Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

sabre, sword, spear, etc

Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby meghdad » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:22 am

Hello dear Taiji friends,
This is my first post in this forum and I should say I have really enjoyed and learned from reading different topics here for some time. I have some thing in my mind about the Sword form which I would like to have your opinions about it.

In the introduction part of one of the Yang Family Sword DVDs taught by Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo and performed by Master Yang Jun, there is one sentence which says

发劲要柔韧
Fa jin Yao Rou Ren
体态须自然
Ti tai xu zi ran.

The subtitle says,
Exert force flexibly
Body shall be natural

I would appreciate if my friends here would elaborate on this, focusing on the first half of the sentence. I'm looking for some practical guideline which then can be applied to the Sword form. For example when Master Yang Jun performs the 67 form he clearly demonstrates power more than one can observe in the demonstration of Hand form. So one possible conclusion can be that this is the unique characteristic of the Sword form.


Best Regards to all,
Meghdad
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby allenvirgil » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:03 pm

hello meghdad
just like you im also new here if only i can help you :( but any ways this is pretty interesting hope someone will help you i would like to know also some of the practical guidelines/information that can be applied to the Sword form..*crossfinger*
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:33 am

Greetings Meghdad and allenvirgil,

I would appreciate if my friends here would elaborate on this, focusing on the first half of the sentence. I'm looking for some practical guideline which then can be applied to the Sword form. For example when Master Yang Jun performs the 67 form he clearly demonstrates power more than one can observe in the demonstration of Hand form. So one possible conclusion can be that this is the unique characteristic of the Sword form.

According to my understanding, each of the Yang Family forms and the push hands practices share a certain set of common principles, but also have their own individual requirements.

In the hand form, we want to be slow and even and show clear separation of full and empty in the stepping movements. If you show any Fajin at all, it should be very subtle. In the sword form, we want to show more flow and more energy, so the pace is quicker and there is some overt Fajin. The stepping should separate full and empty internally, but often without the 100% weight shifts that are used in the hand form. Stepping in this way allows more flow.

As I understand it, the purpose of showing Fajin in the sword form is not so much to practice Fajin itself, but to show understanding of the nature of the energy used. Even though the Fajin is often overt, more is not necessarily better. Sometimes the energy will ideally make the tip of the sword quiver, but this is not an absolute requirement.

发劲要柔韧
Fa jin Yao Rou Ren
体态须自然
Ti tai xu zi ran.

* * *
Exert force flexibly
Body shall be natural

I think that 柔韧 róurèn can be translated as "flexible," but also means "pliable and tough" or "supple and strong." To understand what is meant by this quality, it might help to consider the imagery that is suggested by the names of the sword form postures. These names generally suggest flying creatures--e.g., swallows, dragons, birds, rocs, and bees--engaged in energetic actions. To imitate flight, your motions need to be light and smooth; however, to show the energy, you have to have a certain strength and firmness in your movements.

I would give the following hierarchy of different ways people perform movements in the sword form. At the bottom I would put people who frequently give the impression of making a priority of having the sword tip quiver and use their arm to deliver the energy. Next I would put those who ignore trying to make the sword quiver, but keep their movements generally smooth and flowing. Next I would put those who occasionally have the sword quiver, but primarily use the energy in their legs and bodies to make it happen. At the top, I would put those who clearly vary the type of energy displayed by the sword, sometimes showing the energy in the tip, sometimes elsewhere in the blade, sometimes showing extreme precision, and sometimes showing power coming from the floor through the body. The energy seems to come as a natural by-product of smooth, powerful movement, rather than as something forced.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby meghdad » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:04 am

hello meghdad
just like you im also new here if only i can help you :( but any ways this is pretty interesting hope someone will help you i would like to know also some of the practical guidelines/information that can be applied to the Sword form..*cross-finger*


Hello allenvirgil,
Thanks for your kind words. Here there are many skilled masters proficient in both theory and practice of Yang Family Arts and Taiji as a whole, Like Audi which has generously shared valuable information with us. So we can always use their generous help.


