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The energy known as Press

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:30 pm
by Bob Ashmore
Hello all,
Some of my fellow students and I have been tasked with a doing presentation for this upcoming weekends class on the energies of Tai Chi Chuan. This weekend we're doing Ward Off, Roll Back, Press and Push. My particular portion of this is on Ji, or Press energy. We are supposed to present on the energy, what it means, and then some demonstrations on where that energy can be found in the Yang family form.
I've found a lot of information on Press online and in books that I have, but I feel it's a bit light for making a presentation with.
I was wondering if I could get some insight from some of you on your understanding of Press energy that I could include in my presentation.
Also would like some help on locating places that Press can be found, other than the obvious one of Grasp the Birds Tail, in the Yang family traditional long form.

Just as an aside, my personal favorite thing I've found regarding the concept of energy in general is the first line used to define energy in Wikipedia. It says:
"In general, the concept of energy refers to "the potential for causing changes." "
That seems to define what we do in TCC, we cause changes in the energy of our opponent.

Thanks for any help you can give,

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:50 pm
by Louis Swaim
Greetings Bob,
Your question on ji led me back to an old thread
where some discussion of press energy came up, including some occurrences in the form, such as the transitions from Lift Hands to White Crane Displays Wings and from Needle at Sea Bottom to Fan Through the Back.
I also posted a translation of a couple points on ji from Yang Zhenji’s book, _Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan_, p. 30:

2. The ji method is the employment of closing jin and long jin. Closing jin (hejin) is the two hands joining together producing one jin and applied on the opponent’s body. Long energy (changjin) is the entire body from the feet to the legs, then the waist, expressed in the hands and arms, and strung together into one jin, extending the waist and lengthening forth to issue.
3. A direct line of fajin. The method of ji is one of issuing force in a direct line. In Yang style taijiquan, when one issues, one “seeks the straight in the curved” with specific regard to the focal point of the opponent’s center line, seizing the opportunity and strategic advantage (dejideshi), and issuing jin along a straight line (zhixian fajin) rather than in a curved arc.

Take care,

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:17 pm
by JerryKarin
Shen Jiazhen gives this definition (see 3rd Rep):

"When both arms simultaneously use peng jing and intersect to peng outward, that is called ji jing."

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:24 pm
by Bob Ashmore
Thank you for your insights.
I will read the older thread and gather some info from there.
I had searched the site prior to posting this, but did not find this thread for some reason.
Thanks for pointing me in this direction. I've already found some good stuff.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:08 pm
by Bob Ashmore
That's very direct. I like it, thanks.
The older thread that Louis pointed me to has SO much info in it. It's a very, very good thread.
I'm going to send the link to my partners in this presentation. I think they'll get as much out of it as I have.
This is prime stuff, I'm going to have to read and re-read that thread, many times.

My presentation is really starting to shape up. Thanks you guys.

As for the places in the form where Press comes into play, I knew about the one in White Crane, I had known of it and even made a remark about it being very obvious in Yang Sau Chung's video on another thread, but I hadn't thought of it in Fan Through Back and I certainly hadn't considered it as being part of Needle at Sea Bottom.
Now that I know it's there, I've played with those two forms a bit and I can't believe I've missed it all this time. I think those forms are going to be clearer for me from now on...

Has anyone ever made a comprehensive list of which energies are where in the forms? I'd sure love to see that if it exists.
I've taken a stab at it, about a year ago when we first started with energy theory in our classes, but I misssed Ji in these forms, so I'm quite sure my list is... Well, let's say "less than accurate" and leave it there.

This is all good stuff. Thanks very much for your help so far.
I can use everything everyone has on this, so please feel free to keep the good stuff coming.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:23 pm
by shugdenla

When I would teach tuishou, for clarity, I wouldl not make reference to qi or energy.
That being said, punglijiankao...all melt into each other and are contained in each other. Press (ji) can become pung if you feel (think) that you have a clear path, and if you are punged (punk-pushed back turn waist and enter/push with body or restart as you wish.

You know pung is contained everywhere but can you use it. The body is behind all movement as an assist (cannot find the actual word but as you understand, apply at will). By itself, tuishou is useless (at least for me). If you incorporate into useful application, then a light will shine and the aha! light will kick in keeping in mind most people do not do tuishou/roushou.

Press/push I use interchangeably despite ji/an as seaprate words. ji, as I see it, is the first stage and if successful leads to an (push). Ji going downward, up, left or right depending on circumstance and may only go forward with 'not so good players'.

Press can be in fan through back, diagonal flying (forearm press vs wrist) or yunshou.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:52 pm
by Bob Ashmore
Diagonal Flying...?
I'll have to work on that one. I'm not seeing it at present. Most likely my mind not quite wrapping around this correctly yet. I'll work with it and see what I can find.
Yes, I understand that all energies are variations/changes in Peng. They all reside one in the other, you simply make the change in intent to change between the energeies.
Or not so simply, as the case may be.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:04 pm
by Louis Swaim
Greetings Bob,

Re: “Has anyone ever made a comprehensive list of which energies are where in the forms?”

