"When people of great wisdom hear the Truth, they diligently practice it.

When people of moderate wisdom hear the Truth, they practice it now and then.

When people of lesser wisdom hear the Truth, they laugh at it.

If there were no laughter, there would be no Truth."
- Lao Tse

Field Strength Training

Minimum effort to achieve maximum effect

Student: What about push hands and bouncing exercises where no contact is used?
Master Fung: You're talking about field strength exercises. You know field as in 'magnetic field'. Field strength exercises are used for the same purpose as other push hands and bouncing exercises....to help us appreciate and develop our strength.

Student: I don't understand....how can we be training strength when there is no physical contact?
Master Fung: Hunyuan strength is not just physical strength. Typically we study three aspects of Hunyuan strength, the actual physical strength, the flexibility of that strength and strength of the associated energy field. By physical strength we mean the actual capacity of the body to generate force. Flexibility refers to the capacity to deliver that physical strength at various angles and circumstances. Field strength refers to the concentration or quality of the practitioner's energy field. Field strength exercises help us directly develop and utilize this energy field to further refine Hunyuan strength.

Student: Where does the field come from?
Master Fung: The field or aura is simply the radiation that we give off as living beings. Just like an electric motor generates an electro-magnetic field, our bodies also generate an energy field that surrounds us or, more accurately, is simply part of us.

Push Hands

Student: Does practicing Yi Chuan affect this field?
Master Fung: Of course it does. The various exercises we use in Yi Chuan help to charge up the field, others teach us how to condense or compress it in coordination with the use of actual strength. The quality of the energy field and the ability to control it are achievements for Yi Chuan practitioners.

Student: How does energy field strength relate to actual physical strength?
Master Fung: In the same way the strength of an electric motor depends on the amount of current being sent. Like we talked about before the Yi controls the intensity of the energy current sent to the muscles. More current means more strength. Your energy field is directly affected by your Yi just as every other part of your being is.

Student: Does a strong energy field mean having strong physical force?
Master Fung: Not necessarily...it's very easy to break the link between the field strength and actual strength. Only when the field strength is used as a base for actual strength and not broken while being applied will Hunyuan strength result. Accomplishing this can be more difficult than it sounds because it requires awareness of the field and control over the frame.

Student: What do you mean by breaking the link?
Master Fung: By linking I mean unite. The basic formula requires 4 types of linkage; intent, energy, structure and strength united as one. When arranged in the proper proportions its like cyanide. Carbon and nitrogen are harmless independently but when they combine in the right proportion to make cyanide its a totally different story. So break one of the linkages and Hunyuan strength disappears. One of the most common problems to overcome is breaking the linkage between the energy field and the actual strength.

Student: Why is field strength commonly referred to as empty force?
Master Fung: Empty force is a direct translation of 'lin kong jin'. I'm not sure how the term originated....maybe its a reference to how using it feels? Anyway, I don't much care for the term empty force. It gives the idea that there is this separate energy that is being shot out at the opponent, which of course is not the case at all. Field strength does not exist independent of the other aspects of strength. Its not a technique or even a goal from a self defense point of view but more a by-product of proper training.

Student: Can field strength be used for self defense?
Master Fung: Yes, but not in the way you are thinking. Let me be very clear here, field strength is NOT useful for self defense independent of actual strength. In other words never think you're going to defend yourself by controlling opponents with field strength, that is just foolish. Just the same as it's foolish to think that the increased sensitivity and strength that come with developing the field have no use in self defense, because they do. With field awareness the ability to intercept the opponents strength greatly increases, more leverage can be applied and the strength has a deep penetrating quality.

Student: So field strength exercises are really just an extension of our other training, a further refinement of the basics?
Master Fung: Now your on the right track. Field strength exercises will help develop the proper timing for using Hunyuan strength against an opponent. The basic idea is to intercept the opponents intent so he ends up receiving not only your strength but a reflection of his strength as well.

Student: Is that why you get such strong reactions from your students when you bounce them?
Master Fung: Yes! That's what I've been trying to tell you. You in particular are always trying to figure out how to get me by using more strength. The reason you flip up and fly away so much is a result of your strength reflecting off my frame back to you. Most of the time I don't even have to use any strength of my own to bounce you...you supply all the strength that's needed.

Student: Are you saying that I've been beating myself up?
Master Fung: In a manner of speaking, yes. That is how the method is designed, to literally use your strength against you. Typically this idea is interpreted as moving out of the way at the last minute as attacker charges in, like a matador with a bull. That's not what I mean here. I mean your strength is literally a handle I can use to grab, hold and throw you out.

Student: Is that why people act differently when encountering Hunyuan strength, because it depends on how they are applying their own strength?
Master Fung: Absolutely. That's why you never use field strength without actual strength in a fighting situation....the reaction depends on the attacker! Some people don't feel anything at all. Some people get a little disoriented or woozy but never directly react to the field. Some people are so sensitive they fly away at glance. Even the same person will react differently depending on the strength behind his attack. No strength and there is nothing to reflect back at him. In my experience field strength reactions typically occur when two strong fields interact. A weak one and a strong one will seldom see a reaction. Its a lot like magnets...the fields repel each other when lined up in the proper way.

Student: How did field strength concepts degenerate into the empty force nonsense that is all over the place?
Master Fung: I don't know...there must have been some irresponsible teaching at some point. Somewhere along the line people learned the phenomenon without properly understanding the context. Without the context the phenomenon can be used to support misconceptions or even delusions of all kinds. Stay away from that, steer clear of that kind of thinking. Study the role of energy directly through your practice and come to your own conclusions and understanding of it. Use the knowledge of your predecessors to reach for a higher understanding yourself, not as stones to wall yourself in with. I've been studying energy most of my life and can assure you there is endless mystery there.

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