What Is Peng

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Re: What Is Peng

Postby cloudz on Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:10 am

windwalker wrote:Thanks for an insightful and well reasoned "discussion"
always good ;)
I suspect we probably agree on more then what it may seem.. ;)


Indeed, thanks to you too.
Plus I should really get on with some work!!
thanks,
George

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Re: What Is Peng

Postby cloudz on Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:04 am

"connection" too gets mixed in with that use of "peng" I think. If your posture is connected up people say it's peng (jin). The water and hose analogy is a good one here. Your tai chi postures should all have that feeling, they should all have that connected springy elastic feel. People call that peng I think, and they say (correctly) that you should have this quality throughout.

I would have thought the Classics wouldn't leave out such a description of peng as it relates to the body and its posture, feeling etc. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that feeling and body state is covered by the descriptions and uses of the words Yi and Qi and perhaps more besides.

Maybe this is something you can concur with WW, but that feeling of connection I often think of as fullness and it can feel like "filling up". Where emptying and disconnecting are also synonymous and the flipside of that.
Last edited by cloudz on Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
thanks,
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby robert on Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:48 am

cloudz wrote:"connection" too gets mixed in with that use of "peng" I think. If your posture is connected up people say it's peng (jin). The water and hose analogy is a good one here. Your tai chi postures should all have that feeling, they should all have that connected springy elastic feel. People call that peng I think, and they say (correctly) that you should have this quality throughout.

I agree with this and and would tend to call it a core skill. As far as I know this usage of peng jin is fairly recent - since the 1950s or so.

cloudz wrote:I would have thought the Classics wouldn't leave out such a description of peng as it relates to the body and its posture, feeling etc. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that feeling and body state is covered by the descriptions and uses of the words Yi and Qi and perhaps more besides.

I agree, you tend to see things like when one part moves there is no part that does not move; when one part is still, there is no part that is not still, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together or they'll talk about one qi (yi qi). That is my interpretation of those sayings ...
Try not to let the words confuse you — they serve no other purpose than to guide you into the inner structures of Taiji. Chen Xin
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby windwalker on Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:32 pm

cloudz wrote:
windwalker wrote:Thanks for an insightful and well reasoned "discussion"
always good ;)
I suspect we probably agree on more then what it may seem.. ;)


Indeed, thanks to you too.
Plus I should really get on with some work!!


I think this is your real work as it is for many of us here,,, ;)

One of my students here, a professor who teachers robotics made this comment today during our session.
Thought it was insightful and never quite thought of it in this way.

I find learning or relearning taiji in this way quite interesting. My own Chinese inner biases prevented me from understanding taiji because I'm Chinese . When you explain things in English using physics it removes me from my own inner Chinese bias and makes me examine them in a different way using science methods and understanding... .Something I wouldn't normally do for things from my own culture.

This way makes the old sayings more understandable, testable and repeatable.


He went on to suggest that maybe me with no to limited Chinese language skill, in learning from a teacher who could speak no English
was also forced to abandon my own inner biases allowing me to feel and work out what I was feeling in interacting with my teacher.

Having studied taiji for quite some time before meeting my present teacher.
Upon meeting him I was forced to abandon many of my own thoughts and ideas of the time in light of new experiences
that tended to either confirm or contradict what I thought I knew, allowing me to know what I knew and understand what I did not.
Last edited by windwalker on Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby cloudz on Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:54 am

robert wrote:
cloudz wrote:"connection" too gets mixed in with that use of "peng" I think. If your posture is connected up people say it's peng (jin). The water and hose analogy is a good one here. Your tai chi postures should all have that feeling, they should all have that connected springy elastic feel. People call that peng I think, and they say (correctly) that you should have this quality throughout.

I agree with this and and would tend to call it a core skill. As far as I know this usage of peng jin is fairly recent - since the 1950s or so.

cloudz wrote:I would have thought the Classics wouldn't leave out such a description of peng as it relates to the body and its posture, feeling etc. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that feeling and body state is covered by the descriptions and uses of the words Yi and Qi and perhaps more besides.

