Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby oragami_itto on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:37 pm

marvin8 wrote:Stephen Goodson demonstrates Ti Fang as off balancing, then fa jin @ 13:36:


I don't speak chinese so I can't really speak with any authority, but I don't belive that what is written as "ti fang" is necesarily being translated the same as "t'i-fang" is intended in CMC's text.

Is Damian the obnoxious guy sitting on the bed with the woman? I couldn't watch him very long so I don't know if he has anything good to say. I do know that for someone who claims to be a very good cantonese speaker he seemed to indicate a bit of a lack of understanding of the meaning of "Tai Ji".

But that's fair enough, not everyone who can speak english can properly explain any given philosophical concept defined by an english speaking philosopher so whatever ya know.

T'i-fang as I understand it doesn't rely on off-balancing or severing the root. That may be a result but it is not a prerequisite condition. It doesn't rely on an attacker "stopping" but it does rely on the power breaking at some point. Since Taijiquan trains continuous smooth motion it trains a kind of continuous power as well, while supposedly "external" systems train a power that starts and stops and builds and recedes like a sine wave. So while their power is strong we yield and absorb and store, when it hits the point of weakness, we release, fa, issue.

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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby marvin8 on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:40 pm

oragami_itto wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Stephen Goodson demonstrates Ti Fang as off balancing, then fa jin @ 13:36:


I don't speak chinese so I can't really speak with any authority, but I don't belive that what is written as "ti fang" is necesarily being translated the same as "t'i-fang" is intended in CMC's text.

Goodson (via Robert Smith) could be misinterpreting ti fang.

oragami_itto wrote:Is Damian the obnoxious guy sitting on the bed with the woman? I couldn't watch him very long so I don't know if he has anything good to say. I do know that for someone who claims to be a very good cantonese speaker he seemed to indicate a bit of a lack of understanding of the meaning of "Tai Ji".

But that's fair enough, not everyone who can speak english can properly explain any given philosophical concept defined by an english speaking philosopher so whatever ya know.

Yes. That is why I gave a timestamp, transcribed, and paraphrased some of it. Most of what he explained about peng jin is consistent with the sources within this thread.

oragami_itto wrote:T'i-fang as I understand it doesn't rely on off-balancing or severing the root. That may be a result but it is not a prerequisite condition. It doesn't rely on an attacker "stopping" but it does rely on the power breaking at some point. Since Taijiquan trains continuous smooth motion it trains a kind of continuous power as well, while supposedly "external" systems train a power that starts and stops and builds and recedes like a sine wave. So while their power is strong we yield and absorb and store, when it hits the point of weakness, we release, fa, issue.

Do right, no can defend.

However, Goodson demonstrated off balancing in his presentation, which doesn't require peng jin. So, he may be wrong. I don't know or have an opinion. Just looking at the common concepts within the given sources. If others input more clarity in what peng jin is, all the better.
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby oragami_itto on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:23 pm

marvin8 wrote:Goodson (via Robert Smith) could be misinterpreting ti fang.

I think it's safe to say that my understanding of t'i-fang is different than what he is demoing as ti fang. He's demoing what I'd call uprooting.

marvin8 wrote:Yes. That is why I gave a timestamp, transcribed, and paraphrased some of it. Most of what he explained about peng jin is consistent with the sources within this thread.

Damian Neve wrote:This barrier called peng is the joints expanding in every direction and the ligaments holding vector deviation that wave in my bones, you’ll see me rock back. Then, I’m going to return the wave. It’s not a rock trick. I just flip the wave against the contact points. If she’s contact here, I split the contact point in half. Take the energy up one channel and redirect it down the other. I can go through her yin channel or her yang channel. For ease of explaining, the outer side of the body and ulna is what I consider to be yang. The back is yang. The inside where the arteries are is yin. It is not the only way to look at it. So when someone puts pressure, I go through my yang channel, outside channel, and redirect them to my inside channel. I feel pressure on the top. So, I bring it down to the bottom (rotating contact point). . . .


This seems beyond my understanding. I'll try watching the part of the video it's from to see if it helps, but I'm afraid I'm just not far enough along my path to make sense of what is written.

marvin8 wrote:However, Goodson demonstrated off balancing in his presentation, which doesn't require peng jin. So, he may be wrong. I don't know or have an opinion. Just looking at the common concepts within the given sources. If others input more clarity in what peng jin is, all the better.

