Peng, Lu, Ji, An

Peng, Lu, Ji and An are considered to be the first 4 primary physical jing energies in Tai Chi Chuan. This post introduces these 4 jing energies.

At the bottom of this post, there is a list of separate, more accurate and comprehensive posts about each one.

Peng

Peng translates as Ward Off and is often thought of as an outward expanding and moving energy that bounces incoming force back as if you were pushing or shoving on a large inflated rubber ball.

The practitioner using Peng energy is very strong and immovable in their stance although not stiff or rigid in any way.

Lu

Lu translates as Rollback and is generally considered to be a diversion of the incoming force to one side or the other causing the attacker to lose their balance.

Lu also refers to the idea that the recipient / practitioner can use it to draw off incoming energy.

Ji

Ji translates as Press and tends to refer to the idea of pressing or pushing in with pressure in a way that causes two points of contact to meet in one spot inside the recipient.

So, two vectors of force that are directed and intended to meet in the same place.

An

An (Pronounced like the word “on”) translates as Push and tends to be a downward and then an upward action to help uproot the opponent. An Push jing refers to the idea that the force travels through the recipient moving or coming out the other side of the intended target.

How These Jings Relate To One Another

It is commonly thought that Peng is the primary physical jing and that the other jings are simply Peng jing expressed in a particular direction or form. There are those who disagree with this view of it.

I can see the merit in both arguments and am interested to hear what others think about the subject as long as the discussion is intelligent. I am not interested in a dogmatic religious or political approaches to any of this but I am very open to scholarly discussion and debate.

Comments

  1. Dan Eidson says:

    In Peng, if i raise my right arm and press down with left hand, shift my waist to the right while rotating my right arm at the elbow, rotate my left forearm counterclockwise to palm up. Can I shoot energy from my left fingertips into the middle of my right forearm at an accupressure point there? I have never practiced doing this, yet I have the move from a Yang Jun video.
    In application I have caught an inverted punch and I raise my right arm behind the opponents elbow (could be a break right there) Then turn my waist to the right, then the left, Lu–rollback and then sink and An/push, which could dislocate the shoulder as well. Am I making sense here?

    • Sigung Clear says:

      Hi Dan,
      The answer to your first question is yes. But, which acu-point and why are you shooting energy into this acu-point?
      Your physical self defense application makes complete sense.
      Best Regards.
      Sifu

  2. Dan Eidson says:

    Thanks for the response.
    Guess I am shooting the energy into the acu-point in the middle of my forearm. When I perform An and push more energy through the Lau Gong point into the already built up energy in the forearm, it creates more jing power. Ok, that was a WAG…(wild ass guess).
    I know something is going on, yet I’m not sure what…
    I know you can strike the biceps with an upper cut punch and cause something to happen because we used to do it at the temple. Maybe it accelerates the jing out through the fist…..dont know…

    • Sigung Clear says:

      Hi Dan,
      Okay, I was looking for context. In this case you are saying to strike. Yes, striking your arm while striking out accelerates the jing and also adds more juice to the technique. Probably near double for what you have described.
      Best Regards.
      Sifu

  3. Interesting article. I love the four energies, especially an. I don’t understand ji very well. Once I was in a conflict with someone physically much stronger than me. A stranger that went off in a rage and I couldn’t get away. Instinctively I used press(an). I only caught him with half the force because of the close distance, awkward terrain and walking stance I was in at the time. But it was enough to immediately take the will to fight away from the guy without hurting him. Since then I have seen how practical it is and practice it more. It is easier to do than ji, but maybe that’s just for me. Here are some points I’ve learned about an. When you do an using explosive strength the most important thing is not to fall to far forward and lose your own balance. This is the common mistake. The way to solve this is difficult to explain you have to watch a teacher do it especially his legs and posture. When you finish you should be standing solid and the opponent can’t pull you forward. The second thing I would say is that you have to make contact with your palms at a 90 degree angle, or the force of the blow must come from the centre of the palm and not be cushioned by the top of the palm or the fingers. I mean you can be touching/sensing first with your fingers but the snap has to connect through the palms. Its like when your doing push ups. If you do an and your hand is not flexible enough you will cushion the impact with your fingers and top of your palm. There are wu ji standing postures to help stretch the hand out. This is from my experience which is very limited.

