Peng Jin 掤劲 (Outward Expansion) – The First Principle
Peng Jin 掤 劲 is the most important force/subtle energy in Tai Chi. Peng Jin is the first of the 4 direct forces i.e. Peng, Lu, Ji and An. It is present in all the other Tai Chi forms as the core force. Without Peng Jin, the other forms will not exist.
When Peng Jin is present in a person, the person becomes like a solid rubber ball. Any pressure on its surface is easily transferred across the structure.
Peng Jin is an outward expansion of force/subtle energy from the Dan Tien丹田. This can be achieved through 2 ways :
1. Relax (fang song放松) – The right amount of relaxation is required for Peng Jin to be present in the body. Too much relaxation will make the body become limp and Peng Jin will be lost. Too little relaxation causes the body to become stiff.
2. Breathing through the Dan Tien – Peng Jin is generated by regular deep breathing through the energy centre located below the navel called the Dan Tien.
A highly accomplished Tai Chi practitioner is able to maintain the flow of Peng Jin throughout the length of the Tai Chi routine. He is able to do so after years of vigorous, consistent practice with a constant awareness of the body. His physical posture must be correct while he exudes Peng Jin through every part of his body.
When being attacked, a Tai Chi practitioner uses Peng Jin to detect what the opponent is doing, neutralise the attacking force and then redirects the force back to the opponent. Peng Jin can be observed especially in push hands (tui shou推手) practice. During push hands practice, Peng Jin is used to painlessly deflect the opponent away, sending him flying through the air.
It is essential to obtain direct guidance from a teacher to improve one’s quality of Peng Jin. A skilled teacher is able to convey the idea of Peng Jin using hands on correction. With proper guidance, understanding and lots of practice, a student can be trained to correctly express Peng Jin over time.
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