Yi Jian Mei: Names

From the instructional video on Yi Jian Mei I have gleaned the names of the movements. It wasn’t easy! I took screen shots of the captions, but of course I couldn’t paste the characters into a dictionary because they were images. So I drew them one by one into the MDBG dictionary.

For all but the very simplest characters, the dictionary will not recognize a character unless the brush strokes are entered in (at least approximately) correct order. So from the lovely book shown below, Chinese Calligraphy Made Easy by Rebecca Yue, I learned (more or less) the proper order of brushstrokes. Altogether, this list took hours!


Of course, I could have just asked my friend Pan Huai to translate, but doing it myself the hard way was fun and I learned a lot. Pan Huai did tweak my translations of the movement names, many of which, like traditional names of other forms, are poetic, folkloric, and idiomatic.

Yi Jian Mei was the title of both a 1931 silent movie and a 1984 Taiwanese TV show. The plots are completely different, so I assume the two dramas are unrelated. The song written and recorded by Taiwanese singer-songwriter Fei Yu Qing was the theme for the TV show.

The sword form, which is based on the song, must therefore be less than thirty years old and might be a lot more recent: New versions of the 1984 TV show were made in China in 2000 and 2009. I’ve been told that the sword form was created by a master who is no longer living, but I haven’t been able to find out his name. [Update: See the comments below by Martin Mellish.]

The list of 20 movements is divided into stanzas of the song, and I’ve included the lyrics that go with them. Love the song, the lyrics, and the sword form!

6 thoughts on “Yi Jian Mei: Names

  1. Thank you so much! I was on the verge of trying to find someone here in China who would do the transcription when I found this list, which is great! A movement list is pretty much essential to fix mistakes, track ideas for improvement, etc. Plus it’s great to know what the song lyrics mean! Thanks again!

  2. ‘…created by a master who is no longer living, but I haven’t been able to find out his name’. Apparently the form was created by Zhu Junchang (朱俊昌).
    BTW while the instructional video you link to is pretty good, there’s an even far better performance that used to be on YouTube (I can’t find it anymore.) It’s by a woman in a dark red satin outfit, performing on an esplanade by the sea. I downloaded it and can email it to you if you like (my email is mmellish@163.com.)
    BTW I’m also an author (Martin Mellish, ‘A Tai Chi Imagery Workbook’). If you like I could email you a copy of the final draft of the book, which is fairly close to the final printed version that you can find on e.g. Amazon.

  3. Just found a site with a LOT of info about Zhu Junchang and the Yi Jian Mei form. It’s in Chinese but you can drop it into fanyi.baidu.com or translate it with Google. The address of the site is http://www.shuhuaijian.net . It’s kind of a ‘home page’ for the Yi Jian Mei form. I think Zhu Junchang may be the guy in the instructional video: the photos are certainly very similar. BTW Zhu Junchang was born in 1944 and appears to be still alive and active.

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