All I know about Goodson is what I watched of that video and Mike Sigman's scathing rebuke of him. It seems to directly contradict CMC so it depends on whose analysis and opinion you give more worth, I guess.

You have a thing, and then you have a description of a thing, and the understanding of a thing, and then consider that each of these may just relate to an aspect. Training peng and expressing peng and receiving peng and the peng shape and the a prior peng energy are all their own unique aspects of the thing, and I'm sure there are countless more facets to provide perspective from which to ponder and describe and understand it.

Where it's useful is where the thing is experienced in some facet and then notes are compared to reach a finer understanding of the experience, not so much if notes are simply gathered to synthesize the experience. Notes are useless without that framework of the experience to hang them on.
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:50 am

Peng is just one of 8
It must be used in concert with the other7
I feel people here are mistaking it for push in how they apply it
If you think of it as a rubber ball it can be the size of a pea or as big as ward off in the form
It has no direction and all directions and can be any point on the body
It's use is instant there and gone to be replaced by one of its brothers
All depending on the opponent
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:27 am

wayne hansen wrote:Peng is just one of 8
It must be used in concert with the other7


The way I understand it is that peng is what is manipulated to produce the other 7. They do not exist separate from Peng. An (and ji, lie, kao, zhou, cai, and lu) is just one way to manipulate peng when in contact with another person.

Peng is the yang, lu is the yin, everything else is just a combination of the two. But even lu, proper lu, relies on Peng, or else it's just hollow.
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby Bao on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:03 am

Seems like you confuse the shenfa quality peng with the peng of the eight jins.
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:53 am

Seems like you confuse Peng Jing with Peng jia
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby Bao on Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:43 am

Maybe so.... ;)

What I mean is that the peng of the eight jin is not a prerequisite for rest of the seven jin, but the shenfa quality peng should be used for all 8 jins. Others might have a different view... :)
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby marvin8 on Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:34 pm

From April 1999 T'ai Chi Magazine article, Finding the Push Hands Connection, https://worldwideway.ch/SAGE/PATRICKSTE ... sWHD2.html:
Wang Hao Da translated by George Xu wrote:The development of high level martial skills in Taijiquan involves cultivating the ability to connect one's own intention with the intention of the opponent, according to Wang Hao Da, one of the top students of the late Master Ma Yue-Liang. Wang, who has exceptional push hands skills from his training with Ma and his own research, said he tries to match his own intention, or yi, with that of the opponent. He then harmonizes with the opponent in such a way that the two become one so that he can direct the opponent’s movement. This is done while concealing his own intention and energy so that the opponent cannot control him.

The groundwork for this kind of skill is accomplished by practicing the Taiji form, creating a strong, lively, needle-like centre of equilibrium (zhong ding) that the opponent cannot find. The method is based on Master Ma's key points: Don't use strength; use quality, not power; use the invisible, not the visible; use the internal, not the external.

According to Wang Hao Da, Master Ma's practice entirely emphasized the internal, to create a strong and deep centre of equilibrium that he could rely on for power rather than external force. This enabled him to remain loose and pliable when he had to repulse the external strength of his opponent.

In his own development, Wang focused on 4 key aspects of practice. The first is zhao, or searching. "You have to be continually searching for your zhong ding (central equilibrium) whenever you do push hands and forms. You want to find your zhong ding and understand your zhong ding. At the same time, you also have to search for the other person's zhong ding and understand their zhong ding. Then you can know their power and neutralize it."

The second is qiao, which means the body has to be skillful. "You have to be able to let other people touch and push you so you can become skillful and smart. You can create this skillfulness. Qiao really means a well-trained body."

The third is hua which means to yield and dissolve. "Your jin or internal strength can absorb others energy and become like a compressed spring. By doing this it is possible to make one’s own centre very small so people cannot find it. This is both to hide the centre but also to first store energy before sending it out to throw the opponent."

The fourth is qiu which means to probe for your own root. "The root must be made strong to give the ability to use folding power and issuing power. It is from a strong root that you can gain the ability to suddenly disappear and reappear. Your root has to be deep, your hips have to be loose."

