Tan Jing (Talking About Jing)
By Zhang Yi Zun
Translated by Peter Lim Tian Tek

Because Taijiquan expands upon external boxing methods, researching the internal flow of jing, that's why there is the appearence of sticky jing (nien jing), neutralising jing (hua jing), holding jing (na jing), emmitting jing (fa jing), peng jing, long jing (chang jing), short jing (duan jing), etc commonly known traditional names. There are always some people who like to do according to their will and create new names.

In Taijiquan, how many types of jing are there? So many its a mess. And even the explanation of each type of jing are not the same. Because internal jing (nei jing) is a combination of many elements not all visible, and training methods are mostly combined with movements, some are really not easy to explain, and since every one's understanding through practice is not exactly the same, its very hard to come to a concensus.

For example: "what is peng jing?" is already hard to get a simple and clear explanation. One day there will definitely be some hard working compilers of a "Wushu Terms Dictionary". Some people explain it thus:

"Peng Jing is after long periods of sincere practice of Taijiquan and push hands, resulting in a type of sung (no tension) yet not sung, soft but carrying in it hard, active but sunk and heavy, elastic and pliable type of jing, which includes sticking (nien), neutralising (hua), bouyant (fu) and capable of trapping (kun) kind of jing, also called internal jing (neijing)". Also we have from from myrid schools and students who hold "Taiji is peng jing, movement goes in spirals (luo xuan)" as the central maxim.

These two explanations, are all too much on the surface, not able to grasp peng jing's reality. At the very least, with expert's peng jing, its not exactly the same.

If we say "it is sung but not sung", "sunk and heavy" then it is peng jing, then when pushing with teacher Ya Xuan (here he refers to his teacher Li Ya Xuan who was a noted disciple of Yang Cheng Fu), he feels extremely without tension, very soft, insubstantial, only lightly contacting with the skin. Is this kind of jing peng jing? Actually its does not really feel as if he has a pliable characteristic, much less "sunk and heavy". He only feels insubstantial, empty and we can't feel his jing. Does this count as peng jing? If we say that he does not have peng jing, then why is it that we can't get him? Why is it that he always wins?

Saying "Taiji is peng jing, movement goes in spirals", is even less accurate. How can Taijiquan be totally explained by peng jing! If we say that Taijiquan is sinking jing (chen jing), that is also a way to get a taste of it; if we way it is sticky jing (nien jing), we see that it is not necessary wrong either. Spiraling is specifically guided by a continuous rounded shape, only if we say Taijiquan goes by different kinds of curves, and also in straight lines, then we are closer to the truth.

Another saying "the stronger nei jing is, during push hands you can bully your opponent more". This is the saying of beginning students who have have only beginning push hands skills. When one attains the level where "people don't know me" then can one be considered an expert. "Using four ounces to deflect 1000 pounds, strength does not necessarily win" says that great strength is not the correct way of Taijiquan. "Wonderous way is being able to borrow strength", being able to use and express our agile sensitivity, to control the opponent's movement of jing, using lesser strength to beat a greater strength. Using soft and weak to beat hard and strong. This then is the direction we must work hard towards for those of us who practice Taijiquan.

Saying "peng jing is also called nei jing". Rollback (Lu), Press (Ji), Push (An), etc, jings become external jings then? If they are all nei jing. Then why specially point out that "peng jing is also called nei jing"? Isn't this baselessly saying things, creating your own classications?

I have thought about it alot, spent alot of time, then wrote out the explanation:"peng jing is agile, formed in a curve, can neutralise oncoming strength, can also elastically bounce out whilst soft and sticking jing". Such a long winded explanation, many people will definitely shake their heads in disapproval, even I myself am not satisfied with it, but it is very difficult to condense it. Because it is like that, the line of expression was broken earlier. Questioning those famous practitioners within our country, we don't know whether they will agree or not.

Nei jing's large and small, cannot depend on one's own feeling, saying "the stronger nei jing is, during push hands you can bully your opponent more", actually, this is your opponent making the mistake of resisting jing (ding jing). If your opponent is moving, he knows how to remain attached but not resisting, and so is not receiving your strength, then where does the bullying come from? Then stronger nei jing is, doesn't that mean that it makes it easier for your opponent to listen to your jing (ting jing)?

When I was young in my village, there was alot of water and paddi fields, I loved to play with mud. When I got bored, I would sling mud at my companions. The mud also exhibited the bouncing out power like the openning of a flower. If I scored, it can also stick on to the nose of my opponent and remain there for a long time. I have also used a stone to sling at my opponent but it won't stick on to him.

Hard things cannot stick. From observation, we come to understand the theory that only soft things can stick. This then is the reason why Taiqiquan uses soft jing (rou jing).

What Taijiquan researches, mainly is sticking jing (nien jing). How then to get sticking jing to a high level is the goal of our hard training.

