擠 – the character ji is usually translated as press or squeeze, which I’ve always found a bit confusing.

Ji also means crowded, or to crowd, or to squeeze. It could have a connotation like the attendants pushing or squeezing or crowding people onto the Tokyo subway. It could also mean something like “it’s crowded in here”. It could also mean to squeeze with the hands. Because of all those subtle differences in connotation, I’m still a bit confused by the word. This word is more “poetic” and describing an “energy” or feeling rather than a technique which is what has always confused me when thinking of a particular move with the hands together or close together and the body moving forward.

At the moment, I tend to think of it in a general sense as in you’re crowding the other person and taking away space, not necessarily that you’re pressing forward or squeezing. That is easy to understand and applies regardless of technique or whether it’s standup as in taijiquan or on the ground as in bjj. It applies especially well to the top position in bjj. You always want the other person feeling crowded in regardless of any other “energy” or technique you might be doing or about to do. This kind of confusion and ambiguity in expression and application always makes me wonder “what is taijiquan” exactly? It seems to be more abstract concepts and philosophy than a body of specific techniques or a “bag of tricks”.

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