What is Peng energy? Many books on tai chi define “Peng” as Ward Off, meaning “to parry and get away”. This misses the point of using energy.
Peng energy, also known as Peng Jing, is a combination of muscular power (Li) and Qi. Peng is an expanding opening quality, likened to a filling balloon. Rather than exercising raw physical strength Peng trains a connection from the ground, through the body with the mental intent of opening and expanding through the arms ultimately uprooting the opponent.
To get a sense of this energy is to place a ball in a tank of water. With your hand press the ball down under the surface. You can feel the Peng when the moment the ball pushes itself the the surface. The harder you press the ball down the more powerful the ball will be coming back at you as it rises back up. Here is a link to a video that shows this force:
Peng is the first of the eight energies of Tai Chi, but needs to be the first one understood by the student. Once learned and understood, connecting with the posture and spiral force it can be very powerful. Moving from Tai Chi forms practice to Tui Shou (Push Hands) it becomes evident how this energy works.
The basic elements of Push Hands is connecting, through hands and arms, to your partner in a soft, gentle manner to train listening energy (Ting Jing), sensitivity, awareness, grounding whilst retraining the body’s natural reflexes to relax and flow with oncoming energy, rather than stiffening up, resisting or repel the attack.