Hello Audi,
Thanks for your detailed explanation. I indeed appreciate.

The energy seems to come as a natural by-product of smooth, powerful movement, rather than as something forced.


Very well said. Then the Jin in the form shall be spontaneously expressed due to perseverance in practicing the form again and again according to the principles. I agree. This pertains to how we should develop the Jin. Another issue would be how and to what extent we should release and express this Jin (Fajin). In some forms it is more subtle like the hand form, as you mentioned, and in some forms it is more intense. Yet the sequence should be always according to the famous instruction that it should be rooted in the feet, generated by the legs, controlled by the waist and expressed through shoulders in the fingers.

As I know in all forms (and in practicing Taiji in general) we should always cultivate and develop Jin during practice and store it in our body. And this Jin is acquired gradually as a result of aligning and adjusting our practice according to principles and important details. Otherwise our Taiji will be what master Mantak Chia once called "Toufu Taiji". :D

Now in some forms it is needed to release and express this Jin (Fajin) due to special characteristic of that form (like 67 Sword form). Thus the choice to Fajin remains with the individual and is also determined to some extent by the requirements of the form he/she is performing. Do you agree?

I would give the following hierarchy of different ways people perform movements in the sword form. At the bottom I would put people who frequently give the impression of making a priority of having the sword tip quiver and use their arm to deliver the energy. Next I would put those who ignore trying to make the sword quiver, but keep their movements generally smooth and flowing. Next I would put those who occasionally have the sword quiver, but primarily use the energy in their legs and bodies to make it happen. At the top, I would put those who clearly vary the type of energy displayed by the sword, sometimes showing the energy in the tip, sometimes elsewhere in the blade, sometimes showing extreme precision, and sometimes showing power coming from the floor through the body.


This hierarchy is also quite useful and illuminating. Specially the fact that Jin should be expressed in different parts of the Sword depending on the movement application (Thrust, Slice, ...).

I would also like to know your opinion about the following video performed by Master Fu Qing Quan. In this video as I observed he has more emphasis on Fajin and if I exaggerate a little bit, the extent to which Fajin is applied in most of the movements resembles that of Chen Family Taiji. (I'm not critising at all by the way, just intend to compare in order to better understand it myself. Master Fu is a great Taiji master)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z0yLTMzdd0&feature=relmfu


My Best Regards,
Meghdad
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby Audi » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:10 am

Hi meghdad,

As I know in all forms (and in practicing Taiji in general) we should always cultivate and develop Jin during practice and store it in our body. And this Jin is acquired gradually as a result of aligning and adjusting our practice according to principles and important details. Otherwise our Taiji will be what master Mantak Chia once called "Toufu Taiji". :D

I agree with this, but would like to add two thoughts. One is that I find that increasing one's understanding also makes one's practice much more effective. What I try to teach is that it is not only important to practice according to principles like the Ten Essentials, but also to deepen one's understanding of them. We want to move from a thirty-second understanding of something like "Distinguish Full and Empty" to a thirty-minute understanding. I think some people rely too much on brute force practice to improve their skills without trying to understand the principles more deeply.

The other thought I would like to add is that cultivating and developing Jin during practice can involve more than just doing the form. As I understand it, practicing our form tends to develop the soft side of Jin, but our Fajin exercises tend to develop the hard side. Although we want to use soft to control hard, we also want ultimately to use soft and hard together if we are truly interested in the martial side of Tai Chi.

Now in some forms it is needed to release and express this Jin (Fajin) due to special characteristic of that form (like 67 Sword form). Thus the choice to Fajin remains with the individual and is also determined to some extent by the requirements of the form he/she is performing. Do you agree?

I do agree, but also want to make clear that Fajin is not all one thing. We seem most to use the term to refer to "explosive" movement, but it can also apply to any release of Jin, even if it is not "explosive." My own feeling is that the best way to learn our Sword form is not to try to make the sword point quiver, but just to let it happen on its own. As your skills improve you can then experiment with more or less energy.

