Empty Force

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

Empty Force

Postby Steve Rowe on Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:58 am

Looking through some written thoughts for my blog for something interesting to post here for discussion I came across this:

‘Empty force’ sounds nebulous and difficult to understand, but it isn’t. The body is a spring, when the posture is correct and the joints unlocked, when the soft tissue carries no unnecessary tension – the compression and release of a combination of the joints, including the spine, bodycore and soft tissue is a skill that can be trained in a multitude of ways.

The first level of skill is to unlock the body and keep it unlocked, start with good posture and then unlock the ankles, knees, hips, back and chest with the mantra ‘soften and connect’ when you can drop your bodyweight into the arches of your feet and feel them spread to the floor with the weight you’re ready to pump.

If you were to then jump in the air you would bend the joints and spring upwards, making the body ‘float’ upwards with an emptiness – and that’s what we’re looking for. Then try it without leaving the ground making the arms raise and float upwards with the Tai Chi technique at the beginning of the form called ‘raise hands’ although the hands float up they should still be connected to the feet so it they contacted the opponent at any point, the power would still come directly from the feet.

Then practice a series of exercises, (the Yang Family qigong is specifically designed for this purpose) making each part of the body float in every range of movement with that ’empty but connected to the feet’ sensation constantly unlocking and springing through the joints and soft tissue.

The next stage is the Tai Chi form with every technique practised in the same way so that you ‘float’ through the form with that characteristic soft, smooth, spiralling but still powerfully connected manner where at any point you can repel an opponent and also send an additional pulse in the same manner of a dynamic ‘pinball’ of energy into an opponent without overextending into them or collapsing from their pressure or your own technical failure.

This can then be applied to push hands and application work in a variety of skillsets.

The idea is simple. The action takes considerable training, but the skill is layered in at each stage. The purpose of this blog is to give you the vision of where to go and be able to recognise the training plan to get you there.

In Karate you may recognise the same process as ‘sink, swallow, float and spit’.

It’s an old internal skill that is rapidly getting lost as martial artists move from principles to technique only and a gym style of muscular development, throwing the baby out with the bathwater as they do so.

It wasn’t called ‘Soft Cotton Boxing’ and ‘Deceptive Boxing’ for nothing!
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Re: Empty Force

Postby windwalker on Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:14 am

It seems as though your redefining something in order to make it into something that you can do....

Can you outline why you call it "empty" force how it ties in with demos of it on the net....
yes, I am aware of all or most of the fails posted on the net....post them if you, "genral you" feel a need.

What is called kong jin, does not involve contact although whether touched or not the process by which it works is the same....
Being deceptive is not why the skill was developed nor how its used....IME its very direct...
Last edited by windwalker on Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:21 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby Steve Rowe on Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:30 am

Or defining something that might different to your understanding. Empty because the pulse creates an emptiness and within that float you can move easily and energy can travel easily, the pulse also creates a 'pinball' of energy that can be fired off from the body.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby windwalker on Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:44 am

Thanks, I can see what your talking about is different.

BTW its not about my understanding...kong jin, has a specific meaning its often translated as "empty" "force", which has a tendency to confuse
many who've not looked into the how, why, and what, of it.

just wondered,,,,thanks for clarifying it.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby GrahamB on Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:05 am

Nice post Steve. I think you are talking about what I would call "basic Jin" - (as windwalker says "empty force" tends to be associated with the woo-woo stuff. What you're talking about sounds more practical).

Taking forces to your feet and bouncing them back out. Lots of martial arts can (and should) do this, so you are right to mention other martial arts.

My red flag would be, does that make it "internal"? - no I don't think it does as this skill is (or should be) common to both internal and external martial arts.

You are right that it is a skill that is being lost though. I think this is where we should be focussing our work on in Tai Chi if we're to put the "martial" back into it though.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby HotSoup on Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:09 am

GrahamB wrote:My red flag would be, does that make it "internal"? - no I don't think it does as this skill is (or should be) common to both internal and external martial arts.

Graham, which skills do you define as exclusively "internal", so that no "external" arts can have them?
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Re: Empty Force

Postby Steve Rowe on Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:22 am

Having both an inside and an outside that work as one unit I find trying to draw lines between them doesn't really have a purpose, so I focus on what works. Same as soft and hard, I prefer 'optimum', then you can only be too soft or too hard. To get Tai Chi out there to normal people we need to be able to explain it in terms they can understand, hopefully without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I put my stuff out to all my friends and students from a variety of MA's who also do Tai Chi for review and it often gets changed and amended as we go along. Finding good, understandable coaching methods for practical training takes a lot of work but has given good results.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby GrahamB on Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:29 am

Hotsoup - developing and moving with the dantien.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby oragami_itto on Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:10 am

I don't believe in the telekinesis force without touching empty Force that windy seems to believe in.

The empty Force I believe in is where the partners body is clearly being affected, thrown, stricken, etc, but the partner cannot actually perceive the force acting through the point of contact. At least one of the old masters fajin was described like this, powerful but mysterious, leaving the opponent confused.

Is that the kind of emptiness you're talking about here?
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Re: Empty Force

Postby Steve Rowe on Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:17 am

If you have the eye for it you might see it but many don't.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby Appledog on Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:21 am

Actually 'empty force' has nothing to do with tai chi. What's more, the notion of empty force itself arises out of a lack of understanding -- what is qi and jing, how they are trained, and how you use them in the form and push hands.

Empty force is pretty much a joke in the IMA community. I've met some pretty top level guys from xingyi and taiji and they never try any of the stuff shown in these videos (or in the Sam Tam thread). Instead they show you things in a way that you can feel what is going on inside and learn from it.

Then again, these kinds of demos are often given when the teacher isn't really interested in teaching anything. "You can't get there from here," so to speak. When you see this stuff just walk away. I actually have begin to find it quite insulting. I guess there's still something for me to work on after all.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby Dmitri on Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:35 am

Someone should start a thread titled "Full Weakness", -- just to bring balance to the (Empty?) Force...
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Re: Empty Force

Postby windwalker on Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:45 am

Appledog wrote:Actually 'empty force' has nothing to do with tai chi. What's more, the notion of empty force itself arises out of a lack of understanding -- what is qi and jing, how they are trained, and how you use them in the form and push hands.

Empty force is pretty much a joke in the IMA community. I've met some pretty top level guys from xingyi and taiji and they never try any of the stuff shown in these videos (or in the Sam Tam thread). Instead they show you things in a way that you can feel what is going on inside and learn from it.

Then again, these kinds of demos are often given when the teacher isn't really interested in teaching anything. "You can't get there from here," so to speak. When you see this stuff just walk away. I actually have begin to find it quite insulting. I guess there's still something for me to work on after all.


wow :o

why no names about the top level guys

do you find this demo insulting too, it was one of the clips posted in the "sam tams"
thread showing the same effects..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIULbQ-Hh6g

Are you saying he doesn't know what he's talking about ?
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Empty Force

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:54 am

I'd say that appears to be some fakery or delusion going on, just like with all the other no touch nonsense
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Re: Empty Force

Postby windwalker on Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:03 am

oragami_itto wrote:I'd say that appears to be some fakery or delusion going on, just like with all the other no touch nonsense


Do you even know who the teacher is, or what he just explained?

wow,,,ok carry on young jedi...

The real interesting part of this...If I had or some one else had just translated what was said and posted only the translation
most of the detractors would probably agree with it...

that is until shown...it almost never fails ;)
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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