Hi Audi, Yuri, DP, David
It’s really funny: I wrote the following response to Audi’s post yesterday, before seeing DP’s basketball explanation. I was thinking about it myself and came to the exact same conclusions, even going so far as to research basic bouncing physics on some websites (I listed one below).
Audi: Thanks for your good response—I feel a lot better about it now, and my practice partner indeed felt no ill effects. Before I had a chance to read your response I picked up a copy of B.K. Frantzis’s “The Power of Internal Martial Arts: Combat Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I” and his discussion of “short” focused jin made me feel better b/c I could tell I’m not doing that!
Thanks for helping me distinguish between jie4 (borrowing) and jie2 (intercepting). From our other discussions, I do think of pung jing as a bouncy kind of energy—not that it leaps about—but that with its expansive, rounded, rubber-ball type characteristics things naturally bounce away. I think I was probably doing some combination of pung, jie4, and jie2, pung just being the underlying structural jing. I think jie4 came into play b/c it felt like the impulse of my opponent’s push traveled through me unimpeded (or as unimpeded as I get!) and came back out again where my hand was pushing at his chest. I didn’t feel like I was adding any energy to the exchange, other than the small amount necessary to maintain my upright structure and turn his energy back to him.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
In other words, even if one were to use a grabbing technique, one would exhibit a resilience that would force him or her to augment the power of the grab, just as if you were pulling on a rubber band that snapped back. The same would apply to Press, Push, Roll Back, etc. To accomplish this, one must often “follow” past the point that would at first seem necessary to “win.” </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hmm, can you explain more about following to seeming excess? I don’t quite follow you there. But I think I understand the rubber band feeling your talking about. I wonder if it’s similar to something my teacher was talking about: for increasing yin, he instructed us to think of our hand (or whatever’s making contact) as a lead blanket—soft, conforming perfectly to the shape and direction of the opponent’s movement, utterly compliant, but slightly heavy so that everything the opponent tries to do is made just a little bit harder. I think that if the opponent is working just a little bit harder than necessary, then this might be the similar to the extra “give” of a rubber band that forces the opponent to pull just a little bit harder than he might otherwise. Being resilient, or heavy like this gives you just a little bit more “space” to turn when you move to counter b/c your sudden change from yin to yang or vice versa leaves him with a sudden and unexpected “slack” that he must first try to follow in order to keep sticking with you.
I’m not sure they’re exactly the same thing, I’ll have to play with it a little and see what differences I can find, but they seem related (but isn’t everything? : ))
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> As for “fa jin,” I think that different schools treat this differently. I get the impression that for the Yangs, “fa jin” at its most basic is no more complex than “hua jin” (“neutralizing jin”). To do it well needs lots of training, perhaps with the staff/spear, but to do it at all is not particularly difficult. </font>
Ha! I’m sure there are those who would beg to differ about the difficulty…but I’m not precisely one of them. I believe I’ve had some accidental success with fa jin in my sword form—when I was really relaxed and not particularly thinking of anything. Getting to the point where it could happen naturally took a long time, but when I finally relaxed enough to stop thinking about the form, it suddenly happened and I remembered thinking, “Why, this is so easy! Why can’t I do this all the time? Why can’t everybody do this?” Of course, if I’m not relaxed I can’t do it at all.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Where I think one must be particularly careful is in exploring “short jing,” because the power tends to penetrate into the body of your practice partner and remain there. This can cause very serious harm. If, on the other hand, you use “long jin,” you simply “push” your practice partner over a long distance and he will usually have time to dissipate the energy harmlessly by stepping, hopping, or rolling away. </font>
Thanks, you’re absolutely right and I’m not even going there (yet). I was confused about what I was doing b/c the “build up” (how much yang energy I permitted my partner to express) was short and my expression of force was “short” in that it was quick and sudden and I didn’t have any “wind up” or distance to travel since my arm was already in contact with the place where the force came out. But when I did push him I think maybe I was pushing with a long jing that I just truncated so that he wouldn’t fall over, but I’m sure he could have rolled if I hadn’t been using baby pushes.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If you are managing to manifest “jie jin,” I would say that you should definitely stick with it and rejoice at your practice level. From what you describe, I do not see why you should not be capable of using this technique. Whether or not you can do it consistently and under pressure might, of course, be another matter. </font>
Thanks, I do need to work on it more…and I am hoping I’ll have a little lag time to figure out how to relax more before my practice partners start using it on me! I asked my teacher about it and other than asserting that there must always be a circle, he said it was OK to practice.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> At its most basic, it is the “relaxed extended” feeling you described very well. From this “disposition of your joints and tendons” arises “peng” as your body tends to establish certain equilibriums when encountering an outside force. </font>
Certain equilibriums—interesting! Yes, that’s what it felt like. The spaces between joints give you the space for “shock absorbtion” allowing the system to regulate pressure internally—some give and take.