This hierarchy is also quite useful and illuminating. Specially the fact that Jin should be expressed in different parts of the Sword depending on the movement application (Thrust, Slice, ...).

To be even more specific, it can depend on the type of energy you are trying to show, even within what is externally almost the same movement. For instance, doing Pi (cleave?) followed by Dian (pointing?) should look different from doing Pi alone. Ji (striking?) will be different than Dian (pointing) even if you can swing your arm for both. Ya (holding down?) will show energy from the flat of the blade rather than the tip or edge. Block right and left should look different from Ti (lifting/cutting from underneath?).

I would also like to know your opinion about the following video performed by Master Fu Qing Quan. In this video as I observed he has more emphasis on Fajin and if I exaggerate a little bit, the extent to which Fajin is applied in most of the movements resembles that of Chen Family Taiji. (I'm not critising at all by the way, just intend to compare in order to better understand it myself. Master Fu is a great Taiji master)

Your observations don't seem unreasonable to be. Master Fu is clearly extremely skilled. He does, however, seem to put a slightly different emphasis in his form than Master Yang. To me, neither look wrong. In my view, most practices in Tai Chi fall on a continuum, depending on your goals, your physique, your level of skill, your tastes, etc. one end of the continuum may be more appropriate than the other. There are always advantages and disadvantages.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby meghdad » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:30 am

Hello Audi,
Thanks a lot for your further explanation. It is really helpful for me.

One is that I find that increasing one's understanding also makes one's practice much more effective. What I try to teach is that it is not only important to practice according to principles like the Ten Essentials, but also to deepen one's understanding of them. We want to move from a thirty-second understanding of something like "Distinguish Full and Empty" to a thirty-minute understanding. I think some people rely too much on brute force practice to improve their skills without trying to understand the principles more deeply.


I agree completely. As famous Chinese scholar Zhu Xi has wisely said:

"Knowledge and action always require each other.

It is like a person who cannot walk without legs although he has eyes,
and who cannot see without eyes although he has legs.

With respect to order, knowledge comes first,
and with respect to importance, action is more important."


As I understand it, practicing our form tends to develop the soft side of Jin, but our Fajin exercises tend to develop the hard side. Although we want to use soft to control hard, we also want ultimately to use soft and hard together if we are truly interested in the martial side of Tai Chi.


This is illuminating. For hard side practice of Fajin, you're referring to solo form practice (like this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToUyWr809Cg) and Yang Family Staff/Spear training or maybe some other methods of practice... Kindly elaborate.

I do agree, but also want to make clear that Fajin is not all one thing. We seem most to use the term to refer to "explosive" movement, but it can also apply to any release of Jin, even if it is not "explosive." My own feeling is that the best way to learn our Sword form is not to try to make the sword point quiver, but just to let it happen on its own. As your skills improve you can then experiment with more or less energy.


You're right. Therefore, the expression of Fajin we see in the form shall arise spontaneously from continuous practice and deeper understanding. We shall not make the Fajin a target for our practice although we must be conscious of it.


To be even more specific, it can depend on the type of energy you are trying to show, even within what is externally almost the same movement. For instance, doing Pi (cleave?) followed by Dian (pointing?) should look different from doing Pi alone. Ji (striking?) will be different than Dian (pointing) even if you can swing your arm for both. Ya (holding down?) will show energy from the flat of the blade rather than the tip or edge. Block right and left should look different from Ti (lifting/cutting from underneath?).


Thanks for this detailed explanation. It is quite helpful in understanding deeper layers of form practice.



Master Fu is clearly extremely skilled. He does, however, seem to put a slightly different emphasis in his form than Master Yang. To me, neither look wrong. In my view, most practices in Tai Chi fall on a continuum, depending on your goals, your physique, your level of skill, your tastes, etc. one end of the continuum may be more appropriate than the other. There are always advantages and disadvantages.


Quite reasonable and I agree completely.


Thanks Audi,
Meghdad
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby Audi » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:28 am

Hi meghdad,

This is illuminating. For hard side practice of Fajin, you're referring to solo form practice (like this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToUyWr809Cg) and Yang Family Staff/Spear training or maybe some other methods of practice... Kindly elaborate.

