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Types of forces in Chen Taijiquan

We find many different forces (jinin Chen Taijiquan practice. They actually work on different kinds of levels. For example, when we talk about peng jin劲 we mean a certain expansive force which should be present in the whole body at all times, building tensegrity into our bodies. When we talk about "silk reeling" (缠丝 chansi) it means how the forces should be wrapped in the body.

So both are kind of meta-level forces. However, if we talk about "separating" or "splitting" (挒 lie) it rather illustrates how to use different angles and directions to separate an incoming force. Besides the internal body coordination necessary to do this it could also be seen like a tactic in combat. When we talk about "leaning" or "bumping" (靠 kao) this could also be seen as a kind of close distance technique which can be done with several parts of the body.  

Short forces, hidden forces, clear forces... in Chen Taijiquan

There is another layer in Chinese martial theory which describes not only the quality of the direction of forces, but the length of their path of power development. We speak of small or short forces 小劲 xiaojin or of one-inch forces 寸劲 cunjin, which are generated at a short distance, so they can be applied while we are close to our opponent. We can talk about hidden forces, 暗劲 anjin, once they have been refinded in a way so they can hardly be seen anymore from the outside. These are usually of a higher level than the long or clear forces called 明劲 mingjin in Chinese. Chen Taijiquan works best in my opinion as a close-range martial art, so the development of these forces plays a crucial role and should be well integrated and developed in our form practice. 


A short video where I play around with some short forces, though the hand and arm shapes don't change much in the beginning, the small forces I use here have different internal mechanics (身法) and thus have quite different directions. Therefore they would be applied differently. 

And a video with a mixture of longer and shorter forces:

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