The myrid other jings, all are just different uses of sticking jing.

Sticking a result of being sung and soft with sensitivity. Like sticky things, like a stamp stuck on an envelope, causing myself to stick to my opponent, in not letting go and not resisting, listening to his jing, this is the reality of nien jing.

Sticking is the method for understanding completely your opponent's condition.

Only when you have good sung then you can stick well. When you can stick, then you can fully utilise sensitivity's agile characteristic. Agility comes from sung and comes when one is calm and quiet. Not being light means not being able to be sung, this skill is all from practicing the boxing form. Boxing theory is from nature and is so made complete, we need to express it completely when doing the form. The postures in the form have high and low, every person's sung and softness level is different, so sticking jing's sensitivity will come according to each person differently.

When beginning to learn push hands, normally the sticking is very heavy, even if you want to lighten it you can't, the feeling is like having both person's bones against one another, in actual fact it is still resisting (ding). A little more advanced, when you can lighten it, the bones will no longer be in contact, you can only feel the flesh being in contact. High level sticking, the contact is only on the skin surface. The higher the level, the lighter the contact, the clearer and faster you can listen to jing, the easier it is to control your oppoonent.

Sticking is the feeling when both are in contact. Skill levels have deep and shallow, internal jing (nei jing) has large and small, its quality has soft and hard, the feeling of sticking is never always the same. "Not resisting and not letting go" (Bu Tiu Bu ding) then becomes the bridge for getting to a high level.

If we look at the classics, in it there are large sections that talk about being sung and soft, about being light and agile, about coorect body coordination (completeness), because only in this way then you can you train a high level sticking jing with soft and agile qualities.

Sticking jing is one of the big treasures of Taijiquan. Experts need only lightly stick to totally control the other causing him to topple to the east or lean to the west, not be able to stand stablely like a drunkard, causing him to knit his brows and bite his tongue in effort, a big calamity coming down on him, his life feels like a fainting spell. Teacher Ya Xuan has this ability, causing people to call it ultimate, even more causing people to aspire towards it. Where does it have "the stronger nei jing is, during push hands you can bullying your opponent more"?!

In pushing hands, the ward off (peng), rollback (lu), press (ji) and push (an) and in Big Rollback (da lu) the pluck (tsai), split (lieh), elbow (chou) and lean (kao), normally is termed as eight kinds of jing. From external appearances they have obvious differences. Actually it is sticking jing's eight types of usage. Calling them the eight methods of Taijiquan (taijiquan ba fa) is more suitable.

Taijiquan uses soft jing, dissolving hard jing (ying jing); is internal jing (nei jing) and not obvious jing (ming jing). Internal jing cannot be seen. Hard jing and obvious jing can be easily seen; strictly speaking, it is hard strength (ying li), and cannot be called jing.

Ward off, rollback, etc eight methods when in use, mostly use sticking jing, peng jing and sinking jing in combination, in actual fact is a combined jing. Its not individual jings being used alone.

In combat, Taijiquan strongly uses soft neutralisation, very much welcoming the opponent to rush in, and does not aim at making the first attack. Previous generations have created a complete method of training for gaining victory from opponents. With sticking jing, neutralising jing (hua jing), holding jing (na jing), emmitting jing (fa jing) these four types. This is the combat theory that is stored in each of the eight methods, it is the essence of Taijiquan. If internal jing is not soft, we can mostly only get the external structure, without a way of getting to a high level.

Sticking jing is coming into contact and knowing your opponent.

Neutralising jing (hua jing)'s meaning is neutralising to nothingness the incoming force. It emphasizes enticing the opponent to lead him into nothingness, causing his attack to come to nothing.

Holding jing (na jing) is used after neutralising the incoming force, following the opponent's jing path, cause him to come into danger.

Emmitting jing (fa jing) is after determining the weak point of the opponent, focusing available resources, emitting a return attack and gaining the fruits of victory.

We, in sticking, neutralising, holding and emitting, which is wonderfully complex, and always without limits, are learning to understand internal jing. Like climbing a famous mountain or touring a famous garden, every step, every scene, we receive the trueness, causing one to stay even longer and forget the normal world, becoming a boxing lover. But it is because it is so hidden, so complex, so deep, our intelligence limited, our skill insufficient or teacher's undertaking not high, it is like entering a treasure mountain and returning empty handed, and there are many such people. That is why those after learning boxing and training the body, only a few are able to gain effectiveness in combat and are seldom seen. It is because the internal and external requirements are too numerous and too lofty.

Now lets talk about peng jing.

One of the goals of training boxing is to gain the qualities of the whole body being sung and soft and the joints gaining a high level of agility, we can see that peng jing is not hard jing (ying jing).