Sorry for the delay in responding, I had forgotten you had posted this question.

Yes, I was referring to these practices. I am also aware of other solo and partner practices to develop Fajin that do not appear to be taken from the form. From my experience, once you gain some proficiency in these, it can transform your understanding of the form and push hands and deepen understanding of the theory. We talk about feeling Peng in all parts of the body and being able to issue energy from all parts of the body. To develop the hard side, you can train in this way. Until I trained some in this way, I think I had only a limited understanding of what "needle in cotton" could mean or what it meant to turn softness into hardness.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby meghdad » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:20 am

Dear Audi,
Thanks a lot for your instructions. What you mentioned is quite interesting:

I am also aware of other solo and partner practices to develop Fajin that do not
appear to be taken from the form....We talk about feeling Peng in all parts of the body
and being able to issue energy from all parts of the body.


It would be very helpful if you share more with us in this regard in the future whenever you
would feel right. I very much look forward to your insightful posts. I should admit that I have
to work very hard on the practices I already know (no matter how limited my knowledge is),
since there are so much new and exciting experiences and insights I can gain and feel from
long term commitment to them. I believe this everyday practice should be combined with
the love of learning new things in order for one to move forward.

I also believe that such skill - feeling Peng in all parts of the body and being able to issue from
all parts of the body - depends so much on one's Neigong. These practices are more inclined
to cultivation of Gong rather than developing skills, although they cannot be separated. There
is a famous saying that

练拳不练功,到老一场空。

By the way, it seems to me that the same solo form practice, which I mentioned in my previous post,
that is for bare hand should also be done for weapons, do you agree? For example for Jian and Dao.

Thanks,
Meghdad
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby Audi » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:19 pm

Hi Meghdad,

You ask some very good questions and make some very good comments. I have found it hard to know how to answer your post well.

By the way, it seems to me that the same solo form practice, which I mentioned in my previous post,
that is for bare hand should also be done for weapons, do you agree? For example for Jian and Dao.

I know a great deal less of the weapons than I think I know about bare hand practice, but I believe the answer is yes, except for one important caution. Since the Jian and Dao are edged weapons, strong energy is usually of less use than with bare hand practice. These weapons are more about finesse than percussive force. It takes very little effort to cut or to pierce and so there is less reason to train to generate a great deal of force and more reason to train agility and sensitivity. From what I understand, the staff and spear are a little different, since one of the basic techniques with these is to use your energy to knock your opponent's weapon away or even out of his or her hand.

练拳不练功,到老一场空。

I agree completely with this, but am wondering at how to translate it. After several failed attempts, I have arrived at the following attempt:

To train techniques without training their base yields an old bag of tricks full of nothing but space.

What do you think?

I also believe that such skill - feeling Peng in all parts of the body and being able to issue from
all parts of the body - depends so much on one's Neigong.

I very much agree with this as well, but might not be quite as quick to single out Neigong from Waigong. From what I have been told, our Tai Chi tends to train from the inside out, but we do actually train the outside as well. For example, we actually do want to train strong legs, and this in fact may be one of the main reasons that elderly people feel an improvement in balance.

Whatever skill I may or may not have in "issuing from all parts of the body" has resulted initially from doing some training with the repetitive staff exercises (抖杆 dǒugān). I got up to doing only 50 or so on each side, before it seemed enough for my purposes. Then I needed some knowledge about the mechanics of Fajin, and then some exercise to explore it and practice it.

As for "feeling Peng in all parts of the body, I feel you need to understand quite precisely what it means to "relax" in our Tai Chi and then need to do it over and over again in the form. Master Yang Zhenduo talked about folding and forging iron over and over again to form tough flexible steel. I find that our concept of "relax" is very easy to confuse with other methods that stress minimal muscular usage or with the notion of "relaxation" we use in daily life. I find that neither of these is appropriate for the feeling you want to cultivate in the form, especially initially. I find that even if you have a good idea of what to do, it is easy to neglect applying this principle throughout all parts of the body and throughout the form without a lot of coaching or a lot of conscious mental effort.

