Definitions of Peng

Author Terry Chan to neijia list 9 Jan 1995

Jonathan Buss:

	What makes having peng different from having good posture?

Mike Sigman:

	I think that this is the area where people are getting confused.  *Most* 
  	people who are sure that they are using peng are just using good 

Peng can be viewed as having the relaxed connection between the ground and any point of contact (or just on your own body if you're working on your own). What is commonly described as good posture is a limited subset of the variety of postures that people can affect.

If one's is skill is high enough, you can have Peng in almost any posture which would probably be a far cry from what many consider to be good posture.

Peng allows you to fa jing (issuing energy) and tocultivate ting jing (listening energy/skill). If youare familiar with ting jing, you can probably have some sense that theres more to whats going on than just maintaining good posture.

Terry "Scoliosis City" Chan

Same author same day later:

Jonathan Buss:

	Can you explain relaxed connection?  How is someone with peng
	different from someone who can relax without falling over?

If you have an arm extended forward and someone applies a great deal of strength into it, through your "relaxed connection" you can channel all the incoming strength into the ground without tensing up or your stance and posture being substantially altered. This is a simple and stylized example but it illustrates an important property of Peng.


	What properties of peng allow fa jing?  Soldiers, singers and dancers

The relaxedness and connection to the ground are important.

	all learn how to stand straight; what could they add to their stance,
   	or subtract from it, that would allow them to issue energy?

They could relax and work on bringing the ground connection through their bodies.

By the nature of your question, do you study Taijiquan? If not, we're having a discussion at a level where words (or at least my own) are going to start failing me soon.

Terry "or they could take up Taijiquan" Chan

Author David Poore to neijia list next day

	Ah, words failing.  Does an objective, non-experiential explanation

I'll take a stab at it.

My impression of what Mike is trying to do, is to simply explain one concept which he feels is the best distillation of what internal means in the text of Martial Arts. There seem to be a lot of comments that are bypassing this basic premise. Namely, questions about the role of energy work or exchange, neigong, qi flow, and other concepts that are often associated with internal practice. (The often made point about such practices *also* existing in external practices seems to be ignored, and the effort here appears the that which is internal martial art!) The single-most significant idea is peng, in the context of internal martial art. What I have been doing personally, is evaluating things in this context. More often than not, if I really try to distill things, they wind up at peng.

Peng is the process of directing some force applied to some part of your body into the ground. In the simple example of someone pressing on your arm in a classic ward-off posture, you are converting a horitzonal force (applied to your arm) into a vertical force (down your load-bearing leg). Using this scenario as an example, here's how I would break it down:

  1. I assume my ward-off posture
  2. You push against my arm in a slow, light horizontal direction
  3. I am physically relaxed and my shoulder is *slightly* hyperextended and create a loose structure
  4. I use my yi to create the idea that the the force of your push is travelling through my arm to the middle of my back, through my waist, down my leg, into the ground.
  5. Because I haven't used local muscular tension to resist your push, for example my shoulder, the force transfer takes place cleanly.
  6. By setting up this scenario with my mind, in my body, I have converted your horizontal push into a veritcal push that goes into the ground.
  7. I have done this in the space (from a horizontal view) from the point of contact to my rear leg: the longer this space, the easier it is to do.
  8. Once I create the peng path, I can then follow it back by pushing against the ground into the point of contact.

How's that? Comments?


Author Mike Sigman (trade mark holder) to neijia list 21 Mar 1995

On 21 Mar 1995, Jim Strutz wrote:

	It seems to me that 
	the body acts as a mechanical transmission medium between
	the ground and the opponent.  For this to occur, the more
	rigid the body is the better it can conduct energy.

OK, try this. The body can be thought of as containing a series of these rigid elements.... the bones. If you align the bones (and let's just imagine a situation where your forearm is being pushed) so that they form a curved path from the forearm to back, to back leg.... you can translate an incoming horizontal force to the ground through these rigid elements. And the only musculature you should need would be that which is necessary to keep the bones lined up correctly. Sinking, which drags the curved bone-path downward will actually do most of the work.

To keep this path lined up, but changeable requires that you use no more effort than this..... so you're sung.

Forget the electical transmission analogy. Think of this relaxed peng path (remember, we only used a very simple example) as a way of providing a structural path to bring the solidity of the ground up to your forearm.


Mike Sigman

Same Author on 10 Feb 1995

On Tue, 20 Dec 1994, Bill Giles wrote:

	In Jou's discussion of opening and closing on page 196 of his	book, he states:  The process called closing" is involved in the
	storing of energy, while opening indicates the use of energy."
	My understanding of closing is at variance with Jou's
	characterization of it.  Opening *and* closing both indicate the
	use of energy.  The storing of energy, that which Jou appears to be
	equating to closing, should precede the use, or expression, of
	energy, whether that expression is through opening or closing.

The minefield that I'm trying to walk with some of these conversations is that they're really all talking about the same phenomena, dekspite the different words, emphases, etc.

In the Yang-style posture, AN or push, as you go back onto the back leg, you compress slightly (close) right along the peng path (which will look like you're curving as yo go back)... when you release you release straight along the optimum peng path with the peng (open) energy. That's what Jou Tsung Hwa was talking about and it was an accurate, though simplistic, view of peng. This is, BTW, the straight from the curved.

Some of the closing releases of power that involve releasing in a down direction are more sophisticated, and thats what weve been looking at.

Still, you're perfectly correct that closing power uses energy. In *most* power release scenarios, the sequence is actually close-open-close, with the horizontal placement of the target (in relation to you) being the factor that determines the emphasis of the release. For instance, in a target at face-level it might go close-open strongly-quick close augment. Toward a target downward, it might go close-open in transit-close heavily with all.

Of course, the initial close will be the initial storage of power... as your movements get more refined, very little of this shows.


Mike Sigman


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