'Draining' energy query

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Apr 24, 2004 7:48 pm

Greetings,

The discussion about immobilizing an opponent made me recall a passage in Chen Yanlin’s 1943 book on Yang style taijiquan, in the section on “fajin.” Here’s Stuart Olson’s translation of a paragraph that contrasts the fajin approach of Yang Banhou with that of his father, Yang Luchan.

“[Yang Banhou] was able to make both of the opponent’s feet leave the ground, and with one advance he could throw the opponent back about thirty six feet. Contemporaries considered this skill of Yang’s to be the highest excellence. His father, Yang Lu-chan, on the contrary regarded it as incorrect. He reasoned that correct issuing energy must contain the characteristics of interrupting and frozen energies. The mind must be at peace and empty of offense. To issue you must be ingenious and utilize mind-intent.” (Olson, The Intrinsic Energies of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, pp. 94-95)

I’ve compared Olson’s translation with the original, and would only amend it slightly. I would render the sentence beginning “He reasoned,” as “His theory also used the other’s fajin (qi2 li3 yi4 yi3 bi3 zhi fajin), and actually contained characteristics of interruption (duan4) and cold (leng3)."

I think this is an important point about utilizing the opponent’s issuing. In my understanding, the ‘interrupting’ and ‘freezing’ are not some energy that one deploys, but ways of managing the opponent’s issuance of energy.

In a note to this passage, Olson writes, “Yang Lu-chan’s view does express a much higher understanding of issuing. Instead of expending the energy of throwing an opponent back thirty or more feet, Yang simply stopped the opponent dead in his tracks, interrupting and freezing his actions and intent. Furthermore, Lu-chan obviously understood the ingenuity of having no mind or intent of fighting, ‘at peace and empty of offense.’” (ibid., p. 105, n. 3)

The “at peace and empty of offense” is a common idiomatic phrase, “guang1 ming2 lei3 luo4.” I like this very much in Chen Yanlin’s description of Yang Luchan’s approach!

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 04-27-2004).]
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Postby Andreas Graf » Sun Apr 25, 2004 9:43 pm

Hi Louis,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> ‘freezing’ are not some energy that one deploys, but ways of managing the opponent’s issuance of energy.
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
As I have been told, cold jin is a type of fajin. You migth look for fa lengjin in a chinese search engine.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
In a note to this passage, Olson writes, “Yang Lu-chan’s view does express a much higher understanding of issuing. Instead of expending the energy of throwing an opponent back thirty or more feet, Yang simply stopped the opponent dead in his tracks, interrupting and freezing his actions and intent.
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not having access to the original, I am still very suspicous about Olson's translation of "lengjin" the conclusions he comes to.

Regards,

Andreas
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:45 am

Has anyone seen "leng3jin4" translated with something like "sudden" or "unexpected"?

Jeff
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Postby The Wandering Brit » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:19 pm

Louis wrote>>>I wonder if there are semantic issues here that may be clouding the discussion. In my opinion, if someone’s energy were “drained,” they would no longer be able to stand up. Perhaps W.B. did in fact end up in a slump on the floor, drained of energy, but the situations I described in my post were not thus. <<<

As you suspect Louis, I did not end up on the floor 'totally drained' - it was very much a localised feeling in my arms and upper body, which does increasingly lead me to think it may simply (simply - ha! If only it was simple!) be down to good gongfu.

(Some fascinating stuff coming out here though - the 'chi vampires' stuff ties in very heavily with old British tales of incubbi, succubi and the like who could drain life-force, but that's getting way off topic I guess....)
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:52 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gu Rou Chen:
<B>Has anyone seen "leng3jin4" translated with something like "sudden" or "unexpected"?

Jeff</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Jeff,

I believe that’s the sense of it, from the sparse Chinese sources I’ve seen on the term. For that reason, I think “cold” is a better English rendering than “frozen.” It’s similar to the English sense of “out of the cold,” or “walked in cold,” i.e., sudden, unannounced and unexpected. Or, to "stop someone cold" in his tracks. I’ll try to post more on this later, and on its context in the relevant Chen Yanlin passage. I’m interested in your take on the term too, and what you’ve come across.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 04-26-2004).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:44 pm

Greetings Andreas,

You wrote, “As I have been told, cold jin is a type of fajin.”

