Yin Cheng Gong Fa Association North American Headquarters
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3.6 Xu jin and fa jin
When we use jin, there are two processes involved, store and release. Store jin is called xu jin and release jin is
called fa jin. Before we can do fa jin, we need to know how to do xu jin. Since there are many types of jin’s in
Taiji Quan, and they can be released in a number of ways, there are just as many ways to do xu jin. Basically we
can categorized them into two large groups, one for wai jin and another for nei jin.
For wai jin we want to release a very powerful force in a single direction as quickly as possible. Storing and
releasing are two distinct steps. This process has been likened to bending a bow and then releasing the arrow.
Breathing is used.
With nei jin we are releasing a changeable and hidden force. The force usually is long. This process has been
likened to spring water gushing out of the ground continuously. Here store and release are not distinct processes.
There are two definitions for xu jin, corresponding to their counterparts in fa jin. For throwing force type of fa jin,
it means to store a powerful force. It follows the bow and arrow analogy. Here, in training, our goal is to be able
to store and release as much force as possible, as quickly as possible.
The second definition of xu jin corresponds to the release force definition of fa jin. It is about preparing to use
force. It is about our movement. There are two things here we should do well. One is to hide our attempt. Xu jin
is for fa jin. If our opponent can detect our xu jin, he knows fa jin is coming and defend against it easily. In fact,
when we do xu jin, it is the most dangerous time for us. The best moment for victory is often when the opponent
is just getting reading to do fa jin. So movement wise, the smaller the xu jin is the better.
The other key point is to make our xu jin continuously, since we need to do fa jin continuously. A higher levels,
xu jin and fa jin takes place at the same time without any interruptions in between. People always say: jin should
be like a spring that never stops.
In the case of wai jin application, both of these points are difficult to perform, especially the second one. So
practice them with nei jin application first. That will help us understand this process.
One of the key differences between nei jin application and wai jin application is that for nei jin, xu and fa are not
clearly separate processes. According to Taiji principle, yin and yang must be together and mutually supporting.
Xu jin is yin, fa jin is yang. Only when they’re both present at the same can we call it real Taiji Quan skill. If we do
fa without xu, our jin will be too hard, straight, short, and not changeable. Our force can be easily defended
against, or borrowed. If we do xu without fa, we will give our opponent a big chance to beat us by compressing
us. Including xu with fa makes our fa jin difficult to defend against. Include fa with you xu makes it hard for our
opponent to attack us.
The most common mistake for xu is the outwardly evident withdrawal movement. The most common mistake for
fa is the outwardly evident hard forward movement. Both betray our true intentions to the opponent.
Because the processing of xu and fa are clearly separated in wai jin application, wai jin does not really follow
Taiji principle. Therefore it is not considered a higher level skill in Taiji Quan.
Xu jin up is the practice of building up our jin. The power that we use, the higher the percentage for jin, better it
is for our practice. Here the most important parts of training are learning to use our mind and growing our qi.
This is because jin always follows qi, and qi always follows the mind. The way to develop our qi is through using
our mind. And when our qi becomes strong, the jin will increase.
4. Using jin in pushing hands and fighting
One common mistake for many people is that they try to use fa jin too directly. They just want to use their jin to
beat their opponents as hard as possible. But in real Taiji Quan skill, throwing jin should never be used alone.
The complete process consists of five steps:
1. Ting – listen: feel or detect what the opponent want to do,
2. Hua – melt or dissolve: neutralize the attacking force,
3. Yin – lure: give the opponent false impressions, making him feel like he can get you, and leading him to go
where you want him to go,
4. Nia - hold or control: get the opponent under your control (usually means keep him off-balanced), and
5. Fa - release a throwing force: attack.
Here the first four skills are nei jin skills, while the last one, fa, can be either nei jin or wai jin. In order to be true
Taiji skill, the first four steps must be present.
5. Dong jin
In Taiji Quan practice, having developed a large amount jin does not automatically mean we understand Taiji
Quan. Dong jin, or understanding force, means we mastered Taiji Quan. Someone is said to have reached dong
jin level when he understands how to apply jin according to Taiji Quan principle. Before we reach this stage,
maybe we can use our jin to do something, but not according to Taiji principle, and we do not understand why the
results are less than optimum.
It also implies a familiarities with all the different types jins. To successfully practice each
type of jin, the common key points are: relaxation, timing, direction, position, mind, and an
understanding of yin and yang. Only when we pay attention to these details can our skill
reach high level.
According to tradition, in Taiji Quan, for either empty-hand or weapons, there are thirty-
six kinds of jin. What that really means is there are thirty-six different ways in which our
trained force can be used. Once we have jin, we can study in detail how to apply it in
each of these ways.
Some of these jin’s can be used to throw people. We should practice them separately
carefully in detail. Compare them, understand what is the same and what is different.
The best way is train with a partner. A large number of repetitions is usually required. Jin
is one of the foundations of all Taiji Quan skills, so we want to have a complete and
accurate understanding of this area.
6. Additional meanings of the word jin in Taiji Quan
Although “jin” in general means force, there are other meanings for it in martial
arts practice. We should know these in order to avoid any confusion. It is difficult to
explain why some of them are used that way, but that is just how the usage of language
Sometime, jin does not mean force, but ability. For example, in Taiji
Quan, we have ting jin, yin jin, sui jin, etc. Ting means listening. Ting jin
means ability in the area of sensitivity. It is listening with our body,
knowing from touch what our opponent is trying to do. All Taiji Quan skills
are based on this ability. Yin means luring. Yin jin is the ability to making
our opponent go where we want him to go without to use force to push or
pull him to that way. Sui means following. Sui jin is the relaxing ability
which allows us to follow our opponent. Usually people like to list these
abilities is nei jin.
Sometimes, jin means level, for example dong jin. Translated literally,
dong jin means understanding force. However in traditional martial art
training, people always consider dong jin as a level of practice, which
means one can understand and apply Taiji principle in his/her practice.
Sometime jin is a technical concept, like hua jin, or na jin. Here hua
means dissolve, so hua jin means techniques that can solve the problem
in a very gentle or easy way. Na means grip or control, so na jin refers to
skills for keep our opponent under our control.
Sometime jin means attempt, intention, like xin jin. Xin means heart, so
xin jin means a strong attempt.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
This is the ideal use of force, minimum necessary force, and
maximum effect. If we ignore the martial aspect of Taiji Quan,
where all the sophisticated use of power is most clearly
illustrated and directly understood, if our self-satisfaction about
having developed a large power stops us from researching jin in
further detail, then we will never reach this high level in our Taiji
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Ting Hua Yin Na Fa
Master Zhao Zeren teaches
Fa Jin with Strider Clark
Master Lu Shengli teaches