suīyǐ dāofǎ guān wǔlín, dàn zài wǔyì shàng de chéngjiù, nǎishì cóng Tōngbèi Tántuǐ qǐjiā de.  Hé Dàdāo Wáng Wǔ qímíng de Qīngmò lìngyīwèi wǔshù jiā Huò Yuánjiǎ, zhùzhòng hé shàncháng de Tántuǐ, yě wéi wǔlín jiē zhī.  Yóu tā chuànglì de Jīngwǔ Tǐyù Huì, réng shìyǐ shí’èrlù Tántuǐ chuánshì de.  Hòushì suǒ chēng de ‘Jīngwǔ Tántuǐ’, shì jùyǒu dàibiǎoxìng de yìyè, zhìjīn hái zài guǎngfàn de chuánbō yú hǎinèi.

Tántuǐ qí suǒyǐ xǔduō wǔshù míngshī, liúpài suǒ zhòngshì, bìng bǎ tā zuòwéi xuéyì shùjī de ménjìng, yīnwèi zhè yī tèyǒu de xíngshì, jiégòu hé cāoliàn shǒuduàn, shì jīngguò duōshǎo xiānbèi shòu yì, xíwǔ de shíjiàn, bùduàn zǒngjié, bùduàn gǎijìn, ér bèi dàjiā quèrèn wéi shì yītào xíngzhīyǒuxiào de gōngliàn[?] nèiróng, suǒyǐ bèi guǎng wéi cǎiyòng, guǎng wéi chuánxí.  Zhèngrú Huáng Línbiāo Xiānsheng de chuánshòu[?] gāozú Mǎ Fèngtú dàshī zǎozài 1920nián dìngzhèng 《Tōngbèi Shítāng Tántuǐ Gē》 zhōng zhǐchū[?]; ‘Shítāng Tántuǐ shílùquán, jīnxī wǔyì shuài běnyuán’ yějiùshìshuō, zài gǔjīn wǔyì zhōng, jùyǒu wù běn zhèng yuan de zuòyòng.

            Tántuǐ, tàolù jiǎnjié, quánshì zhìpǔ, jìfǎ míngliáo, yìxué yìliàn.  Zài quánshì jiégòu shàng, zhuózhòng yú xiàpán zhuāngbù hé tuǐfǎ; shàng pán fǔ zhī yǐ dānshì quánfǎ.  Zhuāngbù, shìyǐ mǎ, gōng, pū, xiē děng sìzhǒng wéi jīběn, gòuchéng zhábù zhànzhuāng de zhǔyào nèiróng; tuǐfǎ yǐ tántī (chuántǒng de xíguàn, chēngzuò tántuǐ) wéizhǔ, fǔ zhī yǐ jiàntán.  Tàolù jiégòu, shì yòng yīzǔ quánshì, zuǒyòu jiāohù jìnxíng, yībān shì měi yī tāng (lù), yóu yòushì——zuǒshì——yòushì, zǔchéng chóngfù yǎnliàn xíngshì, yǐ jiāshēn hé qiánghuà dònglì dìngxíng

            Tōngbèi Tántuǐ, qí tàolù jiégòu yǔ qítā Tántuǐ xiāngtóng, wéidú zài qǐshì, shōushì shàng guàn yǐ Tōngbèi quánfǎ zhōng de dānpīshǒu zhāoshì, shǐ zhī zài cāo jiān, cāo yāo fāngmiàn jùyǒu dúdào zhī chù.  Zài tuǐfǎ shàng, tā bù sì qítā Tántuǐ tàolù jǐn shì dānyī de tántī jiégòu, érshì bāohán yǒudiǎn tuǐ, dīng[?]tuǐ [chuānzhuāngtuǐ], cèchuāi [biānzhuāngtuǐ], luòdìgōutī [huàntuǐduòzi], yǐjí gòngyǒu de tántī, jiàntán děng tuǐfǎ, yīn’ér gèng jùyǒu cāoxí tuǐgōng de xiǎnzhe tèdiǎn.  Zài tuǐfǎ shēnfǎ shàng, yāoqiú tūntǔ shēnsuō, dàkāi dàhé, nǐngyāo qiēkuà, sāntǐ tónggōng.  Zài jìndào shàng, zhuīqiú gǔnjìn, lèjìn, pījìn, guàjìn, fānchělùlùjìn. Zài liànfǎ shàng, jìn jiū jiān chén qì àn, liū bì hé wàn, yì jìn guàn yī, nèiwài xiānghé, tōng shén dá huà, gāngróu jiē jì yú tǐ, shìshì guànchuān yú tōng.”)

