Chen Yu Talking About Qinna

Robin Wu

Panda Cub
Last week, Alex told me about a book that involved Chen Yu. It was called Chen Taijiquan: Masters and Methods by Davidine Sim and David Gaffney. This book contains interviews with Chen Xiaowang, Wang Xian, Feng Zhiqiang, Chen Zhenglei, Chen Yu, Zhu Tiancai, and Yu Gongbao.

Chen Yu talks about Qinna as part of the interview, and this is the first time that I hear the term 'Jin Path' being used.

I have reorganized his answer - partly to reduce word count:
  • Ting Jin (listening and gauging an opponent’s force) - one must first be certain of the jin path because all the usages of Taijiquan depend primarily on ting jin. All techniques are ineffective if you do not know how to listen or cannot accurately listen to an opponent’s jin path.
  • Seizing and Sealing Jin – Taijiquan is concerned with Jin paths (the direction of incoming force). Jin paths offer an attack direction, position, speed, degree etc. Taijiquan’s “sealing jin” is, upon listening to an opponent’s jin path (reading the path of incoming force), utilizing Taijiquan’s spiral rotational method of motion and its characteristic skill of bypassing strength and capitalizing on weakness, to control and seize. “Seizing and sealing the Jin Path” in Taijiquan is ingenious and clever in that it does not require you to use great force to apply or reverse. Instead it follows and take advantage of jin.
  • The basic principle of Taijiquan is to not meet incoming force head on and take advantage of weakness. When you are being seized by a stronger opponent, do not fight or resist. Read your opponent’s jin path, and use chansijin to change the direction and speed and then reverse the lock.
  • Chansijin (complex spiral method of the body core). Upon ascertaining the jin path of the opponent and by avoiding force and taking advantage of weak points, use the spiral rotational movements of chansijin to capture the wrists, elbows, shoulders etc of the opponent. Chansijin is an essential element of Taijiquan’s qinna.
  • Qinna - usually aimed at the vulnerable joints of the limbs and the head. An opponent experiences excruciating pain, rending of muscles, ligaments and tendons, or broken joints and bones, to make resistance impossible. Taijiquan’s qinna has its own unique method by using the technique of “seizing and sealing the jin path” whist assimilating the qinna principle in common with all martial arts. Chen Yu believes this is a much more improved and sophisticated form of qinna. Taijiquan’s qinna is an opportunistic move, taking advantage as an opportunity arises in a covert way. “Clamp the joint, raise the root” is the requirement of Taijiquan’s qinna.
  • If qinna cannot be applied fully then hitting is preferable to end an exchange. It is not only closely linked to hitting but also with throwing - often executed in conjunction with qinna. It is executed by means of chansijin and works closely with hit and throw.


Lao Tou
Staff member
Yes, maybe. I am careful to not get too serious about quotes and information from CY relayed by others, especially those not in the line as I feel they often have their own agendas. These authors are particularly agenda driven I think. That said it's fine albeit rather standard information I think. All wonderful ideas until one tries to actually DO them. 😄