By Erle Montaigue
The most recent letter I received was from a chap asking about fa-jing and relaying a story of some US martial arts master who was in the UK performing it on people and sending them backwards some 8 metres!
Firstly, fa-jing does not send people backwards. Fa-jing explodes inside of people causing them to simply shake and fall to the ground either unconscious or dead! It is PUSHING that sends people backwards some metres, not fa jing. For instance when someone demonstrates fa-jing on a heavy bag, the bag should not move very much, perhaps a slight swing. However, the main thrust of the strike is a violent shaking of the bag with not much movement. This indicates that the strike has gone right inside of the object and has exploded inside and not on the outside, this is true fa jing.
When, however, we strike to for instance a hand held mitt which is much lighter, the mitt will be thrust away explosively and often hurting the wearer's hand or arm. True fa jing can never be done against a body as that body will be severely damaged. You can push people however, without hurting them. So, some instructor has 'pushed' someone backwards and not hurt them! So what! He just gets back up. This is what most people mean when they say that they can perform fa-jing, it is actually a push! The instructor must be able to place his finger-tips onto the mitt and without withdrawing his hand at all, strike the mitt with such force as to explode that mitt away, this is true fa jing.
If someone were to be able to force someone backwards by 8 metres using a strike, think about it for a moment logically. If someone were to be shot by a shotgun at close range, it would kill them and it would not send them backwards some 8 metres but only a few metres and they would be dead. For to be able to lift a 70 or 80 kg person up and then throw them backwards, would take so much power that it would kill that person. So it is obvious that In these cases 'student participation' ins inherent where the student actually throws themselves backwards using their own leg muscles. The test would be to have the person sitting on a chair, feet off the ground, then strike him. He would probably be knocked over and fall on the ground but would definitely not be sent backwards 8 metres or even one metre! For to lift an object that heavy up and thrown it that far away would require the power of a small bomb!
True fa jing is the total power of the whole body shaking as it happens. 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. I have not seen many people with this true ability of real fa jing. All will begin the shot from much further away and if not, will actually push the opponent so that their hand actually moves some feet and not only 3 inches. You have to measure where the fingers begin and where the hand ends up in order to judge whether it is true fa-jing. I have a clip of true fa-jing on my site so that people can see the absolute power that the whole body can generate in such a short distance. One cannot actually demonstrate this on any one as to do so would be to severely damage that person.
True fighting involves many simultaneous or close to attacks, thus never giving the attacker a break. If we were to push the person many metres away we would then have to run after him to finish him off! True fa-jing uses the total twisting power of the waist, rebounding the energy back from the opponent thus re-loading the next strike in a matter of a split second. The very instant that the first strike has struck, the next one is being felt by the opponent, then the third and fourth etc.
The power comes from complete 'SUNG' or the next best translation into English is 'relaxation.' So if there is seen to be any kind of stiffness at all during fa-jing then it is not fa-jing as the whole body cannot react if there is any tension in any part of the body. Even the fist is never closed until just about contact is made, and as soon as it has struck, it is again relaxed into a light palm. You cannot have fa-jing beginning with a closed fist; this is impossible and is only a karate type of punch or a type of push.
I am never impressed with people who push others backwards as this has no place in the martial arts or self defense other than to push the opponent into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle. IN the internal martial arts, fa jing is the motor of everything and without it, it isn't internal! It does not matter how good one is at pushing someone backwards, if he has not got true fa-jing then he has not got internal.
Fa-jing can be used with most parts of the body. All you have to do it to stick a peripheral into the 'fan' and you will have fa-jing just as long as your whole body can do fa-jing. You do not have to practice for hours doing punching for instance because all you have to have is the waist working. Then all one has to do is to lead a peripheral into the opponent and the body will do the rest. We can use hands, feet, hips, shoulders, elbows, heads even, knees etc., in true fa-jing and none of these will send someone flying backwards, they will cause great internal damage when done correctly and the opponent will just fall at your feet.
Once when I had my school in Sydney, I was asked to demonstrate fa jing on someone using some body protection so that he would not be hurt. So we got two huge Sydney phone books (about 3 inches thick) and also a Taekwon-do body armour and tried out some fa-jing. With two phone books under his shirt plus the body armour, I was able to strike him using a fist and only have him feel the tremour doing not much damage. I then used a Bagua palm strike using fa-jing and he felt it much more this time, winding him severely. But it was the elbow using fa-jing that did the most damage through all of this armor. After it, he fell to the ground and had a huge bruise around the mid-section. In each of these cases, his body was not moved backward, perhaps a half a step only. However, using strong pushes gained through my Taijiquan training, I was able to push the same person several metres backwards. However, the pushes did not hurt him in any way. On another occasion, I was doing some fighting training with one of my senior students when he attacked suddenly and very quickly. I simply struck his shoulder with my palm and he went down. This student had to go and have some treatment and th4e doctor who took the x-rays asked how he was struck as there was not external damage at all, but the internal ligaments were all torn. He said that it was impossible for such an injury to happen without any external damage!
Since then, I have never again used fa-jing on anyone in training or demonstration, as it is just too dangerous.