Translation of Wong Kar Wai’s Grandmaster Documentary

A while back, I posted Wong Kar Wai’s behind the scenes documentary of the “The Grandmaster,” and then promised to transcribe and translate the text for those of you who are interested. I have finally finished that small, but annoyingly difficult project. For those who don’t know, there were several dialects in this documentary, and that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was just finding the time to sit and do this. My time management needs management.

So I haven’t popped the subtitles into the Youtube clip, I just provide the text here. Feel free to mish and mash as you will. I have included the original Chinese text so you can do your own translation if you like, or just refer to the source whenever something seems a bit off. I have also placed time-markers at intervals, to allow you to skip ahead. Enjoy!

Start

Chinese: 王家卫导演的首部史诗功夫片《一代宗师》在构思之初就遇到了很大的难题。
要重现民国是一个很庞大的工程 因为这个不单只是个跨度,服装,道具的问题, 是你要把那个时代重现出来。

Director Karwai Wong met with great challenges while filming and producing his first epic martial arts blockbluster “The Grandmaster.” Recreating the Republic of China (1912-1949) was a giant undertaking. It was not simply a matter of setting, costumes and props, but a matter of recreating the essence of an era.

Chinese: 在武打方面,必须要还原历史的原貌,不能靠特技,还要还原那个年代武术家的“精气神”。武林有武林的规矩,他们有武术家的“仪轨”,那些都是我们中国人的智慧。有一些现在都已经没有了。

In terms of the fight scenes, the original character of each fight must be reproduced, not through stunts, but by returning to the essence and vigor of martial artists at that time. The martial arts community is governed by set of rules [known in Chinese as yigui] and rituals that bind the martial art practitioners into a community. These rituals are the wisdom of our Chinese ancestors. Some of this wisdom has already disappeared.

1:00

Chinese: 为什么武术叫功夫?功夫其实就是时间。面对这样的一个题目,我知道,这个是需要很长时间的一条路。但是我愿意走下去,因为这条路太吸引我了。

Why is Wushu called Kung Fu? Actually, Kung-fu refers to time. Achieving my goals will take an incredible amount of time. But I am willing to walk this path, because the road has great appeal to me.

Chinese:《一代宗师》的起源在1996年。那个时候我在拍《春光乍泄》,有一天我在阿根廷的一个火车站,有一个报摊,有很多很多杂志,有两个封面,里面有两个人,一个是毛主席,一个是李小龙。在这个报摊出现的,一般不是给历史系学生看,都是给年轻人看的。对他们来说这两个人是偶像,是英雄。

The Grandmaster was inspired in 1996 when I was filming Happy Together. One day in a train station in Argentina, I saw a newsstand with many magazines. There were two cover figures on the magazines, Chairman Mao on one cover and Bruce Lee on the other. These magazines weren’t for students of history but more for young people. To the youth, these two figures were idols and heroes.

Chinese: 王家卫导演非常好奇。以武术蜚声国际的李小龙,为什么有这么大的魅力。

Wong Kar Wai was very curious as to why Bruce Lee was able to grow so famous through wushu, why did he possess so much charm?

Chinese: 我是从小看李小龙的电影长大的,我也喜欢看他的电影。但是我没有想到,他死了20多年以后他还有这么大的魅力。

I watched many Bruce Lee movies growing up. I really liked watching them. But I never thought he would hold such a prominent place in my imagination  20 years after his death.

Chinese: 那个时候我特别想拍一个李小龙的电影,但是我想李小龙的故事有很多人拍过了。我就想李小龙的师傅是什么样的,是什么人培养出李小龙这样的人物。
后来我回到香港有一个机会,我看到一个视频,是叶问宗师,据说是他去世3天之前拍下来的。

At that time I really wanted to make a Bruce Lee movie, but lots of people had already told his story on screen. I wondered what was Bruce Lee’s master like? Who helped cultivate Bruce Lee? Afterwards I returned to Hong Kong where I had the opportunity to see a video about Yip Man; it was supposedly filmed just 3 days before he died.

