By Erle Montaigue
9 July 1992
Fads come and go. But fa-jing has been out there for a long time and utilised by many famous martial artists. The old one-inch punch was the flavour of the day back in the 70's and was glorified and mystified. People would study photos of Bruce Lee using mathematical equations and geometrical calculations to try and gain his secrets, especially that of the one-inch punch. All they needed to do was to have someone tell them about fa-jing which is what all of these people were using to gain such immense power over such short distances. Most people would study the hands of the exponents, claiming that it was this angle or this direction that caused this supernatural power. Others would call it Qi; others would just give up trying.
They all missed the boat though as it is the body that one must watch in order to find out how one gains fa-jing. The attacking peripheral is only secondary to what the body is doing. There is an old saying, one that not many people use nowadays as it is not in vogue. It is not in vogue because people simply got the real meaning wrong. The whole body is a weapon. Everyone who has been around a bit has heard of that saying. Now we all understand this to mean that the elbow is a weapon, the knee is a weapon, the fists, head, back, shoulders etc. No, this is wrong, what this saying means is literally, the whole body is the weapon while the parts are only secondary and happen as an adjunct to what the body is doing, this is real fa-jing. The fist does not punch, the whole body punches, the elbow does not strike, the whole body strikes etc.
The technique of fa-jing lies in what the body does to cause the peripheral to be thrust out at great speed and power. It is not the strength of the triceps, or the laterals that cause the power, but rather the whole body. So it stands to reason, that a smaller person is able to generate much more power than a body builder who is only using his triceps to generate the power for the punch, by using his whole body. There is simply much more power in a whole body than in one triceps muscle.
If one could utilise the power generated from a sneeze, this would be perfect fa-jing. When we sneeze, the whole body reacts violently, not just one part, but the whole. We are unable even to keep our eyes open upon the act of sneezing. It is the same with fa-jing. Upon impact, the eyes are closed for that split second and the body shakes violently at high frequency, throwing out a very deadly fist, or palm or elbow.
But not only is the whole body used as an initiator of such power for the peripherals, the whole body can be used, physically as a weapon. For instance, when someone grabs you, or is trying to take you down, grapple you etc. The whole body will perform a fa-jing movement, anywhere. This immense power is enough to cause even the strongest grapple to loosen his grip. The beauty of fa-jing is however, that in order for even the smallest part of the body to do fa-jing, every other portion must also be doing fa-jing, otherwise it is not fa-jing and only a muscular strike. And so, the grappler would not only find himself being shaken violently, some other peripheral would also be striking to points on his body.
Fa-jing and dim-mak are inseparable. There is dim-mak at a base level where someone is able to strike for instance to a point called 'stomach 9' just over the carotid sinus to cause a knock out. This by the way is the classic KO point used by an increasing number of karateka to show how good they are. Or one uses "Liver 13" to cause KO and great internal damage using finger strikes. These points can be used by anyone at a base level using pure physical force and not fa-jing. But if one wishes to rise to the highest level of dim-mak, then one must understand real fa-jing. This is where we use four different body shakes in order to 'put in the adverse Qi' and not just strike at physical dim-mak points.
Using fa-jing and dim-mak in this way, we are able to systematically cause the opponent's body to react in a known way. We are able to drain energy from the spleen to cause him to simply fall down, still conscious but not able to do anything about it. We are able to ad Qi to certain points to cause an organ to explode from within. We are even able to cause certain disease states to happen instantaneously by striking certain points. For instance, most will know that sunstroke is not nice. It makes us feel really crook and totally unable to do anything but sit down, let alone fight. Using dim-mak and fa-jing we are able to cause someone to have a bad case of sunstroke. We also know how to cure this sunstroke using the dim-mak antidote points. In this way, dim-mak and fa-jing are also used for healing. So we have a death art used to heal people. These points can actually be used to cure a real case of sunstroke.
We are able to cause someone's right or left leg to shake so violently that he falls down, for this we use certain spleen points on the upper arm and shoulder. But striking at these points without fa-jing will only cause the physical damage caused by the physical power of the strike. This is not fa-jing.
So we lean a few body shakes and think that we know all about fa-jing. No, then we have to learn all about the 'C' back and the rising Qi. Look at Bruce Lee when he is fighting, what do you see. Most people look at the physical movements and try to emulate what he was doing. Not many look at what was in his eyes or what the whole of his body was doing. In his own way, Bruce Lee was making use of a primordial posture called 'C' back. Or changing his human brain for the reptilian brain. We all of us still have bits in our brains that go back to prehistory and this part of the brain can be utilised by using certain body postures to bring out this fighting energy.