Were you also told what it means, or how it is done?

Thanks,
Louis
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:06 pm

Hi Louis,

Perhaps frozen is related to cold the way 'to "stop someone cold" in his tracks,' is related to the police yelling "Freeze!" or the idea of "freezing up."

As things stiffen up the colder they get I would not be surprised if "cold" and "frozen" are not related to expressing some form of stopping in many cultures.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Andreas Graf » Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:00 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Greetings Andreas,

You wrote, “As I have been told, cold jin is a type of fajin.”

Were you also told what it means, or how it is done?

Thanks,
Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It is the very short and sudden fajin that hurts the internal organs. However, I am not sure anymore about the sources.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:05 am

Greetings,

As Jeff mentions, lengjin probably carries a sense of “suddenly,” and “unexpected.” This is a sense captured in the ordinary Chinese phrase, “lengbufang,” which means to be caught off guard or unawares.

My _Jingxuan taijiquan cidian_ (dictionary of selected taijiquan terms) has entries for lengjin (cold energy) and a related term, lengduanjin (cold interrupt energy). Here are my roughs:

“Lengjin: a neijin method of taijiquan. It means a capacity to suddenly (turan) mobilize movement, possessing intense characteristics and a rather great destructive quality. It blends attack and defense into one system.”

“Lengduanjin: a neijin method of taijiquan. Intent (yi) is primary (or ‘in advance’—xian), and form and qi are interdependent. It is extremely agile and swift, and possesses great ability to kill or harm.”

Chen Yanlin, from what I can gather, says little about lengjin beyond the scant mentions he makes in the “fajin” section of his book. He identifies it as one of several subcategories of fajin. Here’s my rough of his paragraph on lengjin:

“As for lengjin, it relys on leading the issuing person in without his being aware. Therefore its power is quite fierce, while its application is not easy. However, for the highly skilled, that which can’t be obtained is possibly a loss for the gentleman’s way (junzi zhi dao).”

As I mentioned above, I think Chen Yanlin’s explanation of the ‘interrupting’ and ‘freezing’ characteristics of Yang Luchan’s method are not so much some energy that one deploys, but ways of managing the opponent’s issuance of energy. This is my opinion, but I think it is supported in Chen’s definition of lengjin as being dependent upon the issuing of the opponent, and in the taiji dictionary entry saying that lengjin “blends attack and defense into one system.” Chen’s whole presentation on fajin begins with a discussion of how issuing is always preceeded by neutralizing, attacking preceeded by defending. This, of course, is fundamental to taijiquan theory.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Michael » Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:06 pm

Louis,

I know this is no use to the dicussion. But what you post makes perfect sense to me.

Thanks also for the reference to the statement in "Intrinsic Energies.." I will have to look back at that.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:30 pm

Greetings Michael,

I’m always happy to see your feedback. If you’re lucky enough to have a copy of Olson’s Intrinsic Energies, you should hang on to it! I believe it’s out of print. Years ago, I bought a little Hong Kong book on push hands. It was Chen Yanlin’s (Chen Gong) push hands section, with original line drawings, from his larger 1943 book on Yang Style. It also had a fascinating little section in the back, “Lun Jin” (a discussion of jin). That’s the material that Olson translates in Intrinsic Energies. I’ve tried my hand at translating pieces from the “Lun Jin” material, and find my renderings differ from Olson’s on some subtle points. I think it’s a very thought-provoking book, though, and many of Olson’s notes are insightful.

There are varying accounts, and some controversy, around just how Chen Yanlin acquired the materials for his book, which evidently drew in part on Yang family manuals not meant for the public. It would be great if some day the whole story could be made known.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Michael » Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:06 am

Louis,

Yes I do have Olsons book, that one and another. I recomended to someone else "Intrinsic Energies" and found that it was out of print. Dragon Door became enirely obsessed with With that Pavel guy and his Kettle balls. They left a number of good things slip away.

"It would be great if some day the whole story could be made known."

Wouldn't it be something if the manuals were to be made public..... The questions that would be answered and the new questions to be asked...

