The Grandmaster 《一代宗師》, Opera Scene

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
The Grandmaster, opera fight scene. Buy at amazon

The song is “Stabat Mater” Buy at amazon composed by Stefano Lentini (born 1974), sung by Sandra Pastrana, a Spanish Soprano.

the grandmaster kungfu Zhang Ziyi-07867
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉) and Zhang Ziyi (章子怡)

Here's the rest of that kungfu fight scene.

The Grandmaster, fight scene, Bagua Palm (girl) vs Wing Chun fist (guy). Buy at amazon
the grandmaster kungfu Zhang Ziyi-75672
章子怡 (Zhang Ziyi)

The song is a prelude in a fight scene, between the 2 main characters, in a friendly fight. The girl is a master of the Bagua Palm fighting style, and the guy is master of Wing Chun fist.

Baguazhang (trigram palm) (八卦掌) is one of the three main Chinese martial arts of the northern style. (the other 2 are Taiji (太極) and Xingyi (形意).) Baguazhang means “eight trigram palm” referring to the trigrams of the Yijing (I Ching), one of the canons of Taoism.

Wing Chun (詠春) is a southern China style of martial arts, a more practical style.

This is from kungfu movie The Grandmaster (一代宗師) (2013). The movie is based on the life of the Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man (1893 to 1972). Yip Man, is a kungfu master, and the teacher of Bruce Lee.

Directed by Wong Kar-wai (王家衛) (born 1958). The 2 lead stars are superstars. The guy is Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉) (born 1962), the girl is Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) (born 1979)

Here's the best scene.

“The Grandmaster” fight scene, Bagua Palm (girl) vs Xingyi fist (guy). Buy at amazon

What Does Bagua, Taiji Mean?

Bagua taiji diagram
Bagua taiji diagram. image source

Bagua, quote:

The bagua (Chinese: 八卦; literally “eight symbols”) are eight trigrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either “broken” or “unbroken,” representing yin or yang, respectively. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as “trigrams” in English.

Taiji (philosophy), quote:

Taiji (simplified Chinese: 太极; traditional Chinese: 太極; pinyin: tàijí; literally “great pole”) is a Chinese cosmological term for the “Supreme Ultimate” state of undifferentiated absolute and infinite potentiality, contrasted with the Wuji (無極, “Without Ultimate”).

Here's the trigrams in Unicode: and here's the taichi .

Here's a verse describing the Bagua:


English translation:

The Limitless (Wuji) produces the delimited, and this is the Absolute (Taiji).

The Taiji produces two forms, named yin and yang.

The two forms produce four phenomena, named lesser yin, great yin (taiyin also means the Moon), lesser yang, great yang (taiyang also means the Sun).

The four phenomena act on the eight trigrams (bagua), eight eights are sixty-four hexagrams.

Note that the trigrams is inherently a binary system. You have 3 lines, each line has 2 states. So, 2^3 = 8 possible combination. And, if you have 6 bars, you have 2^6=64 possible combinations, as is mentioned in the verse.

Exercise 1: look at South Korean flag. It has 4 of the 8 trigrams. Find a description of why those 4.

Exercise 2: Gottfried Leibniz (1646 to 1716), inventor of calculus and father of computer, said that “hexagrams a base for claiming the universality of the binary numeral system.”. Why?

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