The rock in the north western corner of the Black Tiger Springs Park weighs about 30 pounds. It has special significance to me. It was the special object that told me just how strong Hong Junsheng was.
One day in 1980, a big and tall Wushu person was in the park. After being thrown around for a while, he asked just how strong Hong Junsheng was. Without answering the question directly, Hong told him to go to the corner and get the rock to him. So he did. Hong pointed to the rock and said, “You just picked up that huge rock and moved it here. That means you have a lot of physical power. I am 74 years old and I am too weak to pick up that rock. That’s how strong I am!”
Hong illustrated with this example that there are two kinds of power: one is physically measurable power, the other is Taiji power. Today, we call the physical power “force” and the Taiji power “Jin”. Hong did not have much force but had a lot of Jin.
Jin is more than physical. It is not directly measurable. It is a skill. It is the ability to use a small force to manipulate the opponent’s body. So Jin is more complex and effective than force. As it is not easily demonstrated and understood, Hong had to give examples to show the point.
Jin is illusive. The illusive nature of Jin often makes people come up with the wrong concept of what it is. Most people continue to believe that Jin is force that is hidden by the master. When it is shown, it is same as force. People with this belief system often set out to seek the “secrets”. They believe that once the secrets are revealed, they will have this special power.
The understanding of Jin also gives us hope. If there is no Jin and only force, then most of us (old, weak, and small) will never be able to deal with people who are born with more force. The existence of Jin gives all of us an equal playing field.
Originally published Nov 2007