Someone online mentioned the English translation of my Grandmaster Fu Zhong Wen’s Tai Chi book “Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan” on 虛靈頂勁 'xu ling ding jin'. I see there are many points haven’t been explained and it can be explained in more details. They claim that’s grandmaster’s explanation. Of course, Grandmaster didn’t explain the same thing in Chinese. He doesn’t speak English, so the English explanation and understanding is how the translator thought what it means. The translator did a great job for explaining things but certain small details have been missed.
Let me explain these four letters again and backwards. Jin means energy. Ding means top of your head and also can mean support in Chinese. Ding Jin means your head should feel lifted. You can image a string pulling your head or top of your head is supporting a bowl of water. In Chinese, that feeling called“ “Hanging the Top of the Head”, or “Bai Hui facing the Sky”. Bai hui is the highest acupuncture point of your body. It lines with your ears atop/at center of your head. Following this principle will keep your whole body centered, vertical to the ground, and relaxed.
Now Ling means lively or flexibility. Many people mistaken this word with Chinese word Lin which means guide but it’s not the same word as Ling. Maybe half of the American people doing Tai Chi think Ling means guide, but that need to be corrected. Xu means Emptiness. It means your neck should not be stiff and you shouldn’t feel you use force to support that bowl of water. You should keep the flexibility and feel the emptiness. Feel the emptiness means you need to pay attention to the head support but you should also empty your mind by not especially to gathering all your attention to this.
If you want me to explaining further, I can explain in more plain words. While have the ding jin, your head should not lean forward and backward. You should not see the ground or see the ceiling. You should not lean left or right either. To keep the head hanging, you should tuck your chin in a bit to help. If you force to support your head then your neck will appear stiff and your blood will not circulate well. Grand Master Fu’s teacher Yang Chen Fu( grandson of the Creator of Yang Style Tai Chi) said, ”if ( you do) not have “Xu Ling Ding Jin”, then you can’t bring the energy out.”
If you want your energy flow while you doing Tai Chi whether this is for health or martial arts benefits, Xu ling Ding Jin is the first of the 8 basic Tai Chi methods you have to follow.
Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2009