Fajin Power that radically changes your Leadership

Fajin or fa chin is a term used in some Chinese Martial Arts

MomentumWhen I first heard the term I didn’t know what to think of it. If your background is natural science you know that MOMENTUM is the product of the mass and velocity of an object and that the net FORCE acting upon an object is equal to the rate at which its momentum changes with time. You’ve also learned that POWER is equivalent to an amount of energy consumed per time unit.

If everything is already explained by physics, what now with this Fajin?

Let’s see what Fajin is and then how a person could practice and achieve this skill in Tai Chi practice.
In Chinese, the character ‘Fa’ literally means ‘to issue’, ‘to discharge’, ‘to send out’, whereas ‘Jin’ is a little more difficult to translate. Dictionary term is ‘strength / force’ but does not fully express the correct difference between ‘strength’ in Chinese ‘Li’ and ‘Jin’ in Tai Chi. The best description between ‘Li’ and ‘Jin’ is that the latter is generated by the whole body and is able to permeate the four limbs while the first is bogged down in the shoulder and the back.

Difficult to understand?

For me it was. So let me give you some hints.

In Tai Chi classic The song of Thirteen Postures it is said: “To store the Jin is like pulling open a bow, to issue the Jin (with Fajin) is like letting the arrow fly”. The root of Fajin lies in the feet and is issued from the feet, controlled by the waist and transmitted to finger tips.

Still having trouble understanding?

Probably yes.

To explore it further, imagine taking an unopened plastic garbage bag or plastic kitchen bag. Try opening it just a little and flicking the bag to catch more air inside. If the bag is not open enough for your technique, nothing will happen. If the bag is open and there is enough air inside, the entire bag will open in one crack. The air will penetrate every closed crack and crevice. And in that tiny moment a soft bag becomes very hard. If your body is stable, your joints are all open and soft then, in one instance – for a fraction of time (when being in final stage of punching, pulling, pressing, ward off) – you expel energy, you produce extreme momentum. And this is Fajin in execution. This is a law of Nature and no further help is necessary.

Now, returning to the plastic bag, imagine that the bag is torn in many places, filled with holes. In such a case, a bag may not fully inflate and will probably never ‘harden’ (inflate) either. The same happens when a person does not coordinate the placement of the body and extremities alias if you flick the bag in the wrong direction it may not inflate - your hit / pull does not work and you are using force of muscles instead of momentum. Imagine the bag being tied off at the middle (similar effect is when miss-aligning a joint, mostly hips) - it will not inflate.

Got it?

Great! Now that we understand the Fajin, how do we practice it?

Tai Chi or other Martial Arts can be practiced slowly (to build proper muscular memory) and fastly (to build speed needed in fight). In both cases, if executed properly, the end product (punch, kick, pull, etc.) should be the same. We memorize the correct movements in our muscular ‘memory’.

In Tai Chi pushing hands we learn not only how to ‘Tingjin’ (listen to Jin) and ‘Huajin’ (neutralize the jing) but also how to ‘Fajin’ – counter attack by expressing one’s own Jin, to gain initiative. We do it slowly.


PunchThe median human reaction time is 255 milliseconds (0.255 s). A good boxer can punch effectively at about 30 - 60 km/h (average 12.5 m/s). Bruce Lee could deliver a punch in .05 second. Could his opponent ‘observe’ or ‘feel’ what will hit him? It has to be ‘instinctive’ as Bruce Lee said (see: How to Unify Body, Mind and Spirit)! Within this contact and ‘muscular memory’ play the most important role.

Fajin is used in Martial Arts and as well in Qigong (see: Qi–energy–leadership). It is practiced as an invigorating method of bringing powerful circulation to the extremities. With every move it helps loosening body. After expelling Fajin one feels organs deeply relaxed, emotions calm as still ~ as a lake in the early morning. One feels soft, yet strong. Supple and flexible ~ the body feels so good.

So, Fajin is also used to release emotions such as anger and frustration or it can be used to express happiness.

Could it be then used also when leading people?


  1. Absolutely fascinating! Thanks for adding the image of the plastic bag too - had a lightbulb go on. In leadership, when we let go of emotions that build walls between ourselves and others, the work can begin.


    1. Thank you Alli. Yes we have to learn from different sources that gives us much broader views and knowledge.


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