The second installment of Zhang Yun's article on Jin, internal strength, discusses features of high level Jin in this issue. It also focuses on some of the ways to develop and refine jin in martial arts as well as errors to avoid.
He has written a number of articles in T'AI CHI Magazine, on technical aspects of Tai Chi as a martial art and in 2004 and 2005 he wrote extensively about Wang Peisheng, his teacher, following Wang's death.
Jin, sometimes written and pronounced as Jing, is often described in different ways but Zhang Yun's description is the most comprehensive that we have published.
Since Jin is a kind of strength, it is easier to mistake just a feeling of strength for Jin, when, as Zhang Yun explains, Jin is a particular kind of strength. In Tai Chi, there are subtleties upon subtleties.
Zhang Yun, who teaches in the Pittsburgh, PA, area, studied for many years with Wang Peisheng and practices the Northern Wu style. He is author of the book, "The Art of Chinese Swordsmanship."
In the October 2000 issue of T’AI CHI, he translated Chen Xin’s writing about Push Hands Sickness. In April 2001, he wrote about Four Key Skills of Push Hands and Fighting. Other articles included: February 2003, Taiji Sticking Staff; and in December 2004 and February 2005, he wrote about the life and death of his teacher, Wang Peisheng.
Liu Chang Jiang writes about skeletal posture and muscle action. A native of Beijing, where he still lives and teaches, Liu, who is 75, teaches the Northern Wu style.
Liu studied with Dong Yi Chen and Wang Peisheng. He has taught in the U.S. and Japan. The translators of the article are his students, Rebecca Wu and Ron Moorhouse, who live in Nelson, New Zealand.
Since good structure and muscle action are so basic, it would seem that they would be easily taught and easily understood. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Liu's discussion helps to clarify what is involved and how to develop good structure and dynamics. Of course, it all depends on your own practice and insight to implement these.
Daniel Rauch of San Francisco is a boxer who writes about the benefits he has had from his studies with George Xu. Rauch has found that his Tai Chi training has improved his boxing skills and, coincidentally, his temperament.
He is now boxing the way that he trains in Tai Chi and says it is working for him. At the suggestion of George Xu, he also applies internal principles to his conventional boxing techniques.
Also published in this issue is a vintage T'AI CHI article from 1988 in which William C. C. Chen is interviewed and talks about training for fighting and the benefits of looseness combined with tension.
In the William Chen article, he makes the point that looseness is critical. By going from a very loose state to one of tension, this increases the velocity and power of a punch.
Zhou Lishang in this issue writes about her first Tai Chi teacher, Jiang Yukun, who, coincidentally, was also a teacher of the late Gao Fu, who is shown in one of the class photos in this issue.
I remember that when I interviewed Gao Fu in Seattle, WA, she spoke highly of Jiang Yukun, who taught her the Yang style. She said he was out in the park teaching every day, regardless of the weather, which can be severe in Beijing.
Jiang had a long martial arts career during a time when China was almost constantly in turmoil from the war between the nationalists and Communists, the Japanese invasion, the Cultural Revolution, etc.
The article features information from mimeographed notes by Jiang about his insights into Tai Chi.
His notes deal with some classic instructions on how to perform the movements, basic training methods and some methods that may be new to persons who do not read or speak Chinese. He also discusses breathing, fajin and push hands, among many other topics.
Jiang repeats the saying, “Although we are practicing Wushu, we learn culture at the same time.”
Zhang Huaijun and Wang Xuechen of Jinan, China, collaborate on a technical article about how to use the waist. Both are members of the Department of Physical Education of Shandong Architectural Engineering College. Zhang is a former classmate of Jiang Jian-ye.
This was a difficult article to edit because of the translation into English. It is also difficult to translate this kind of information into one's body and practice.
Tai Chi is always trial and error. And that process can take a long time. Lots of trials and lots of errors. Even after being able to implement the process they describe, it can take years to get it partially right or really right.
But as Liu Chang Jiang says in a related article, when you get it you know that Tai Chi is "the supreme ultimate."
Victoria Windholtz of Paris, France, has another article in this issue about useful healing exercises suitable for ill persons or even for the fit.
It is a carefully written article providing simple exercises that can be done on a bed or mat. The exercises are simple but should not be underestimated. Victoria Windholts has written previously for the magazine on Zhan Zhuang standing exercises.
Born in Spain, she has been practicing martial arts since she was 10 years old. For many years she was a member of the French National Tai Chi Team. She is a student of Chen Xiaowang and has her own school in Paris.
A second vintage T'AI CHI article is in this issue about teaching and learning. It was published first in June 1982. It was written by a prominent East Coast teacher who wished to be anonymous.
I remember one teacher subsequently telling me that it was the best article ever published in T’AI CHI.•