The original rationale of pushing hands is in sticking circularly we entice into emptiness, following others, not letting go and not resisting. We can also see that peng jing is not using strength to go against (di kang) the opponent, pushing him out the door, instead should welcome the opponent in. When two forces go against each other this is resisting (ding). Resisting (ding) is solid jing (Kang Jing), it is the exact opposite of using soft to overcome hardness. We can see that peng jing is not hard jing (ying jing).

From the above analysis, it is clearly explained that pushing hands only uses soft jing (rou jing). If both parties use soft jing (rou jing), then who overcomes who? In comparison, whose sticking jing (nien jing) level is higher, listening jing (ting jing) ability is higher, sung and soft more complete, is definitely the victor. Natural neutralising jing (hua jing), is nothing but the wonderous usage of a whole body that is extremely soft. Spectacular emitting jing (fa jing), also comese from softness transformed. The boxing classics tell us "from extreme softness comes extreme hardness"!

Therefore, peng jing is a agile, curved structured, can neutralise to nothingness the incoming force and can also bounce out, is soft and sticking type of jing only.

Many people, because they misunderstand peng jing, think that resisting (ding) is peng, and going against the opponent is peng, making this a matter of great importance, causing aspirations of the lovers of Taijiquan to come to nothing. Training hard in boxing for a lifetime, obtaining internal jing (nei jing) that is not soft (rou), sticking jing (nien jing) that is not good. The flavour of their boxing not correct as a consequence, this is something pitiful.

Here we have only analysed peng jing, the rest, the reader in reading it over will not find it hard to conceptualise.

How many types of emitting jing (fa jing) are there in pushing hands?

Looking from external form, emitting jing (fa jing) has many types and different kinds, but in actuality there is only long jing (chang jing) and short jing (duan jing) these two types.

Long and short denotes the time the strength remains acting on the opponent's body.

When beginning to learn emitting jing (fa jing), those who have not developed sinking jing (chen jing) will normally emit long jing. Those with higher levels of development and skill and who know sinking jing (chen jing) can emit both long and short types of jing.

Emitting jing (fa jing) it is important to be fast for emitting jing (fa jing) to obtain satisfactory results. You cannot let your opponent discover your intention before hand. Really spectacular, shocking emitting jing (fa jing), results only after obvious jing is totally gone, it's intent-transmission is very fast and very agile with quick responses. Only when skills reach a fairly high level can it be manifest. Definitely not a normal obvious jing using grasping to prevent his movement, then pushing out the so called 'emitting jing', you can make a comparison.

If obvious jing is not complete gotten rid of, emitting jing will not be as quick, and the opponent can easily neutralise it away; even if the opponent's skill is inferior and cannot neutralise it, he knows its coming and he will not let you have your way.

Long jing (chang jing) is from the back foot directing to the front a thrust to the ground as being the primary source of power, requires all the joints coordinated, from bottom going to the top, following the structure to express out the jing. Because the duration of the execution of strength is long, it is possible to cause the opponent to be thrown a great distance away. The advantage is that it won't injure the opponent. For those who power attainment (kung li) is not deep such as beginning students whose waist (yao) and inguinal region (kua) are not limber, they should use more long jing (chang jing).

Short jing (duan jing) is a very high speed bouncing out strength, like compressing a spring and it suddenly springs (bounces) out. Because the duration is short, the speed fast, internal jing (nei jing) complete, it creates a very great pressure and sudden intentional strength. If we can penetrate into this, we can cause the opponent to panic and make mistakes, hitting him down more often, even scare him till he sweats cold sweat, even fainting, this is a good means of completely defeating the opponent. Those whose power attainment is not deep, or physique is not strong, its best not to lightly emit short jing. If it causes internal injury, doctoring it will waste time and effort and is quite a bother. Experts emitting short jing (duan jing) are able to understand heavy and light application, testing the opponent's ability to take it, and do not exceed it, but for normal practitioners it is very hard to attain this.

Cold jing (leng jing), cold (leng) as in cold without defence in meaning, is an even faster spectacular short jing (duan jing).

Intercepting jing (jie jing) is to receive the opponent's strength and turn around its direction back aganst him and emit jing (fa jing), or when the opponent's jing has not been fully emitted, I use a even faster jing to suffocate his jing back against him. This requires quite a high level of skill then it can be done.

As for hard jing (ying jing), hard soft jing (jiang rou jing), sung and sinking jing (sung chen jing), light and agile jing (ching ling jing), empty without jing (xu wu jing), is what teacher Ya Xuan, in the process of teaching Taijiquan, separated out into five types of jing flow. Its a pity that understanding teachers are always few, boxing theory is obscure and hard to understand. Normally what learners are familiar with may not be the real thing, their real skill is still not enough, most stop between the first two types of jing flow. Those able to enter into the third type of jing flow are already considered quite well skilled. Those able to get to the fourth type of jing flow is even harder to find. If we want to get to the empty without level, it is like refined through fire, a big achievement. In this world it is not easy to get many.

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