I agree, you tend to see things like when one part moves there is no part that does not move; when one part is still, there is no part that is not still, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together or they'll talk about one qi (yi qi). That is my interpretation of those sayings ...



Cool.

I was also pondering last night that we westerners also use the term structure quite a lot. That too seems to be describing the same phenomena too as that use of "peng", more or less. Structure is composed of the materials the connection of them and the placement (allignment).

I'm just trying to be a bit minimilist here and maybe de clutter my own terminology as it relates to my practice.

As far as Jin and the Chinese terms goes I'm wondering what leads to that body state most readily and I think I'm settling on Chousi jin (pulling silk). As it feels to me to have the effect of connecting the structure, simply put.

Just trying to KISS.
Last edited by cloudz on Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
thanks,
George

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Re: What Is Peng

Postby cloudz on Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:58 am

windwalker wrote:
cloudz wrote:
windwalker wrote:Thanks for an insightful and well reasoned "discussion"
always good ;)
I suspect we probably agree on more then what it may seem.. ;)


Indeed, thanks to you too.
Plus I should really get on with some work!!


I think this is your real work as it is for many of us here,,, ;)

One of my students here, a professor who teachers robotics made this comment today during our session.
Thought it was insightful and never quite thought of it in this way.

I find learning or relearning taiji in this way quite interesting. My own Chinese inner biases prevented me from understanding taiji because I'm Chinese . When you explain things in English using physics it removes me from my own inner Chinese bias and makes me examine them in a different way using science methods and understanding... .Something I wouldn't normally do for things from my own culture.

This way makes the old sayings more understandable, testable and repeatable.


He went on to suggest that maybe me with no to limited Chinese language skill, in learning from a teacher who could speak no English
was also forced to abandon my own inner biases allowing me to feel and work out what I was feeling in interacting with my teacher.

Having studied taiji for quite some time before meeting my present teacher.
Upon meeting him I was forced to abandon many of my own thoughts and ideas of the time in light of new experiences
that tended to either confirm or contradict what I thought I knew, allowing me to know what I knew and understand what I did not.


Hi WW,

I have to agree that language can be a big factor when it comes to learning process which can go either way.
It's a great point that sometimes it can become a barrier, other times it can pave the way to insights - it just depends..
But I love the sentiment that the real "thing" (learning) is in the experience, it's in the doing. Couldn't agree more.

good stuff
Last edited by cloudz on Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
thanks,
George

set your sights high, so high in fact, that even failure will have in it an echo of glory

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Re: What Is Peng

Postby JoeWood on Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:59 am

cloudz wrote:

As far as Jin and the Chinese terms goes I'm wondering what leads to that body state most readily and I think I'm settling on Chousi jin (pulling silk). As it feels to me to have the effect of connecting the structure, simply put.

Just trying to KISS.

My experiences brought me to the same conclusion.
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby cloudz on Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:33 am

Nice one Joe, thanks, that's good to know.
thanks,
George

set your sights high, so high in fact, that even failure will have in it an echo of glory

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Re: What Is Peng

Postby robert on Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:25 am

cloudz wrote:
I was also pondering last night that we westerners also use the term structure quite a lot. That too seems to be describing the same phenomena too as that use of "peng", more or less. Structure is composed of the materials the connection of them and the placement (allignment).

Just trying to KISS.

Personally when I think of structure I tend to think of something rigid, like a chair, bar stool, or building, not an exercise ball or a hose filled with water. Looking thru youtube for examples of peng jin I saw a lot of what I would call structure. The people demonstrating showed structure, but I thought they were too stiff to say they had peng. They may be on the right path, but I don't think they've crossed the threshold. I understand that you are using the term correctly, I just think it can be problematic.

