How to Feel Peng-Jin
In our previous article called The Inner Connections of Peng-Jin we discussed the importance of peng-jin and how to create peng-jin in your postures and movements. In this article we will discuss what you can do to develop it with a partner or by yourself.
To understand how to create peng-jin, stand in a Ward-Off posture as in the picture and have someone push on your arm. There are a few things you need to do for peng-jin to work, so read this paragraph first to understand the needed steps.
Do this activity slowly and start with a small force so that you can feel what happens inside your body.
Rather than trying to stop the force by tightening your muscles and pushing back, relax and separate each joint in the path of the force down to your feet.
Make yourself slightly taller and slightly wider and go deeper into the floor.
Relax your arms and legs so you can channel the force to go through your feet and into the floor.
As you feel the force begins going through your body, feel it’s path and where it is getting stuck and preventing the flow from getting to your feet.
Clear the blockages by relaxing and allowing the impacted joints to separate and open.
Most likely, the joint where you will first feel a blockage will be your shoulder. Open it by moving your arm a little forward while moving the chest slightly back.
You may have to drop your elbow to do it because a raised elbow can close the shoulder.
You may have to bend your hip joint a little more because opening the hip joint affects the space between the chest and the shoulder.
Another important thing to note is that the if the contact point is on your right side, the force line goes to the left foot, and vice versa. In other words, if you are pushed on your left arm as in the picture above, the line goes to your right foot. So, if you’re standing in a bow stance with the right leg forward and your right arm in a ward-off position, the line will travel from your arm to your left foot and into the floor.
To feel peng-jin, you do not necessarily need to have an opponent. You can create peng-jin in your body by doing everything that was described above.
Start with making a connection between your arm, through your back, to your lower back, your ming-men point.
To make this connection, sink your chest slightly, round your back by moving your shoulder blades away from each other and downward, and separate each joint by gently expanding your body from the inside in all directions.
To help the expansion, move your lower back (ming-men) backwards a little and bend (open) your hip joints. The ming-men point is where your upper body (arms) connects to your lower body (legs). As you improve and expand everywhere internally, the connections will go directly from the fingers to the toes, through the ming-men.
Relax and exhale and feel the line extending from your arm to your feet and feel your body enlarge like a balloon.
It is important to note that expansion comes from relaxation and letting go, and that expansion starts from the inside and radiates outward.
Peng-jin is the most important force to understand in tai chi. Without it, there is no power, no expansion, no fluidity nor flow of chi. Without it, all the other forces that make up tai chi will not work. Peng-jin or expansion comes from relaxation and letting go, and that expansion starts from the inside and radiates outward through opening every joint in the body. This article barely scrapes the surface of what peng-jin is and how it is used. To understand tai chi, it is important to take the time to learn as much as you can about peng-jin.