The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Snake vs Crane

In the foundation stories of several martial arts, most notably taijiquan, a story of a fight between a snake and a crane figures prominently and is symbolic at several levels. At Pennine Tai Chi, there is an article about the Snake and Crane from which I've posted an excerpt below. The whole article may be read here

Please pay a visit.

Before we get to the article, here is the Snake vs Crane Set from Choy Lay Fut.

Legend tells us that the founding father of Tai Chi lived around the late 13th century and early 14th century. He left his position as a government official to live the life of a wanderer and a hermit in the mountains. Travelling from place to place he learnt techniques of meditation and martial arts under various Taoists.

One day, he was witness to a snake and a crane in combat with each other.

He watched as the crane swooped down from a tree with its wings fully spread, the snake hissed a challenge which the crane took up by using its sharp pointed beak to initiate an attack. The snake used its deceptive coiling movements to evade the danger and responded by lashing at the crane
with its tail. The crane lifted its leg to avoid the strike and then used its claws to attack. Again the snake evaded this by twisting and turning, whilst instinctively countering with its mouth. The crane curled its neck to escape the venom and beat its huge wings to force the snake away.

Eventually, after tiring themselves out, the two combatants called a draw, the snake slithered away and the crane returned to its tree perch.

Mesmerised and exhilarated by this contest – Chang realised that he had been witnessing a perfect
exhibition of the I Ching principles of adapting to change and the ability to blend soft and hard, strength and yielding. The continuity and flow of the circular movements seemed in accord with his Taoist observations of nature.

2 comments:

Cardinal9000 said...

If Zhang San Feng founding father of Taiji saw this duel near Wu Dang mountain, the duel would be the eagle (magpie hawk) vs. a snake not crane vs Snake.

Eagles and hawks live on mountains while crane preferred to be near watered area (lake). Think about this logic. ...

People preferred legends and fairy tales regardless of the logic.

Cardinal9000 said...

# correction
If Zhang San Feng founding father of Taiji saw this duel near the Wu Dang mountain, the duel would be between the eagle (or a magpie hawk) vs. a snake not a crane vs a snake.

Eagles and hawks usually live on mountains while crane preferred to be near watered area (lake). Think about this logic. ...

In summary, people preferred legends and fairy tales regardless of the logic.