I recently spent about an hour and a half just going over, joint by joint in the upper body, the feeling of "relax" and the exchange of empty and full in the first Repulse Monkey. I spent this long for several reasons. The people I was training with were experienced people who know the form well and do the external movements to a high standard. As a result, what they wanted and needed was depth, not more postures and more breadth. They also know me and my teaching quite well and so know that whatever axe I may have to grind is more or less the axe they want sharpened. In other words, there is no argument about basic theory or what version of the postures is best, etc. The basic method is quite simple, but hard to apply consistently without a lot of training and often without a lot of hands-on correction.

Lastly, I think there is another parameter. It is easy to get confused between external and internal power. Often during my teaching, I see students who naturally focus on the result more than the method and so unconsciously rely more on external methods than internal ones to achieve the result they want. To avoid this, I have occasionally tried to become much clearer about what I understand to be external and internal.

For those who like to think in terms of modern science, I have become to explain that power can be thought of as mechanical energy. This is the energy we generally encounter in non-living objects when we are not dealing with electricity or fire. Jin can be thought of as merely trained mechanical energy.

Mechanical energy, by definition, is composed of kinetic energy and potential energy. Kinetic energy is the energy that is obvious in movement. I think of it as external energy. Potential energy is the energy that is hidden or latent in how an object is positioned in its environment. I think of it as internal energy. These energies can convert into each other.

If we are focusing on external power, we focus on movement energy. We think of acceleration, speed, and transferring energy at one moment from a hard thing to another. There is a trade off between acceleration and mass that will lead us to try to use different parts of the body to add acceleration to a relatively small part of the body, like the forearm and fist. We want our bones to be hard and our muscles to be strong and rigid.

If we are focusing on internal power, we focus on the energy of position and configuration. We think of elasticity, contraction and expansion and transferring energy with the largest wave possible. The trade off here is that we must learn to manage our energy: storing and releasing it as appropriate, rather than generating speed whenever we want. We also have to unify the body in order to create an energy wave that is as large as possible. We need softness to carry the wave and achieve hardness by making the "height" of the wave high, but its "length" short, so that the energy must transfer all at once. I want my tendons, ligaments, and sinews to be tough and resilient in order to absorb and release energy freely. Since kinetic and potential energy can change into each other, I can use my potential energy to send my opponent flying away. There are other aspects of using internal energy, such as breathing and Qi management, but these are not so hard to differentiate or explain.

Using external energy, you often will add in some potential "internal" energy in order to "cheat" at the physics. For instance, you may want to use leverage, which is a tradeoff between length and power. Using internal energy, you often want to borrow kinetic "external" energy in order also to "cheat" at the physics. We often borrow the energy of movement by storing it in curves or circles, which means allowing movement to change one configuration smoothly into another. This is why, I think, the old Tai Chi masters and the ancient Chinese militarists like Sunzi focused on configurations/postures (势 shì), such as Tai Chi's so-called thirteen postures. They were interested in the potential energy stored and released in these postures.

I should admit that I have
to work very hard on the practices I already know (no matter how limited my knowledge is),
since there are so much new and exciting experiences and insights I can gain and feel from
long term commitment to them. I believe this everyday practice should be combined with
the love of learning new things in order for one to move forward.

I absolutely share this sentiment, and think it is one of the things that can separate good students from mediocre ones.

I am also aware of other solo and partner practices to develop Fajin that do not
appear to be taken from the form....We talk about feeling Peng in all parts of the body
and being able to issue energy from all parts of the body.


It would be very helpful if you share more with us in this regard in the future whenever you
would feel right.

It is hard and perhaps inappropriate to share too much of such things over the Internet. Practicing Fajin is probably the point where the ratio of risk to reward in terms of health is no longer quite clear and where moral issues can become prominent. It is best to practice under close guidance and quality instruction of someone you know and practice with those you trust. If you look at some of the two person exercises in this video, you might get some idea of what I am talking about. The video is focused on warm ups, rather than, Fajin, but Eric makes occasional to reference to how they might relate to Fajin practice.

