Hengjin

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

Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:41 am

I feel like I neglected to stress the importance of Hengjin in my previous articles, so I thought I'd do so now..

Hengjin, or horizontal power, is something that's not usually used on its own, but more combined with other powers (similar to Doujin). It is basically using additional strength from the waist to power techniques and there are specific training methods to achieve this. The way that I like to demonstrate this power is by asking someone to stand squarely in front of me, with their feet in a slightly wider stance, very stable, and sticking my right arm straight out past them, making contact with their arm. I stand in the same way and move my right arm to the left, causing them to fly left. I then let them try to move me in the same way and they usually can't even budge me (I use reverse Hengjin as a sort of Pengjin and sink into my stance, kind of Taiji-esque), despite me being significantly taller than them and having a bad ankle. It is a very safe, but impressive, demonstration.

Now, in practical usage we could do a left Baiquan (loose, whippy hook punch) and knock their head off (not literally!) and add Shuaibeijin and Hengjin into it. If they block, the punch will go through their block. If they move in, the punch will go through the block and I can hit the back of their head or grab their head. In this case the Hengjin is more of a short, crisp power. If I hit their head or their block with the middle part of my arm because they got too close then I will follow through and just move their entire body and drag them to the ground (where the head goes, the body follows). In this latter example the Hengjin is more of a long, steady power.

Other good examples are Yemafenzong (Part the Wild Horse's Mane) and Danbian (Single Whip). They can both be used as strikes and adding in Hengjin (and Zhenjin and Shuaibeijin) will cause terrible damage. Or we can throw them and use the long, steady Hengjin. In any case, the difference between having Hengjin or not is massive. All of the different Jin that I discuss add to the power of normal techniques. They take what is already effective and make it scary. They are not very difficult to apply, but require daily, tiring training for about a half year. There are several methods to train each. I highly recommend that people train these types of Gongfa more to improve their Gongli and spend less time on forms and complacent partner exercises.

Shuaibeishou, Zhenjin, Doujin and Hengjin don't give a shit about your sensitivity. They plow right through it like a knife through butter. The sensitivity will come in handy during sparring, but more in the way of when and where to use what combo, which I prefer to train with simple drills and sparring. For those that prefer to wrestle, sensitivity training becomes more important, but having that extra power will make things a lot easier! A high-level Judoka would probably be able to express the long, steady versions of some of these powers. It's good to have both, though. Especially when it's this easy to learn.. ;D

In Taijiquan they often use pole-shaking to develop both Heng and Doujin. I highly recommend it. It's probably THE most important Gongfa in the system. Many people came to my Master over the years wanting to know the secret to using their Taijiquan. Pole-shaking was that big secret. The secret is out, yet most would rather stick with their fantasy, as this type of training is exhausting..
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby johnwang on Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:05 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:I highly recommend that people train these types of Gongfa more to improve their Gongli and spend less time on forms and complacent partner exercises.

For striking, heavy bag will be a good traing tool.

For throwing, if you step in far enough that your leading leg can control your opponent's back leg, you don't need much Heng Jin to take your opponent down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuJZpQJ ... e=youtu.be
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:42 pm

Yes, striking things is good, but not enough by itself to train Hengjin. It's good for improving Hengjin after you already have it.

I think that you're right about the throws, but Hengjin can make your strikes into takedowns. Baguazhang trains a lot of methods to develop Hengjin.

In that clip I see perfect Hengjin with his Yemafenzong. ;D
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Re: Hengjin

Postby nicklinjm on Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:42 pm

Nice comments man. I have experienced a bit of your Hengjin first hand, so need no convincing, but maybe would be good to do a short vid showing the effect and some of the training methods?
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:10 pm

It's on my list.. ;D

In the mean time, in the second Shanzhaiquan instructional video I show rope-shaking and that is one way to train it. It's one of the most important things that I trained that got me to where I am. Search in a market for nautical rope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpLkzSJRfso&t=3s

I remember that your upper body was easy to move, but your Xiapan was rock steady.. :P Hengjin would massively benefit you.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:26 am

