I once asked if Peng Jing is about expansion then what exactly is An Jing and no one has answered this questioned because I suspect the majority does not know the answer.
I once read a book on Yang style Tai Chi Chuan in which a ton of Jing were defined. At that time it was a wonderful discovery for me to know this information. But later I had to ask how useful would so many types of Jing be. Consider that you are doing push hands and your training partner suddenly feeds you a random technique. How do you decide which Jing to use within a split second out of the X number of Jings?
But then if Tai Chi Chuan is all about Peng Jing then what happens if your training partner has figured you out and can consistently prevent you from issuing Peng Jing? What then?
As you can see in the previous post we have 8 fundamental types of Jing in Yang style small frame Tai Chi Chuan. This is small enough a number for us to learn and yet retain the flexibility to allow us to have an answer to a wide variety of attacks. The more advanced Jing method is even simpler than this which goes to show that Tai Chi Chuan is an art that is at once straightforward yet highly complex underneath the elegantly simple exterior. This is what a true internal art is like.
So to answer the question I once asked – An Jing is the counterpart to Peng Jing. The various 8 jings originate from the rotation and expansion / contraction of the sphere. Bet you didn’t think of this, huh?
I am sure many have read about the use of a sphere in Tai Chi Chuan but how do you really use it?
I have seen some try to use an actual ball made of stone or wood to train power but I don’t really see anything fantastic about this since it is basically a method based on training coordination and strength. For the secret Yang family small frame Tai Chi Chuan method a large mental sphere is used. You can see the depiction of the large mental sphere from my grandmaster Wei Shuren’s book.
This is what I would term as a true internal method because the sphere only exists in your mind. However, through the careful training of intention you can actualize the force path to enable it to be used in the actual world.
Many have claimed their Tai Chi Chuan or whatever styles to be internal but they are still largely relying on external body mechanics to generate the power. Some also bandy the word intention about but try asking them to elucidate further and they have a problem defining what intention is exactly, how to train it and how to use it.
You still won’t be able to leap a tall building with a single bound or become the next UFC heavyweight champion after learning this method but you can spice up your push hands once you can use it.
For the fun of it I asked my student how he could respond to an imaginary machete cut aimed at his head. He demonstrated a response which would look good for a stage demonstration but for actual application is dangerous because its inviting a cut to the neck.
Sometimes, certain applications don’t look nice and fail to appeal to our idealized version of what constitutes correct application. More than a decade ago when Master Leong taught how to defend a swinging movement I didn’t think much of it because at that time I was still learning Wing Chun.
But today, when I look back what Master Leong taught is more practical because it dealt with a number of factors that are present in a strong, chopping move of a machete. For example if you do not use enough power in the cut, something common in class practice, you may think you can stop it. Try asking your partner to take a harder swing and you might find your defence crumbling.
This is why its fun to learn self defence techniques but given a choice to stand and fight or run, I urge students to run like the devil is on their tail.
OK, you owe me $10,000 for the secret. This was after my student received a teaching that was previously unknown to him. Hence, unknown = secret.
Actually, it was not unknown, just that he wasn’t paying enough attention to what I was showing him over a long time so I had to explain it. I would rather let the principle seep into his movements overtime so that his mastery would be organic rather than forced.
But sometimes, the movements in Tai Chi Chuan are too minute to notice so I had no choice but to define what it is exactly. The downside to doing this is that one can end up with too many things to have to pay attention to and practice. The art of Tai Chi Chuan is actually simple – do the core principles correct and the rest will take care of itself. However, if you fail to get it then a lot of things will seem to be secret.
This secret, I’ll call it secret for the purpose of this post, is something that we do in our 13-movement form. But because the form is practiced without the presence of an opponent the student will have a hard time seeing the principle. This is why Tai Chi Chuan is an art for the grey cells. When you practice using intention for a long period of time they will awaken you to realize what they are and how they can be used in many, many ways.
As I demonstrated to my student this secret is interesting because when he tried to defend his front door by positing his hand in the center he found it going off and he could not resist his hand being swept aside. I did it a few times more and he still couldn’t hold on to his center. I told him that this is a useful principle to use against people who love to put their hand on to guard the centerline.
When measured out in terms of positioning vis-a-vis the opponent this principle validates the movement of Cross Hands as a technique with not obvious application possibilities.
Welcome to the new blog for Singapore Combat Tai Chi Chuan. I have decided to close down the previous blog at singaporetaijiquan.wordpress.com as I feel that readers are better served with a blog that just talks about Tai Chi. So if you want to read my writings on Wing Chun please visit the new blog on Wing Chun here.