My hobby is history. It has been mainly involved with western Europe and Scandinavia up until "the conquest" I really only have started with Chinese subjects. Philoshphical/religious Buddhism and Daoism in a more historical/culturalmanner, and only recently the "folk religion" of China. Not reading Chinese does hamper me significantly but this is a side to my other intrests at this point. One thing I am very intersted in is the Yang Family and it versions of it's Tai chi. Yang Lu Chans, Banhous and Jianhous. I have been picking up bits an pieces from those comments like you mention from Olson's book I had forgotten those. And I think they are significant. I tried to compare the sets that I come across suposedly coming from this Yang family member or another. Sometimes two supposedly coming from the same source have very little in common.

What I found from this was it wasn't tne individual forms or postures or even the whole sets that was interesting (though they are), but rather what they were based on. The emphasis that each man had. Though different, the same questions arise and I find that often the answers are the same as well. But it is still the questions, more than the "answers" I find the most productive. My body can often provide the "answers", the "head" doesn't always provide the questions. The Posting of Olsons translation relating to Lu chan and Ban Hous are often just the things that provide the questions I seek.

I have had no trouble finding what is said to be Banhous tai chi. Jianhous taiji has eluded me.

my best,

Michael



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Re: 'Draining' energy query

Postby Bob klein » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:46 am

It's hard to know what that specific person was doing without experiencing it ourselves. We can, of course, only know about the event from your experience of it. From your description, it sounds like something we do at our school.

We learn to use each type of tissue according to its own nature. The connective tissue, including ligaments and tendons, are a rubbery web surrounding each body cavity, each muscle, organ and bone. Tendons, of course connect muscle to bone and ligaments - bone to bone in joints. We use the connective tissue to store the partner's energy just as a trampoline absorbs the impact of the jumper.

We absorb the force of the push hands partner and then return it (like a bow shooting an arrow), adding of course, the spring of the legs and expansion of the joints but can also allow the absorbed force to drain to the ground through the legs. This is done by sequentially relaxing muscles towards and into the root. If this is done correctly, in exact pace with the partner's force, the result will be that his efforts result in nothing. As much force as he applies, that amount is drained.

If he retreats, we fill with just enough energy to maintain the energy relationship between us. The overall result is that the partner is "stuck" and cannot effect any technique. It is called "zeroing out". His movements and energy are exactly balanced.

Since we extend our attention and energy into his body, this is done within his body, neutralizing his efforts as he is about to begin them. So even the initial intent is zeroed out.

This sounds like what you experienced. The person doing this hardly moves at all externally but within himself there is a lot going on energetically. It is actually a lot of fun and when you are training in this, you tend to laugh a lot.
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Re: 'Draining' energy query

Postby UniTaichi » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:59 am

Hi Bob & Guys,

Greeting to all. Came across this forum and decide to join in as the things discussed here are very interesting and informative.

Bob
Your training that you are doing now is not the same as what Brit had experienced. Since the post was some years back, perhaps by now some of the contributors (to the forum) already understood what it is all about.

Brit
What you experienced is not ''draining of energy'' but ''locking of energy'' It feel like moving your arms in quicksand, as someone here described. And slowly you have no energy to move at all. The feeling initially is akin to your energy being drain. But if you can re-visualized the moment again,(Hint: what do you feel physcially besides the energy? ), you might find that it is not the case (of draining energy). High level Masters like Yang Lu Chan can do it in a relatively short time. As far as I know and experienced, it is not harmful if you just want to learn at that level.

Louis Swaim wrote:Lengjin: a neijin method of taijiquan. It means a capacity to suddenly (turan) mobilize movement, possessing intense characteristics and a rather great destructive quality. It blends attack and defense into one system.”

“Lengduanjin: a neijin method of taijiquan. Intent (yi) is primary (or ‘in advance’—xian), and form and qi are interdependent. It is extremely agile and swift, and possesses great ability to kill or harm.”


Having said that (it is not harmful learning just to lock arms) it is quite a different story if you want to level up this Lengjin skill.

The Jingxuan above described it, Lengduanjin, very well.

And it is not hypnotism and no auto suggestion as Brit have described clearly in his post. As for the graveyard example and vampire sucking energy, well it is also true. But that is not for this forum. Keep a pure mind and no harm will come your way.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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