I'm a big fan of KISS!
Try not to let the words confuse you — they serve no other purpose than to guide you into the inner structures of Taiji. Chen Xin
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby richardg6 on Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:39 pm

Peng is part of a structured environment that is tai chi chuan.
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby windwalker on Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:25 pm

robert wrote:
cloudz wrote:
I was also pondering last night that we westerners also use the term structure quite a lot. That too seems to be describing the same phenomena too as that use of "peng", more or less. Structure is composed of the materials the connection of them and the placement (allignment).

Just trying to KISS.

Personally when I think of structure I tend to think of something rigid, like a chair, bar stool, or building, not an exercise ball or a hose filled with water. Looking thru youtube for examples of peng jin I saw a lot of what I would call structure. The people demonstrating showed structure, but I thought they were too stiff to say they had peng. They may be on the right path, but I don't think they've crossed the threshold. I understand that you are using the term correctly, I just think it can be problematic.

I'm a big fan of KISS!


good so am I..often what is simple is not well understood

Image

does the structure/shape produce the energy, or does the energy produce the shape/structure.
first from outside to inside, than from inside to outside.
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby cloudz on Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:10 am

robert wrote:
cloudz wrote:
I was also pondering last night that we westerners also use the term structure quite a lot. That too seems to be describing the same phenomena too as that use of "peng", more or less. Structure is composed of the materials the connection of them and the placement (allignment).

Just trying to KISS.

Personally when I think of structure I tend to think of something rigid, like a chair, bar stool, or building, not an exercise ball or a hose filled with water. Looking thru youtube for examples of peng jin I saw a lot of what I would call structure. The people demonstrating showed structure, but I thought they were too stiff to say they had peng. They may be on the right path, but I don't think they've crossed the threshold. I understand that you are using the term correctly, I just think it can be problematic.

I'm a big fan of KISS!



Good thoughts,

That's the tricky part I think. not too much, just enough.. the constant monitering and evaluation. I am thinking about the connection part of what makes structure, the 'lighter' you can make it - or perhaps softer is a better description - the better I think. It's not difficult to crossover into hardness or stiffness in this regards. I guess that's 'the trick' here, maybe, finding that optimal balance, that 'just enough' and not too much zone.

We seem to get a few of those in TCC eg. maintaining contact; not running away/ not resisting.
Last edited by cloudz on Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
thanks,
George

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Re: What Is Peng

Postby Steve James on Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:14 am

Before the internet, people learned of the tcc term "peng" either from a teacher --who probably spoke Chinese and used the term in both the ordinary and martial arts context-- or from a book. Individual tcc teachers were always different or emphasized different aspects of the art, but all referred by or used terminology and phraseology found in the texts called the "Classics." This applies specifically, and some would say uniquely, to the Yang, Wu, and Wu/Hao, and Sun systems. The Chens did have some texts, too, but (iirc) Chen Xin's "Illustrated" does not mention "peng" at all, but focuses on "Chan ssu jin." Anyway, Jarek did much more research on Chen Xin's book, and some can be found here http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/chenxin.html. My argument is only that the phrases that most people know when it comes to tcc come via scholarly practitioners of Yang influenced styles. I am not arguing that the principles and phrases don't apply to all variants. I'm only referring to the terminology.

Anyway, peng has little or no meaning to a westerner outside of the cma context. So, we're forced to struggle with analogies. The first analogies for peng come from those tcc Classics. One can argue about their legitimacy and whether they are accurate or not ;) It's been done since 1994, at least. Some of us remember the Peng Wars very well, and don't want to relive them. But, here's the description of "peng" that appeared earliest in the Classics (afawk).

SONGS OF THE EIGHT POSTURES

Attributed to T'an Meng-hsien
as researched by Lee N. Scheele

The Song of Peng

What is the meaning of Peng energy?

It is like the water supporting a moving boat.
First sink the ch'i to the tan-t'ien,
then hold the head as if suspended from above.
The entire body is filled with springlike energy,
opening and closing in a very quick moment.
Even if the opponent uses a thousand pounds of force,
he can be uprooted and made to float without difficulty.