3:00

Chinese: 最动人的地方是在,他突然之间停下来,你不知道他其实是累了还是其实是忘记了。他就停了一下,然后继续打下去。我当时不理解他为什么要这样做。后来我才知道,武林之中有一句话,“念念不忘,必有回响,有一口气,点一盏灯”,有灯就有人。他希望把他的东西传下去。

The most moving part was when he suddenly stopped (fighting), you didn’t know if it was because he was tired, or if he forgot the moves. He stopped for a while and then continued fighting. At that time, I didn’t understand why he did this but afterwards I discovered the reason. A traditional saying in martial arts circles goes like this: “Never forget, one must always remember; where there is even one breath, there is also a lamp to lead the way.” Because when there is even just one disciple, there is inheritance. He wanted to pass his essence along.

Chinese: 叶问能够教出李小龙,他就是一代宗师,为什么呢?因为他不光是自己厉害,他能传承下一代比他还厉害。好多师傅教徒弟,就要求徒弟完全摹仿,叶问能够做到开发你,用你自己的思维去发表得比他更好。

Yip Man made Bruce Lee, who made his fame as a grandmaster. Why? It was not only because he was great himself, but because he taught the next-generation to be greater than himself. Many teachers just ask the student to imitate them. Yip Man was able to help you develop, to help you learn to use your own thoughts to become better, even better than Yip Man himself.

Chinese: 六、七十年代的香港,满街都是武馆,这亦是《一代宗师》最初的设想:是关于一个人、一条街的故事,一路追溯之下,发觉这些师傅都从南、北不同地方而来,这时导演的野心已从【一条街】扩展至【一个时代】。

In the 1960’s and 1970’s in Hong Kong, wushu schools were everywhere on the streets. This fact inspired the original idea for the The Grandmaster: it was about the story of one person and one street. However, after we investigated, the masters turned out to come from places all across the country. Subsequently, the director’s ambitions changed from [One Street] to [One Age].

Chinese: 你好,这是王家卫导演。

Hello, this is Director Karwai Wong

Chinese: 你好。

Hello

5:00

Chinese: 王家卫导演对中国传统功夫一直是很好奇的,想探寻功夫最神秘的实战功能,想做全新类型的功夫片,通过走访和收集大量的历史照片、书籍,历时多年后坚定了自己的想法,要做注重实战功能的正宗功夫片。

Wong Kar Wai has always been very curious about traditional Chinese Kung Fu. He went searching for Kung Fu’s most mysterious combat techniques in order to make a completely new type of Kung Fu movie. By visiting and collecting a large amount of historical photos and books, Wong Kar Wai clarified his own thoughts on the matter, and decided that he wanted to make an authentic film that focuses on practical Kung Fu.

Chinese: 在做这些调查的时候,你就发现还是要回到【根】去,就慢慢从香港开始,一路往上,再追到民国,我认为那个时候有很多很有趣的师傅,他们都是从北方来的。

While doing these investigations, I discovered that I still needed to go back. Slowly start from Hong Kong, and retrace the road back to the Republic of China. I believe at that time there were great many interesting Kung Fu masters, all coming from the north.

Chinese: 民国时期是武术的黄金时代,从【精武会】到民国元年的【中华武士会】、【中央国术馆】的成立,民国十七年,【两广国术馆】的成立,五虎下江南,【北拳南传】就是从那个时候开始的,《一代宗师》就是发生在这个年代。

The Republic of China era was the golden age of Wushu. There were many organizations, including the China Wu Athletic Federation, Chinese Warrior Society and the Central Wushu School founded in the first year of the Republic of China. The Guangdong-Guangxi Wushu School established in the Republic of China’s 17th year. Later the Five Masters, including Fu Zhensong, Gu Ruzhang, Li Xianwu (or Geng Deqiang), Wan Laisheng and Wang Shaozhou went to Lingnan together with the local masters to teach Wushu together, and then northern Kung Fu was passed to the south. “The Grandmaster” takes place during that time.