“Tongbei Ten Treads Tan Tui

Ma Xianda

[In] recent years [that have] come [to pass], along with [the] flourishing rise [of the] mass Wushu movement, [the] author [presumably of this article, again likely Ma Xianda referring to himself] unceasingly receives from every [part of the] nation, numerous, uniform [of the same nature]…mass incoming letters, among [these,] most are inquiring [about] how [to] study Wushu, access of training Wushu well, [and at the] same time earnestly expecting [for the author to] supply some self-learning Wushu material for them.  Considering work [being] bustling, [the author is] unable to return correspondences one [by] one [and] for this [reason, the author] frequently feels remorseful!  Now [the author] received [a] formal invitation [from] ‘Sports World’, specially recommended since recent times, [for] many Wushu specialists to [literally] [‘]rise [to the] hall[,] enter room[’][,] [figuratively/metaphorically meaning to attain the next/higher level], [to provide] teaching material [to] climb [the] foundation [of] Wushu[’s] peak—Tongbei Ten Treads Tan Tui, to sincerely thank widespread Wushu fans’ passion, furthermore [the author hopes] it honestly [will be] able [to] act as [a] helpful friend of self-study Wu[shu] practitioners.

Tan Tui, in [the] vast Wushu sects/styles, [and as a] self[-contained] system, is an independent *school of fist art, hence people also once call[ed] it as ‘Tan Tui School’.  This kind [of] fist art, [is] extremely prevalent in [the] northern region [of China], [and] once became [the] focus[ed] fist sect of [the] Wulin [literally meaning martial forest, figurative meaning of martial arts circles].  Moreover, along with Wushu methods’ development and changes, Tan Tui in its own development process, [was] gradually absorbed by many sects/styles, or also combined [with] other sects/styles, [and] then formed different forces, different styles, [as] well as different methods of Tan Tui classifications.

Generally speaking, Tan Tui [is] divided into two types; one type thus is composed of Twelve Roads **(Treads), known as ‘Pond/Lake Leg’, rumored [to] originate from Dragon Pond/Lake Temple, hence this naming; [the] other type thus is composed of Ten Roads (Treads), emphasizing issuing force [at a high] speed, having [a] way [of] springing/snapping [and] crisp [elastic] power [generation], hence [its] name being ‘Tan Tui [literally Springing Leg]’.  [There is] also [a] saying of ‘[From] Nanjing to Beijing, Tan Tui comes from within Jiaomen [a family of traditional Chinese martial arts from the 回族; Huízú, Hui ethnic group in China]’ in [the] Wushu circles, hence [it] also [being] known [as] ‘Jiaomen Tan Tui’.

Thus [the] structure for Ten Roads (Treads) of Tan Tui, has [been] combined together with Chaquan, [there]by known as ‘Chaquan Tan Tui’.  Its force, [and] method appears consistent with Chaquan, [and] is [the] foundational teaching material of [the] introduction [to] Chaquan.  [The] ancient Changquan [Long Fist] spread in regions of Henan, Hebei, Shandong, also has Ten Roads Tan Tui, [and] is required teaching material [for] introductory scholars [figurative for students].  [The] Tongbei Pigua School of Yanshan region, [a style of] Wushu originating [from] rural Cangzhou, also has one set [of] Ten Treads (Roads) Tan Tui, it occupies [an] absolutely important position in Tongbeiquan [referring to Ma Style Tongbei, again, not to be confused with the traditional Wushu style of the same name] system.  [During the] time elders transmitted [their] skills [to their] disciples, [they] took [and] regarded it [to] be [an] introductory foundation, stairs/steppingstones [figuratively/metaphorically meaning to attain the next/higher level] of improvement.  It is this set [of] Tan Tui, in recent Tongbeiquan’s inherited history, [that] brought [up] countless great masters and renowned experts.  As [an] example, [the] Qing [dynasty’s] last [years] enjoyed [the] reputable Tongbei Piguaquan [literally ‘chop-hanging fist’] Grandmaster Mister Li Yunbiao and his disciple Mister Huang Linbiao, all are from Tongbei Tan Tui [literally] [‘]open[ing] doors/gates[’,] [figuratively/metaphorically meaning to begin training], furthermore to [establish] Tan Tui [as a] precedence, pass on [to] later generations, cultivated [a] lot [of] preeminent ***Wuyi, […and] renowned Wushu experts overseas.  Until now[,] [the] impressive[,] famous master[,] God [of] Spear Mister Li Shu [literally ‘tree’, presumably another character for Li Shuwen’s given name] (Shu [literally ‘book’, the other and more well-known character for Li Shuwen’s given name]) Wen in [the] Sino-foreign Wulin, he [gave] bai [short for 拜师; bàishī, the formal ceremony/process to become a disciple to a master, in this case to] famous Baji master Zhang Gongchen, Huang Xiaohai became [his] master after, because [his] foundation [was] inadequate, at Mister Zhang Gongchen’s recommendation, [he] again [gave] bai [to] Huang Linbiao [to] become [his] master, [and began to] study Tongbei Tan Tui, [and only] then after many years, [was] Tongbei Pigua then passed on.

