Fa Jin and the 8 energies

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by huoxingyang, May 16, 2015.

  1. huoxingyang

    huoxingyang Valued Member

    I will start by admitting that I am not well-studied in the classic Tai Chi theories, though I am aware of / familiar with the 8 energies and 13 postures. Much is made of fa jin these days by many tai chi practitioners, particularly the more martial-minded. What I have been wondering lately is, where does fa jin fit into the concept of the 8 energies, if at all?
  2. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Look at the 8 energies and compare them to the classic "6 gings" of southern Chinese arts. Comparing and contrasting the language between these two gives an overall picture of different forms of expressive power. The categorization of "6" or "8" anything is a result of the cultural classification of what is essentially the "ten thousand things", which by Daoist standards, is "one thing", the Dao. Though the Hung gar origins of these concepts are largely tied to Buddhism, there is definitely an underlying Daoist framework. What simplifies the whole thing in my opinion, is you can transcribe much of the cultural language into simpler terms for non-Chinese readers. The linguistic challenges between Eastern martial arts concepts and English or other languages still exists, and even culturally in China, martial arts has it's own "slang" that isn't necessarily well understand or taught as part of the language.

  3. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    The 8 energies are the 8 core Jin (refined force) of taijiquan.

    Fa Jin is to 'release/emit refined force'.

    Simply, whenever you are correctly generating and expressing any of the Jin, you ARE using Fa Jin.
  4. huoxingyang

    huoxingyang Valued Member

    But is it really that simple? Perhaps it's my understanding of fa jin as an almost explosive release of energy that has a different quality to the classic 8 energies as I understand them. I can follow the idea for example that "an" which is essentially a shove, can be done with the quality of a push (like pushing a boat out onto the water) or "with fa Jin" in which case it is like those demos where a guy gets shoved with that explosive quality and flies several meters back. But how about "Ji" which in my mind almost implies some quality of sticking as well as actively pressing, without disconnection. How does one apply that quality of fa Jin to "ji"? :confused:
  5. huoxingyang

    huoxingyang Valued Member

    This would be another way of phrasing my problem I suppose. Different styles explain concepts differently, and I am comfortable that Hung Gar and Tai Chi share many ideas, such as various methods/qualities of issuing power. That said, I don't see how that 8 energies map onto the "6 gings" as simply as you suggest. Would you care to elaborate?
  6. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    They're all metaphorical descriptions for the same things. The explanations are not as "different" as they may appear, many parallels can be discovered. The easiest "gings" to relate to Tai Chi are the hard and song (gong and yao) gings. The others follow a similar idea of expand/contract, rise/sink, spit/swallow, closing, opening, crossing/splitting. That last one in the 8 energies might be "lie" in Tai Chi, but "metal" in Hung gar Five Elements (as metal is the "splitting" element).
  7. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Fa Jin isn't a single way of expressing power, there are both long and short powers, which can change the dynamic of how a single movement affects an opponent.
    Long power would be the equivalent of pushing the boat out onto the water, where as short power is more explosive.

    Take the 'roll back' movement for example - done with long power, it is a long pulling motion, akin to trying to pull a bull by the nose-ring.
    Done with short power, it is a sharp, jerking motion.
    Both are 'fa jin', because you are releasing or expressing power.

    Are you thinking of the power of Ji, or the posture 'Press' from Grasping the Bird's Tail?
  8. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Yes. You just do them with speed and power.
  9. huoxingyang

    huoxingyang Valued Member

    Both I suppose. I see the posture 'Press' as an example of the power.

    Fair enough.

    I think I am getting caught up in a specific idea of what "fa jin" is, i.e. that short, explosive, perhaps whip-like issuing of power.

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