Since my most recent podcasts about jingong 勁功 came to air, I have been requested to give a practical example of how jingong 勁功works; for the less spiritually inclined.
For the briefest of moments, this got me thinking. And I got the feeling that maybe, just maybe, I might be overthinking it a bit.
And as it turns out, I was overthinking it. Because after I received the request, it just so happened that on social media there is a video clip going around that shows jingong 勁功 clearly.
And get this: The rebuttal video that is also circulating around, also is a very good example of jingong 勁功.
The first video shows a person trying to blow out a candle flame using either their palm or fist from a few inches away with a straight forward thrusting motion. It looks a little like the one-inch punch, but the palm or fist never touches the candle flame.
This exercise, if done correctly, teaches the mind to focus on a small target that has the ability to shift its station (by flickering). In other words the flame can move about. One’s qi in this case, is literally the pocket of air between the candle flame and the person’s hand. When the hand moves forward, it pushes the air in front (of it) forward, which in turn snuffs out the flame.
It seems easy to do, but it is actually quite hard to master because if the mind dithers, the hand wavers, and the air in front goes everywhere except where it’s supposed to. Which is to blow out the candle flame.
The jingong 勁功 part is the air moving in the right intended direction towards the target to have an effect on the situation.
If you are practicing with one of those magic birthday candles that never seem to go out, this exercise is even more difficult to master.
And the rebuttal video?
Well, it basically just shows a guy blowing out the candle the old-fashioned way: inhale air into the mouth and then exhale! And wallah, the candle flame is blown out. Again, if qi is just air and breathing, the sucking in and out part would be qigong, while the air moving to its intended effect will be jingong 勁功.
What people fail to appreciate is that blowing out a candle flame is a practiced skill, that most people started doing since they had to make a wish and blow that damn birthday candle out. Now it should be at our age easy-peasy, but there is always that someone who upturns our assumptions because they can’t blow out a simple little candle.
And, while these two examples given, may seem like a simple case of basic ‘cause and effect’, only the air being pushed forward or blown out is the cause and the candle flame blowing out is the effect. In baguazhang, a true master of jingong 勁功 will understand before any action has been undertaken, that once the candle is blown out, the final environmental state will be darkness. (Most people will only comprehend the darkness because they are in the moment of experiencing it. They will not know that the darkness is just an after-effect of the candle going out. This is why it is vital to get one’s intention straight. With a clear intention a practitioner will be able to sense which their qi is progressing and in turn come to understand better how their jingong affects the world around them.)
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