Chinese: 抗日时期,拦手武术第五代传人,现在在锦衣卫桥那里,他编排了一套【单刀破花枪】,这个都好理解,是专门对付日本侵略军的,大刀队的教练不只一个,每个门派的也都有,那个时候来说只要你抗日,就是英雄。

During the Anti-Japanese War, the 5th generation heir to Lanshou Wushu (now living in Jinyiweiqiao St., Hebei District, Tianjin), created Broadsword vs. Spear. The reason [for creating this form and teaching it] is easily understood [we were at war]. It was especially used to fight against the invading Japanese army. There wasn’t just one Broadsword teacher, every school had one. At that time if you went against the Japanese, you were a hero.

Chinese: 王家卫导演觉得不能单从图片、文字资料去体现这个武林,必须要走出一步,亲身拜访各位老师,向老师一鞠躬。

Wong Kar Wai thinks that you cannot represent the wushu community just by looking at pictures and written documents. You must go further, visit the teachers and learn from them.

Chinese: 2008年12月,王家卫导演拜访李连杰的师傅吴彬老师:要表现某一种拳的时候,必须把这种拳的特点······吴彬老师帮助导演开始了跨越南北和海峡的寻访【宗师之路】

In December 2008, Wong Kar Wai visited Jet Li’s teacher, Master Wu Bin:

“If you wanted to present one type of boxing, you had to get the specialties of this type of boxing….” Master Wu Bin helped the director start his journey visiting Masters from the north to the south and across the strait: “Journey of The Grandmaster”

8:00

Chinese: 王导演的名字如雷贯耳,刚开始我以为他是一张白纸,认为他什么都不知道,你是拍林青霞的戏的、张曼玉的戏的导演,你肯定不懂武术的知识,所以,我们都什么都告诉他,后来带着他去通县,看李派太极拳的练习,还带他找八卦掌的一些老师,后来看完以后,我们坐下来聊天的时候,他就拿出他的本子,他很早就开始研究武术各门派的技术,从南到北,各个门派,各个地区,他那本里都有,他一翻开,我说你有这个,这我还没有呢,跟他说话不能随便说啊,如果收进去放在里面,人家一查没这个东西,把我们的老底给揭了,那可不行,所以我的印象里,他很细。

Wong Kar Wai was well known for his films with Bridgette Lin and Maggie Cheung. So I at first thought he knew nothing about Kung Fu. So we told him everything, and afterwards took him to Tongxian County to see Li’s Taiji in practice. We also took him to find some Baguazhang (Eight Diagram Palm) masters.

After visiting and learning, we sat down to discuss, and he brought out his notebook. He had started to study Wushu a long time ago, covering many schools and techniques. From north to south, every school, every region – they were all in that book. When he opened the book I said, “you have that, but I don’t,” I cannot just say anything now when I talk to him. If it was put in the record, someone checks and can’t find it, then we would be embarrassed, which is not good. So my impression of him changed, I considered him a very detail-oriented person.

Chinese: 所以说王家卫导演的这条功夫路,起源于香港,开展于内地,先后到了北京、天津、河北、山西、内蒙、东北、上海、浙江、佛山、香港、澳门、台北。拜访了咏春、形意、八卦、八极、心意等几大门派过百位师傅。了解到很多中国武林不为人知的故事和秘密。

So to talk about Wong Kar Wai’s Kung Fu Journey, it started in Hong Kong and continued on to the Mainland, successively passing through: Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, the Northeast of China, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Foshan,
Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei. He paid a visit to the schools of Wing Chun, Xingyi, Bagua, Baji (Eight Extremes Fist), and Xinyiquan amongst many others, and met over 100 masters. He discovered many of Wushu’s unknown stories and secrets.

Chinese: 我们在做一个戏的资料调查是观于形意的,那其中我们有提到赵道新,有个老师说问你,可能会知道赵道新老师的一些事情,这是国家审批的文件,非物质文化遗产,形意拳,这次过来我们想:第一,起码了解一个文化背景,这个拳种是从什么环境里产生出来的;第二,是这个形意拳的手法和特点。

The data we are taking down is all about Xingyi, and we mention Zhao Daoxin in them. One teacher asked me if I knew some things about teacher Zhao Daoxin, these documents have been examined and approved by the state; these are our intangible heritage – Xingyiquan. We came here for two purposes: first, we must at least understand the cultural background and the environment from which this style of boxing originates; second, to discover Xingyiquan’s techniques and characteristics.