[During the] Qing [dynasty’s] last [years], great hero Wang Zhengyi (Great Broadsword Wang Wu) of [the] glorious capital [of China] again [gave] bai [to] Double Broadsword Li Fenggang [to] become [his] senior master, once enlightened by Tongbei Grandmaster Xiao Hecheng, although he crown[ed the] Wulin through his broadsword techniques, but in [terms of] achievements of Wuyi, it is from Tongbei Tan Tui [one can, literally] [‘]raise [a] house[’] [figuratively/metaphorically meaning to begin a career/great endeavor].  And equally famous [as] Great Broadsword Wang Wu [during the] Qing [dynasty’s] last [years,] [is] one other Wushu specialist Huo Yuanjia, [who] emphasized and specialized [in] Tan Tui, also know[n] to all [the] Wulin.  [The] Chin Woo [Jing Wu] Athletic Association founded by him, still is handing down Twelve Roads Tan Tui.  Later generations called [it] ‘Jing Wu School Pond/Lake Leg’, [it] is possessing representative skill [in the Wushu] profession, [and] until now [is] still being extensively disseminated domestically in [China].  

Therefore Tan Tui [is practiced by] many famous Wushu masters, sects/styles actually value [it], and take it [to] act as [a means of] access [to the] [‘]tree base[’] [of] learning skill[s], because [of] this one distinctive form, structure and training methods, is passed through [who knows] how many generations [of] elders transmitting [these] skill[s], [the] practice [of] learn[ing] Wu[shu], unceasingly summed [up], unceasingly improving, and surely recognized by everyone to be a set of working [and] training[?] content [that] [‘]works to have effectiveness[’], thereby becoming widely adopt[ed], becoming widely propagate[d] [and] learn[ed].  Just as Mr. Huang Linbiao passed on [to his] highest disciple Grandmaster Ma Fengtu as early as 1920[,] [the] corrected ‘Tongbei Ten Treads Tan Tui [Poem]’, [points out] within its [words]; ‘Ten Treads Tan Tui Ten Roads Fist, past [and] present Wuyi lead[s] [back to the] source’[;] it is also [to] say, in ancient [and] modern Wuyi, Tan Tui possesses [the] role of engaging [pursuing?] [the] proper origin [of Wuyi].

Tan Tui[’s], Taolu [is/are] simple, fist posture[s] [are] unadorned, methods [are] obvious, [and it is] easy [to] learn [and] easy [to] train.  In [terms of] fist posture[s] [and] [structures], a [heavy] emphasis [is placed] on lower [half of the body’s] examination [of] post stances and leg techniques; upper [half of the body] examines [and] complements/supplements [the lower half with] single posture fist techniques.  Post stances, thus are horse, bow, drop/crouching etc. four kinds [of] stances as basics, compose[d] [of the] main content of steps [and] standing [like a] post; leg technique thus [is] springing/snap kick (traditional custom, call[ed] tantui) mainly, complements/supplements it to [literally] [‘]arrow springing/snap[’] [jump springing/snap kick?].  Taolu structure, is using a set of fist postures, left [and] right alternately advancing, generally is every tread (road) by right posture——left posture—right posture, [to] constitute duplicate practiced form[s], to deepen and strengthen [the] movement [of] force [generation] [and] fixed pattern[s].

