Sunday, February 03, 2008

Learning Fajing 发劲

Today, my friend started learning xingyiquan 形意拳 from my teacher. Looking at him practise sets me thinking about fajing.

In internal martial arts, the strength comes not from the muscles, but through the close coordination of the whole body, such that the whole body's weight is put into use. When we start to learn fajing, we may have the misconception that fajing is about a sudden burst of strength. So we try to recreate that effect, by using the strength of our muscles. But that is not fajing.

Fajing is a manifestation of the close coordination of the whole body such that the body's weight is employed to a certain point. In order to do that, one must first learn how to coordinate his whole body's movements. So, to learn fajing, first you must relax and not rush to see that "powerful burst of strength". Relax and go through the movements, making sure your body moves as a whole and complementing each other, instead of each component (arm, leg, waist, etc.) moving on their own. Only after constant practice and a long period of diligence will you start to see that you are able to slowly focus your weight to the place that you want to use it. Slowly, the powerful burst of strength that you had wanted to see will slowly manifest itself as your body's movement become coordinated. The strength that results is natural and smooth, unlike the rough and crude strength that comes from using muscles.

Yang, Chen and Sun

These are the three main styles that my teacher teaches. And thinking about it, these three complement each other very well.

Yang style is good for improving peng, lyu, ji, an, while Chen style is good for cai, lie, zou, kao. And Sun style is good for improving your footsteps. Master Yang style, and you have a solid defence. Master Chen style, and you can surprise your opponents. Master Sun style, and you will be able to spring that surprise from anywhere.