Fa Jin (Refined Internal Power Emission)! – is it Difficult?

FaJin-03

Original Chinese Language Author Zheng Wu Ji (鄭無極)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

When learning Taijiquan (太極拳), it is common amongst practitioners to hear much discussion concerning the subject of refined internal ‘power emission’ (發勁 – Fa Jin). Although fa jin may be a common practice – the mastery of this skill is not an easy matter. In fact, it is much more beneficial to develop the intention of concentrating the mind on the mastery of basic fa jin, than spending time on perfecting the postures (and technical execution) of the physical form, or in participating in competitive ‘push-hands’ (推手 – tui-shou), etc. Generally speaking, basic fa jin can be mastered in three years, (or if progress is slow – three to five years), this is how the skill of fa jin is developed. An interesting question is how the refined internal ‘emitting energy’ (發勁 – fa jin) of Taijiquan, differs from that of the ‘emitting force’ (發力 – Fa Ji) associated with other forms of martial arts? Simply stated, ordinary martial arts (武術 – Wu Shu), focuses on the use of the whole external body to generate force, (in other words, this power is reliant upon muscle contraction, and when emitting force [fa ji], muscle and tendon definition can be clearly seen). On the other hand, when a Taijiquan practitioner emits refined internal power (fa jin), the musculature remains primarily relaxed. Only at the precise moment of exact contact between the limb (or body-part) and the target – does the muscles and tendons suddenly, and temporarily contract. As soon as contact is made, and internal force has been transmitted – the contraction immediately drops away. However, even in the midst of fa jin emission, flexibility is never lost. This type of fa jin contraction is subtle and not related to the full-force (and relatively ‘rigid’) muscle contraction associated with the external arts. Knowing this, what are the principles that underlie authentic fa jin training? What are the best training methods available to acquire the fa jin ability? I have written extensively on this subject, and have published a number of papers, the fundamentals of which I would like to share with you, for your reference.

1) The Principle of Developing Power and Strength

Within Taijiquan, the generation of power and strength is a continuous process that originates through ‘looseness’ (鬆 – Song) in the body. This is achieved through a gradual training that relaxes the tension of the body out of the musculature, whilst simultaneously cultivating internal energy (氣 – Qi), which gradually drops the bodyweight (through gravity) down to the centre of the soles of the feet. When the qi-energy is cultivated in the body – this too sinks to the centre of the soles of the feet and combines with the ground. When qi combines with the ground, ‘rooting’ (根 – Gen) occurs and ‘power’ (勁 – Jin) raises up from the ground and travels continuously throughout the body. What is this continuous power? The soles of the feet become full of qi, and this fundamentally transforms the strength and function of the ‘Bubbling Springs (湧泉 – Yong Quan) pressure point situated at the top and centre of each sole. This process makes the footwork ‘solid’ (實 – Shi) and strengthens the power (jin), which then travels up through the entire body. This power then penetrates through to the centre of the bones, throughout the entirety of the musculature, and into the deep connective tissue of the body. This is why ‘both feet must be trained correctly’, so that qi can travel unhindered through a ‘loosened’ and ‘relaxed’ musculature.  The strengthening of the ‘bone-marrow density’ assists in the efficient and enhanced generation of force, coupled with a relaxed speed, power and manoeuvrability. For a Taijiquan practitioner to achieve all these things, the bone-marrow density must be highly developed. The uncanny speed of a Taijiquan practitioner is premised entirely upon the attainment of a relaxed musculature. This is how a Taijiquan practitioner becomes strong – which cannot be attained through a non-developed bone-marrow.