The specialty of Master Ma and Wang is the use of invisible jin. Most who use peng jin are too visible in the way they use their energy. But Master Ma and Wang use more yi (intention) and qi (non-physical energy) and less external jin. Their peng jin is just the internal strength of the mind working through the qi. This is developed through Taiji form practice to internalize the jin and make it more subtle.

Another technique that Wang uses is to let other people become part of an outside circle while maintaining his own inner circle. He wants the opponent to be outside so that if you push you go outside. He is at the centre and has his inside circle, while the opponent is on the outside. When he finds the opponent’s centre he discharges his energy.


The sensitivity that Wang cultivates enables him to read the opponent’s centre and the depth of root they have in their feet. Master Ma and Wang had very deep roots as opposed to many whose roots barely penetrate the surface. Those many may relax and sink but they do not use the yi and qi to nail down into the earth. To do this it is necessary to sink the qi and loosen the hips so that they become alive, strong and stable. The problem for many is the hips are not stable, or if stable, not loose and alive. It is this sinking of the qi together with the establishment of zhong ding that Wang uses to repel an opponent. He remains soft to sense the opponent’s jin and root, then he uses the yi (intention) and qi to activate the jin which issues from the zhong ding, and throws the opponent out. Wang avoids using his arm jin which the opponent could lock onto and use back against him. Using jin in the arm would de-stabilize zhong ding and allow an opponent to lock his arm and throw him.

Wang said: "There are 3 ways to make the dantian low so the zhong ding becomes very strong. First do the Taiji form and basics, always letting the dantian sink. Relax and sink the body. Second the hips must open and close appropriately to let the legs express yin and yang. Then the energy from the dantian can drop down. Third practice Master Ma's secret form taught only to a few students, the 24 Cannon Fist. This helps the dantian to connect to the ground."

In push hands Wang said: "Gathering is issuing. You must not receive the incoming force then issue your own. It is too late. You have to gather the opponent’s force and issue at the same time. Gathering and issuing happen in a moment, in one continuous motion." Wang is always sensing the energy of the opponent so that he can know the moment to gather and shoot. The higher the level of the practitioner, the more subtle the gathering and issuing.

"Internal energy has to be connected in order to be used efficiently. Many people have some internal energy but they cannot connect it to the external movement or deliver it to the outside. This is because the inside and outside remain separate. It is a problem of transmission from their teachers. There is a specific training in the practice of the Taiji form that may be missing in this case. The main thing in training is the quality of the movements with all the internal energies executed correctly with softness, and energy concentrated in the bones. The internal strength is always used to do the Taiji form. You use the yi (intent) to move the qi (energy) and the qi to move the body. This means the inside is alive."

Wang recalled that Ma, with whom he studied form 1961 to 1982, was always very calm. "No one could put pressure on him, even during the 'cultural revolution'. He would walk in the street to get water from a well and was happy to do menial work chores. When he went out to buy vegetables, political people would follow him to see what he would do, but he still remained very calm. A lot of people became depressed in those conditions, but Ma did not allow himself to be depressed. Mentally he was very open and strong. He was never rushed and when any problem came he was calm and peaceful, never anxious. Ma followed the middle way. He did not eat too much and his lifestyle was very steady; whenever he met anyone he was very happy and pleasant. All his practice was internal, pure internal, whereas for most people is the outside leading the internal or at best the outside and inside working together. They are not clear which is major or which is minor. For Ma the internal was always the major. Ma used internal yi (intent) and qi for maximum concentration. He used the internal energy to control the body. The internal was always activated first before the external body. This is martial art at its highest level."

"Ma also focused on improving joint and bone health, by moving them to preserve their range of motion. One of the ways he practiced this was by softening the outside muscles and using yi to move the deeper muscles around the joint. Ma also did exercises to benefit the internal organs. While Ma still did the Taiji form in his later years, he did not always do the whole form, sometimes just half the form. Because he focused on longevity he felt it not necessary to do the whole form; but he also did internal circles and figure eights with various joints and internal organs to make them strong and alive."

"Ma's major theory was to use the yi (intent) and not strength. He used the energy he refined over the years and would never use raw strength to throw someone. He also emphasized zhong ding jin which is central equilibrium with internal strength. It is invisible and used inside, not outside. Central equilibrium, from the top of the head through the centre of the body to a point between the feet, is like a single post which cannot be allowed to move of centre. Master Ma was very concentrated and would not let his central equilibrium be disturbed. It was flexible because it was small. Most people's zhong ding is like a big piece of meat; move one place and the whole piece moves. Ma's zhong ding was like water and at the centre it was like a very thin needle which is hard to touch; yet he could move very freely. If you didn't find his centre he didn't care, because his body outside was soft but inside it was hard. His zhong ding jin was very strong, but thin and small."