Chinese: 各有门派,你比如说练弹腿的,有回教弹腿,有比和弹腿,各有各的门路,各有各的招,他这也是,他这讲究龙形、虎形、蛇形,讲究这个。

Every school has their own style, for example, Tan Tui (springing legs), there is Hui-minority Tan Tui, Bihe Tan Tui etc. Every school has their own style and moves – which also applies to Yixingquan. For example, there are Dragon-style moves, Tiger-style moves and Snake-style moves; Yixingquan has all these particulars.

Chinese: 实际这就是一下闪,一闪就破了,都是八极,所以我们就要了解八极的特点,你动手在打的时候,地肯定是你的支撑,你得借力气,不能离地,过去老一辈都用力蹬地、跺脚,恨不得把地跺一个坑。

Actually this is a dodge and that can avoid the attack, this is Baji (Eight Extremes), so we must understand Baji’s characteristics. When you are moving your hands to strike, the floor is your support; you must borrow its energy, do not move your feet from the ground and fight without its support. The old generation of Kung Fu practitioners used to stomp the ground forcefully, as if they desperately wanted to stomp a hole into it.

11:00

Chinese: 形意拳讲究的就是把人打的飞起来,山西这边讲究【凌空劲儿】,就是把人打得凌了空、离了地,美人挂画。但是,这个劈拳能不能把人劈出去,是关键。我们形意拳练的时候,他们在旁边看,挺简单嘛,我学几年就学会了,不是那么回事,要真正学好武术要一辈子,我学了四十多年了,我认为我才刚刚掌握点门道,越练越深,越练觉得自己对它越喜欢,他特别深奥,但是窗户纸练到这一捅破,原来这么简单我就练了十年,

Xingyiquan features hitting people so hard that they fly into the air, and people in Shanxi really like that style,hitting someone so hard they fly. But only a successful fist attack can work. When we were at the Xingyi training session, we watched from the sideline, and we thought it was very easy. I thought, I can study for a few years and be able to do it. The fact is that it takes a lifetime to learn Wushu well. I have studied for more than 40 years, and I believe I have only very recently begun to master the style, after studying more and more, digging deeper and deeper. The more I train, the more I like it, it is especially profound. After all this time, it seems that training for ten years was simple.

Chinese: 你看好了,这是龙形大劈,这是虎形,它的特点是什么?虎的特点在于虎扑,在于虎碰,懂这个意思吗?马有冰蹄子,你不是要说特点吗?马是冰蹄。老师,要是以前。

Watch this: this is dragon-style big chop, this is tiger style, what are their characteristics? The tiger’s characteristics are the tiger jumping and touching, do you understand? The horse has ice hooves, don’t you want to talk about characteristics?The horse has ice hooves. Teacher, if this were the past ….

Chinese: 传统的,你要到别人的山头去拜山门。

In the past, you had to go to other people’s mountains to pay respects.

Chinese: 那个礼数是怎样的呢?

What were the rituals?

Chinese: 你不容易到他那里去,有握手礼的,就改变你。

It wasn’t easy just to go somewhere, meet a master and train. You needed a special handshake, and it changed you.

Chinese: 握手就是那个【扣】?

This handshake?

Chinese: 不是,是这样。

No, like this.

Chinese: 他说【出手不离三,开口也不离三】,我现在有离三吗?我没离三,你已经体会到了吗?

He said “Don’t break the three rules when you strike, don’t break the three rules when you speak,” have I broken the 3 Rules? I haven’t – do you see?

Chinese: 没有。

No

Chinese: 你有!我的中指就是三,我的中指摆在哪里?摆在我的脉搏。脉搏是你的血脉,这个血脉长存,我已经给你了。

You have! My middle finger is the 3rd, where have I put my middle finger?
I have put it on my pulse.
Your pulse is in your blood vessels, this blood vessel is very long, and I have already given you [my force?].

