Just Right

Even if I tell other people they would never believe me” – so said my student, picking himself off the ground after rolling there for a minute in pain.

Just a short ago I was trying to explain about the degree of softness required in order to do powerful fajing. How should I put it – not too hard, not too soft, just right.

But what does “just right” means? We can’t measure it or maybe we can. At the moment we don’t have anything, no pressure sensors, no force sensors to measure and give a mathematical figure to what “just right” means. We can only do it the old fashion way – by feeling.

This is too hard – what do you feel? Can you feel the hardness, as if the power cannot come through?

This is too soft – like loose gears, and would require some muscle power to get the power out.

Just right” means this – feel the gradation in pressure. My palms on his right forearm, just inches away from his body. I moved my body forward, letting him feel the changes in pressure.

I was standing close, and I moved my body closer progressively, until both my hands were nearly by the side of my body. What I didn’t know was my student was thinking then that maybe I cannot do the fajing with my hands that near to my body. The logic is correct.

Except when the fajing happened and he bounced into the air, landed on his feet loudly. He then held his hands to the right side of his body, pain on his face and promptly laid on the ground, rolling in pain.

It was tempting to whip out the phone and taped it except without context the video would be meaningless. My hands did not make contact with his right ribs so why was he holding his hands there as if to stop the pain?

Curious, right?

Well, actually no. The reason why he felt the pain was because the force on contact, knocked him back with an acceleration so sudden that his body did not have the chance to dissipate the energy.

This caused his body to absorb the energy of the “push“. The spot that hurt was where my palms were facing. So though I didn’t focus the power the energy pulse was still strong enough to make it feel as if he had actually been struck by a physical limb.

I know what mechanics I used to generate this power and to me it is a testament to the robustness of Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Yang style model on the use of intent. Though I don’t start my students off with GM Wei’s form, however, I teach them the vital principles because a principle is a principle and we should not draw a boundary here if it can advance a student’s learning.

It would have been nice to have a way to measure the actual force output. Also, a high speed camera would be handy to analyze how I actually moved in that split second. I know how I trained to move but it would be good to make a correlation between “as trained” and compare it to “as applied“.

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