'C' back? Look at the great silver back (Gorilla to those who are not animal inclined); see what his back is doing naturally. It is not an 'S' shape like ours, but rather makes a 'C' shape. The Gorilla, although a placid calm animal, is also one of the greatest fighters of the animal world when protection of his family is concerned. He is a constant state or readiness, due to his 'C' back. The Qi is constantly ready to defend and attack. The eyes tell the story. When we cause our body to be in this state, the eyes change and we are ready to defend. It was the same way with Bruce Lee; he would go into that little stance of his alone and so bring up the fighting Qi. This is the difference between a martial artist and one who knows how to fight.
The 'C' back and the reptilian brain etc. are all scientific, based upon Western science. So where does all of this fit in with the ancient Chinese martial artists? All one has to do to find out that our current scientific knowledge about the human body is all there in the Chinese classics written hundreds of years ago. It states in the Taiji classics that we must round the shoulders and hollow the chest. 'C' back! It also states that we must see with the eye of the eagle, using the middle peripheral vision or 'Eagle Vision'. When we go into the 'C' back posture, the whole attitude changes and we are ready to fight. The arms, legs, back, chest, feet head, are all energised ready for action and release of energy. Couple this with the fa-jing and we have the classic animal way of self-defence. Simply put, hit him with as much power and speed before he has even attacked. This is stated in the Chinese classic of; 'if he attacks you, attack him first'.
The Types of Fa-jing:
There are four kinds of fa-jing, all generated from the whole body but having different ways to generate the power. The most common of the fa-jing is the 'closed shaking fa-jing'. This is where we are using the natural stance and punch using the same fist as the foot that is forward. The body shakes violently from left (if using a right fist) to right and then snaps back to the right to 'close' the movement. This final closing happens just upon impact and causes a wave of energy to be thrust into the target. The voice also plays an important part in all fa-jing. The voice is an intermediary between the physical movement and the internal action. Once again it gets back to the classics which say that the breath must be natural. Now most people interpret this as being that the breath must be slow and constant, but this is wrong. Only if you are performing a slow and constant movement must the breath be that. However, if we are performing a sudden fa-jing movement then the breath must also act accordingly with an explosive sound emanating from the voice box. This is what natural breathing means, when the breath is in harmony with the movement. So with a fa-jing movement, we cannot use a slow haaa sound for instance, we must use an explosive sound, which can be anything as long as it is explosive, like 'ba' or 'pa'.
The next fa-jing is the 'open' fa-jing shake. This is where in Taiji we use the posture known as single whip to strike to no less than four dim-mak points on the neck. This time, the body is (assuming that the right palm is doing the work with the right foot forward) shook firstly to the left, then to the right and finally with this final attack upon St.9 & SI16, back to the left, leaving an 'open' posture. This type of fa-jing move is said to suck energy away from the opponent.
The third fa-jing action is called 'closed up shaking fa-jing' and is used to put Qi into the points to cause sunstroke or to cause the associated organ to explode. This time the body sakes in the closed way, but also there is a spiralling of the body upward upon impact.
The fourth way of fa-jing is the 'open down fa-jing shake' and is used to drain energy from the lower heating space, thus draining energy from the body. It is the same as the open fa-jing but with a downward spiralling shake.
Many martial artists have the fa-jing naturally and would never have to learn it, but for the most of us it's a matter of hard slog to gain this great power.
A video called 'Fa-Jing, The Way Of Power, how to gain it, how to use it' is available from MTG Video.
Erle Montaigue is an Australian Martial Artist living in Australia and travelling to the USA, Canada and Europe each year to give workshops.
February 1998: It is now my belief that anyone should not even contemplate teaching the internal martial arts until they have fa-jing! Someone tells me that they know the internal arts or ANY martial art and I as k them to strike the hard hand held mitt. So, they usually strike it using a karate type of strike drawing their hand back a long way often right back to the hip! Their punch is OK and would do some damage of course, provided the person being punched allowed them to from such a long distance! I then ask them to punch the mitt again with the same amount of power but this time holding their fist only 6 inches away from the mitt! And usually it is like a raindrop hitting the mitt! How can you teach a martial art when you cannot punch?