I decided to add a paragraph to the OP about pole-shaking to keep it all in one place.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby Interloper on Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:41 pm

Maarten, do you off-balance (either backward or toward you) your partner/opponent before you apply hengjin? This sounds like kai-hei (open-close) of the inguinal hip creases. If you have strong kai-hei, you can move your opponent horizontally even if he is bracing himself, but it is much easier if you take his center, first. I like to do that subtly - just a very small amount of unbalancing that he doesn't notice.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:33 pm

Yes, there is some subtle unbalancing in the demonstration (but not forwards or backwards - it's more that it's not exactly a straight line, despite its outward appearance) that I discuss at the beginning, but not in most other applications. We call this type of test Shili (试力). There are different ways to test power from different angles. The one that impressed me enough to want to study from my Master is the first movement of the Chen Taijiquan form, Qishi (起势). He easily sent me flying and I couldn't budge him. Same thing, different angle. All of them require full body power, coming from the ground.

I wonder if the kai-hei you are describing is not "kai-he" (开合)? O, nevermind, it is. Must have been a typo...
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Re: Hengjin

Postby Interloper on Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:28 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:Yes, there is some subtle unbalancing in the demonstration (but not forwards or backwards - it's more that it's not exactly a straight line, despite its outward appearance) that I discuss at the beginning, but not in most other applications. We call this type of test Shili (试力). There are different ways to test power from different angles. The one that impressed me enough to want to study from my Master is the first movement of the Chen Taijiquan form, Qishi (起势). He easily sent me flying and I couldn't budge him. Same thing, different angle. All of them require full body power, coming from the ground.

I wonder if the kai-hei you are describing is not "kai-he" (开合)? O, nevermind, it is. Must have been a typo...


Thanks, Maarten. "Kai-hei" is the romanized spelling from the Japanese term, which, of course, was taken from Chinese "kai-he." Same characters, but for some reason the romanization from Japanese throws an "i" at the end of "he." :) It just means "open-close," and refers to the suction-withdrawing and propulsion of the hip joints. My reference point is the internal Japanese system of aikijujutsu I study.

We also off-balance using a wave to capture the opponent's center of mass, which could be said to be vertical. The overall effect is of spiraling while expanding, kind of like a pulsating auger. The key point is that, somehow, you want your opponent to be subtly off-balance so he can't regain his equilibrium to resist the horizontal power of kai-hei.

Nice videos, by the way!
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:30 pm

Ah, I see. That makes sense. Japanese wasn't influenced by Mandarin Chinese anyways.. :P

From your description it is possible that we are doing the same thing, but from my end of things it's more like up-rooting, perhaps a vertical circle, than a spiral. Regardless, the reasoning is the same. It's done as one movement to aid the Hengjin.

I'm glad that you liked the videos. The video that I linked to in this thread is probably the most important, instruction-wise, but has the least views...
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Re: Hengjin

Postby Interloper on Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:05 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:Ah, I see. That makes sense. Japanese wasn't influenced by Mandarin Chinese anyways.. :P

From your description it is possible that we are doing the same thing, but from my end of things it's more like up-rooting, perhaps a vertical circle, than a spiral. Regardless, the reasoning is the same. It's done as one movement to aid the Hengjin.

I'm glad that you liked the videos. The video that I linked to in this thread is probably the most important, instruction-wise, but has the least views...


I'll watch the rest of your videos as time permits. Most of the solo and paired drills I know, in both of the internal arts I study (one Japanese, one Chinese) are done without equipment such as ropes, but they are effective in developing the body qualities. But I really like the way the ropes provide resistance training that adds to the load-bearing and resistance of the body itself.

I am pretty sure that we are doing the same thing; it's just a matter of variations in direction and "shape." We can do kai-hei while moving the opponent upward (aiki-age... analogous to an upward rolling of the "peng" sphere), compressing him downward (aiki-sage... rolling the peng sphere downward), and while condensing or expanding -- which creates spiraling. As an example, in AJJ, we might use such kai-hei and spiraling to draw an opponent around and into a choke hold.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:06 am

What's the Chinese art that you study, if you don't mind my asking?