    • “Instinctively I used press(an).”

      Hi Kevin,
      Did you mean to say press or push? Press being Ji and Push being An.

  4. Taking your entry literally – you are a lucky guy. My experience tells me a few things – – The guy that attacked you did not want to fight or hurt you – if he did your move would not have stopped him. You do not mention how you were attacked or where you tried to hit him – but you had many options that would have taken him out at that close distance. When training for combat it is imperative you get off the school or training hall floor and work on uneven ground. Work on steps, sand, mud, wet surfaces, etc. You need to train like you will fight and fight like you train.

  5. My 4 cents (cost of living increase)on Peng. This is primarily geared to those new to the Art Of Tai Chi Chuan although it may be looked upon as a refresher course for others. Instead of trying to define Peng I will attempt to explain how to feel and produce “Peng” when you need it.
    Get into your Wu Chi stance and after you have settled in direct your attention to your wrists. Become aware of the entire wrist joint – then imagine there is a space between your hand and your forearm. Get comfortable with this feeling and then move joint by joint through your entire body. Be sure to feel the space in the joints – – forearm not connected to upper arm – etc etc. continue with just focusing on the space in the joints in your entire body. As you are focusing on the joints and the spaces you should also notice your root getting deeper as time goes by. When you become tired or decide to move on to the next step – SLOWLY – shift your weight from leg to leg for a minute or so before walking away from your place. This slow shifting from leg to leg is a very good drill for increasing your root while in line at at a store, standing at the sink or having a beer with the boys.
    Now – like the group searching for The Wiz we are going to “ease on down the road” (if you are not familiar with that adaption of the Wizard of Oz you may want to view it, it is quite entertaining)
    The next step here requires a partner. Step into a Ward Off position one palm facing your chest and one palm facing the floor for balance or Duei La as it is called in chinese. When you are balanced that initial feeling you will get is “Peng” Whether it is pressure from the atmosphere, the relaxed state from body connectivity and the awareness of the spaces in the joints or whatever – – it does not matter – – – we are after feelings. Gee – if this was audio I would burst into song here. Thank God it isn’t
    Now – have your partner very gently push your forearm as in pushing a swing – – but very gently – – you now direct the energy from the push to your feet – moving rapidly through the spaces in your joints. It is imperative not to tense up or break the connection to your root. This is a long term and time consuming process but it’s rewards are great. There are a few ways to look at the energy here but I will put that in the next post. This also leads to loading and discharging the energy you will be receiving.
    The final step here is – – get into The Universal Post or the Carry the Cauldron position or if you are into BBW’s imagine hugging one. Hold your hands so that your thumbs are straight up in the air – Now, gently straighten and lengthen your index finger – return to the starting position and then straighten again. Do this a few times untill the differenes in feelings are readily noticeable. Now grab your partner and have him get into the Ward Off – you put one hand on his elbow and one on his wrist – have him root and try to push him – release – – have him root and now when you push “give him the finger” – – that is to say extend that index finger and if done properly there will be a noticeable difference. He will be uprooted. Play around with this and you should se some positive benefits. Better yet go to a traditional push hands group and give them all the finger.
    TTFN

  6. A common oversight – so common I forgot to enter it in my previous post – is the raising of the head when doing the push.. As you lengthen the index fingers BE SURE to lower the shoulders and raise the head – not so you strain physically – but more of an internal raise.

  7. Richard Clear says:

    Hi Derick,
    Very nice writing on how to practice to express Peng.
    Best Regards.
    Sifu

  8. To practice and express Peng, Lu, Ji and An – – Make LOTS of vertical circles everyday. – – Do the Tai Chi opening movement except have the palms facing each other and String the 9 Pearls while doing the movement. After lots of reps change hand directions – instead of raising your arms up and out bring them up and in towards your chest and then out to finish the circle. Do equal amounts of both – this is a great chi builder and you will see the expression of all 4 of the mentioned energies in this one simple movement.

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