Fa Jin - Chinese Martial Arts Philosophy Concept

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Fa Jin - Chinese Martial Arts Philosophy Concept

In martial arts philosophy, there is a Chinese concept called “Fa Jin” or "Fa Jing" (where Fa means “release” and Jin “energy”). This refers to an internal martial arts concept where a martial artist can release explosive power.

There are different types of energy within martial arts but this area can be broken down into two sections. External trained force and the Internal trained force. External being the more obvious, this is an explosive combination of strikes which comes from the correct movement of your entire body. Should only be used if you are sure to strike your target due to high energy loss. It is very important to practice to generate and store energy. You should practice without tension in the body and use very fluid movements. Practice slowly so that your chi will move more evenly.

Internal force, using internal body components and mind. Internal is much more challenging to learn. It uses the martial artists feeling with controlled movement of chi energy. Direct teaching is necessary to achieve this knowledge.

In Karate, Mushin “No Mind” is very similar. Mind, body and spirit working harmoniously along with excellent martial form. Less focus on control as the internal arts would emphasize. Mushin comes from the execution of a muscle memory combination of strikes whereas Fa Jin is more of a chi flow of energy along the nervous system, direct information path from mind to body. When your chi grows stronger, the nervous system will get stronger too. When executing a technique using Fa Jin, the nervous system will respond thus creating the fast release of energy when required. Using every single muscle in the body, a muscle reaction, like jumping into freezing cold water.

There are many ways which you can help develop your Fa Jin. Tai Chi, Chi Gung and meditation to name a few. Meditation a way of developing breathing control and mind focus. Training the mind will help in all martial arts and in everyday life. In Okinawa Karate, Sanhzan Kata, will bring you to a master’s level in breathing and focus, breathing from the Hara, just above the pubic region. The Chinese Internal Martial Arts definition of the Hara is the Lower Dentian. This is where Chi energy originates from. The Hara is the central point for strength and balance.

Kata allows us to perform our techniques at full force with flow unlike competitive sparring which can be quiet stop/start as we maintain control. From full force application, we experience body mind and spirit at one. In a Kata, take a combination from the series of techniques within the form. As we have all heard before, PRACTICE, concentrate and repeat. Learn each very carefully. You can pick a functional application (defense/attack) from your Kata. Bunkai, to study an application in detail. When practicing Kata, keep all actions to a minimum, by not putting any extra movements in other than the karate strikes, stances. No telegraphing kicks by raising body, over reaching with punches and losing power from letting elbows move outwards.

Begin by moving very slowly, feeling that each movement is in the correct position. Balance is key; this is why we learn the proper stances initially. Stances also ensure that the body is behind each strike. The entire body will move with your combination of strikes. Each strike should be directed to the vital area which it was designed to hit. Muscle memory is what we attain after repeating certain combinations but with Fa Jin we arrive at a place where techniques will be executed naturally, unlearned, to be effective to the never twice repeated attack situation. This is the reason why we are encouraged to apply our own variations to the systems set techniques.

From increasing speed over time, this technique will gather power. It is so important to allow the power come only after the speed. You will feel when it is right to add more power after the speed has been developed. It can take a number of years training in martial arts before this can be achieved properly, when this level clicks and the next level of learning begins.

You should not inhale for the duration of this combination when preformed at speed; kiai or exhale at the end of the combination, also exhaling will carry a defense if you are being counter attacked. This will happen subconsciously when properly executed. You should feel you body almost lifting off the ground as you attack. You have probably experienced this before, to understand what is happening is help full. This opens the door of chi energy.


  1. Details courtesy of Robin Jackman, Shaolin Kenpo Karate (martial arts school), http://www.cranechuanfa.com/, Added - 05/10/14

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