N° 486
Enskilment into the Environment: the Yijin jing Worlds of Jin and Qi
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The Yiji jing 易筋經 (The Canon for Supple Sinews) of 1624 describes martial training currently practiced, particularly in Chinese communities. This article compares two forms that the two co-authors learnt in different places: Singapore and Kunming in the People's Republic of China. One form is known as the Hong Fist (hongguan洪拳) version of the Yijin jing, the other was taught as a form of qigong 氣功. This article focuses on the training of the authors in their respective practice. It demonstrates that the techniques learned instilled in the authors an attentiveness to the meanings that shaped their practice. These meanings were not primarily comprehended in a cognitive fashion but felt and experienced. In particular, the materiality of the environment, or more precisely the resistances that the environment posed to a practitioner, appear to have shaped the practice of the Yijin jing in distinctive ways. As argued here, the practitioners enskilled themselves through their practices into a world of either jin筋/勁 (sinew/power) or qi 氣 (breath/wind).