Chinese: 原来这个就是眼镜程,程廷华的后人。你来了。你家的扁还在后面呢?······出来了。

Oh, this is Glasses Cheng (Cheng Tinghua)’s descendents.
You’ve arrived!
Your ancestors plaque is still in the back?… Ah here it comes now.

14:00

Chinese: 最后在佛山,王家卫导演见到了叶问的儿子叶准。一代宗师并不是单单要功夫好,最重要的是能让一个门派陆续的发展,具有影响力,再加上他的人格品德,才能称得上是【一代宗师】。

At last in Foshan, Wong Kar Wai met Yip Man’s son: Ip Chun (Ye Zhun). A master of one generation cannot only study Kung Fu, the most important thing is to develop the school, develop a strong influence and a strong moral character. Only with all that can he be a Grandmaster.

Chinese: 导演这时觉得,有更庞大的事情在感召着自己,让他觉得很痴迷。王家卫导演在走访中,看到许多老师傅尽管年迈,但仍旧在学习、传授功夫。比如台湾已经过世的王进发老师,坚守【洪门】最后一个山头金春山,不厌其烦的告诉导演洪门的仪轨。

At this time Wong Kar Wai thought something bigger was calling him, and it attracted him deeply. During his travels he saw many old masters who, despite their age, were still learning and teaching. Like the already passed Taiwanese master Wang Jinfa (Hong School), who held fast to the last training field of the Hong School atop Jinchun mountain. He told Wong Kar Wai the rituals of the Hong School in detail again and again.

Chinese: 在广州,当年五虎下江南的傅振嵩的孙子、孙女,仍每晚在公园里教拳。为什么他们都可以不离不弃?是因为他们都迷,都有个迫切感。

In Guangzhou that year, the grandson and granddaughter of one of the famous Five Tiger Masters – Fu Zhenson were teaching wushu every evening in the public park. Why did they not quit? Because they were both crazy about it, both had a need for it.

Chinese: 二鞠躬。传统武术的血脉是由师徒传承的,同一种功夫也可以分为不同的门派,每一门都有自己的特点,许多实战的东西,有很多绝招是极具杀伤力的,是靠血脉相传、师徒相传的,而师徒之间这种如同父子不离不弃的关系,也是充满人性的。

The second bow.
The pulse of traditional Wushu comes from the teacher and disciple; the same type of Kung Fu can split into different schools, each with its own characteristics. Many combat techniques, and many unique skills can come out of one master’s teachings. Relying on the pulse, the teacher and disciple pass Kung Fu on with a relationship such as that of father and son, brimming with humanity.

16:00

Chinese: 《一代宗师》的演员是个大问题,要真实表现咏春、八卦、八极的拳法,要表现民国武林宗师的风范,他们不但要带着时代的气质,更得真正去练功夫,才能进到人物的骨头里,所以他们不但要合适,可能还得经受很辛苦的过程。梁朝伟、章子怡、张震,他们都正式拜师练功多年,对于演员来说,这是一个很艰难的决定。

Getting actors for The Grandmaster was a big problem. They needed to be able to demonstrate Wing Chun, Bagua and Tai chi fighting methods. They needed to be able to capture the Republic of China’s Wushu manner, not just the temperament of the time, but also the actual Kung Fu training. Only then can they have it in their bones. Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi and Zhang Zhen had all had many formal years of Kung Fu training, with regards to the actors, this was a very hard decision.

Chinese: 王家卫导演为电影《一代宗师》拜访了很多门派的老师,出了咏春,最吸引他的还有另外三个北方门派,八卦、形意、八极,这些门派在民国时期都出了一群侠义之士和宗师级人物。王家卫导演最终确定了在《一代宗师》中主要四大拳种:咏春、八卦、形意、八极。

For his film, Wong Kar Wai visited many teachers from many schools, not just from Wing Chun. He was most attracted by three northern schools: Bagua, Xingyi and Baji. These schools in the nationalist period produced a group of chivalrous and high level masters. Wong Kar Wai finally decided to have four big fighting styles in his film: Wing Chun, Bagua, Xingyi and Baji.