Tongbei Tan Tui, its Taolu structure and [that of] other] Tan Tui are identical, except in [terms of the] beginning posture, [and] closing posture traversing to [one of the] Tongbei fist technique[s][,] [the] single chopping hand movement [and] posture, enabling it [to] control [the] shoulder[s], control [the] waist[,] [an] aspect [that] possesses unique [qualities].  In [terms of] leg techniques, it [does] not resemble other Tan Tui Taolu [that] merely are single springing/snap kick structure[s], rather [it] contains some leg [techniques], [for example,] nail[?] [kick] (spear/threading [kick]), side trample (side [of an object] post [kick]) [side kick], fall [to the] ground hook kick (switch leg[s] stamp), [as] well as altogether springing/snap kick, arrow springing/snap [kick] etc. leg techniques, therefore [it] possesses more evident characteristic[s] of leg controlling practice.  In [terms of] body method, requirement[s] [are literally] swallowing [and] vomiting [figurative/metaphorical of absorbing and sending energy out?], stretch [and] contract, big open [and] big close, twisting waist [‘]slicing[’] hip[s], three bodies [possibly similar to Santi in 形意拳; xíng​yì​quán, literally ‘shape-will fist’?] work [in the] same [way].  In [terms of] power [generation], pursue rolling power, strangling/tightening power, chopping power, hanging power, tumbling/rotating/flipping ripping/tearing windlass power.  In [terms of] training method[s], advance [and carefully] study [that the] shoulder[s] sink [and] qi presses [down?], slip arm[s] [in] harmony [with] wrist[s], intention [and] power traverse [as] one, internal [and] external conform, through god[s]/spirit[s][,] attain change, hard [and] soft all send [out] from [the] body, momentum runs through.”

*In this particular context of Chinese martial arts (of which there is more than one in the following), the word 门 (mén, literally “door” or “gate”) is translated as “school”, and can refer to either a standalone style or system as is the case here, a specific branch of a given style or system, or even an individual organization or school teaching Chinese martial arts in general (for example, the aforementioned 精武门; jīngwǔmén, simply “Jing Wu School”).

**It is worth noting that the word 蹚 (tāng; tread, literally “to wade/trample”) is synonymous with the word 路 (lù; road), which means a specific form, or line, in the context of Chinese martial arts, specifically Tan Tui in this case, or at least as Ma Style Tongbei terms it in its practice, and is used interchangeably here.  As I established in one of my older write-ups, “A Look at Tan Tui: What You Need to Know”, it is interesting to note that the term Taolu itself is made up of the two Chinese characters 套; tào, literally “set”, and 路, literally “road” or “path”, which reveal the meaning of the word Taolu to mean a set of choreographed movements, forms or routines.

***武艺 (wǔyì; martial skill) is another, older term for Chinese martial arts.  It is used in Ma Style Tongbei to distinguish its practice from the term Wushu (武术; wǔshù, literally “martial art”); one of the full formal names for Ma Style Tongbei today is 马氏通备武艺 (Mǎshìtōngbèiwǔyì, Ma Style Tongbei martial skill).

While doing this translation, I found out that this article was indeed authored by Ma Xianda for the Chinese academic publication Tiyu Shijie (体育世界; Tǐyù Shìjiè, Sports World), under which he published multiple articles, including those on this same subject.  I have already written at length about Ma Xianda in my previous write-up, “Ma Xianda: Wushu Masters You Should Know”, so anyone interested in what I have to say about him can check that out.  Although most of the information here is not necessarily new, but rather general knowledge that is quite easy to research on your own, if you know where to look, it is interesting to read about these little tidbits of Chinese martial arts history, for those that are interested in it, and Ma Xianda is clearly a very sophisticated writer.  One of my main regrets is that I never got a chance to meet him before he passed and pick his brain.

Fortunately, there was Master Narcyz Latecki, who traveled to Xi’an, China and trained Ma Style Tongbei under Ma Xianda, so he had firsthand experience of Ma’s practice and knowledge, which was the next best thing.  My first interaction with Master Narcyz was a phone conversation in late 2015, as I first mentioned in “Ma Xianda: Wushu Masters You Should Know”, when I reached out to him to inquire about the name of his school, due to people asking me about where to learn Ma Style Tongbei in reaction to my write-up “A Look at Bajiquan: What You Need to Know”, and I asked what Ma Xianda was like.  But that would be my only inkling regarding Ma Style Tongbei for about five years.