This and many other of the "Classics" can be found here http://www.scheele.org/lee/classics.html I'd also recommend all of Doug Wile's books on earlier texts.
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby charles on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:42 am

Steve James wrote: The Chens did have some texts, too, but (iirc) Chen Xin's "Illustrated" does not mention "peng" at all, but focuses on "Chan ssu jin."


I don't remember if Chen Xin's book mentions peng or not, but it is central to Chen training.

My argument is only that the phrases that most people know when it comes to tcc come via scholarly practitioners of Yang influenced styles.


I think that is accurate.


So, we're forced to struggle with analogies.


I don't think we are forced to. I don't think we have to discuss peng at all. Folks might chose to, but don't have to. It is something that is felt and something that is developed. Talking about it, discussing it doesn't develop it. Training does.

Some of us remember the Peng Wars very well, and don't want to relive them.


Definitely don't want to re-live them.

But, here's the description of "peng" that appeared earliest in the Classics (afawk).

SONGS OF THE EIGHT POSTURES

Attributed to T'an Meng-hsien
as researched by Lee N. Scheele

The Song of Peng

What is the meaning of Peng energy?

It is like the water supporting a moving boat.
First sink the ch'i to the tan-t'ien,
then hold the head as if suspended from above.
The entire body is filled with springlike energy,
opening and closing in a very quick moment.
Even if the opponent uses a thousand pounds of force,
he can be uprooted and made to float without difficulty.


The interesting thing about that "song" is that people usually quote the first part of it: the "water supporting a boat" part, and its physical mechanics, qi to the dan tian, head suspended, filled with "spring-like energy". The first part attempts to describe what peng is (like) and how to physically manifest it.

The second part seems to be about how the body is used to uproot an opponent.

It isn't really very clear about what is the relationship, if any, between the first half of the song and the second half: the first is about how to "create" peng, the second is how the body is used to uproot an opponent. The reader is left to make a connection between sinking qi to the dan tian, suspending the head and the entire body being "filled with spring like energy". Chen Xiaowang, for example, defines peng as "qi flowing everywhere [in the body]".

What many seem to miss is the "spring-like energy" part of the song. What is the characteristic of a spring? That when a force is applied it compresses, it mechanically stores energy in proportion to the amount it is compressed; when the force applied is removed, it expands, releasing the stored force. (Note that water is considered incompressible and cannot be spring-like.) Thus, in use, in application, it is not a static situation. Instead, in use, it must compress and expand: "opening and closing in a very quick moment".

If viewed from the perspective of a clear, precise, technical, instructional description, it is pretty poorly written.

This and many other of the "Classics" can be found here http://www.scheele.org/lee/classics.html I'd also recommend all of Doug Wile's books on earlier texts.


I'd recommend that students spend their time practicing under the direction of a good teacher, rather that spend much time on translations of Classics. The Classics are not a detailed instructional manual.
Last edited by charles on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What Is Peng

Postby Taste of Death on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:55 am

Holding the bao (the embracing a large breasted woman analogy from a previous post is applicable here) creates the expansion. Like squeezing a swiss ball, the embrace helps one to expand. When someone pushes on you, you focus on your body state not on pushing/deflecting them. IMA is about you not the opponent. The practitioners who appear stiff are stiff. As soon as the opponent touches or even approaches the practitoner stiffens up because they are focused on the wrong thing. Focus on your mental and physical state not theirs. Easier said than done but that is what practice is for. The bao helps hold the structure but it is the bao that creates the peng not the structure. The bao is done with the whole body not just the arms. If you have bao you have peng. And that's why applications and strategy become less important. The body state does all the work. We want a wu state. Wu = 0. We are searching for nothing (wu). When we find it we don't even know we have it because nothing (wu) feels like nothing. It's only after we were successful, from a ima perspective, that we can think about and discuss what happened. We are in search of a wu state, a nothing state. How will you recognize "nothing" when you feel it? Your opponent also felt "nothing". Ask him what he felt.
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