Form training and Hun Jin

Form training and Hun Jin

Postby mls_72 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:18 pm

Back in 1994 on a visit to Shanghai and when President of USA chapter of Yongnian- Weiqi brought Fu Zhong Wen to USA, I recalled Fu talking about training the form 3 times for an hour and that it creates Hua jin, however I found some old articles that talk about Hun Jin. without seeing the Chinese character I can not tell if they are the same thing with just a different translation spelling. Well two people helped me find some old articles from Tai Chi magazine at the time of his visit to our Virginia group and Baltimore's Koushu tournament.

Last Interview with Fu Zhong Wen-
http://www.scribd.com/doc/36836804/Fu-Zhong-Wen-taiji-2


Insight into Yang Style by Fu Zhong Wen
By Fu Zhong Wen
Translated by Fontane Ip and Brett Wagland
.

I have been practicing T’ai Chi since I was nine years old. Thanks to Yang Cheng-Fu’s teaching and guidance, and with over seventy years of continuous diligent practice, my health has always been good and I have developed T’ai Chi kung-fu.

The term “kung-fu” implies that one has gained a certain depth which goes beyond the superficial level of skill. The level of one’s kung-fu depends on “quality time” which one has invested in one’s art.

For example, if you have practiced T’ai Chi diligently for two years, you have accumulated two years of kung-fu. The term “kung-fu” is not restricted to the martial arts. For example, an expert chef can be said to have attained a high level of kung-fu in his cooking.

T’ai Chi Chuan’s popularity as a sport and health art has greatly increased in recent years. The principles of T’ai Chi were first viewed purely from the perspective of an art, but are now being seen as having scientific basis.

T’ai Chi Chuan is very profound both as an art and as a science. Its contents are subtle and difficult to fathom. Its principles can be understood on many different levels.

In order to acquire true T’ai Chi kung-fu. you need to practice diligently according to the principles. The more you practice, the more you understand, and the more you want to practice. Besides adhering to the T’ai Chi principles and receiving proper instructions, you need to pay attention to the following areas:

First Stage of Development: Jin (The Chinese character, “jin,” is given this spelling to avoid confusion, rather than the more common transliteration, “Jing.” This is to distinguish it from another Chinese character, which means the essence or essential energy, which is transliterated as “jing.” The latter is usually talked about in relation to ch’i, and is not the same as the power being discussed here.)

The first stage is the development and understanding of jin. As a result of correct and daily practice, you will gradually develop this power ( which is different from hard force. You will only experience jin when your practice has reached a certain level of maturity.

This jin can be best described as hun jin. Based from my experience, hun jin is like a reed in the lake being blown by the autumn wind. Being flexible, elastic and strong, the reed bends with the wind without breaking. Hun jin is also like the ocean waves, one following another. Although the water is very soft, yet its force is very powerful. The development of hun jin forms the basic foundation which enables you to enter the door into the higher levels of T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Once you have experienced jin, your practice will become more refined and spirited.

Second Stage of Development. Developing hun jin is the first stage; the next stage is to develop chin ling jin (a power which is light, agile and spirited). Hun jin is a strong power that is concealed within the softness, hence T’ai Chi Ch’uan is often referred to as the “cotton fist.”

Chin ling jin has the feeling of lightness, agility and spirit. In the T’ai Chi form, chin ling jin gives each movement the feeling of ease and liveliness. Hun jin and chin ling jin complement each other, and the knitting together of the two enables you to be both gentle and strong simultaneously, like the needle within the cotton. When you are able to naturally express the combination of hun jin and chin ling jin in Pung (ward off), Lu (roll back), ii (press), and An (separate and push) and use them appropriately under all conditions, then you have reached a high level in Wushu (Chinese martial arts).

In order to develop jin in T’ai Chi, you have to follow the correct method of practice. If you just do the movements without understanding the correct method, you will never develop kung fu. Besides adhering to the T’ai Chi principles and practicing diligently, you need to pay attention to the following four areas:

(1) Eyes. Gazing out at eye level. Your gaze follows the movements of the body. Concentration should be lively, not dead. Avoid the angry, dead pan or scattered gaze.

(2) The Waist. The waist is referred to as the general of an army. Its importance cannot be stressed enough. In your practice, it should be straight; not leaning. Pay special attention to this requirement in the following movements: Wave Hands Like Moving Clouds, Brush Knee, Oblique Flying, Needle at the Bottom of the Sea and Pat the High Horse.

