March 2004 Issue
Jing in Choy Li Fut


Someone commented in the "Kung-Fu Forum" several years ago that my Choy Li Fut was mixed with Tai Chi. This person saw my early performances of Choy Li Fut forms and then more recent performances and that I was now putting the Tai Chi "fa jing" into my Choy Li Fut forms.

I laughed out loud when my student told me this. I told my student at that time, "My Tai Chi background is Yang style. As most Tai Chi practitioners know, Yang Tai Chi does not practice fa jing. Also, I have no Chen style Tai Chi training. As late as 20 years ago, it was virtually impossible to see Chen style Tai Chi shown in public outside China. So how could I put fa jing into Choy Li Fut?"

When I was training with my first Choy Li Fut teacher Lau Bun in the Hung Sing Studio back in the 1960s, he always told the students to put some ging (jing) into our form movements. He said, "No ging means no sat lik (solid power) in your Choy Li Fut training." He wanted us to put power and strength into the forms. However, when I tried to put power into the form, he said that I was too stiff and I needed to relax. Then all the students tried to relax and not put any power in the forms and he said we had no sat lik or ging. I was really confused at that time. Lau Bun was very old and was also having some health problems so he could not demonstrate the proper ging for us.

After Lau Bun died, I began teaching kung-fu in 1968. I went to Hong Kong to continue my study of Choy Li Fut from my second teacher, Hu Yuen Chou, in the 1970s. Hu Yuen Chou was in his late 70's at that time, but he could demonstrate the jing for me. He taught me how to relax and use my waist to generate the power to go out to my hands or fists. Hu learned from the two most famous Choy Li Fut teachers in China.

His first teacher was Chan Ngau Sing and he received the jing or ging training from him. He told me that when he was nine, he became a student of Chan Ngau Sing in the Hung Sing School of Fut San city. Besides the stance training the Chan Ngau Sing taught him, Chan heavily emphasized jing in the strikes. He studied seven years with Chan Ngau Sing in Fut San city. Finally, he had to move to Guangzhou to finish his high school and college. Before he moved, Chan Ngau Sing referred him to learn from Chan Yiu Chi, the grandson of the founder of Choy Li Fut.

Hu Yuen Chou said Chan Yiu Chi had the same kind of ging when he practiced his strikes, but did not emphasize the ging in his teaching. Chan Yiu Chi was more focused on teaching his students agile footwork. I now was able to learn powerful hand-striking ging or jing from Hu Yuen Chou and the agile footwork he got from his second teacher. There are four kinds of ging in the Choy Li Fut system that were not openly taught to all students: Nim chin ging, which is a sticky reeling ging used in techniques such as poon kiu, chi kiu and lok kiu; gok ging {gok means enlightened), which can be found in internal forms such as the snake hand form and the Buddha palm. This kind of ging helps develop sensitivity to your opponent's energy. This ging can be found in the techniques kwun-kiu, jit-kiu and yeung-kiu; Woi shun ging, which is a spiraling and rotating power. The techniques of dot-chui, kwa-chui and dan-lan use this ging; and Gum gong ging, which represents the hardness of the strikes. Tsop-chui, tsang-jeong and tuet-jeong have this kind of ging.

As my teacher, great-grandmaster Hu Yuen Chou said, "Not too many Choy Li Fut masters practice these four gings anymore. Most of them either have not learned from their sifu or their sifu did not want to teach them. Most of the Choy Li Fut people like to move fast and quick and also like to make the forms look more flowery." You can find all four ways to generate fa jing in Choy Li Fut strikes in my Choy Li Fut book. Now you know that I did not mix my Yang Tai Chi with my Choy Li Fut training. In fact, I learned how to emit fa jing from Choy Li Fut, and not from Tai Chi.