Chinese: 叶问生于清末,长于民国,经历北伐、抗日、内战,流落香港,开馆教徒,教出一个世界级的徒弟——李小龙,然后将咏春发扬光大,推向世界。
谁来演叶先生这个斯文的武术家?王家卫导演唯一想到的就是梁朝伟。
最主要是他的神情现在怎么样了?

Yip Man was born in the late Qing dynasty and grew up during the Republican period. He experienced the Northern expedition, the Japanese invasion and civil war. Finally he settled in Hong Kong where he opened a martial arts school. He taughtBruce Lee, who afterwards carried Wing Chun to the world.

Chinese: 他的神,应该没有问题,我打算用水枪射向他,练习精力集中,不要眨眼,看上去就潇洒点。王家卫导演专程请来叶问的亲授门徒——梁绍鸿先生亲自来教授传统咏春拳的拳理、手法。

There are no issues with his ability to focus. I plan to fire a water gun at him, to practice focus without blinking. To be at ease and calm while focused. Wong Kar Wai made a special trip to see Yip Man’s disciple, Mr. Liang Shaohong, to personally train in traditional Wing Chun fighting methods and theory.

Chinese: 我七岁就学功夫,十三岁就跟小龙去学咏春,在叶问那里,叶问讲的话好有道理,譬如拍手应该怎样打,讲的好有道理,不是光说,还会示范,师傅就做了几次,让我觉得杀伤力好大,他身高约五尺左右,比我还矮小,不够100磅,力量却很厉害,估计不到,同时,他的手法好快,当他解释给我听之后,我就觉得好合理,几十年之后到了美国,有人提出让我留在这里教功夫,最先去的是纽约,纽约好乱,后来在弗吉利亚州,几个城市的学校、警察学堂请我教,之后就在美国海军海豹队,同时也在美国特警部队授课。

When I was seven years old I started studying Kung Fu, at 13 I went with Bruce Lee to study Wing Chun, under Yip Man. What Yip Man said made a lot of sense, such as how to fight with clapping, so much sense. He didn’t just talk, he demonstrated. Master demonstrated a few times, and it made me feel that he was very lethal. He was about 5 feet tall, shorter than me, less than 100 pounds but his power was incredible, inestimable. At the same time his boxing speed was very fast. After he explained something to me, I always felt it was spot on. After several decades I went to America, some people wanted me to teach Kung Fu there. First I went to New York, but New York was very chaotic. So I went to Virginia, several schools in several cities. The police academy invited me to go and teach, and after that I taught the Navy Seals and also the American SWAT team.

Chinese: 咏春比任何门派都要易学,最主要咏春不靠体能,综合哲学、理论多。

Wing Chun is easier to learn than other schools. The main reason is that Wing Chun does not require great physical ability but comprehensive philosophy and theories etc.

Chinese: 他打我的时候,我这手不动的,仍然留在这。

When we fight, my hands don’t move, I leave them here.

Chinese: 要打掉梁朝伟身上所有的东西,重新塑造一个人。

(I) wanted to change Tony Leung’s features to another person.

Chinese: 从那时起梁朝伟开始学习了多年的功夫,慢慢进入另外一个人的灵魂。

Once Tony Leung started to study Kung Fu, he slowly went into someone else’s soul.

Chinese: 八卦掌是大内盛传的功夫,比较阴柔。

Baguazhang is a Kungfu widely used in the Imperial Palace, and it is more feminine.

Chinese: 八卦掌这个拳种在中国属于三大内家拳的拳种之一,包括太极拳、形意拳、八卦掌三大内家拳。

Baguazhang is one of China’s three internal forms, which also includes Taiji, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang.

Chinese: 伸臂,扣臂,马步。

Stretching arms, buckling arms, horse stance.

Chinese: 八卦掌里面的器械很多都是比较独特的,像判官笔相对来讲,也是属于比较独特的一种器械。

Many of Baguazhang’s weapons are very unique. For example the Imperial Scholar’s pen (Judge’s pen), is a fairly unique one.

