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Home Close Combat Tai Chi Fa-Jing: The Myths and Methods of Energy Release

Fa-Jing (Fajing) is the Chinese martial art technique of releasing power in a technique, usually in a quick and explosive manner. While it is a basic and necessary principle of internal arts such as Taijiquan, Xing Yi and Baguazhang and is trained as such, it has also fallen victim to many exaggerated claims by charlatans and by those who simply do not understand the essence of fa-jing.

One of the most well-known performances of fa-jing was Bruce Lee’s One-Inch Punch, which came to the public’s attention at the Long Beach (CA) International Karate Championships in 1964.

To this very day students dissect this move, using complex mathematical equations and physics calculations in an attempt to explain how he did it. If only these students had an elementary knowledge of fa-jing their lives would be much simpler.

The trick is to NOT watch the hands – they’re merely the tool that transfers the force of the fa-jing into the target. Instead, you have to watch the body, because that’s where true fa-jing power is generated. There’s an old saying in the martial arts that “the whole body is a weapon”; this is commonly taken to mean that an elbow is a weapon, a hand is a weapon, a foot, a knee, etc. But this is an erroneous interpretation – what it really means is that the entire body is used as a weapon in every technique through the use of proper body mechanics.

The technique of fa-jing lies in what the body does to cause the hand or foot to be thrust out at great speed and power. It is not the strength of the triceps, biceps or the laterals that cause the power, but rather the whole body. In fact, a smaller person is able to generate much more power than a heavily-muscled body builder who is only using his triceps to generate the power for the punch, by using his whole body. There is simply much more power in a whole body than in one triceps muscle. This is the “secret” of fa-jing.

“C”-Backs and Crazy Eyes

“C”-back? What in the world is THAT?

Take a look at a silverback gorilla, one of Nature’s most deadly fighters and one who is constantly prepared for an attack – note his posture …

THAT is a “C”-back.

What’s the connection between this and fa-jing? All we have to do to find out that our current scientific knowledge about the human body is all there in the Chinese classics written hundreds of years ago. It states in the Taiji classics that we must “round the shoulders and hollow the chest”. ‘C’-back!

The “C”-back is a posture full of potential, of coiled energy waiting to be released and channeled through a tool such as a hand or elbow. It is a natural “ready” position, one that is emulated in the internal arts to provide the base for fa-jing generation.

Ever hear the expression “crazy eyes”? Usually it’s given to someone who is ready to jump-off, to fight to the death if necessary. The eyes are the windows of the soul, goes the old saying, and once again the classics tell us that we must see with the eye of the eagle, using the middle peripheral vision or ‘Eagle Vision’.

Crazy eyes … courtesy once again of our friend Bruce …

There are several types of fa-jing, each trained in its own unique fashion, but they are all aimed at creating explosive power by coupling internal energy with superior body mechanics.

Here’s a fine example of Yang Taijiquan Fa-Jing generation …

All of the principles of internal arts training are utilized in the generation of the energy – qi flow, relaxation, breathing and proper physical transmission of movements.

Fa-jing is NOT about Hollywood-style balls of fire issuing from the hands or mysterious organ-bursting from a distance – it’s just superior movement principles coupled with effective striking skills.

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