peng-jin?

peng-jin?

Postby khemkhang » Sun Aug 28, 2005 12:29 am

Hello

I am still a beginer in this art and would really appreciate any help I can get. I studied taichi for only about 3 mouth, but I have to move and now I have to practice alone. I do have a question on how you actually do the form. I remember that when we do the form we do not support to use and force. But we also have to hold the structure of our body. How do we do that without using any force?

I asked someone once, and he say that our structure is hold up by peng-jin. every posture/move in taichi must have peng-jin. He also said that peng-jin is like rubber balloon that does not matter where the force is apply it will not move (or something like that) This even confuse me further because how can I do the form in relaxing manner how can I resist the force that is apply to me.

So my question would be....Do I continue to do the form in a completely relaxing manner(which I still couldn't) and this peng-jin would develop eventually? This would mean than at this time I still do not have the internal streght to resist the force without using muscular strenght? OR I HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY I PRACTICE MY FORM?

PLEASE>>> if anybody could help me I would be very greatful. I really do not want to practice incorrectly. THANK YOU VERY MUCH
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:50 am

Hi Khemkhang,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> But we also have to hold the structure of our body. How do we do that without using any force? </font>


Hold the structure of the body, but relax inside the structure. Eventually, the stiff strength and tension inside will dissolve and pung-jin will strengthen. Like the balloon analogy, I think the chi inside will be like air in a balloon--moving freely, but supporting the outside structure.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I asked someone once, and he say that our structure is hold up by peng-jin. every posture/move in taichi must have peng-jin.</font>


I agree.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> He also said that peng-jin is like rubber balloon that does not matter where the force is apply it will not move (or something like that) This even confuse me further because how can I do the form in relaxing manner how can I resist the force that is apply to me.</font>


Maybe think of a basketball. The air inside holds the ball so that the surface is firm. The air inside is soft and relaxed. It has no tension but it creates an internal pressure. When force is applied by forcing the ball against the ground it does not collapse. The ball just bounces. When the body is really relaxed, extended, and open, then the body can become more like a ball--springy and distributing force evenly.

Yet the ball is should still be very responsive--it moves according to where it is moved by the player but it always maintains its structural integrity as a ball filled with air.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So my question would be....Do I continue to do the form in a completely relaxing manner(which I still couldn't) and this peng-jin would develop eventually?</font>


Yes.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This would mean than at this time I still do not have the internal streght to resist the force without using muscular strenght? </font>


Maybe. Everybody has a certain amount of internal strength. It's not so much a question of enough internal strength. The problem is more that internal strength gets stuck when there is still too much tension in the body. It's a natural tendency to respond with muscular strength too, so even when people learn to relax a little and use internal strength in their form they often resort/revert to using stiff muscular strength in push hands.

Don't worry about it too much, my advice is 1) maintain the outer shape of your form (don't be limp) 2) relax inside the form. It can take a long time--but it's worth it! Image

Best wishes,
Kal
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Postby cheefatt taichi » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:20 am

As a beginner your immediate aim is to be able to relax. Do not get too concern with internal energy, jin etc..these things are beyond your grasp at this moment. Do the form as you are taught and try to do it with the least physical tension as possible. Relax into the form. All taiji kungfus derived from being able to relax and let loose. Work on relaxation first and build a strong foundation for future taiji skills. Don't under estimate Relaxation (Song) in taiji, all your taiji skills depended on your ability to become loose. The looser you can become, the greater will be your taiji jin and other skills.
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:08 am

Hi Kal
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B>

Everybody has a certain amount of internal strength. It's not so much a question of enough internal strength. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Partly agree, but there is another side of it. WZY's Taijiquan Lun clearly states that (peng) jin is not an inherent ability per se. The question is what's the process of building (peng) jin? How many years does it exactly require (under the appropriate guidance) to build peng jin to such amount that it will manifest itself undoubtedly?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by cheefatt taichi:
Work on relaxation first and build a strong foundation for future taiji skills. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi cheefatt taichi,

Could you please elaborate a little further on what you mean under "foundation"? What is the foundation of taiji or to be more definitive of jin?