Chinese: 我练的八卦掌包括教给章子怡的八卦掌是程式八卦掌,在这两大支系中,掌形上有区分,尹氏以这个掌形作为代表,程式八卦掌是这样的掌形,在影片中你们可以看到。

My Baguazhang patterns and ones I taught Zhang Ziyi all come from Cheng’s style. In these two branches you distinguish between the palm forms. Yin’s palm form is like this, and Cheng’s is like this. You can see this in the movie

Chinese: “摆、扣、摆,向右转,这样转,对了”
八卦掌它的特点是以走转为运动形式,以掌法的变换技击为特点,内外兼修,在优美中还有实战的特点,后来发现其实八卦和形意有着很微妙的关系,这时王家卫导演就想表现一位女宗师,让她打出比较阴柔的八卦掌,章子怡就是最合适的人选。

“Sway, buckle, sway, turn right, turn this way, correct”

Baguazhang’s characteristics focus on the circle walking or “turning the circle” and pushing hands. (I) later found out that actually Bagua and xingyi have a subtle relationship. At that time Wong Kar Wai wanted to present a female master, letting her fight a more feminine Baguazhang, Zhang Ziyi was the most suitable candidate.

Chinese: 另一门功夫是八极拳,八极非常刚猛暴烈,传说溥仪、毛泽东的保镖,都练八极拳,是一门北方很大的拳种。

Another school of Kung Fu is Bajiquan, Baji is extremely tough and violent. Legend has it that the bodyguards of Puyi (the last emperor of China) and Mao Zedong practiced Baji; it is a very large northern school of fighting.

Chinese: 八极拳讲究什么?

What are the particulars of Baji?

Chinese: 讲究【内存八意,外具八形,劲发八面 ,以意领气,以气促力】
八极拳你不管打什么招式,要打出这个,我往上一上,这手往上一走,现在我做什么都可以打你,往这走也行,往这走也行,往这走也行,我哪都不动,都能让你动,是吧,你看啊。

Eight inside intentions, external eight forms, eight-direction forces, intention to lead Qi, forceful Qi. Whichever Baji style you practice, when you strike, you strike like this, I move upward and have my hands overhead. After that, I can beat you no matter how I move, this way or the other way round. I can walk this way or the other; I can move or stay still: I can let you move. Look! There it is.

Chinese: 八极拳属于短拳,我们平时叫做短拳霸王,因为它的拳势刚烈、迅猛、迅速、朴素、简洁、实用、大方,而且没有过多东西掺杂进去,所以它原汁原味。打出这一下子,张震练的就是八极拳,拜在八极拳师傅王世泉门下,每天清晨开始训练,风雨无阻,坚持了两年多的艰苦训练。

Baji is a close range fighting style, we often call it short style’ overlord, because it is very fierce, fast, quick and violent, simple, concise, practical, easy and moreover there are not many things mixed in so it is authentic. Zhang Zhen practiced this type of Baji. Under Baji Master Wang Shiquan, he trained every morning, come rain or shine. He stuck with more than two years of very hard training.

Chinese: 王家卫导演从这些老师身上看到的不仅是功夫,还有民族的精神和气节。王家卫导演想把这个拍出来,留下来,这些好东西不能丢,就像练武的人讲【祖师爷的东西不能丢】一样。

Wong Kar Wai didn’t just learn Kung Fu from these masters, he also learned about national spirit and moral integrity. Wong Kar Wai wants to express these in the film, he doesn’t want to lose the good things. It is just like when
Wushu-leaners say [ancestral things should not be lost]

Chinese: 因为武术本身,在中国现在看到的真实的武术技能越走越远,特别是现在的竞技武术,它从另外一种美学上让人去看武术,它展现的是武术的另外一面,武术真实的一面没有了,就会让人们产生无限质疑。王家卫这个电影拍出来,就会让人有新的想法,起码留下这个记忆。

Because for Wushu itself, in modern China, is getting further and further away from the authentic Wushu skills – especially competitive Wushu. People go to watch Wushu these days from a different sense of aesthetics, this reveals a different side of Wushu; the real side is lost. It will just leave people with many questions. By filming this movie, Wong Kar Wai wants to give people new ideas, and keep the memory alive.