This post was too long, but I hope it is helpful.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby meghdad » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:43 pm

Dear Audi,
Thanks for your detailed explanation, I indeed appreciate.

I believe the answer is yes, except for one important caution. Since the Jian and Dao are edged weapons, strong energy is usually of less use than with bare hand practice. These weapons are more about finesse than percussive force. It takes very little effort to cut or to pierce and so there is less reason to train to generate a great deal of force and more reason to train agility and sensitivity. From what I understand, the staff and spear are a little different, since one of the basic techniques with these is to use your energy to knock your opponent's weapon away or even out of his or her hand.


This is quite reasonable. I agree.

练拳不练功,到老一场空。
I agree completely with this, but am wondering at how to translate it. After several failed attempts, I have arrived at the following attempt:

To train techniques without training their base yields an old bag of tricks full of nothing but space.

What do you think?


Hopefully this is already translated in the first article of the Association Journal (winter 2012 issue) which is an interview with Master Yang Jun by Eric Madson. Master Yang has translated it:


"If you only go through the motions without developing skill through serious training, then you can practice your whole life but still achieve nothing."


He continues to explain:


"It is like building a house without a foundation. By practicing martial arts, you sow the seeds and after time they will ripen and you will have a harvest. But without gong, it's like there's nowhere to store the harvest food. Gong combines with qi and is stored inside your body."

"Zhan Zhuang is gong (功), or fundamental training. It's hard work. It's something you have to do, not just in the beginning, but also throughout your practice."


and Master Yang also emphasizes this phrase once more in the end of the interview:

"Like I said earlier, lian quan bu lian gong, dao lao yi chang kong. Even though you practice the form daily, you need to spend some time practicing Zhang Zhuang."



Actually I love this article. I have read it several times and still learning new things from it. I would like to use this opportunity to thank Mr. Eric Madson for his valuable work and deep questions and also a big thanks from Master Yang for explaining these details openly and in an easy-to-understand manner.

It is hard and perhaps inappropriate to share too much of such things over the Internet. Practicing Fajin is probably the point where the ratio of risk to reward in terms of health is no longer quite clear and where moral issues can become prominent. It is best to practice under close guidance and quality instruction of someone you know and practice with those you trust.


You're absolutely right. In fact I had a doubt whether to ask you for more details in this case, that's why I added

in the future whenever you would feel right.


However you generously explained so much details, I appreciate your kindness. It's now more clear for me. Thanks.


My Best Regards,
Meghdad
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby UniTaichi » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:37 am

Hi All,

Below is a demo of fajin from a broadsword to crank open a walnut.

http://youtu.be/wEVf9bc8G-0

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby Audi » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:40 am

Hi all,

UniTaichi, thanks for the post; however, the key moment is so quick and understated, it is hard for me at least to assess the technique.

Meghdad, I recently returned from several days of seminars that included a fair amount of Fajin training. It occurs to me that there is one exercise I might be able to share without disturbing my conscience about potential misuse.

If you stand in the basic zhan zhuang posture like hugging a tree, you can practice some of the mechanics of Fajin, if you

1. know how to do the posture well,
2. know how to "relax" correctly,
3. know how to lead with the "waist" as if using it like the handle of the whip.

If you understand these three, then you can practice manifesting the Fajin in the arms by leisurely moving the waist forward and letting the wave of energy propagate up the spine and into the arms and hands. I am not speaking in metaphorical terms, but in terms of mechanics and modern physics. Speaking in terms of Qi, I could say that moving the waist forward will send the Qi into the chest, making it go slightly forward and the shoulders slightly back. Then as the Qi sticks to the spine, the shoulders will come forward, sending the Qi all on the arms and into the hands.