To All,

However I have general understanding of the issue, the question, for me, still remains open - how to be soft and hard? What is the whole Process of building jin in the Yang style tradition? Any hint, if not an answer?

Thank you



[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 08-30-2005).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:30 pm

Jerry, thank you.

I've read the text before, it's interesting, contains very good allegories. So it's much better than nothing, therefore thanks again. But it leaves some questions. BTW is there any chance to see that short text by YZD in Chinese?

I would greatly appreciate if someone gives additional explanation to that wonderful piece of wisdom.

quote 1
'Adding work' or refining, refers to the way in which, during the process of production, we use the method of high temperature forging; correspondingly for coarse strength we use the method of relaxation (fang song) to remove the stiffness of coarse strength. Both are means to an end.


If I understood right the method is fang-song. The first part is to remove the stiffness. Well, this is absolutely undisputed part. The unclear point is – what else?

1) What dose the 'temperature forging' allude to?

quote 2
' The process of refinement causes the two to manifest something which seems contradictory to its original nature. For example the water used for tempering steel and drinking water seem similar, yet there is a difference in the nature of the two.'

What is the 'water' for tempering?

quote 3
" Therefore when we refer to 'coarse strength' - which has had its stiffness removed - as soft but not limp, it is because 'soft' has this flexible resilience, which is to say it includes within it the ingredient for 'energy' ."

What is this 'energy' in Chinese here(qi?) ? Here is, I suppose, the 'missing part' lie.


So I will greatly appreciate it if someone could to any extent explain me or give us the reference (in Chinese or English) to infor about these three above points. I believe they are all important.


Probably it maybe looked like I am exaggerating something that is not really essential. Then, I am sorry.



[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 08-30-2005).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:32 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
Kal: Everybody has a certain amount of internal strength. It's not so much a question of enough internal strength.

Yuri: Partly agree, but there is another side of it. WZY's Taijiquan Lun clearly states that (peng) jin is not an inherent ability per se. The question is what's the process of building (peng) jin? How many years does it exactly require (under the appropriate guidance) to build peng jin to such amount that it will manifest itself undoubtedly?
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Yuri,

I wasn't trying to say that internal strength is the same thing as pung jin. I may be understanding it completely wrong, but I understand one's internal strength as a kind of baseline of possibility. It's the amount of energy one has in the body that one could theoretically use IF one were completely relaxed. I think you can see it a little in people walking around: sickly people have less internal energy than those who are vibrant and full of life. But this is not the same thing as having pung jin.

My sense of it is that in reality, people generally expend part of their internal strength in maintaining tension unconsciously through lack of awareness about what they are doing and lack of focused and deliberate relaxation. So then the body is kind of fighting with itself and creating/maintaining chi blockages. Even though one may have a certain baseline of internal strength, one cannot USE it until he or she has dissolved the stiff strength within. When stiff strength is dissolved, then it can become pung jin if the unleashed energy is conserved in the dan tien and not dissipated.

But even if one is able to relax and use pung jin effectively there will be a difference between practitioners because of how much internal strength they were born with/have accumulated/have conserved. A tai chi practitioner who has been at it for 50 years will likely have more internal energy than one who has been at it for 20 years even if both of them are sufficiently relaxed as to have dissolved the stiff strength. But lower down the scale there can be many variations—a practitioner who is still somewhat sickly but has worked hard to relax may have more internal strength available to them to use than a more vibrant practitioner who has more internal strength but who cannot use it because they are still tense and using disjointed muscular strength.

I liked your questions about the articles. I look forward to hearing others’ answers, but I can’t help you on those.

