Prebirth and Postbirth what does it really mean?

Tim's Discussion Board: Ba Gua Zhang : Prebirth and Postbirth what does it really mean?
   By Meynard on Friday, January 19, 2001 - 03:12 pm: Edit Post


A while back I know you gave a little after class lecture on the meaning of prebirth and postbirth. I believe I remembered what you said but am not sure exactly. Could you please define for us again what prebirth or postbirth really means as it relates to the martial arts?

   By Big Balled Betty on Friday, January 19, 2001 - 04:25 pm: Edit Post

Prebirth is pretty good. you can get a lot of time in the rack with your old lady. Hey, some nights are better than others but WTF any Hottie in a storm. Afterbirth is f***** sick. I heard some people eat that s*** scrambled up with their eggs...

"There's only one Betty, Big Balled Betty!"

   By Tim on Sunday, January 21, 2001 - 07:33 pm: Edit Post

Wow, that's a hard post to follow. Xian literally means "before or previous to," Tian means "the sky, heaven or that which is natural." Commonly translated as "pre-birth" or "pre-heaven," the term is used to denote endowments or abilities that are innate or inherent, determined before birth in the case of living creatures or before an external stimulus or condition is introduced in the case of natural phenomena. In Western philosophical thought, Xian Tian is akin to the "a priori" concept. In Gao style Ba Gua Zhang, the circle forms are classified as pre-heaven to signify their purpose in cultivating innate responses to attack and defense. The idea is to walk the circle and practice palm changes until offensive and defensive martial abilities are as natural as if they were inborn, requiring no planning or forethought.
"Hou" literally means "afterwards or behind." Hou Tian denotes skills and abilities that are learned or acquired after birth, those which are built upon the pre-heaven, innate abilities, but must be learned and practiced. In Gao Style Ba Gua Zhang, Hou Tian forms are derived from the circle (Xian Tian) forms, and are more specifically 'technique' oriented. They are examples of the actual applications of the pre-heaven abilities, which require intent to action and a plan.
For an example outside the martial arts, an individual may run very quickly without training, we say he is 'naturally fast' (a pre-heaven ability). With proper training and technique (post-heaven abilities), he can refine and improve upon his natural abilities and run even faster. To sum it up, Xian Tian is that which is natural or innate, Hou Tian is that which is acquired or learned

   By Kenneth Sohl on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 08:30 am: Edit Post

Gee, now why can't other IMA practitioners write in such a straight-forward fashion?? I tried reading Yang Jwing Ming's book on Hsing-Yi once, and found it to be the same cryptic passages in different words! Tim, would you ever consider translating Sun Lu Tang's book on Hsing-Yi into such plain language? Such works are sorely needed.

   By Walter T. Joyce Sr. on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 09:39 am: Edit Post

The reason you might have found Yang's books so cryptic is that many are just translations. Perhaps one of the reasons Tim's work is so clear is that in addition to beibng a good writer, he is writing about something he knows intimately.

   By Tim on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 01:14 am: Edit Post

Sun Lu Tang's Xing Yi book has been translated into English (Xing Yi Quan Xue: The Study of Form-Mind Boxing). It was translated by Albert Liu and published by Dan Miller in 1993. I've seen it recently in Borders. The ISBN is 1-883175-03-8. It also includes an extensive biography of Sun written by Dan Miller.

   By kenneth sohl on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 07:17 pm: Edit Post

Tim, yes, I have already read Sun Lu Tang's book. It is a simple translation. What I meant was the way you explained pre and post birth in the previous post. Maybe that is a tall order. In my boxing, the powers are "sinking, swallowing, spitting, floating". I couldn't figure it out, it was so cryptic! Upon learning the reality, I found the words almost literally descriptive. Another reason one truly needs a qualified (so rare) instructor to enable them to experience and know, not try to figure out and screw up.

   By Tim on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 06:56 pm: Edit Post

Do you practice the White Crane, or Southern Mantis?

   By kenneth sohl on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 08:44 pm: Edit Post

Yes, southern mantis, but with much stepping and connected body movements, unlike what I saw in the chow gar videos where there was much setting of the feet before using waist power. Hence, my fascination with your site.

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