In all movements, you need to maintain your balance. This is similar to a compass needle which can point to any direction with out losing its center.

In martial arts, this is referred to as controlling your center ground. In terms of physics, we would be referring to the body’s physical center of gravity. To maintain your center of gravity throughout the T’ai Chi form, you need to pay attention to the coccyx. Make sure that it is held straight; not bent. Once the spirit reaches the crown of the head and the coccyx is plumb erect, then you can maintain your center of gravity while you are moving.

If your postures are leaning forward or backward, the neck is bent, the bottom is sticking out, and the waist is not straight, you will lose your center and your breathing will be affected.

If you continue to practice incorrectly, your breathing will not be smooth; your ch’i will be unable to sink; your neck will be stiff, not natural and alive; the solid and empty will not be distinguished; and your upper and lower body will not be connected, impeding the flow of ch’i and blood throughout the body.

If your practice is not correct, you will never reach the higher levels even if you spend a lifetime practicing.

(3) The Requirements of the Limbs. T’ai Chi training involves the use of the four limbs. An old saying goes: “The arms and legs should assume the shape of a circular cane basket.” This means that the arms and legs are off lock; not extended. The curve shape is similar to that of a bow ready to release an arrow. In An (separate and push), the arms are off lock, so that in application, you can extend further if necessary.

If your arms were fully extended in the first place, there would be no possibility of continuing the attack because you would have spent your potential energy.

For example, in the movements Single Whip and Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane, the back leg appears straight but is slightly bent; both knees point towards the toes giving the stance the appearance of a bow; thus the name bow stance. Once in the bow stance, the strength comes from the heels of the feet; they should feel as if they were rooted to the ground.

In summary, all four limbs should be rounded, so that they are agile, alive, and stable. In particular, avoid extending the limbs with force.

Analysis of the Four Limbs and Their Parts:
(i) Hands. Palm needs to sit on the wrist, but the heart of the palm is slightly concave.

(ii) Fingers. Not curled; not too straight; and not tightly stuck together. In other words, relaxed; they have the appearance of being opened but not really opened.

(iii) Shoulders. Keep the shoulders relaxed and sunk. This means that you should not use force from the shoulders or lift them up.

(iv) Elbows. Elbows should be dropped. For example, in the movement White Crane, although the right arm goes up to block, the elbow still points down.

(v) Order of Movement. The shoulder guides the elbow. The elbow guides the wrist. The fingers lead the palm. While the palm leads the arm, the elbow and shoulder should be dropped and relaxed. Coordinate your waist and legs with your hands, elbows, and shoulders, so that the upper and lower parts of the body are all connected and flow as a unit. Your body should move in harmony and flow from one movement to another without using force. If you use force, your movements will look stiff and unnatural.

(vi) Moving like a Cat. Whenever you step forward, land slowly with the heel first, then gradually transfer the weight until the front leg is solid. Avoid turning the knee in. The front knee should finish in line with the toes. Just like a cat, each step is very light and stable, and the body is very relaxed and alive. The back leg needs to be open and stable with jin; not wobbly.

(vii) Lifting the Foot. In the movement Wave Hands Like Moving Cloud, when you lift the foot, first lift the heel then the toes. When you place the foot down, land with the toes first, and then gradually transfer the weight. Always distinguish the solid from the empty in each step.

(viii) Sinking the Chest. As you become more relaxed, your chest sinks. Be careful not to use force, and also avoid bending from the waist, as this will interfere with the sinking of the chest. The joints of your arms should be relaxed and the breathing natural.

(ix) The Thighs. Keep them open and maintain the circular shape. To maintain the circle is not a result of step ping wide or long. The thighs need to be relaxed; not tight. If they are relaxed, they will naturally open up.

(x) Stance. Keep the knees bent and moving on the same horizontal plane; adjust the height only to meet the requirements of certain movements. The lower half of the body is solid. When you lift the leg, you should feel stable and natural; keep the body straight, and breathe naturally. By coordinating the upper and lower parts of the body and keeping the movements even and continuous, you will experience the spirit of agility and liveliness.

(4) Frame of Mind
(i) The mind needs to be quiet, calm, and spirited. When practicing the form, the eyes should not look down at the ground, as this gives the appearance of slothfulness rather than vitality. The wild-eyed gaze with protruding chest and teeth showing should also be avoided. At no time should the body stop moving; not even for a second. This also means that the mind is constantly directing even the smallest movement.

