The Ins and Outs of Tai Chi Force

Posted August 12th, 2016 in Uncategorized by Phil Vickery

Whilst practising and studying the concept of Fajin (the explosive discharge of force which results from correct technique) in Tai Chi it’s important to remember…..everything!

The classic’s in Tai Chi are subtle, and the many translations do hold the internal secrets in the words written down on paper. The big secret is continued practice of Tai Chi as higher levels eventually reveal themselves  to yourself after frequent and continued practice. A teacher will guide you to it but ultimately only you can pull back the curtain to reveal the secrets after being placed in front of the curtain first.

Fajin, or the sudden discharge of whole-bodied internal force, is achieved by starting the movement of force in the feet. From here the very tangible flow of movement, directed by intention, passes up the legs through unlocked joints and relaxed muscles to the base of the spine. From here the whole back opens or even feels like it inflates gathering the force initiated from the feet. Only from here can we direct the force through open and relaxed shoulder joints and through the lowered and open elbow joints out through to the slightly stretched forearms to discharge through the wrists and hands.

This method of practice may seem like it’s easy to remember as list of how to get the internal force from the feet out through the hands, but we must make sure all the basic foundational practices we have been taught over the years are in place to allow it to happen. It seems easy and the issuing of force logically does feel simple when it starts to appear in one’s practice, however the key IS to continue your practice, always.

When we make breakthroughs in our Tai Chi sometimes we don’t see exactly when it arrives, we just realise that our experience has somehow changed or altered and our awareness takes note of this. When it considers what it is that is different in our practice, we seem to have an expanded internal awareness on the mechanics of what’s going on in our body. Here is where real Tai Chi learning and development takes place. This is where we pull the curtain back and start to validate in our own experiences key phrases that we have read over the years in the classics which may of seemed merely poetic at times. Here we can realize what past Masters were really talking about, and we can start to gain some solid understanding of how Tai Chi works on an internal level.

The mind is spoken of a lot in Tai Chi, yet it’s a specific use of the mind that brings us success. We refer to the type of mind we use in all our Tai Chi as Yi or intent. Intent is different from imagination which is unfocussed or untethered. Yet both, one could say, are equally allowing thought alone to manifest in our minds. Imagination can run riot and have no real boundaries and thus the dream like ideas we have in our imagination can seem unachievable. Whereas intent is focussed but still relaxed, controlled yet free flowing and has a location. Our mind’s connect and focus on the yung Chuan  / “Bubbling Well” acupuncture point (Kidney 1) in the centre of the sole of the foot just behind the ball of it. If all our foundational and continued practice has been done, then quite easily the mind attaching to this point can cause a circuit of subtle movement to open up and start moving up the legs. As it moves (through the locations mentioned above) it gains power along the way until discharging through the hands ( or in fact any part of the body one chooses to issue from). It is also the intent which decides if the force will discharge powerfully, as in Fajin, or softly as in clearing energetic blockages from the channels in the body as in Qigong.

When you get accustomed the feeling of internal force or Jin in Tai Chi when you practice your form, so many things you have read over the years or heard through instruction from a teacher starts to drop neatly and concisely into place. You will be able to appreciate more profound writings of the Masters in the classics more so. You will also be able to develop yourself, by yourself, out of curiosity and motivation to your own personal needs.

To finish with here’s a quote, or really one of the definitions from the Collins Dictionary under the sub heading of Physics as to what force is:

operating influence that produces or tends to produce a change in physical quantity

With all the teachings of Tai Chi, and everything it enables us to do and be aware of, this dictionary quote sums up very nicely  the  transportation and transformation of force in and around the body in Tai Chi. The operating influence is the mind intent; the production of change is the movement in force through the  body and the physical quantity is the body as a measured whole and the end product of the force once moved and discharged.

There are higher levels in Tai Chi above moving internal force and the influence of the mind upon it, however this is a key intermediary level which if learned correctly, will help guarantee further mastery.








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