As for the process of building pung jin? I’m not really sure, but the more I practice, the more it seems to improve. I think sinking the qi (so it can accumulate in the dan tien) is important. When my qi is up, my pung is worse. When I am rooted, it improves. When I think of sinking qi to the dan tien, it improves again. If the dan tien is likened to our familiar balloon, I think sinking qi to that area is like inflating a balloon. It is a region that can more easily conserve qi, so qi there naturally radiates outwards, filling the whole structure. But if we just—for example—fill the hands with qi without connecting them to the whole or allowing them to fill from the rooted dan tien, then it’s like filling a balloon without tying a knot, the qi just dissipates or floats. This is my personal experience of it. I don’t know if it works like this for others.

As for how long it takes…I don’t know that either. I think it really depends on the person and everyone’s different. There are so many factors: their baseline energy when they started, how often they practice, the quality of their practice, the quality of their instruction…and probably more too.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful,
Kal
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Postby DPasek » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:01 pm

Jerry,

Thanks for the posts of your translations. On the Third Rep link you translated "sanlinsuan and xiantaisuan" as being adenosine triphosphate. This is probably what was intended, but there seems to be an error by the author (not having a scientific background?).

"Sanlinsuan" does mean triphosphate, but adenosine should be "xiangansuan" not "xianlinsuan" according to a co-worker of mine, a postdoc from China, in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Dept. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dan
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Postby khemkhang » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:26 pm

Hi all

Thank you very much for everyone's reply. Hope nobody won't mind if I come back and ask some other questions sometime. Practicing tai chi without any help is really hard

Thank you again
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:47 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DPasek:
<B>Jerry,

Thanks for the posts of your translations. On the Third Rep link you translated "sanlinsuan and xiantaisuan" as being adenosine triphosphate. This is probably what was intended, but there seems to be an error by the author (not having a scientific background?).

"Sanlinsuan" does mean triphosphate, but adenosine should be "xiangansuan" not "xianlinsuan" according to a co-worker of mine, a postdoc from China, in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Dept. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dan</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I came up with adenosine triphosphate by looking at some of these terms in the venerable old dictionary Cihai. When I showed it to a Chinese at work who has a Ph.D in biochemistry he shook his head and said "yeah, something like that". It's kind of a casual reference and we shouldn't make too much of it.
I am planning soon to finish the chapter and a part of another chapter which I earlier translated in part. These two fragments refer to a fascinating concept of concentric regions surrounding the body, the inner one 'rounded' and the outer one 'squared' or 'angular'. There is quite a bit about this concept in the Chinese literature but I can't recall ever seeing it mentioned in English.
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:36 am

Yuri, I am pretty consistently translating jing as 'energy'. (to those of you who hate this please mentally substitute jing or any other phrase you prefer Image ). Yang Zhenduo uses analogies like tempering hot steel by plunging it into water and so forth to talk about producing jing through the method of fang song which is usually translated 'relax'. It might be better to think of this fang song method as 'elongate'. He is indicating that jing is not achieved directly, but rather comes about as a kind of 'side effect' of the elongation. If you use stiff or coarse strength it has a tendency to cover up or prevent the possibilities of jing. My suggestion is to carefully try to follow the ten essentials and practice elongating as you do the form. If you can actually do this you will notice results almost immediately. Here is another little piece on the same area: http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/rep/archives/20.htm
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:58 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
If the dan tien is likened to our familiar balloon, I think sinking qi to that area is like inflating a balloon. It is a region that can more easily conserve qi, so qi there naturally radiates outwards, filling the whole structure. But if we just—for example—fill the hands with qi without connecting them to the whole or allowing them to fill from the rooted dan tien, then it’s like filling a balloon without tying a knot, the qi just dissipates or floats. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Kal,

very well said. Thank you for the detailed answer.

Analyzing your reply I came to thought that there are two peng jin sources. The first is what you described so precisely – sinking qi, complete loosening (songjing) of the lower abdomen, letting the weight drop (xia chen) down for stability and so on. The other source, I believe, is an expansion of the first, let's call it "kind of changing tissues and bones". This is what allows taiji master to withhold the blow for instance to his unfolding arm and makes his/her body strong like a rock. This second step is still a kind of secret for me.