2) What are the Basic Requirements for Developing Fa Jin?

a) When training in external martial arts, try gradually to relax the musculature when practicing the movements, and let ‘soft’ (軟 – Ruan) power come into play. This process tends to happen as external martial arts practice matures over the years. Quite gradually, the practitioner comes to realise the state that aligns the waist, thighs, and pelvic girdle, with the four limbs so that they all move in a co-ordinated fashion. The arms hang loosely from the shoulder girdle, as the dropped centre of gravity becomes inherently linked to both feet. This allows for the pelvic girdle to rotate freely around the spinal column – swinging from one side to the other. This is how ‘both feet are trained correctly’. These instructions should be applied strictly, but success should not be rushed. It is enough to generate the right intention and then move steadily in that right direction.

b) When seeking fa jin skill it is important that the mind is not excited by the rigours of seeking victory in ‘Push-Hands’ competitions. When practitioners strive too eagerly for competitive success, their use of qi becomes unsophisticated and difficult to refine, and cannot drop into the heels. No power will rise up the body. To keep the qi calm and refined, do not pursue competitive exercises.

c) When focusing upon fa jin training, try to avoid heavyweight lifting that tenses the entire body and locks the bones and joints. The reason for this is that such exercises do not allow for the refinement of qi in the soles of the feet, or for the musculature to develop ‘looseness’. This type of weightlifting should be avoided because it is an external practice.

d) A note regarding the ‘keeping of general health’. This advice should become part of one’s normal daily routine. Maintain a balanced diet. (Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption). With regard to sexual relations – temperance is advised.

 

3) How to Emit Energy (Fa Jin)

a) Pre-requisites: A practitioner who has attained fa jin exhibits 1) Qi rising from the soles of the feet through a strengthened bone-marrow density. 2) The pressure of the qi [and bodyweight] dropping into the floor is keenly sensed and manifested in any part of the body instantly – through rising energy. 3) The unified and aligned body can assume any movement and perform any technique that is instantly empowered by internal energy generated from the soles of the feet, and does not make use of brute force.

b) Individual Energy Emission: The ‘intention’ (意 – Yi) guides the energy through a loose waist, so that the centre of gravity sinks down into the feet area and builds strength (to release energy focus on the soles of the feet). Gather qi (and bodyweight) in the foot of the rear leg, and release it up into the body by placing the intention on the centre of the foot of the forward leg. This involves the deliberate but controlled movement of qi (and bodyweight) from one sole of the foot to the other, so that the generated rising force travels through an aligned posture. All this is dependent upon the correct use of ‘intention’. Intention, or ‘awareness’ unites all body movement. Refined energy travels through the body and emits through either hand evenly, whilst avoiding imbalance and clumsiness, and transitioning posture at will. Bodyweight and qi drop into the feet and form a permanent and unbroken connection.

c) Fa Jin in the Body: Strong Fa Jin in the body is seen in Taijiquan practitioners when an outside force is applied to their posture – and without any noticeable effort on their part, the posture cannot be broken or moved out of position. Those who do not practice Taijiquan do not possess this ability – when they are pushed, their feet leave the ground.

 

4) Conclusion

Fa Jin cultivation is an important aspect of Taijiquan, and forms part of the training requirements for formally entering Taijiquan training, as it is important that a Taijiquan student does not go astray in his or her training. From this entry, understanding and awareness will develop through receiving the correct training and applying the right discipline. It is important to cultivate a quiet (and calm) mind, (which includes cultivating standing like a stake skill [樁功 – Zhuang Gong], and sitting in meditation), by studying religious teachings and texts from the Humanities, as well as other books that emphasis the development of kindness to others. Slowly but surely, good deeds have a transformative power all of their own. By looking into the mind through meditation, old and destructive habits can be reformed or eradicated. Such a process of purification prevents the future generation of negative habits. Evil actions do not arise, and everything is done for the betterment of society. Self-purification and an enhanced spirituality can help the individual toward the attainment of new heights. This all combines to assist the development of ever new and greater heights in the development of advanced Taijiquan cultivation.

 

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2014.

Original Chinese Language Source Text:

 

http://blog.udn.com/jttaigi/4529431

發勁!難嗎?

