Reflection on Research

Research is the same as Kung Fu, as Jin Yong described in his novel.

Chinese version

节选 《倚天屠龙记》第二十四回 太极初传柔克刚

张三丰道:“老道这路太极剑法能得八臂神剑指点几招,荣宠无量。无忌,你有佩剑么?”小昭上前几步,呈上张无忌从赵敏处取来的那柄木制假倚天剑。张三丰接在手里,笑道:“是木剑?老道这不是用来画符捏诀、作法驱邪么?”当下站起身来,左手持剑,右手捏个剑诀,双手成环,缓缓抬起,这起手式一展,跟着三环套月、大魁星、燕子抄水、左拦扫、右拦扫……一招招的演将下来,使到五十三式‘指南针’,双手同时画圆,复成第五十四式‘持剑归原’。张无忌不记招式,只是细看剑招中‘神在剑先、绵绵不绝’之意。

张三丰一路剑法使完,竟无一人喝采,各人尽皆诧异:“这等慢吞吞、软绵绵的剑法如何能用来对敌过招?”转念又想:“料来张真人有意放慢了招数,好让他瞧得明白。”

只听张三丰问道:“孩儿,你看清楚了没有?”张无忌道:“看清楚了。”张三丰道: “都记得了没有?”张无忌道:“已忘记了一小半。”张三丰道:“好,那也难为了你。你自己去想想罢。”张无忌低头默想。过了一会,张三丰问道:“现下怎样了?”张无忌道: “已忘记了一大半。”

周颠失声叫道:“糟糕!越来越忘记得多了。张真人,你这路剑法很是深奥,看一遍怎能记得?请你再使一遍给我们教主瞧瞧罢。”

张三丰微笑道:“好,我再使一遍。”提剑出招,演将起来。众人只看了数招,心下大奇,原来第二次所使,和第一次使的竟然没一招相同。周颠叫道:“糟糕,糟糕!这可更加叫人胡涂啦。”张三丰画剑成圈,问道:“孩儿,怎样啦?”张无忌道:“还有三招没忘记。”张三丰点点头,收剑归座。

张无忌在殿上缓缓踱了一个圈子,沉思半晌,又缓缓踱了半个圈子,抬起头来,满脸喜色,叫道:“这我可全忘了,忘得干干净净的了。”张三丰道:“不坏不坏!忘得真快,你这就请八臂神剑指教罢!”说着将手中木剑递了给他。

Translated version

Extract from “The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre”, Chapter 24

Zhang Sanfeng said: “It is an immeasurable honour for the Eight-Armed Divine Swordsman to give a few pointers. Wuji, do you have a sword?” Xiao Zhao stepped forward and presented the wooden Heaven Sword Zhang Wuji had taken from Zhao Min to him. Zhang Sanfeng pick it up and laughed: “A wooden sword?Isn’t this used for drawing talismans and expelling demons?” He stood up with the sword in his left hand and his right hand forming sword forms. Both hands made a loop and he slowly raised them. This opening form was followed by “Encase the Moon with Three Rings”,”Biggest Star in the Big Dipper”, “Swallow Skims the Water”, “Left Block”, “Right Block”…each form smoothly following the other. At the fifty-third stance “The Compass” his hands simultaneously drew a circle followed by the fifty-fourth form “Grasping the Sword and Returning to the Begining”. Zhang Wuji did not try to remember each stance and form. Instead, he focused on the spirit of the unbroken, flowing sword.

At the end of Zhang Sanfeng’s demonstration, not a single person applauded. Everyone was thinking: “How can such a slow and gentle sword art be used to fight an enemy?” Then they thought: “Master Zhang must have deliberately slowed down for Zhang Wuji to learn.”

Only to hear Zhang Sanfeng say: “Have you seen everything clearly” Zhang Wuji answered: “Yes.” Zhang Sanfeng asked: “Do you remember everything?” Zhang Wuji answered: “I’ve already forgotten a small portion.” Zhang Sanfeng said: “Good. Think about it for a while.” Zhang Wuji lowered his head in contemplation. After a while, Zhang Sanfeng asked:“What about now?” Zhang Wuji replied:“I’ve forgotten a large portion.”

Zhou Dian yelled out:“Damm!He’s forgetting more and more as time passes. Master Zhang,this sword art of yours is too profound. How can anyone remember it all after seeing it only once? Please demonstrate it once more for our sect leader.”

Zhang Sanfeng smiled and said: “Alright, I’ll demonstrate it once more.” He picked up the sword and went through the moves again. After watching a few stances, the spectators were surprised. The stances in the second performance were completely different from the stances in the first. Zhou Dian yelled: “Damm, damm!This will make him even more confused.” Zhang Sanfeng drew a full circle, then he asked:“Child, what about now?” Zhang Wuji replied: “I still haven’t forgotten three stances.” Zhang Sanfeng nodded his head, put down the sword and returned to his seat.

Zhang Wuji paced slowly in a circle. He contemplated a while, then slowly turned a half-circle. He then lifted his head up and with a joyous expression, said: “I’ve completely forgotten it all, not a trace is left.” Zhang Sanfeng said:“Not bad, not bad!You forgot it very quickly. You can now ask the Eight Armed Divine Swordsman to give you some pointers!” After saying this he gave the wooden sword to him.