Good luck in the practice,

Yuri
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:12 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
Yuri, I am pretty consistently translating jing as 'energy'. (to those of you who hate this please mentally substitute jing or any other phrase you prefer Image ). Yang Zhenduo uses analogies like tempering hot steel by plunging it into water and so forth to talk about producing jing through the method of fang song which is usually translated 'relax'. It might be better to think of this fang song method as 'elongate'. He is indicating that jing is not achieved directly, but rather comes about as a kind of 'side effect' of the elongation. If you use stiff or coarse strength it has a tendency to cover up or prevent the possibilities of jing. My suggestion is to carefully try to follow the ten essentials and practice elongating as you do the form. If you can actually do this you will notice results almost immediately. Here is another little piece on the same area: http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/rep/archives/20.htm</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jarry, thank you again for the reference. I am waiting your new translation. ImageI alwais read them with a big interest. I see the point – there is no need to think much about peng jin, it's a kind of "side effect", but I believe it's better when the practitioner understand the concept of the changing that I mentioned in my previous post.
I'll ponder on your advice about 'elongating'.



[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 08-31-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:53 am

Greetings Jerry,

Re: “These two fragments refer to a fascinating concept of concentric regions surrounding the body, the inner one 'rounded' and the outer one 'squared' or 'angular'. There is quite a bit about this concept in the Chinese literature but I can't recall ever seeing it mentioned in English.”

There is a nice cluster of texts in the Yang Forty Chapters that touch on the round/square notion in taijiquan, notably texts 21, 22, and 23 translated by Wile on pages 76-77 of Lost T’ai-chi Classics (see Yang Zhenduo’s book, pages 10-11). The round/square yuan/fang dyad is something of a perennial concept, as evidenced in the recurring statement in the Huainanzi, “Heaven is round, earth is square; the Dao is in the exact center.” This also sort of dovetails with the geomantic compass (tianpan) imagery in the “Taiji Circle” (Yang Forty, #9), which we discussed on the board a while back. The geomantic compass was modeled on very early antecedents of various sorts, generally termed “cosmographs” by John Major. He writes in _Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought_, p. 40, “The cosmograph consisted of a round, rotatable ‘heaven plate’ placed on a pivot atop a fixed, square ‘earth plate.’”

Of course, this is different than what Shen is presenting, but the Forty Chapters material seems to draw heavily from these antecedent images.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby DPasek » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:17 pm

Peng Jin is an central concept in Taijiquan and, as I understand it, has multiple aspects involved in it.

As pointed out by others is the concept of resilient relaxation (fang song). My understanding of what is involved here physiologically is that you want the muscles used for movement - the fast twitch muscles which are typically located towards the exterior of the muscle groups - to be as relaxed as possible while supporting the structure/postures with the slow twitch muscles located more internally. Thus you get "steel wrapped in cotton," and this seems to be what is trained in either standing meditation or holding postures from the form for lengthy periods of time. Holding postures for long periods of time tire out the fast twitch muscles until they are forced to relax while the slow twitch muscles can continue to hold ones structure/posture (or take over from the fast twitch muscles if they were being relied upon) and get built up. The more that the body is trained to use the slow twitch muscles for supporting its structure and the more relaxed the fast twitch muscles can become, then the more fast twitch fibers can be recruited for issuing power resulting in more force being generated.

The fast twitch muscles also need to be relaxed in order to achieve "lengthening," otherwise the joints will have tension from the muscles resisting the attempt to open up. Tension in the joints inhibits the transmission of power from one part of the body to the next, and to be able to issue united force all the way from the feet to the hands, one can not have counteractive tensions in any of the joints in that path. "Lengthening" opens the joints so that they act like a well lubricated piece of machinery which minimizes the friction of one part rubbing against another. Open joints also allows one to have a sort of "cushion" for receiving forces, and a springiness for issuing force.

DP
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