鄭無極

學習太極拳一般最常聽到的就是「發勁」,好像只要學會了發勁,功力就一定非同小可;其實,真正有用心且專心在練,而不是將重點擺在拳架或推手的比賽訓練上,發勁並不是多了不起的事,一般約二、三年(慢則三至五年)就可學會基本的發勁;而太極拳的發勁跟一般武術的發力,究竟有何區別?簡單的說,一般武術的發力就是自始至終渾身充滿著力的元素(從外表的肌[筋鼓起即可看出),而太極拳的發勁則是自始至終全身放鬆,只在接觸瞬間收縮肌筋,不使接觸的部位軟掉罷了。那發勁的基本形成原理如何?要學會發勁有什麼基本的要求嗎?其實之前在本人發表的文章中已談了很多,這邊我再把重點重新列述出來,供大家參考研討。

一、勁力的形成原理

太極拳勁力的生成是不斷換力的過程,亦即本力要在<鬆>字訣的要求訓練下逐漸消除,讓內氣與身體重心能逐漸鬆沉到腳底,當內氣可以沉到腳底之後,自然就會與地氣結合,往下長(氣)根,往上長勁;那何謂<長勁>?當雙腳的整個腳底都彌充了氣,則湧泉部位的變勁機能就會於其「實」腳起作用,而把彌充於該腳整個腳底的氣,邊轉變為勁,邊由腳掌往上長,存在於骨節的結締組織即筋絡,滲入骨骼之中;由此即可知太極拳行拳時為何要「腳分虛實」的原因了。另外,「筋絡鬆度」和「骨髓密度」會影響腳底的氣轉變為勁的運行速度,即骨髓密度和筋絡鬆度愈高,則其速度愈快;所以,練太極拳之人要長勁,則其骨髓密度非高不可。

二、要學會發勁的基本要求

1拳架初期除注意招式之外,盡量放鬆放軟地打,待拳架打熟了之後,要逐漸體會<腰胯帶動四肢>的運作,即手臂只是掛在人身骨架上,隨著兩腳重心的移動和腰胯的轉動順勢被盪動罷了;還有「腳分虛實」也要嚴格貫徹,初期雖做不到,但要有這個概念,盡量朝此方向努力。

2推手方面,除訓練基本的技法之外,盡量不要比輸贏,否則就會因怕輸而出拙力,使氣易聚上半身而無法下沉。

3平時盡量不要搬重物,非搬時,則盡量以意導鬆由腳支撐;而重力訓練或增強力量的運動則盡可能避免。

4注意恪遵<養生>的要求,尤其作息要正常、飲食要均衡(戒煙限酒)、房事要節制。

三、如何發勁

(一)先決條件:1其人全身骨骼中都存有勁;從兩方面可感覺或看出:(1)腳底湧泉部位會鼓起,其人站立時會著地。(2)腳底踩到地的感覺愈來愈明顯,壓地感也愈來愈重。2全身的任何動作已能下意識整體的動作(即力由地起),而非個別的出蠻力。

(二)單獨發勁:發勁前以意導腰鬆,讓氣與身體重心鬆沉到腳底蓄勁(往前發,重心腳放在後腳;往後採履,重心腳在前腳),而後以意踩下重心腳往前或往後移動,同時雙手不出拙力順勢盪起觸擊或採捩對方。

對敵發勁:對方攻來時,即以螺旋似弧形運動(繞步)沾黏對方,並順勢引化蓄勁後,隨對方不平衡而傾跌的方向,重心腳踩下移動重心發放。

(三)發勁之人:發勁時,其身體從旁邊看,並沒有如未練太極拳之人在推人時會有的肉體姿勢,而其自身的感覺,則只輕輕地動一下罷了。

被發之人:被太極勁一發,則其人的身體,就會像石膏像般固定其原先姿勢,兩腳同時離地跌出,而不是只前腳退成後腳,或後腳退半步等情事發生。

四、結語

太極拳學會發勁,祇是代表你正式入門了太極拳,也表示太極拳這條路你並沒有走偏,接下來除了繼續精進深入探討外,還要透過靜功(包含雙腳站立之樁功和打坐)和多接觸宗教與人文等教人為善的書籍,潛移默化、積德行善來改造自己,期使自己能從內心中自省,改正偏差習性,隨緣消舊業,更不造新殃,進而諸惡莫作、眾善奉行,自淨其意,以提昇自己的性靈,纔能有助自己更上層樓,進入太極拳登堂入室之境。

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