Wang said that Master Ma also concentrated energy into the bone and used this energy to do the Taiji form with the whole body. "This enabled him to be very sensitive in Taiji Pushing Hands and to avoid disclosing his own intent to his partners. Inside there is a quiet, silent, concentrating energy that becomes very hard for your opponent to find. Once you find their centre you can project your energy combined with theirs as explosive power."

Ma and Wang used tremendous sinking energy to establish the root and Zhong Ding, while most others tend to float with little or no root. As soon as they touch you, their power connects with yours and they can bounce you away. Whenever Master Ma touched you, you would start to float. It was because the quality of his sinking was so great that it neutralized your root. Another technique they used was to search for their partner's jin. When they find your jin they follow you and use it to uproot you; even if you don't have jin they can make you use it and uproot you. Sometimes they give you a little jin by using their own, and then when your own jin replies, they can use that to control you. But when their jin is inside you cannot reach them. "Ma's jin was very light and alive, but you could not borrow it. Ma always told that there are a thousand kinds of change but a million kinds of neutralization. Change is easy since it is external and may mean just changing position, but to disappear inside, there are a million different ways. Huajin (neutralization energy) is a much higher level of skill than changing. Ma was very focused on neutralization. If you touched his body you could not find his energy, but there was no rigidness or toughness. He could always change internally more and more as all his muscles followed his mind changes without rigidity or external physical actions. This ability comes from practicing the Taiji form and the basic exercises."
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:45 pm

The above article is great
However he is talking about a whole other thing
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:43 pm

Bao wrote:Maybe so.... ;)

What I mean is that the peng of the eight jin is not a prerequisite for rest of the seven jin, but the shenfa quality peng should be used for all 8 jins. Others might have a different view... :)

Personally, I don't believe there is a separate shenfa apart from the 8 gates and 5 steps. The shenfa is to embody them. The jia is a sort of a is for apple vocabulary, but there are entire languages assembled from the atomic energies/letters.
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby Bao on Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:12 pm

oragami_itto wrote:Personally, I don't believe there is a separate shenfa apart from the 8 gates and 5 steps.


IMO, it depends on what you mean or how you understand te concepts. The external movements are not exactly the same as the jin. Most people do something they call peng without having peng. Most do lü without understanding lü. Like Ma said, for peng you can't offer any resistance. But most people are too hard and offer quite a resistance. Still they claim they have peng.
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby everything on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:01 am

Second the hips must open and close appropriately to let the legs express yin and yang.

anyone care to elaborate on the hip sections from above?
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby marvin8 on Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:17 pm

wayne hansen wrote:The above article is great
However he is talking about a whole other thing

Well, I highlighted Ma's and Wang's definition of peng jin, which is a question in the OP. I don't know about the rest of the article:
Wang Hao Da wrote:Most who use peng jin are too visible in the way they use their energy. But Master Ma and Wang use more yi (intention) and qi (non-physical energy) and less external jin. Their peng jin is just the internal strength of the mind working through the qi. This is developed through Taiji form practice to internalize the jin and make it more subtle.

everything wrote:
Second the hips must open and close appropriately to let the legs express yin and yang.

anyone care to elaborate on the hip sections from above?

It may partly have something to do with folding the inguinal crease:
marvin8 wrote:Wee Kee Jin (Huang Sheng-Shyan line) video, @ 3:49 to 4:50, "You soften the hips . . ."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4dTHI8zgnA&t=3m49s

Here are some peng articles by Mike Sigman, http://ismag.iay.org.uk/peng-index.htm:
Mike Sigman wrote:Peng Article Index

Internal Strength magazine, published by Watercourse Publishing and edited by Mike Sigman, contained a number of articles written by Mike exploring the ideas of "peng" and "connection". As the original motivation for these articles was to make this material as widely available as possible, Mike has given his permission for these articles to be reproduced in this form.

