What is Fa Jing?

by John Chow,   of Tao of Tai Chi Chuan Institute, Melbourne, Australia.



Fa” means to issue or let out or to manifest.

Jing” is the internal energy referred to by Chinese martial arts.


Therefore “fa Jing” means to issue or eject internal power.  It is as simply as that. 


There are many kinds of Jings.  The Jing that are issued against an opponent are different in different martial art styles.  For example,  the Jing of Choy Loy Fut Kung Fu is different from that of the Wu Chu (Go Ju- 5 Ancestors) style. 


It is noted that different masters of the same style manifest their Jing differently even though they are from the same master.  Some are harder, some are softer, some are violent, some hurt the opponent,  some merely subdue the opponent. 


An example of a strange and dangerous Jing is that of Yang Ban Hou which is said to be cold and murderous,  which tend to harm his students,  which may account for why he was not a popular teacher,  as not many people can take that Jing safely.  That is history,  and I was not around to hear direct first hand accounts of that.


However,  I can relate an account that occurred within my own lifetime.  While the grandmaster Chee Kim Tong of Wu Chu (5 Ancestors) style in Malaysia was away from his school,  a student fell ill during training.  Being a place that is subject to black magic,  some students thought this strange phenomena must be due to pschic interference, and so they used all sorts of tricks to expel the curse,  without any success.  When Grandmaster Chee returned and was told of this disaster,  he immediately examined the student,  and determined it was not black magic at all,  but the student was subjected to an attack of cold chi during training issued by his training partner.  He gave treatment based on this diagnosis and the student recovered immediately.  


The above example should give us appreciation of the variants in Fa Jing.  A lot depends on our attitude, intention, mentality, and spiritual state. 


It is possible that if the mind is violent and destructive,  you will manifest exactly that.  If the mind is peaceful, calm and compassionate,  that is quality of Jing you will tend to issue.  Thus,  it is possible that the application and effect of Fa Jing is dependent on the mind-set and intention of the practitioner at the moment of issue. 


Not injuring the opponent when issuing Fa Jing is certainly not easy,  and would require a good spiritual foundation, humility and ethics,  and very well-developed skills.  The level of skills may dictate the level of control the practitioner has over his Fa Jing.  Anybody can hurt anybody with a big gun.  But it takes control to use a big gun on the opponent without hurting him.  Using such a dangerous explosive energy against the opponent without hurting him,  must certainly take skills of a very high order. 


Tai Chi Chuan has been violent as well as non violent in its history.  Yang Lu Chan,  the founder of Yang Style,  was very powerful, but courteous and well-mannered.  His son, Yang Ban Hou,  was quite violent.  Yang Jian Hou was eager to test his skills,  but was not as violent and bellicose.  Of Yang Jian Hou’s sons,  Yang Shao Hou loved to fight.  But Yang Cheng Fu was peaceful, amiable and compassionate.  It was not that Yang Cheng Fu can not fight.  He was said to be able to bounce his opponents off with a mere flick,  but he chooses not to contest other fighters, but to make friends.  This aspect is about the individual persons,  and not the art.  They all practised Tai Chi Chuan.

In Tai Chi Chuan,  "non-violent" does not mean "passive" or weak,  nor does it mean it is 'non-martial'.  Tai Chi Chuan in this regard is the defensive martial art of gentlemen - "fighting" is for thugs,  and people of thug-like mentality.


"fighting" and "self-defence" are two different things.  Fighting is against the spirit of Tao. Even some of the greatest Chinese masters had always strove to preserve calm and peace through moral cultivation. 


There is a claim by a Tai Chi Chuan teacher who is popular in the West that “Fa-jing explodes inside of people causing them to simply shake and fall to the ground either unconscious or dead!”   “This is when we put Qi into the object to cause it to die or explode from within, the object will vibrate and then fall in front of you, it will NOT be thrown backwards.”  This was mentioned also in reference to the great illustrious master Cheng Man Ching bouncing people off with his soft Fa Jing.


This is what I have to say:-

1)      There is no explanation of this shaking and organ exploding of Fa Jing in the Tai Chi classics,  nor sayings or writings of the old Tai Chi Chuan masters. 

2)      The description by the classics and old masters do not concur with this ‘new revolutionary concept of Fa Jing’ (which probably is influenced by modern fictional movies such as the Matrix, or TV accounts of explosive ‘imploding’ of buildings).

3)      There is absolutely no reference in any Tai Chi classics,  nor sayings or writings of the old Tai Chi Chuan masters to support this ‘new revolutionary concept of Fa Jing’.

4)      There are many accounts of the old masters, including Yang Lu Chan and his immediate family,  and Chen Fa Ke and his family,  and their disciples performing Fa Jing in training as well as in combat,  and the opponent is thrown back.  There has never been any accounts of the opponent shaking and trembling all over, falling unconscious or dead,  with organs exploding  -  all in front of the master without falling back or sent flying back.  

5)      I have not heard of the Tai Chi Chuan classics,  nor the old Tai Chi Chuan masters,  however mean and bellicose they were,  encouraging maiming and killing.  Can the person who claimed this supply accounts of the killings that the Yang family committed, please?  

6)      There are numerous accounts of the Fa Jing issued by many great Tai Chi masters (the genuine masters such as Yang Lu Chan and so forth),  and they are all similar and the opponent is sent flying back when Fa Jing is issued.  Does this western master claim that these old masters did not manage to issue Fa Jing,  but merely gave a violent push?  What is the difference between a push that is a Fa Jing,  and a push due to strong physical strength with proper alignment?  (No need to go into that debate that Peng strength is only about alignment …..)

7)      Can the person who made such claims please supply verifiable evidence that the claims he made are correct,  and he himself could really do it,  as he claimed he had done so?  If this master is so “morally ethical” to avoid killing a human being,  can he please demonstrate his true Fa Jing for us on a bull?  Just to put the record straight  -  not to defend or inflate his ego,  but just for the sake of truth. 


Perhaps such claims were inspired by stories such as that of Master Kou,  a Northern Shaolin master who was reputed to have killed a calf with a blow of his Iron Palm technique -  when the calf was opened up,  the internal organ where the master hit the calf was damaged.  This is a feature of the strikes from many Chinese masters.  remember  -  this was external Shaolin and Iron Palm.  Not internal Tai Chi Chuan.  And this is about striking,  not issue of Fa Jing,  especially issue of Fa Jing during Tai Chi Pushing Hands. 


April 2005

Written by John Chow,  a practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, masseur, healer and teacher of martial arts and spiritual paths.


No part of this article can be used, quoted, copied in any form without the permission from the author. 

For further information on this article, please contact John Chow  at  vajra_master@yahoo.com.



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