As I stated earlier:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DPasek:
I tend to be reluctant to offer my opinions on the 8 jin since there are numerous published discussions of this topic by Taijiquan practitioners with much better credentials than mine, but my understandings vary somewhat from many approaches taken in trying to define these 8 jin...</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
But let’s continue for now and see where the discussion takes us.
I view the application that you referred to as a good illustration of how Jijin can be applied in one particular manner to achieve the results that you have pointed out (issuing to the opponent’s centerline after your energy had been diverted by them…). But this is a specific illustration of how a ‘tool’ or ‘method’ (in this specific example, of Jijin) can be utilized for one project (application). It does not describe the component that is specifically Jijin. I feel that the manner that this jin can be applied is much broader than the way that it is used in that one application, although it is inclusive of that particular example. If Jijin is limited to only a few possibilities (specific applications), then why is it elevated to the importance of being one of only eight Jin (or one of 13 if discussing all Shisanshi) let alone one of the four primary (cardinal) Jins? Wouldn’t one expect it to be more generally applicable than that to warrant inclusion in this important list of Taijiquan energies? I believe that it is very generally applicable, being potentially present in every individual circle described by the movements of the body!
I would be reluctant to contradict an authority like Yang Zhenji, but I feel that he is describing the typical, or most frequently/commonly expressed, way that Jijin is applied. I hope that he is not stating that Jijin is exclusively expressed in a straight line, or exclusively with “the focal point of the opponent’s center line.” Since I view this energy as attacking into the gaps/spaces within an opponent’s structure, I think that the tendency would be to apply it linearly into the small spaces typically presented (a curved attack may be more difficult to fit accurately into small gaps). But against a less skilled opponent, they may provide larger spaces where perhaps a curved Jijin could be applied (but then, if the gap was so large, I would think that one would simply wish to go straight in and finish the opponent off). Likewise, if you wish to use Jijin as a finishing technique, then attacking directly towards their spine (centerline) is probably the most effective, but I think that Jijin could also be used to set up another finishing technique that utilizes a different Jin. In my earlier example of possibly using it off of the opponent’s centerline to rotate them, perhaps it could be used to set up a finishing throw (e.g. using Liejin), etc.
Perhaps a better way of illustrating my caution about using the terms linear or straight, and the opponent’s centerline as the target (at least using them as definitive terms), is that, while Yang’s statement may describe the interaction with a stationary opponent, what happens if they are moving (even slightly)? In this situation the opponent’s centerline would likely move from the initial position during your application of Ji. Would you not then be able to continue by utilizing a curved path designed to track their centerline? If not, then what energy has it changed to if not still Jijin? Conversely, one could continue the Ji in a straight line even with the opponent’s centerline moving, but then the Ji would be straight, but somewhat off the centerline. Would it still be considered Ji in this situation? If not, then what? Yang Zhenji is not stating that Ji can only be applied to a stationary centerline, is he? Or that it has to be applied to a moving target so quickly that the centerline does not move significantly in the instant it is applied? But then, could Ji not be applied with ‘long jin’ against a moving centerline because it would take too much time? Unless Yang has addressed these concerns in statements that you have not quoted, then I am uncertain how to understand his statement.
Perhaps Yang had a specific situation (application) in mind when he made his statements. It would probably apply to the same stationary push-hands drill that you were apparently thinking about. In any case, while I can not really say that I consider his statement to be wrong (as it does fit my criteria for Jijin in some specific situations), I also can not consider his statement to be complete. I think that this incompleteness could lead to misinterpretations as to what Jijin actually is (or at least lead to a rather narrow view of what it is).
The way that I have presented the 8 Jin allows me an ability to use extreme precision and detail to analyze any moment of any Taijiquan action (in form, application, free style pushing…) to examine what possible energies are being used, as well as to see how they can be changed into other energies depending on intent (and what is sensed about the opponent and their interaction with you). If readers of this forum find the same value in it for analyzing the energy transformations throughout Taijiquan as I do, then they are welcome to utilize what I have presented. If they do not feel that my ideas sufficiently address certain quotes made by Taijiquan authorities, then I guess that I can try to explain further (though, again, please note my reluctance).
To illustrate how I use my understandings of the 8 Jin to analyze Taijiquan, the following is a brief (since I have to rely on words here rather than working in person) examination of the application presented by Louis. I will only address the applications (Jin) in the arms in order to keep this relatively short, and let’s start at the point where the opponent has already diverted you, and initially, let’s assign their contact points on your forward arm as being at the wrist and elbow.
First, one should maintain structure (Peng) in the arm being diverted. By this I mean the Pengjin that maintains the shape of an inflated ball, not the rebounding type (since the opponent is diverting you rather that issuing energy into you). Allowing this arm to collapse (lose Pengjin) would make subsequently applying Jijin difficult since it would first be needed to ‘re-inflate’ your own sphere before it could be used to expand your sphere into the opponent’s space to displace them. It would also be incorrect to use your forward arm to push (Anjin) against the arms of the opponent as at this point their position is superior. Pushing against them would merely provide a structure connecting their two arms, that their superior position could enable them to use to solidify the space between their arms, such that there is no longer a space or gap for you to use to apply your Jijin. If the energy in your forward arm is correct, then…
The rear hand can then be used to expand your ‘sphere’ into the opponent’s space in order to displace them. This is typically done by using Jijin towards the opponent’s centerline if one desires to use this as a finishing technique, with the energy being transmitted through the forward arm by the rear hand being placed somewhere along the forearm of your forward arm, between where the opponent is contacting that arm. I can not, however differentiate this as being applied towards the opponent’s centerline or not, as I would not know what to call an off-center application of Jin when the technique is otherwise identical (to me it would still be Jijin).
Note that attempting to apply Jijin directly opposite where the opponent contacts your forward arm (at the wrist or elbow) often leads to a lack of success. I interpret this as being because you would then be issuing your force against their strength, rather than against the weaker gap between their arms. If, however, you detected stiffness, misalignment, or other defect that would allow you to transmit force through the opponent’s arm to affect their spine, then applying energy through your wrist or elbow may result in a successful attack. But in this case I would consider the energy being used to be Anjin rather than Jijin.
This type of analysis could continue, for example to examine the different possibilities available to you if the opponent was contacting your wrist and shoulder (rather than the wrist and elbow as examined above). Or examining what may be used if the opponent turns you farther than where you could apply Jijin to your forearm, etc. But by now I think that you should probably get the idea as to how I use the Shisanshi in analyzing Taijiquan. As this post has gotten so long already, I think I should end the example here.
If you can not utilize your understanding of the Shisnashi in a similar manner, then of what value does your understanding of these Jin play in your practice? How do you use them to understand your Taijiquan? Are they only used for isolated postures? Can you use the understanding of the Shisanshi in a practical manner to understand what is happening throughout your Taijiquan practice, or is it primarily a theoretical understanding that is only infrequently utilized in your practice?
I think that it would be valuable to have a compilation of the writings of past Taijiquan masters concerning the Shisanshi to see how the explanations differ or complement each other, to compare how broadly applicable or narrowly defined they are, etc. Unfortunately, this is a large project that is beyond my abilities, especially since my ability to read the primary Chinese texts is severely limited.