Traditionally, a large majority of the teachings found in Taiji had their base systems in Chinese Metaphysics, Physics, and Mathematics. Such was the case as it was easy to demonstrate and express all the known internal dynamics, though presently there are those who find this esoteric or even hard for them to fathom. The Chinese model of what the universe differs greatly from Newtonian physics. In Newtonian physics, the concept centers on the role that it plays in generating physical power but Chinese physics makes no clear mention of the interaction of forces(De, 2007, p. 12). It is, however, important to note that the laws of the universe are very similar, whether they are expressed in the West or the East. For instance, in Newtonian Physics, Kinetic energy is expressed as K=1/2 m V^2 where V= Velocity, m= Mass and K= Kinetic energy(Brush & Hall, 2003, p. 24). In traditional Chinese Physics, and particularly in Taiji, the same equation can be expressed as V= the square root of the expression 2k/m where K is the kinetic energy that has been exerted on one’s body. In so doing, one can increase the velocity that the opponent will be thrown out with by either increasing the level of the kinetic energy or in other cases reducing the mass of the individual who is the opponent. The purpose of this research paper is to delve into the concept that four ounces of energy from an individual can be harnessed to move about 1000 pounds of sheer force while observing the truth behind it and all the tenets that make it.
Wang Zong Yue is perhaps one of the most notable figures in the history of Taiji. He was a student to a legendary Taoist 13th century monk, Zhang Sanfeng, and was in time credited by many writings for improving the art of Taiji. He is perhaps better known for penning down The T’ai Chi Treatise, a manual that broadly covered concepts and techniques used in Taiji which was later discovered in the mid 18th century. It was in his treatise that the phrase, four ounces deflect one thousand pounds was first mentioned, raising interest in many of the philosophers and Taiji specialists(Lu, 2006, p. 13). For experts in the art of Taiji, it is common knowledge that it works by first decreasing the rather elusive “apparent” mass from the opponent’s side as more often than not, it cannot be changed. Secondly, one can also neutralize the resultant kinetic energy than would come from the opponent. In essence, this simply means that if one specializes in reducing the mass and the resultant kinetic energy, the lesser the kinetic energy required (Davis & Chen, 2004, p. 151). The reason behind this is because as the mass starts approaching the zero mark, the velocity increases even when the kinetic energy exerted by the individual might be greatly reduced. Hence, it is common for one to see Taiji masters lightly touching their opponents, making them fly off at high speeds as they apply a force that appears minimal to the naked eye. Four ounces can thus be used to move and defeat 1000 pounds.
The notion that four ounces can be used to deflect one thousand pounds worth of force has not been well understood by many. Some pose questions about the practicality of this position and sometimes pose questions that seek to help them better understand how this concept works. A frequently asked question is whether the four ounces of energy to deflect a 1000 pound automobile moving at breakneck speed towards an individual. The simple touch that is used to deflect a body cannot work in this scenario reason being, the automobile is in motion. Being in motion means that the impact on the individual who seeks to apply a four-ounce force will be substantial, even life-threatening. It is therefore highly unlikely that a car weighing 1000 pounds can be deflected by a simple four-ounce force as it is not scientifically possible. If it were to happen it would be defying the complex laws of physics. For experts in the art of Taiji, it is common knowledge that it works by first decreasing the rather elusive “apparent” mass from the opponent’s side as more often than not, it cannot be changed(Jou, 2001, p. 189). Secondly, one can also neutralize the resultant kinetic energy than would come from the opponent. In essence, this simply means that if one specializes in reducing the mass and the resultant kinetic energy, the lesser the kinetic energy required. The reason behind this is because as the mass starts approaching the zero mark, the velocity increases even when the kinetic energy exerted by the individual might be greatly reduced. Hence, it is common for one to see Taiji masters lightly touching their opponents, making them fly off at high speeds as they apply a force that appears minimal to the naked eye. Four ounces can thus be used to move and defeat 1000 pounds.
In relation to the concept of four ounces being able to deflect about one thousand pounds, we have the concept of Hua Jing. In the concept of Hua Jing, one is able to divert the energy that comes their way from their opponent by redirecting it. All this is possible due to the individual’s understanding of correct timing and the correct use of angles and circles. Jing basically refers to the energy that makes an individual’s essence and is sometimes described in biological terms as all the biochemical characteristics in body fluids that originate from the DNA. There is a stark difference between Hua Jing and the four-ounce concept mainly due to the fact that Hua Jing doesn’t solely depend on traditional Chinese physics but rather in the concept of time. It is only through correct timing that an individual is able to neutralize the force directed towards them from their opponents(Jarmey, 2011). On the flipside, the four-ounce concept was received challenges from all quarters. Take for example a jack lifting a heavy automobile off the ground. I am of the opinion that if Whang Zhang Yue was to interpret this concept he would focus mainly on his proverb as to why the car could be lifted using such a small machine. It is important to note that though both concepts were conceived during different eras, they are both similar in their base argument.
