Dragon Tiger Mountain Southern Praying Mantis Kungfu


Exoteric - Natural and Refined Strength


Lik (li) is the natural strength a man's body possesses. It is his physical constitution and it varies from person to person. Sometimes a smaller person is naturally stronger than a larger person and sometimes the larger person is not naturally strong. In the case of one's Lik (natural strength) size is not always an indicator.

Ging (jing) is based on the Lik (natural strength) of person but it is not natural. It is a refined strength, a strength that is acquired after special training.

Think of the body builder. He has both lik and ging. His natural strength (lik) is due to his body size and his refined strength (ging) is developed in the movement of lifting weights. Therefore, his ging is useful in moving weights, but not in other actions. This is why different people with different daily lives have different lik and ging. The person who digs ditches with a shovel will develop a refined power (ging) that allows him the greatest ease and comfort at shovelling. And so it is that in martial art we develop ging or refined power after special training. And we can see that the better our (lik) natural strength the greater our refined strength will also be. Today, we can hear of so many kinds of ging, particularly in Tai Chi or the so called "internal arts" that it may sound confusing. (And in many cases, I do believe the practicers are confused).
Simply stated, each skill or technique when mastered becomes a ging.

In mantis, the term, ging, is used as an overall word indicating refined strength and each technique or special skill is simply called a "hand". However, each of the 18 mantis basic hands could be called a ging, ie. mor ging, gwak ging, choc ging, sigh ging, etc, because after repeated training one will acquire extraordinary power in this particular motion.

If one's ging cannot be easily changed according to the opponents reaction power and intent, then it is called "dead power". We see this in many Karate movements where force is met with greater force. It is "dead ging" because once exerted it cannot change or re-issue power until it has been regenerated usually by chambering or pulling back the hand as in the reverse punch. In contrast, "live power or ging" strikes, sticks, follows and regenerates power by using the opponents movement. The power is continuous and flowing without the need for pulling back the hand or recoiling the arm. One blow changes to another blow without ever breaking contact and always following the opponents movement. This, however, is a function of correct technique.

It is said that ging is produced in the feet and expressed outward toward the limbs. This is the function of the stance and footwork. If not exactly correct, one may never develop a root and center and so the hands will never develop sufficient ging.

There are many other principles such as the centerline theory; intercepting hand and sticky hand; rooting, moving the center, attaching the center; crossing the bridge; straight power and borrowing force; float, sink, swallow and spit; which I may address in the future.



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