"How To" Articles

1. Peng and Connection: Physical Factors in Internal Strength
2. Connection: The Other Side of Peng Strength
3. Pushing with Peng Strength
4. Pushing with Peng Strength #2
5. Pushing with Peng #3: Conditioning
6. Pushing: Front Leg and Back Leg

Training Tips

1. The Components of Relaxing
2. The Basic Components of "Standing Posture" Practice
3. Using Peng and Connection with "Contradictory Strength"
4. The Length Strength and Legs
5. The Length Strength as a Frame
6. Using the Waist
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Re: Just what the heck is Peng Jin anyway?

Postby charles on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:24 pm

everything wrote:
Second the hips must open and close appropriately to let the legs express yin and yang.

anyone care to elaborate on the hip sections from above?


He stated,

The sensitivity that Wang cultivates enables him to read the opponent’s centre and the depth of root they have in their feet. Master Ma and Wang had very deep roots as opposed to many whose roots barely penetrate the surface. Those many may relax and sink but they do not use the yi and qi to nail down into the earth. To do this it is necessary to sink the qi and loosen the hips so that they become alive, strong and stable. The problem for many is the hips are not stable, or if stable, not loose and alive. It is this sinking of the qi together with the establishment of zhong ding that Wang uses to repel an opponent. He remains soft to sense the opponent’s jin and root, then he uses the yi (intention) and qi to activate the jin which issues from the zhong ding, and throws the opponent out. Wang avoids using his arm jin which the opponent could lock onto and use back against him. Using jin in the arm would de-stabilize zhong ding and allow an opponent to lock his arm and throw him.

Wang said: "There are 3 ways to make the dantian low so the zhong ding becomes very strong. First do the Taiji form and basics, always letting the dantian sink. Relax and sink the body. Second the hips must open and close appropriately to let the legs express yin and yang. Then the energy from the dantian can drop down.


The difficulty, for many, is to de-code or translate the traditional verbiage into identifiable physical actions and their mental components. Having a skilled teacher who can show you how to do what is being described by the language is essential, in my opinion.

He states that they "had very deep roots...to nail down into the Earth". This isn't literal. Human don't have roots (like a tree) and their feet, generally, do not extend into the ground: humans stand on top of the surface supporting them. Humans can push down on the ground and the ground can push back with an equal and opposite force. Humans can resist sliding on the surface of the ground based upon the friction between one's feet/shoes and the surface on which one stands. There's no magic and no mysticism there.

When someone says they "had very deep roots" that penetrate into the Earth/ground, what are they actually talking about? From the opponent's perspective, he isn't able push, topple or slide the practitioner. From the practitioner's point of view one is neutralizing incoming forces, the result of which is that one isn't pushed, toppled or slid. The relevant question is then how is the practitioner doing that?

Traditional language states that the practitioner is able to do that when he, "remains soft to sense the opponent’s jin and root, then he uses the yi (intention) and qi to activate the jin which issues from the zhong ding, and throws the opponent out" and "make the dantian low so the zhong ding becomes very strong... [by] doing the Taiji form and basics, always letting the dantian sink...and... the hips must open and close appropriately to let the legs express yin and yang". there's a whole lot in that statement that needs de-coding into practical action/training, as follows:

1. Softness is used to sense an opponent's jin and root.
2. intention and qi activate jin
3. jin issues from zhong ding (central equilibrium)
4. zhong ding is strengthened by "lowering the dan tian" (or lowering qi to the dan tian)
5. doing forms and basics, while always letting the dan tian sink is training for the above
6. opening and closing of hips "lets" the leg express "yin" and "yang"
7. expressing yin and yang in the legs helps sink the dan tian, which strengthens zhong ding.

So, you have asked about a small piece of that, specifically, opening and closing the hips to allow the legs to express yin and yang. A short answer is that different styles of Taijiquan use the hips differently. However, each allows the body to create a conduit to the feet from the point of application of a force. The hips must facilitate that conduit, rather than put a kink in it, impeding transmission of force to the ground and transmission of force from the feet on the ground to the point of application. The hips are one link in that chain, or one section of the hose/conduit. To effectively transmit, the entire conduit needs to allow unrestricted transmission. The practice of forms and individual exercises are, in large part, about establishing that conduit. Different styles of Taijiquan have different approaches to training that. The actions - mental and physical - that produce that ability are often referred to as "letting the dan tian sink" or "sinking qi" and is related to "rooting".
Last edited by charles on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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