There is no particular reason to do this exercise quickly or with a lot of power, especially to begin with. I can take more than a full second to complete the motion. If you try to do it quickly, without supervision, you might risk injury to your neck if you do it wrong. If it is done correctly, you can have your hands flick out, depending on which way you send your waist. The flick in the hands happens as the energy manifests there and not because your mind sends any message to your hands to move. In other words, the energy moves your hands, not your mind, just as the tip of a whip moves because of what happens at the handle of the whip, not because you have any direct control of the tip at all. You can also move your waist so that your hands will flick inward, rather than outward.

If you have any interest in this and any of it is not clear, let me know and I will try to clarify. All though some might find this exercise somewhat easy, most do not, even if they have practiced for many years. Whether you find it easy or not, may have no direct bearing on your level of gongfu or ability to hit hard. It may, however, have a bearing on how well you know how to use the waist and how appropriately you "relax" the upper body.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby jondregoz » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:32 pm

-Audi-
that detail is so interesting its make me feel good and healthy body.
thank alot :D
A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.
Plato's
hunting knives
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Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby meghdad » Mon May 06, 2013 11:11 am

Dear Audi,
I would like to thank you for generously sharing your knowledge and experience. I appreciate and I'm grateful. Regarding the exercise you mentioned, I've been practicing Zhan Zhuang postures regularly, specially Wuji, Holding the Belly and Hugging the tree. I'm not professional though, therefore I'm not quite sure about No.3 in your list 8) although I always try to be mindful of small movements of the waist while standing.

So it will be very helpful if you elaborate in more details about the waist movement, how exactly this forward movement should be done, about the movement of the feet and the legs and so on.

Take care,
Meghdad
meghdad
 
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Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:18 am

Re: Fa Jin in 67 Sword form

Postby Audi » Tue May 14, 2013 12:26 am

Hi Meghdad,

In my view, Fajin can be dramatic or subtle. In this case, I am talking about something somewhat subtle.

When I do routine Fajin practice, I show very strong energy. Complete Fajin, done to its fullest, will involve the whole body, the breath, and sound. From what I understand, this is what can involve some risk to yourself or to your partner. The exercise I was describing is something more for just the upper body and does not really need the energy provided by the lower body, at least initially.

From the "hug-a-tree" posture, move your lumbar spine slightly more to the rear to store energy. When I do this, I do slightly bend my knees and my hip joints also to store some energy, but I am not really concentrating on this and do not bother trying to generate energy in the legs. After storing energy in the lumbar spine, complete the circle by moving it forward to start a wave of energy up the body.

As the Qi enters the chest, the chest moves forward and the hands move slightly backwards towards the chest The upper back will close just slightly. As the wave continues, the lumbar spine and chest will in turn oscillate towards the rear, sending the shoulders and the hands forward as the upper back opens up again. The joints and the limbs should move just as the branches of a sapling will whip about if you put sudden energy into the trunk. Just to make the manifestation of the energy clear, you can leave the wrists limp and watch the energy flick them forward.

Do the motion somewhat slowly at first. You must be neither too stiff nor too limp. You cannot control the movements of your joints, nor not control them. It should feel as if the energy forces the movement to manifest itself rather than that you mechanically control and coordinate the movement. It is a real organic wave, like the branches of a tree, rather than an artificial imitation of a wave, like fans raising their arms in a soccer stadium to simulate a wave. The limbs should also not just simply stop, but rather will oscillate into stillness, like a spring that has discharged.

Once you get an idea of it, you can begin to do it faster and with more energy. You can also change your stance into a bow stance and begin to use strong energy from the legs during a weight shift. If you can do this, you can begin to do strong Fajin with you chest or use the opposite wave to do strong fajin with the back. The chest or the back will move only an inch or two, but will have enough energy that it could injure an opponent or send one flying. If you can get the energy into the chest and back, you can practice extending it into the shoulder, both forward and back. Then to the elbow. And then to the fist or palm. The waist is like the handle of the whip that sends a wave of energy to the tip.

The closer the point of the Fajin is to the "waist" (i.e., the lumbar spine), the simpler it is from a theoretical stand point, but the harder it is to do with real skill.

I hope this clarify things a little bit.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

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