The Jings of Pushing Hands

The understanding of pushing hands (Tui-Shou) is extremely important to the vital forces and practical principles that influence the yin/yang schools and to those who adhere to the “Five Element” principles. One of the foundations of tai chi chuan is called the “Eight forces,” or “Eight Gates,” or “Eights Jings.”

pushing hands
Sifu Saleem Alamudeen practicing Push Hands with his Sifu, Grand Master Wing Lam

The Eight Jings are: peng,  ward off; lu, roll back; ji, press; an, push; ca, pluck; lie, splitting/rend; zhou, elbow stroke; and kao, shoulder stroke.  The first four Jings are directional and recognized as the four main energies protecting the directions of North, South, East, and West.  The “Song of Four Directions,” is a concept that reflects the principle of the four main jings.

These eight forces/energies or Jing, all combine with the following five active movements which are step forward, retreat backward, look left, and gaze right, as well as hold the center.  Combined together the Eight Jings and the five active movements are called the 13 postures. They are the concealment of possible strategic initiatives and conceptual realism’s dealing with absorption and expansion.

These eight powers act as a multiple value function and conceal energy techniques and theories in harmonic progression.  This conjugates the principle theorems of yin soft energy and yang hard energy into a body of energetic density.  In turn, it agitates the capacity to store energy within every movement, making tai chi chuan the containment of energy in motion.  This containment is in the posture and alignment and the gathering of the principles, while linking them into a shape in which they can be expressed.  The focus will be as clear as its opposition, meaning that the movement will reflect both the imminently real or probable, and the imaginable.   It will be direct yet the concept will exist in a state of fluidity.  However, the motion isn’t primarily external, it generates internally and resonates and is expressed externally as a type of conceptual realism.

Within the study of the governing concepts of the Eight Jings, there are three more jings (ting jing, hua jing , and fa jing}, which are very important in the learning and development of Push Hands.  Jing translates to mean force/energy, and it’s the expressive energy that is embedded in the mechanics of proper technical skills and understanding of the principles and concepts as they should be performed.  All movements can be expressed within a certain concept, at will, with jing power.  The combination of “yi,” mind intention, and “shen,” spirit/mind, and “chi,” vital energy, should permeate and gather internally and be felt and seen externally. Ting Jing” teaches the skill of listening not merely with the ears.  However, your entire skin must come alive and be elevated to a heightened state of sensitivity. “Hua Jing” teaches the skills of redirecting/neutralizing the opponents force, and “Fa Jing” teaches the skills of issuing energy.  A reasonable amount of time should be given to developing a relationship with each of these concepts to assure proper development.


20160425_090335“Peng Jing” translates as ward off.  It’s an explosive outward energy of expansive mind/body connections.  Energy is expressed upward and outward, disrupting the opponents center and using one’s whole body/posture, unified, through gathering, strengthening, transforming energy and returning it back to the opponent explosively. “Lu Jing” translates as rollback.  The challenge is to receive and lead the oncoming force into the emptiness while dissolving into the void.  “Ji Jing” translates as press and the idea is to squeeze energy by collapsing and gently squeezing inside the elbow while collapsing and concentrating the force of energy into a small area.  “An Jing” translates as push.  The goal is to merge with the opponent’s force, either pushed downward or upward received, and return force pushing into the earth.  “Cai Jing” translates as pluck, and implies disturbing the opponent’s balance/structure by executing a quick plucking/pulling motion downwards, and usually on an angle uprooting the opponent.  “Lie Jing” translates as rend.  Here, the purpose is that while one limb or body part pushes or pulls, another moves in the opposite direction in a kind of ripping or tearing action.  The responding energy should balance out the action splitting opponent’s energy.  “Zhou Jing” means elbow.  Usually the use of the elbow is an advanced technique and is within the form, hidden within the general movements of the form itself.  The use of the elbow is very forceful.  It has penetrating power when combined with intention and proper alignment of the body using full body weight behind it.  Elbow, forearms, shin and knees are used with this jing.  The striking surfaces execute penetrating force when used properly against the opponent. “Kao Jing” translates as shoulder stroke.  As mentioned above, the entire body is used in tai chi as a weapon.  Tai chi also uses the back, stomach, waist, and body bumping which uses the entire body to strike or block. There’s an old saying that describes the concepts of expressing energy in tai chi chuan, it states:

Energy is rooted in the feet, absorbed by the legs,

directed by the waist, then manifested in the hands/fingers.

 20160425_090054In the studying tai chi chuan, these concepts should be studied and expressed in all thoughts /movements. The Eight Jings are visually simplistic wrapped in intricate complexity.  Becoming acquainted with concepts such as Ting Jing, Hua Jing, and Fa Jing will increase your ability to execute the concepts within the eight forces.  However, you should spend time with understanding the concepts that are so deep and rich within the soil/strata of yin and yang and are infinite in the combinations that may be expressed.  Limitations exist upon the individual’s lack of understanding of the Eight Jings.   Having a better understanding of the three jings, Ting, Hua and Fa, will elevate the concepts of join, stick, and follow.   Join reminds and teaches us to forget about the self and to join as one with the opponent in all of his moves.  Stick brings to mind the concept of becoming one …no separation.  It reminds us that there should be no separation between us and the opponent.  Follow teaches us and reminds us to stay in the moment and adapt every minute motion that is executed by the opponent, then change it immediately to shadow the opponent.








