Ji jing – When tai chi is like the Death Star.
-by Ian Sinclair
One of the four basic “energies” of tai chi, ji (擠 / 挤 jǐ) has most often been translated as squeeze or press. It can also mean to jostle, crowd, or cram.
In tuishou practice, ji occurs when you focus all of your power into on specific point, and project it straight forward. Ji is clearly seen in the Yang style tai chi solo form in the third part of “grasp the bird’s tail”, when one arm is held palm-in at shoulder level as if hugging a tree, and the palm of the second hand touches inner forearm of the first.
The energy of ji is said to be like water in a river, strongest in the middle, and seeking the most direct route to the centre of the target. But, while the river’s target, thanks to gravity, is the centre of the earth, the target of ji is the opponent’s centre.
Ji comes together like the firing of the weapon on the death star in the movie Star Wars. When Darth Vader fires on Alderaan, several beams of energy converge at a single point and then project to the target with their combined power. With ji, either in the tai chi form, in tai chi tuishou, or in sparring, the idea is the same. All of the bodies energy becomes focused at a single point, and then blasts straight forward, usually horizontally, into the opponent’s centre.
This can be done with two hands or with one. It can even be done with any other part of the body.