A hydraulic jack is a lever that operates using a mechanic advantage which is why it is referred to as a power lever. It is this advantage that makes it possible for a man to lift a vehicle ten times his body weight. The workings of the jack involve the use of an incompressible liquid inside the pump plunger. In the event that a plunger pulls back then its action causes the oil to create suction. In doing so, the hydraulic jack multiplies the seemingly small force that under the object, in turn, enacting an even larger one. It uses Pascal’s principle which posits that any force that is applied to a liquid that is enclosed is in effect transferred equally around the liquid(Hammond, 2006, p. 35). The heavy car can then be lifted using this small device through the multiplication of force. From a martial arts perspective, as the force vector applied by the hydraulic jack reverses the car’s energy lifting it upwards using minimal force. The four once has it that if the level higher is higher, the reversal energy becomes more effective.
As a motorcycle aficionado, there are situations where I have come face to face with occurrences where individuals apply the four-ounce concept effectively. A memorable event in my life involves a close friend who rode on a heavy 1100 pound BMX motorcycle. He was not at all worried by the bulk of the machine or the vulnerable position that he put himself in. I soon came to the realization that he was fully aware of the inner workings of the four-ounce concept. During a routine servicing trip at the local mechanic, I came face to face with how effective this concept is. A hydraulic lift had been used by the mechanic to hoist the motorcycle, but unfortunately, it was not secured well on the ramp. As soon as it was at the mechanic’s shoulder height, it tipped over towards my friend’s side and falling on top of him. For him, it was a split second decision that saved his life. He had immediately dropped under the motorcycle at the same speed it was dropping, neutralizing it, while in effect “capturing it” with his shoulder and right hand. He had used the ti fang movement to absorb the force of the falling motorcycle as he released the energy and in thus redirected its flipping through the use of a minute amount of pressure(the proverbial four ounces). The motorcycle was in the air when it fell and was thus not in direct contact with its gravitational root. It is possible for him to move the motorcycle without it injuring him through the deflection of a force that was more than capable of crushing him where he stood.
In the Taiji cycle, it would be beneficial to apply the four-ounce concept during training to allow trainees understand how to neutralize forces that come their way from opponents. It is here that they would get an in-depth understanding of the resultant force in throwing off their formidable opponents. An additional benefit is that this technique is easy to apply, practice and understand for beginners in the art. Those trained in this concept will be able to effortlessly use power and will now not have to rely on their strength. Results from using the four once the concept is also recognized after a short while, say a couple, and individuals are now able to apply it fully. Furthermore, the student will be equipped with principles that they will be able to apply in combat situations, especially when they soon come to the realization that the expansion is limitless(Xiaowang & Silberstorff, 2012). Contact situations which require power will become easy to maneuver for an individual who has decided to put this concept to use as it offers them a level of independence that enhances their martial arts capabilities. Taiji students thus become able to handle “live” weight by applying leverage to move the 1000 pounds. They now understand the basic application of all those movements that are within their form though the understanding of yin and yang, the movement of stillness, the Natural Law of movement and triangulation. In terms of their sensitivity, it will be heightened their new found perception will allow them to unbalance their opponents.
Grandmaster Hong Junsheng is also aware that it does not win, but how well the use force of their opponents; utilizing their four ounces to tackle a bigger and more powerful opponent. He is of the opinion that those who use the art of Taiji should learn to follow a specified curve to a straight line in spiral movements. It is the skills that one acquires that will first enable them to effectively use the force that will be coming towards them. He is perhaps best known for his push hands demonstrations that show a relationship that exists between lower and upper body coordination, separation of empty and heavy on right and left sides together with the front and the back of the body. In particular, Hong focuses on leg pushing as an effective way of applying the four-ounce concept. By first learning how to accommodate their opponents force resiliently while also changing its direction(“With Just Four Ounces Of Strength… — Chen Zhonghua,” n.d.). One is thus able to create a void where the opponent is lured to before subduing them. It is noteworthy to acknowledge that the technique will be effective if one gains full control of the opponent. Controlling the opponent now mainly involves using the friction that occurs at the point of contact capitalizing on the momentum caused by the opponents force. The goal is making good of sensitivity without the use of brute force; being the steering wheel and the opponent becoming the motor. Using mind intent thus becomes more effective than an individual’s size or strength. In conclusion, the application of Physics becomes important here and with the right technique, a grasshopper the art of Taiji will be able to move 1000 pounds using four ounces!