(ii) Follow the classical standard. This refers to the standard set down by the great masters. Observe the requirements for each movement in your practice keeping the whole body natural and relaxed. As an old saying goes: “Follow and digest the rules, and always adhere to them.” This is the spirit of diligent practice, which is indispensable to achieving a high level of kung fu. When it comes to cultivating kung fu, even the smallest divergence from the standard can mean missing the mark by a mile.

Summary
Every T’ai Chi movement has its own characteristics. You need to pay careful attention to the details in order to gradually understand its meaning. If your aims and legs are overextended, the waist and legs will not move in harmony, and will lead to stiffness. Coordinate the upper and lower body. Be clear in every movement; do no blur one movement into the next. This is similar to folding paper into equal sections; you need to follow the fold each time without varying its size.

For example, from Lu (roll back) to Ji (press), if the shape or timing is out in any way, which is analogous to missing the fold, your movements will not be accurate.

The first stage is for the movements to be open and expansive. As your practice matures, your movements become more refined and closely knit. Pay attention to the details and practice diligently. The movements should flow from the beginning to the end like an endless river.

Do not stop to repeat a movement again, even if it is wrong, as this will break the jin. Continue to the end of the form. If you want to correct certain movements, practice them individually. Practicing the form day after day, you will eventually achieve kung fit..

About the translators: Fontane Ip and Brett Wagland are disciples of Fu Sheng Yuan, son of Grandmaster Fu Zhong Wen. They teach the authentic Yang Style T’ai Chi Chuan in Canberra, Australia.
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Audi » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:49 am

I recall reading these articles and being puzzled at the term "Hun Jin." I do wonder if it was not indeed a typo in place of "Hua Jin."

I cannot think of any likely meanings for anything that might be spelled "Hun," with the possible exception of 浑(Hun) in the expression 浑身 (húnshēn, from head to foot; all over). Perhaps "hun jin" could be 浑劲 and mean "all over Jin," but I have neither heard of such an expression as this before nor know whether this "Hun" can be used in such a way. Perhaps, someone else has a better and more informed explanation than mine.
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:56 am

Greetings Matt and Audi,

It is 浑劲 with the meaning of hun here being "simple, natural, unsophisticated," I believe. Here's my translation of the entry in the 精選太極拳辭典 for the term:

hun jin: A beginning-level jin methodology of taijiquan. As the beginning student undergoes constant training, she is able to gradually learn through experience to produce energetic strength. At this stage, one still doesn't understand the levels of energetic strength (勁力層次), therefore it is called hun jin.
--Jingxuan taijiquan cidian (Dictionary of essential taijiquan terms), Renmin tiyu chubanshe, 1998, p. 72

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm

Greetings,

There are several Chinese versions of Fu Zhongwen's writings or discussions of these ideas online. Here's just one example: http://www.china001.com/show_hdr.php?xname=PPDDMV0&dname=3K1PV31&xpos=132

So I take hun jin to be sort of the budding, unformed awareness of jin in the beginning practitioner.

--Louis
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Audi » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:13 am

Hi Louis,

Thanks for your clarification. It is very helpful.

I grazed a little bit through the site you linked to, China001.com and found some interesting things. What exactly is that site? Some sort of encyclopedia?

Also, in reading Fu Zhongwen's article, I came across several places where I could not really understand what was being expressed and would appreciate your help.

For instance:

二、腰是一身的主宰,练拳时要顶腰。

歌诀有云:“身形腰顶岂可无”。


Here is my guess at a translation:

2: The lumbar area is the controller of the whole body. When you practice the hand fighting arts, you must prop up??? the lumbar area (waist).

The song formula says: "In the shape of the body, how can you not prop up??? the lumbar area (waist)?

Could you explain what exactly 顶腰 ding3 yao1 means?

Similarly what does 冒腰 mao4 yao1 mean in the following?

练拳如果低头耸臀,腰部不挺,失了重心,就是所谓“冒腰”。常言道“低头冒腰把式不高。”因为冒腰则呼吸不畅,


Again, my guess at a translation:

In practicing the hand fighting arts, if you lower the head and stick out the buttocks, if the lumbar area is not straight, if you have lost the center, then you will have done what is called ???ing the lumbar area (waist). It is often said: "When the head is lowered and the lumbar area is ?????ed the skill is not high." Because if you ???? the lumbar area, the breathing will not be smooth....