Aside from the Ma family’s provocative thoughts on Wushu, what interested me was their practice, and was something I had been wanting to learn for years.  Ma Style Tongbei, specifically their Fanziquan (翻子拳; fānziquán, tumbling or “rotating” fist, literally “turning/flipping fist”), was one of those traditional Wushu styles that really spoke to me, both in the philosophical and physical sense, and I felt was something that really suited my body movement and personality, for two main reasons.  First, it is aesthetically beautiful.  Yes, I realize the irony of that statement as it is a system steeped in tradition (which I will get to), and not performance, but I guess it is just the modern Wushu Taolu guy in me that just likes the big body movements that coincide very well with Changquan (长拳; chángquán, Long Fist) in particular, which I do not is a coincidence.  Second, where the aesthetics are and not an end in and of themselves, there is of course a reason why the movements are done the way they are, whether it is for martial applications or fighting ideas, health or body development, cultural/historical reasons or some other purpose, there is a rich culture and history behind the system, as illustrated in the examples Ma Xianda posed in the article.  But perhaps most relevant to me was the fact that my Wushu idol and hero Zhao Changjun, who was trained in traditional Wushu before converting to modern Wushu, learned Ma Style Tongbei along with his coach Bai Wenxiang and the entire Shaanxi Wushu Team during their competitive careers under Ma Xianda, which really sparked my fascination for it.  After all, Zhao Changjun himself said in the Kung Fu Magazine article “Where Wushu Went Wrong”, “‘There should be a good relationship between traditional and modern wushu. They should have more interchange. This could lengthen the competitive life of modern wushu. It could increase development and provide more room to grow. You need two legs to walk: one is modern wushu, one is traditional. You cannot give up one of them.’”  So, I wanted to see exactly what they were doing to emphasize the traditional roots of their Wushu, something that they were well-known and respected for in the Wushu community.

I would eventually get lucky when I found out that Sifu Jonathan Arend, a student of Master Narcyz, would be opening his own school, Chinese Martial Arts Maryland, and was hosting free open practices at Centennial Park in Ellicott City, Maryland, which was not too far from where I live, in the late summer of 2019.  After reaching out, connecting, and beginning practices under Sifu Arend, I eventually learned that Master Narcyz himself would be hosting a Fanziquan Seminar and Biangan (鞭杆; biāngǎn, whip stick) Seminar at YMAA (Yang’s Martial Arts Association) Boston on January 12th, 2020.  Upon finding this out, I was elated and leapt at the chance to fly to Boston, Massachusetts, and learn directly from Master Narcyz, and finally pick his brain.  I got everything I wanted out of my time in Boston and more.  Master Narcyz was kind enough to invite me to train at a Friday evening class at his school on the same day I arrived, a private lesson the next day on Saturday, and even dinner after the seminars the following day on Sunday, before I had to fly back home that same night.  After finally meeting him in person, I can say this man knows the different nuances between multiple masters’ techniques of Ma Style Tongbei and explains his own personal philosophy and why he teaches the way he does.  My seniors Emilio Alpanseque, aka Mastering WUSHU and Roland Quan, one of my Wushu coach Ching-Yin “Bee” Lee’s traditional gongfu brothers, were right when they said his shenfa was something special; he can perform multiple Taolu or styles exactly like the different ways he learned from different masters, as well as his own personal flavor at will.  To this day, I still see experienced Chinese martial arts instructors from different backgrounds say good things about his skill.  I also heard some funny and crazy stories, particularly about Ma Xianda, but more seriously I was touched by his own personal martial arts story and how martial arts saved his life.  He is very humble, honest, open, friendly, generous and has no secrets, and cares about quality training regardless of what he can gain or benefit from you.  If you are interested in learning Chinese martial arts, seriously pay this master a visit: if you are serious and willing to learn, he will make it well worth your time.  I have known some teachers who care more about their image, use others for their own ends and keep their stuff secret from outsiders, but most I have been fortunate enough to know are like Master Narcyz. For a sneak peek at my experience last year, check out the videos below:

Master Narcyz Latecki will be hosting another Fanziquan Seminar on February 27th, 2021, 10:00am-12:30pm EST (Eastern Time Zone, US & Canada)! The seminar will cover body mechanics and introduction to Tongbei jin, fundamental stances, footwork, basic hands/punches, basic kicks, fundamental combinations, the first Jianzongfan (健宗翻; jiànzōngfān, Healthy Ancestor Tumbles/Rotations) Taolu in the Fanziquan curriculum, and of course application and fighting principles!  The price is ONLY $35 (which is a STEAL compared to other seminars I have taken), and ONLY participants of this seminar will have the chance to lock in this introductory price for Master Narcyz’s upcoming future seminars.  To register, just send an email inquiry to: AthleticBalance@gmail.com.

Please direct your questions to Master Narcyz Latecki for specific details, or you can feel free to ask me and I will forward them to him.  Hope to see you there! J

Matt began practicing Wushu at the age of 7 under US Wushu Academy, and is a coach of the UMBC Wushu Club. He has held positions in national, international, and local modern Wushu competitions, and is currently training in Sanshou/Sanda, traditional Chen Style Taijiquan and zhanzhuang. He is a former four-time consecutive US Wushu Team member, former Pan American Champion and multiple times Pan American Championships medalist, and is continually trying to improve himself both as a competitive athlete and as a real martial artist. If you have any questions you would like to ask Matt, please email him at matthewlee@jiayoowushu.com.