Tensegrity and Taijiquan (Tai Chi Ch'uan)

No matter what school, style, or lineage of taijiquan you may encounter, it is likely that over the course of studying this internal martial art … you will at some point be forced to totally reconsider the way you think your body works.

Tensegrity Structure AnimatedTensegrity Structure :: Human Body

The above spinning image (left) is an example of a structure being held together by the force of tensegrity or tensional integrity. In other words, the rigid green “beams” are never touching, but are suspended in their shape by the interconnected flexible red “strings.” The structure in the black and white image (right) is a symbolically simplified model of our skeleton & muscles to display that the …

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Study Guide to Taijiquan Fajin (Fa Chin ... or 'Fa Jing') - Part Two

The most popular topic of reading & discussion on this website is tai chi “fajing” (a technically incorrect spelling / concept). As such, I am going to build & refine this extensive online fajin study guide, for my fellow taijiquan enthusiasts to consider and comment.

Before I provide some of my own analysis on several fajin demos of accomplished taijiquan masters … we need to review the basics.

Cheng Man Ching's Fajin (or "Fajing")

The Basics of Taiji Fajin

First of all, the “correct” translation would be taiji fajin (pinyin) … tai chi fa chin (Wade-Giles) … or 太極發勁 (Mandarin).

I get the impression — quite often — that many western taiji practitioners feel that “fa jin” is …

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"Internal" Power vs. "External" Power

This debate will probably never end … and the question will probably never be fully answered:

What exactly is the difference between the internal and external martial arts?

While I certainly can provide no definitive answer, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit of what I’ve learned in my experience with the Chinese internal martial arts, and particularly the distinction between jìn (勁) and lì (力).

First of all, an important linguistic note from native Chinese speaker & master taijiquan practitioner, Zhang Yun’s article on Li & Types of Jin in Taijiquan.

“In everyday usage, both of these words mean physical force, and can be used interchangeably. Very often, people use jin to denote a very large force.

In martial art, these are technical terms with more precise definitions. Li is simple muscular force, what we call “untrained force”, …

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Developing Fa Jin (Fajing or Fa Chin) - Part One

I know there is a lot of interest out there on the tai chi fajin training and developing fa jin (also seen spelled as fa chin or fajing [which is wrong... keep reading]). What exactly is a fajin? Simply, “fa jin” means to issue force/ power. Many confuse this concept with what a “fa jing,” an incorrect translation, would mean, which is a transfer or release of “jing.” As many practitioners of Chinese arts are aware, “jing” means literally our ‘essence’ or ‘life-force.’ It seems that because of this common mis-translation, many have imagined the fajin to be some mystical issuance of intangible energy. This is far from the case!

In actuality, a fajin is just a very well co-ordinated release of good old fashioned Newtonian power. Granted, the way a taiji player uses the body to issue this force may make it seem mystical or mysterious when you watch, it is in …

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Taiji Fajin (Tai Chi Fa chin) - Chen Xiaowang

Check out this collection of Chen taiji Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang demonstrating his fajin. Fajin or fa chin literally means to “issue force.” Typically, when we think about a fajin exertion, we are imagining the explosive form of jin, as seen in these videos of Chen Xiaowang. While there are other forms of fajin, on this website we will stick with this convention. Take a look at the Tai Chi Fa Jin category to see all of our videos of various masters demonstrating their fajin energy, and even get some ideas of how to practice this energy yourself.

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Examples of Fajing (fajin) – Wei Chung Lin

Sifu Wei Chung Lin here demonstrates his fajin issuing energy on an array of his students. These videos are especially interesting to offer an insight into a specific school’s (Sifu Lin’s) approach to developing this specific method of issuing energy. The first video showcases Lin’s practice of stationary partner training to hone & demonstrate his fajin, whereas the second video shows the same energy being applied in a (slightly) more realistic setting. Sifu Lin teaches at a location in the Chicago area (Skokie, IL), and you can view his website at the Chinese Taoist Martial Arts Association.

Chen Taiji Quan Fa Jing (Fajin) by Chen Yu

Here is just a nice little video of Chen Yu demonstrating some fajin energy from Chen style tai chi. I think Chen Yu’s fajin is one of the best looking I’ve seen in an internet video. Imagine being on the receiving end of some of those strikes…