Thanks for any help you can give.
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:39 am

Greetings Audi,

Regarding 冒腰 (maoyao), it appears there may be a transcription error in play. The correct character is likely 貓 rather than 冒. The compound 貓腰 (mao2) is a colloquial expression meaning to "arch one's back." I've seen a reference to a martial arts saying in the section on the waist in Gu Liuxing's book, Taijiquan Shu 太極拳術 (The Art of Taijiquan) that states, 低頭貓腰, 傳授不高 (ditou maoyao, chuanshou bugao) -- "If the head droops and the back is arched, the (imparted) skill is not so great." (Gu, p. 37). So Fu was likely paraphasing this. As for 顶腰, again, I suspect this is a regional construction, but the general idea is to straighten the back.

好了? OK?
Take care,
Louis
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby mls_72 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:22 pm

Thanks you for your translation works Audi and Louis.
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Audi » Tue May 24, 2011 1:59 am

Hi Louis and Matt,

Louis, I also had a question about two more expressions in the link above and would appreciate whatever help you would care to offer. I reproduce the relevant sentences below:

浑劲练出以后,继续再进一步要从浑劲中练出“轻灵劲”来。浑劲是藏而不露的浑厚实力,从而达到柔而有刚。轻灵劲是既有轻灵感觉而又能园活运转的意思。将这两种劲紧密地结合在一起,相互为用,才能刚柔相济,棉里裹针,再能变化分出朋、捋、挤、按诸劲而灵活应用之


What do 园活运转 and 变化分出 mean? I am having difficulty understanding where exactly the dividing line is supposed to be between "hun jin" and "qing ling jin."

For those with even less Chinese then me, I can translate the parts I think I understand as:

After you training produces simple Jin and you continue a step further, your training will produce light and lively Jin. Simple Jin is a simple and actual strength that is hidden and not apparent, thereby attaining hard while being soft. Light and lively Jin means having both a light and lively feeling and being able to ???. Only if these two Jins are fully integrated and mutually reinforce each other can hard and soft assist each other and the needle be wrapped in cotton. Only then can you ??? the various Jins like Ward Off, Roll Back, Press, and Push and flexibly apply them.


Any corrections to the above would also be welcome.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby fumin » Wed May 25, 2011 10:54 pm

Hi,

Hun Jin is that air is full in the whole body like that in a car tire. It can stand the strike. But it still has weak points.
If the whole body can yield to knife. It takes light and agility and then you strike your enemy with the whole full body through the hand.

Think of the image of dragon and pearl.

Fumin
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:23 pm

Greetings Audi,

I was away last week and missed some of this discussion, where you asked, "What do 园活运转 and 变化分出 mean?"

These phrases Fu used are not exactly standard wording, so it's difficult to know the best way to render them. However, the compound 圓活 appears in the Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures (十三勢行功心解), in a line I once translated, "The intent and the qi must exchange with skillful sensitivity, then you will have a sense of roundness and liveliness (圓活)." Yuanhuo really means to be adaptable and accomodating -- able to accord with the circumstances, and of course 運轉 implies that this adaptability is achieved through circular, rotational movement. As for the second phrase, again, it's not standard phrasing, but the sense of it, I think, is that as your training becomes more refined, the comparatively raw material of budding jin transforms and emerges as differentiated dispositions: peng, lu, ji, an, etc.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby fumin » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:44 pm

圓活運轉•••We can reverse it into " 運轉圓活". Can we mobilize our qi and use our intention with qi turn your waist and the other parts follow the turn ? If yes, we can. How do we know we are made ourselves round and live? Do we explain it to ourselves? No, it is coming from your opponent' s judgement. Once your opponent's attack slips away from you and he is uprooted, he said" I feel nothing and you make yourself so round and live". Then you know your turn is round and live.
As for "變化分出"peng, Lu, ji, an, if we change our center of gravity and can neutralize the opponent's attack by use of peng,Lu, ji or an. Then you can distinguish the function of them because they are working and proved.
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby fumin » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:59 pm

Throw the ball at the wall. The ball knows the heng Jin. Once your opponent attack you, turn yourself as that of the ball,your opponent feels nothing and lose his balance, then you strike him with peng, Lu, ji,or an and make your opponent gets a clash. The opponent become a ball hit by a wall. You can tell the mix of being light and agile, and heng Jin, and what is the hidden steel in the cotton, or what is interchange of the hard and the soft.
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby Audi » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:12 pm

Hi Fumin, Louis, and everyone else,

I feel that my sense of the form and push hands has improved substantially recently, particularly as a result of the last seminar I attended. This has given me some renewed interest in some of the things described in these passages.

Think of the image of dragon and pearl.


