By Feng Guodong
From the Club Magazine No. 10, p. 7 of the Jianquan Taijiquan Association Shanghai of April 30, 1984
In the Pushhands of Tai Chi Chuan one emphasizes: "The other is hard, I am soft" and "Overcome hardness with softness". In order to do this, one has to rely wholeheartedly on borrowing the strength of the other. In other martial arts it is usually said: "Simple strength overcomes tenfold technique" or "The greater strength defeats the smaller strength". And how is it in Tai Chi Chuan?
A light-weighted practitioner of Tai Chi Chuan training with a heavier partner Pushhands will not be able to win if he does not rely on the art of borrowing strength. When talking about borrowing the other's strength to beat him, you have to know that this is not an easy thing. First, one must not direct the strength of the other on his own body. Second, one must not borrow one's own strength to the other, otherwise one will be beaten oneself. In the following, the "borrowing of strength" is a little bit to be discussed.
- Knowing yourself - knowing the other. Divert the attack and let it fall into the emptiness
When two partners practice with each other, one must first grasp the state of the other. An opponent, whose strength is very big and who likes to use it, has an advantage as well as a disadvantage. When the other pushes with great strength, I immediately move to the left or right and neutralize so that his strength falls into the emptiness. You have to take advantage of this "et the strength fall into emptiness". Quickly, I use my strength so that the other loses his posture and falls.
- Keep the center.
If the other attacks me with big strength, I can not let it hit my center. I would fall if it hits my center. So I have to go along with him and neutralize so that he can not find my center. By sticking to him, he will lose his center. Then I apply my own strength and will beat him.
- To gain the opportunity and the strategic advantage.
Opportunity means here the right time. Borrowing strength and then using it is based on precisely mastering the right time. If the other does not develop any strength at the beginning and I use my own strength already, the situation turns against me. I have to try to borrow the others strength, when he starts to attack, but if I hesitate only a little, the right time is over and the other will beat me for sure. If the strength of the other is already fully developed, I have to retreat for a moment and then quickly use my own strength due to the developed strategic advantage. The strategic advantage here is the method of positioning the body. By borrowing the strength of the other, you have to bring the other in a bad position. So I have the opportunity to apply strength and can achieve a due result.
- The movements are agile.
You have to have a deep understanding of the phrase "The other is hard, I am soft". The other attacks me with big strength. My upper body is completely relaxed, but it does not always stay relaxed. If that were the case, the other would just have to press down and I would lose my stability. After relaxation has reached a proper level, one must transform immediately, use transversal force, or use other hand techniques. In the moment when the strength of the other develops, you can not wait, otherwise you will be beaten.
- Fast fajin (issuing jin-power).
One borrows the strength of the other, interrupts it and uses a short and fast fajin. The fajin by stretching the arms does not necessarily have to reach far or cover a greater distance. The jin-power is fired as you shoot an arrow. The right time must be met exactly. The power is focused exactly on one point, but is used only very, very lightly. The other will be unable to disengage or change, and he will inevitably fly away, as in a bomb explosion. Speed is an important part of the fajin.
- The change between empty and full.
If you borrow the other person's strength to beat him, you have to change between full and empty, sometimes very fast. Only then can you do what you have in mind. If you do not know about full and empty, your waist and legs are heavy and immobile. So you can neither neutralize the strength of the other, nor use the borrowed strength of the other or beat him.
- Understanding jin-power (dongjin).
To master the borrowing of strength, you have to develop understanding jin-power first. Only when you understand, you can borrow strength. If you understand, you can evade the strength of the other so that the other can not hit your center. Thereafter, by means of a circular transformation and a straight delivery, the power of the other is directed against his own body. The other is struck by a strength that actually is its own strength. This is called borrowing strength.