We have drills with and without equipment. The drills with equipment are by far the most effective at developing the various Jin. The one's without are more about refining them once we already have them and/or the actual techniques that we use. I cannot stress the importance of these training methods enough. They are the ingredient that most people are missing in their arts to make them truly effective.

The rolling ball of Peng pretty accurately describes a similar "test" where we send someone flying with a forward movement. In that video I do a short demonstration where I kind of do that, which may be what you saw. In the horizontal one it's more of a scoop. The two Jin I learned from Xinyiliuhequan and Baguazhang, respectively.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby Interloper on Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:06 am

MaartenSFS wrote:What's the Chinese art that you study, if you don't mind my asking?

Zhong Xin Dao (I Liq Chuan). Its technical/physical foundation is set on internal body qualities and movement, and focuses heavily on solo and partner empty-handed training and drills.

We have drills with and without equipment. The drills with equipment are by far the most effective at developing the various Jin. The one's without are more about refining them once we already have them and/or the actual techniques that we use. I cannot stress the importance of these training methods enough. They are the ingredient that most people are missing in their arts to make them truly effective.

I have seen the efficacy of drills using equipment, and believe that the added load and resistance stress increase strength and quickness, more than just using one's own mass and self-generated dynamic tensions. Using another person (i.e. partner training) can and does provide that needed load and resistance, but equipment definitely appears to enhance the process. And in the absence of a training partner, using equipment probably provides very useful feedback, in addition to useful resistance.

The rolling ball of Peng pretty accurately describes a similar "test" where we send someone flying with a forward movement. In that video I do a short demonstration where I kind of do that, which may be what you saw. In the horizontal one it's more of a scoop. The two Jin I learned from Xinyiliuhequan and Baguazhang, respectively.


I do think the root of the power is the same. Again, it's just variations on the direction(s) it's being sent, and its "shape," as dictated to how we manipulate our body.
Last edited by Interloper on Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby MaartenSFS on Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:35 am

Thank you for elaborating. Is that art from the Chinese community in Penang?

Yes, I agree that partner drilling can develop all of these types of power, provided that you have good partners. That has not been the case for me and I have found it far more practical to do my own training. I feel that coming back to the West people are even less willing to do it..

If and when I find some good students I may arrange some partner drills into a small system to add to the solo drills.
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Re: Hengjin

Postby Interloper on Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:40 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:Thank you for elaborating. Is that art from the Chinese community in Penang?

It's a Hakka Chinese family art developed by Chin Lik Keong in, I think, the Chinese community in Kuala Lumpur. His son GM Sam F.S. Chin is now the generational gatekeeper of the art, and lives in the U.S. (he travels worldwide to teach). It's a distillation of several old internal Chinese martial arts. GM Sam Chin has further fashioned and refined the art into a martial way with a deep focus on mindfulness and awareness, while keeping the solid, pragmatic functionality as a martial art. Originally, the name of the art was just I Liq Chuan, but the martial way it has become is now referred to as Zhong Xin Dao to differentiate it from the original technical art, which did not have the Zen-awareness component and pedagogy that are part of the art's current form, under GM Sam Chin.

Here's a link to the history, on the ZXD ILC website:
https://iliqchuan.com/chin-lik-keong-fo ... liq-chuan/


Yes, I agree that partner drilling can develop all of these types of power, provided that you have good partners. That has not been the case for me and I have found it far more practical to do my own training. I feel that coming back to the West people are even less willing to do it..

If and when I find some good students I may arrange some partner drills into a small system to add to the solo drills.

IME, training with partners brings a "live-ness" and "now-ness" to training that develops a degree sensitivity, "listening" and response skills that inanimate equipment can't provide. But, both have their place, purpose and usefulness. I would ideally want to have a balance of solo- and partner empty-hand training, equipment drills, and weapons work in my training regimen. That's one of the reasons why I also train in my particular line of aikijujutsu, which is heavily weapons-based. Training (especially internal training) with traditional weapons adds a deeper dimension and skill set, as well.
Last edited by Interloper on Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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