Chinese: 王家卫导演觉得那些老师,托付给自己一种责任,将传统的功夫呈现出来,如果现在不做,未来有可能将会永远找不到了,尽管这个电影花了很长的时间,王家卫导演依然觉得值得。

Wong Kar Wai thinks that those masters have entrusted him with kind of responsibility, to display traditional Kung Fu. If you don’t do it now, in the future it may be lost forever. Although this movie took a lot of time to make, Wong Kar Wai feels it was worth it.

Chinese: 王家卫这次拍《一代宗师》,我觉得促进了中国传统文化,促进了年轻人对传统文化的喜爱、专注,我觉得真是一个功德的事情,特别好。

In making this movie, Wong Kar Wai has promoted Chinese traditional culture, and encouraged young people’s love and devotion to this traditional culture. I feel that this thing has merit and is especially good.

Chinese: 现在大家对这个动作片、功夫片,好像一打就要打个半死,对这种已经看的太多了,我就想,通过你的风格去做,确实能够做出很多人们看不到的,就是把里面内涵的东西解释出来,我觉得你这个定位相当好,因为首先给人一个很广阔的空间,能够把武术充分的进行展示,没有定位在某一个人上,这是没有人这么想过的。

It seems that nowadays in action movies – Kung Fu movies – if there is fighting, they should fight until half dead. Having seen a lot of these type of movies, I think that your style of doing it can present people with something different, something they have not seen before. To take the internal ideas, the essence, and express that. I think that your concept is quite good, because it can provide people with space, space to understand and interact with true Wushu. Not to focus on just one person, to place the burden on one person, but on an era. Nobody has thought of this before.

Chinese: 对武术来说,我是一张白纸。我是一张白纸,所以我可以中立,我可以看得更清楚。

As far as Wushu is concerned, I am a blank sheet. I am a blank page so I can be neutral, and see clearly.

Chinese: 咱们就说王家卫他本身,他这人比较好学,当初拍《一代宗师》要选一些演员,准备一些素材,他做这些特别认真,他不懂武术,他不会练,但你不能说他不懂,各门各派的东西,他知道的可能比你还清楚。

We say as far as Wong Kar Wai is concerned, he is willing to learn. When he starting filming “The Grandmaster,” he needed to choose actors and prepare. He took it very seriously. He doesn’t understand Wushu, he is not a practitioner but you cannot say he doesn’t get it. He probably knows more about the various schools of martial arts than than you do.

Chinese: 他连叶问穿衣服怎么扣都要问清楚,你可以感觉到他很认真。

He even asked how Yip Man buttoned up his clothes – you can see his seriousness in it.

Chinese: 这次《一代宗师》就要体现真正的武术内涵,不管哪一拳、哪一掌,就要体现它几十年老实的功夫,要体现在这个影片当中。

The filming of “The Grandmaster” is a reflection of the true connotations of Wushu. Any strike, be it a fist or palm, must reflect the real Kung Fu, the way it was practiced decades ago, and must be shown like that in the film.

Chinese: 他拍的这个片子能够帮助我们武术事业的发展,这是很关键的。

“The Grandmaster” helped contribute to the development of Wushu. And this is crucially important.

Chinese: 这几年来导演拍的是国际性的,肯定全世界会震动,我觉得是这样。

In the past years he has directed international movies, and their effects are felt all around the world.

Chinese: 有人说所谓【绝招】,就是把一个简单的事情做到极致。

Some people say the so called “unique skill,” is to do a simple thing to its perfection.

Chinese: 这部电影我们是尽了力,但是不是极致,我不敢说,但我愿意这个是开了一个门,是起了一个头,我希望有人继续走下去,因为这条路太迷人了······

For this movie, we tried our best, but I do not dare to say it is perfect. But I hope it has opened a door and started something. I hope some people will walk this road, it is simply too fascinating…

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Published on: August 28, 2014

Filled Under: Kung Fu History, Kung Fu People, Video

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5 Responses to Translation of Wong Kar Wai’s Grandmaster Documentary

  1. Ben says:

    Excellent! Thanks so much for putting the time and effort into this. I am sure that lots of people are going to love it.

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