Nice discussion of Yin and Yang also. Yes, when I allowed him to start pushing me, and then turned it into pushing him, I controlled the juncture from Yang (him) to Yin (me), making a quick change to back to Yang (me). When I didn’t allow him to push, I controlled his juncture between Yin (yielding) and Yang (pushing), covering the change such that when he turned to Yang, his push “bounced” back at him. Covering his energy was like focusing a satellite dish so that whatever he emitted hit the “center” and just got reflected back at him in a tight beam. I think this is exactly the same as the indentation in a beach ball that I mentioned. Maybe this is how the bounce works: the force hits (or creates) a concave surface in the roundness of pung energy, which then reflects it back. Erm, yeah, here’s a better discussion of bouncing for those who are also foggy about basic physics: http://rabi.phys.virginia.edu/HTW/bouncing_balls.html
I don’t know if you mentioned it in your older discussion of empty and full (which I remember reading, but not the details—will have to look at it again), but the idea of attacking the breath dovetails nicely with all of this discussion of yin and yang, empty and full. If you can push right as the opponent inhales, you can often uproot them. It’s hard to counter. I was lucky enough to push hands with a Chen style master once and I (gently, politely) tried this on him. He made a small internal circle in his chest and rooted, diverting my upward push into downward rooting energy. Fascinating to watch! At the time I was astounded and spluttering, but when I asked my Yang style teacher about it and demonstrated, he made and even smaller circle and sent it back at me! Wow! What a lesson! The Chen style master could probably have done the same, but I wasn’t his student, so I think he was being polite in not pushing me although the disparity between our skill levels was obvious.
One more note on breathing: if you get them in the transition between inhaling (yin) and exhaling (yang) and push as they begin to exhale, you can often stop their push entirely b/c they won’t want to push if they can’t breathe out while pushing.
DP: I think I actually was bouncing him the way you suggested. It really didn’t feel like I was adding force. I was using pung energy to maintain a certain level of expansion, or springiness. If he exerted an angular momentum of 4 inches, then that’s about how far I pushed him back—compression, expansion. I think you hit the nail on the head with suggesting it was progress in structure, rooting, and relaxation. I think I’ve heard something similar about fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers, but I don’t remember my anatomy well enough. Sounds good.
Yuri: When I first wrote about the experience, I was having a hard time figuring out the circularity of the movement. It didn’t feel like I was making any circle to return his force, so I was quite confused. But the more I think about it, the more the experience is sorting itself out. I think I somehow lucked into making my body structure itself be the circle. I must admit I wasn’t thinking about the dan tien at all, but I did feel rounded and expansive, as though there were space between my joints. If I understand it right, the more we sink our chi to the dan tien, the more it concentrates there, building pressure for an outward expansion of pung jin throughout the body. The pung energy expands the joints, making the body more round, and increasing the joints’ springiness and ability to absorb shock (like shock absorbers in cars).
David: Interesting balloon-string metaphor—I’m going to have to think about that one some more.
Well, as always, thank for sharing your knowledge and experience!