I think that would be impossible. To try to do so would expose a fundamental flaw in confusing “technique,” or “posture,” with the more inclusive concept of jin as a configuration of energy. There are countless places in the form, for example, where you can identify roll back, but these instances do not always resemble roll back as it appears in the Grasp Sparrow’s Tail sequence. But even if you can fairly easily identify a roll back in Brush Knee Twist Step, Hit Tiger, or in the Separate Feet “kick” sequences, we shouldn’t equate roll back with certain arm motions or postures. After all, you can roll back with your torso, with or without using your arms. You can peng using your back, your backside, your forehead, etc.

That’s not to say it isn’t useful to look for these jins and their potential manifestations in the form. That’s one of the things that make form practice so interesting.

By the way, I really like Yang Chengfu’s demonstration narrative for ji in the Push Hands section of his book:

As for ji (Press), it is precisely a counter to the Roll Back form. Roll Back thus lures this enemy’s Push energy (anjin), allowing him to enter my trap so that I get him. It’s certain victory! But suppose the other first senses the force of my movement? Then the advancing jin of the opponent will surely stop midcourse, then change to a different posture. Now my Roll Back force has lost its effect. Therefore I must reverse my retreat to an advance, use the edge of my forward arm to pluck (cai) his elbow. Raise the rearward hand and add it to the inside of the forearm, then seize the advantage and press forth (ji chu). Now my opponent is caught in the midst of an abrupt change, and will most certainly lose his advantage as he receives my Press!

Take care,

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:31 pm
by Louis Swaim

It also occurs to me that you may want to pay attention to Cross Hands, not just in the postures so named in the form, but wherever there is a crossing configuration of the wrists, including the forms prior to raised leg “kicks,” and the joining of the wrists in Step Up to Seven Stars. From my reading of the early manual by Xu Yusheng, and his highlighting of Cross Hands throughout the form, I think that cross hands is a much more fundamental taijiquan technique than may be apparent to modern practitioners. I would look for ji potential in all occurrences of cross hands in the course of practicing your form.

Just a thought.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:44 pm
by Gu Rou Chen
All advanced-level players I have met demonstrate various internal energy expressions without changing external position. So, external position does not correspond in an absolute fashion to internal energy expression.

To develop this internal energy we use martial postures (external) that have fixed internal energy configurations. One posture may help develop ‘down,’ while another ‘back,’ ‘front,’ ‘squeezing,’ etc. Once these internal energies are developed, their expression is not dependant upon the external posture.

Since the energy configurations for each training posture is fixed, they can easily be described and listed.

Of published material available to me, the form as demonstrated by Wei Shuren in Wang Yongquan’s book has the most detailed explanations of various jìn in each posture for that particular form.

For each posture he has 2 sections
Xíng (form)
external movement and position
Yì (internal movement and configuration)
Qì, jìn, focus

With ‘péng, lǚ, jǐ, àn’ of ‘Grasp the Bird’s Tail’ there is a perceived contradiction of nomenclature, due to a lack of understanding of internal activity. Once the concept of internal activity is grasped, the contradiction is resolved.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:56 pm
by shugdenla

You forearm will be pressing against (diagonal flying-right) opponent's chest and will not be sufficient so you will have to catch at an angle while your foot is already strategically in place (behind opponent's left leg) where both (forearm and leg) can assist each other in pushing opponent over. If done good enough, then great, If not he will attempt to grab some part of forearm. If you are sufficently adroit, them shoulder kao may be in order!

WIll be hard to describe here but I hope I did a decent job.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:03 am
by tai1chi
Hi Bob,

there've been some great replies already. Louis's citation given of the basic mechanics of "ji" is accurate. It is characterized (in the GBT sequence) by the combination of the arms (limbs) compressing (squeezing) while the entire torso is moved forward by the legs (ji). The combination of these forces (and the turning of the waist and the closing of the chest) creates the jin.

That brings up something else. Imo, no 'jin' is unique to any particular shi. Well, that really becomes clear once the form gets to Single Whip --or, really, anywhere outside of GBT. One could say that there's a "Turn, Chop Opponent With Fist" jin; but, well, it doesn't seem to be a "single" jin at all.

Anyway, for analyzing applications for the obvious "ji" in the form, I'd suggest imaginaing how the limbs might be used to compress (I.e., "what's in your hand?") while your body is expressing the "long" energy of moving forward.

It might also be helpful to experiment by moving forward "without" using the arms. Then, it's relation to "kao" and "Slant flying" might be seen.

Anyway good luck to you on your presentation.

Steve James

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:31 pm
by Bob Ashmore

I can see you point with the list idea. There are more jins in there than can probably be counted, and then if you start combining them...
Even more.

I had actually thought of Cross Hands last night as I experimented in my form practice. I wasn't sure, but now I see someone else has thought of it, I appear to have been on the right track.

Thanks for all of you help.
The Yang Cheng Fu narrative is quite helpful. I'm going to see if I can get a partner to help me show that at the class.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:34 pm
by Bob Ashmore
Internal and external are still somewhat linked in my mind. Someday I hope to get past that, but I'm not there yet. I KNOW that they don't necesarily have to be, but in practice, I still do.

That's a book I'd like to see. I'm giong to fish around and see if I can find that.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:36 pm
by Bob Ashmore
I played with Diagonal Flying quite a bit last night and wasn't convinced, but I think I see where you're going now.
I'll keep looking at it, now with your suggestions in mind, and hopefully it will become clearer in time.