Understanding Jing Energy in Tai Chi Chu’an and Life

jing energy

[pullquote align=”right”]Jing energy is strengthened and available simply due to knowing that it exists and choosing to be a student of its instruction.[/pullquote]







Two major definitions are acceptable for Jing energy depending on how you look at it.  There is a spiritual connotation that describes an energy that is created from your essence.  On the medical side,  Jing takes on a biochemical characteristic that is found in all fluids and continues to originate from our center due to DNA.  Both definitions allude to Jing being a substance or amount.  Decisions we make such as drinking alcohol or too much sex deplete Jing.  Exercise, good eating, and qi gong fill it back up and strengthen it.

But there is a bit more to it than having a celestial bucket that you can tap or fill and this is where Tai Chi comes in.  Jing energy is strengthened and available simply due to knowing that it exists and choosing to be a student of its instruction.  Tai chi expands on jing energy and gives us a means to understand it and benefit from its implications.

Let’s take a look at jing energy as it is described in a variety of energy forms.  We have included a translation, definition, way to practice it in class, and positive implications for developing Jing.

Ting Jing Energy

“Listening energy”  A heightened attention.  While “ting” is translated as listening, it includes a heightened sensitivity in the hands.

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PushhandsReal Life (work)
Intensely focusing on a lightness in your own hands and sensitivity to perceive flexing of muscle, a change in pace, or rounded movement becoming angular.Ting Jing prevents us from being caught off guard.  It involves having a total sensory experience at work by picking up on subtle changes in the office that telegraph disaster.  The punctual person begins to be late.  The chatty assistant who is quiet before the big meeting.  The normally quaffed boss who is disheveled.


Dong Jing Energy

“Understanding energy” Noticing the direction that a force is moving towards you.  Dong Jing Energy refers to being aware of an opponent’s intention.

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PushhandsReal Life (work)
Understanding which direction a person’s energy is coming from and when they are going to use force.Rapidly pursuing the source of discontentment rather than being caught up in the emotion that discontentment displays.  A boss is furious about the outcome of a report.  Non dong-jing people are defending, worried about their job, and reacting emotionally.  You are separated emotionally and find the cause.  You are in a place to find a solution and bring the team back around to solving issues.


Hua Jing Energy

“Neutralizing energy” Redirecting of energy due to an understanding of timing and use of circles and angles.

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PushhandsReal Life (work)
Not combating a push’s force but rather meeting it and angling it off to a side causing the partner to retreat.These are the face-saving events where you sense that a colleague is blinded by their own emotion or ambition and you think of an outcome that does not make them wrong but also does not allow her to err.


Fa Jing Energy

“Discharging energy” The ability to apply energy due to an alignment of proper body mechanics, relaxation, and focused intent.

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PushhandsReal Life (work)
Aligning your body and discharging your energy in a push or joint lock.Sensitivity to a situation where upon,  when you choose to act, you have the buy-in (understanding) and support (alignment) prior to “pulling the trigger.”  Your efforts are more focused and successful than your peers because you have tied the project to their aims and they are therefore more receptive.


Tai Chi Chu’an is designed to deal with tough, quickly evolving situations.    Invest in your own future by investing in failure.  Take controlled chances so that you are driving your own development and you are applying your ideas to real-life situations.  You are applying a sense of yourself because you are highly perceptive and not allowing emotion or ego to make things cloudy.  Now we are getting closer to understand Jing Energy; essence.

Scott Prath

Scott has been practicing and teaching tai chi and qigong since 2000. He is a lead instructor for the Austin Chen Tai Chi Association. His interest in the internal martial arts began after traveling in India and Nepal, and he has since traveled to China to train. Scott has published over 100 articles on tai chi with a focus on research showing the benefits of practicing.

2 thoughts on “Understanding Jing Energy in Tai Chi Chu’an and Life

  1. Hello
    what is the name of the person that wrote this article? I would like to quote it in a dissertation?
    Kind regards

    1. Hello Ellie,
      This article was written by me, Scott Prath.

      Prath, Scott. “Understanding Jing Energy in Tai Chi Chu’an and Life.” Tai Chi Basics. 02 Feb. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.

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