An Empty Vessel

The interconnecting and true expression of a movement exists in the moment of execution of  thought. Since water jugaction follows thought, it is necessary for an opponent to allow his mind to exist from the reference point of the adversary. This means not to force your actions against the action of the exchange, but to harmoniously engage the opponent’s thoughts as they are expressed and committed. It is a necessary position in order to form a reference point for that adversary. The reference point reveals a multitude of possibilities, and these references dissolve from moment to moment and may not be the same upon repetition.

In order to allow one’s mind to exist from the reference point of the adversary requires insight. Insight is granted in compatibility to one’s intelligent foresight. Information is brought into the mind by way of sound and images. In accomplishing our desires, we succeed or fail based on calculating theories and cunning estimations of probabilities of distance and directions. All shapes tell the story of the thought process through the travel and degree of energy. The goal is to elevate your thoughts and perceptions to form a network of accurate triangulation while establishing a distance between two points, or the relative position of two or more points. The relative position will indicate the complexity as measured by time, skill, and intelligent foresight, merged with a mindset of adaptability of “change to fit change.” Change may be needed to create suitability with possibilities of motionless motion. The concept of concealing motion in stillness permeates the mind, body, spirit and emotions, which leads to an interpretation of possible configurations. Let’s refer to this as Motionless Motion because it permeates and resonates in one’s spirit through subtle hints. However one must first understand the actual configuration that is imbedded and observed in the stillness. This interconnected network of motion (external to internal), and stillness (internal to external), is extended outwardly and expresses in nonverbal communications by way of points and lines. This equation of free motionless motion has within it the ability for grouping the fundamentals of essentials of motion as dictated by the invariable physical laws regarding reference points, lines …both straight (direct) and curved (indirect) and that are revealed and exerted in certain circumstances. These circumstances require specific actions for specific results. Stillness contains motion in shape and motion is born out of stillness. The misunderstood sophistication of stillness is a simulation of calculated measures of perceived mutual dealings in the engagement. It is this relationship that gives birth to the process of interchangeability of roles of the points and lines becoming the thought and thought action. This thought substance reflects in silence the simplicity and perfection of dualism or action/ reaction. This Action/reaction Law states: “When one body exerts force on another, the second body exerts a collinear force on the first, equal in magnitude, but oppositely directed.” Action and reaction are equal and opposite concepts.

A second concept is to meet and join, blend and absorb, and conceal your intent to produce consequences of actions. It is necessary to merge, consolidate and hijack patterns to interrupt all elements of engagement to include distinct outlines or all shapes. This theory of disturbance is quiet and still.

The third concept is to acquire the capacity of an even temperament by subduing emotions and uplifting the spirit. It includes suppressing conscious thoughts and manifesting through your innate capacity as you coexist in the continuum of perception, reaction, and time. This is governed by psychological adaptation requiring one to live in the moment and inherit mechanisms of unknown elements, or stimulus/response. Allow the concepts to unfold the sense perception like a kaleidoscope of illusions, attacking and distracting mental calculations. Enclosed within this thought system that gives life to all gestures is the concept that all things are revealed to he who is patient. Decisions are born out of situations, and choices out of skills or abilities to bring forth solutions which must be absolute in response to transformations.

Harmonious effects and results are created by perceiving through the senses. This intelligent interpretation of movement is an expression of mathematical functions which bond with the economy of motion, maximizing reaction and efficiency of movement, minimizing energy dispersion, to include conservation of energy. The fourth concept, Conservation of Energy, which states that the principles that are in the system (in our case this will be referring to shapes), is not subject to any external forces (actions). The amount of energy is constant, despite its changes in form. This refers to the energy that resides in shapes to include the energy that resides in stillness. It is through the experience of mathematical functions that one can connect and express physical calculations that develop within a structure through developing and deconstructing.


Simple stone upon a hill, teaching the art of being still.

…….author unknown




I am a cluster of consciousness on a passage of growth. Existing in a Universe of multiple realities, there is a constant metamorphosis and fusion with epic possibilities.

Perception is the direct reflection of an individual’s knowledge, experience, and faith. Perception is ever changing and the reality that we hold today will or will not reflect in harmony with the perceived reality of the future. Our perceptional reality is limited and much like peering through a kaleidoscope. We only perceive the world as we believe it to be and according to our acceptance of this. Our beliefs are held together by our faith. Hence comes a perceptional reality that is individual for each of us. Our perception is relative to our reality and our interpretation and our acceptance of it. With each shake of the kaleidoscope the image of reality we are perceiving changes. In the same way, the experiences that we have in our lives may have a dramatic effect on our own perception of reality. The growth that we are challenged with will either carry us forward into new expanded perceptions or we will remain fixed in perceptual stagnation.

The sensory shower that we constantly bathe in from infancy to adulthood, allows the emotional connections to filter and blend with our perception. Experiences and thoughts are given emotional charges through sensations that reinforce them with emotional radiance. This strengthens the expression of the total experience not just with the perceptional point of view but also with a new combination of perceptual and emotional intertwining at a heightened level. Reminiscing over experience reactivates the emotional charges which increasingly serve to strengthen the perception.

This can be good or bad. The knowledge that we accumulate will reinforce our action in the direction of our perception. Our faith will contain it all together and give us the strength to stand and argue our perception.

As a martial artist, it is vital to have focused clarity coupled with open-mindedness that is married with possibilities of the unperceived. Such things as skills, seen and unseen, concepts, known and unknown, methods that are clear or unclear, must be calculated and regurgitated in a clear and concise manner in order for the martial artist to achieve his desired results.