I have forgotten this image. Could you remind me or give me a link to relevant material?

These phrases Fu used are not exactly standard wording, so it's difficult to know the best way to render them. However, the compound 圓活 appears in the Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures (十三勢行功心解), in a line I once translated, "The intent and the qi must exchange with skillful sensitivity, then you will have a sense of roundness and liveliness (圓活)." Yuanhuo really means to be adaptable and accomodating -- able to accord with the circumstances, and of course 運轉 implies that this adaptability is achieved through circular, rotational movement.


Louis, thanks for your clarification. Sometimes it is not clear to me when a phrase is meant literally or figuratively, or perhaps in both ways. Based on your words and my own practice, I think I will take this phrase in both senses. If 园活 and 圆活 are the same, I think I would understand it here as "smooth/smoothly". I will take 运转 to be a reference to the rotating parts of an engine or a similar machine. The full phrase would mean something like "operating smoothly" at the surface, but with an image of smooth, circular, rotational manipulations as you have described.

As for the second phrase, again, it's not standard phrasing, but the sense of it, I think, is that as your training becomes more refined, the comparatively raw material of budding jin transforms and emerges as differentiated dispositions: peng, lu, ji, an, etc.


This interpretation seems quite reasonable. To make sense of this in context, however, I think I need to imagine some aspect of spontaneity. Using peng, lu, ji, an, etc. does not in itself represent a high level of skill. Using them spontaneously and naturally might.

How do we know we are made ourselves round and live? Do we explain it to ourselves? No, it is coming from your opponent' s judgement


Fumin, that is an excellent point, which it is easy to forget.

Throw the ball at the wall. The ball knows the heng Jin.


Could you remind me what character corresponds to "hen," or perhaps what it's literal meaning is?

Thanks,
Audi
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby fumin » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:39 pm

Audi wrote:Hi Fumin, Louis, and everyone else,

I feel that my sense of the form and push hands has improved substantially recently, particularly as a result of the last seminar I attended. This has given me some renewed interest in some of the things described in these passages.

Think of the image of dragon and pearl.


I have forgotten this image. Could you remind me or give me a link to relevant material?

These phrases Fu used are not exactly standard wording, so it's difficult to know the best way to render them. However, the compound 圓活 appears in the Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures (十三勢行功心解), in a line I once translated, "The intent and the qi must exchange with skillful sensitivity, then you will have a sense of roundness and liveliness (圓活)." Yuanhuo really means to be adaptable and accomodating -- able to accord with the circumstances, and of course 運轉 implies that this adaptability is achieved through circular, rotational movement. [/quote
Louis, thanks for your clarification. Sometimes it is not clear to me when a phrase is meant literally or figuratively, or perhaps in both ways. Based on your words and my own practice, I think I will take this phrase in both senses. If 园活 and 圆活 are the same, I think I would understand it here as "smooth/smoothly". I will take 运转 to be a reference to the rotating parts of an engine or a similar machine. The full phrase would mean something like "operating smoothly" at the surface, but with an image of smooth, circular, rotational manipulations as you have described.

As for the second phrase, again, it's not standard phrasing, but the sense of it, I think, is that as your training

becomes more refined, the comparatively raw material of budding jin transforms and emerges as differentiated dispositions: peng, lu, ji, an, etc.


This interpretation seems quite reasonable. To make sense of this in context, however, I think I need to imagine some aspect of spontaneity. Using peng, lu, ji, an, etc. does not in itself represent a high level of skill. Using them spontaneously and naturally might.

How do we know we are made ourselves round and live? Do we explain it to ourselves? No, it is coming from your opponent' s judgement


Fumin, that is an excellent point, which it is easy to forget.

Throw the ball at the wall. The ball knows the heng Jin.



Could you remind me what character corresponds to "hen," or perhaps what it's literal meaning is?

Thanks,
Audi[/quote/]

Hi Audi

Good for you.

"渾" in a simplified character as "诨",the phonetic symbol is "hun".
The literal meaning is : one integrated mass, a unified entity or an integral whole.
So "hun Jin" is the Jin released from one integrated mass, a unified entity or an integral whole.

Fred Hao
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Re: Form training and Hun Jin

Postby fumin » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:49 pm

Also, the spine in China symbolizes as dragon bone. The energy mobilizes the spine like a dragon. Pearl seems like a bearing, suggesting that our ligaments, cartilages and membranes should be supple so that the joints are helped to turn, twist and fold freely.

Fred Hao
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