Nei Gong

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by inthespirit, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    I started this thread because I wanted to share some of my ideas regarding the ‘Nei Gong’ side of training in Internal Martial Arts. From my experience their is a severe lack of martial ability amongst the majority of Internal Martial Artists. In my opinion,
    ‘Nei Gong’(internal aspects of internal martial arts, e.g. specific Chi Gung, Alchemy, etc) is the only way to develop that which is known as internal strength in IMA.

    I am sure many of you have previously heard of things like the 16 keys, 72 gates, or more recently the 16 part ‘Nei Gong’ system of Bruce K.. Frantzis. To my knowledge there are two main variations in the way to train the internal aspects of IMA’s, there is the ‘water’ and the ‘fire’ methods. I am a practitioner of the latter and thus will expound my ideas on this specific method. The fire method is characterised by using visualisation exercises and then macro and micro cosmic orbit balancing. I am going to attempt to explain how all this is relevant to Tai Chi, with regards to their martial and health benefits.

    Firstly I would just like to mention my thoughts on ‘Chi’, so that it is clear what I am referring to. To me ‘Chi’ does not really signify anything specific, it is a lot of different things. It carries with it various phenomena such as intention, focus, control, breath, relaxation, concentration. Furthermore, strong or good ‘Chi’ in an external context can relate to a natural environment with clean air and pleasant atmosphere(e.g. a forest). Internally it can relate, to strong intention or smooth, strong flow (e.g. blood, synovial fluid), likewise bad or weak ‘Chi’ would be taken in the negative context of the above descriptions. Overall, the best way to describe it is the vital principle or vital energy. I’m sure many people here will doubt these words, as so would I, if I never felt it for myself. In fact, there are even ‘Nei Jia’ practitioners that don’t accept it, the thing about it is, whether you believe it or not, if you do the exercises correctly they will have an effect. But personally I feel that if one closes oneself off to the idea of ‘Chi’, one limits their experience in IMA. In any case, the ‘Nei Gong’ exercises and all ‘Nei Jia’ styles are based on the same principles, ‘Chi’ is amongst these principles, thus the way ‘Nei Gong’ works cant be explained very accurately without it.

    Fundamental to all ‘Nei Gong’ practice is ‘Diaphragmatic’ breathing. As I’m sure some people are aware, all breathing in essence is diaphragmatic. I refer to it in the context of controlling the abdominal muscles in order to create a greater space for the diaphragm to descends in to, thus in turn taking in a greater volume of air in to the lungs. This process may also be reversed for a technique called ‘reverse breathing’, this method is used in internal power generation, though will not be further expounded here, unless that is someone else wishes to post about it.

    The ‘fire’ method is started by visualisation exercises, whereas the practitioner visualises specific channels within his/her body, These exercises serve the purpose of strengthening the focus and making the consciousness open to perceiving the insides of the body and mind. In other words this is a trick on the mind, which allows the eyes or focus to see , not physically, like sight, but feel the inside of the body, as opposed to only focusing on external phenomena.

    As these exercises progress, they start to integrate in to them two main energy channels, namely the ‘Conception’ and ‘Governing’ channels. These channels are located as such, one runs up your back from the perineum up to the crown of the head and down to the soft palate of the mouth. The other channel runs from the tongue, down the front of your body, to the perineum. The more one practices, the more one moves from visualisation to actual feeling of these channels.

    In the latter stages these exercises start to incorporate in to them breathing techniques, in other words specific breathing methods are coordinated with moving the intent. The intent is your focus, which with sufficient practice, one should be able to use internally. The intent has a most important characteristic, this is the ‘Yi/Chi/Blood’ connection. This basically means that where intent concentrates, the chi accumulates, and the blood flows, or follows. In other words one gains the ability to move ‘Chi’ and blood inside the body. One of the finals stages of these beginning exercises is to learn how to move the ‘Chi’ from outside oneself in to the lower ‘Tan Tien’(like a battery, something that ‘Chi’ can be stored or increased in). This specific exercise is retained and upgraded throughout future practices, and is used as a means to restore used ‘Chi’ to the body’s ‘Chi’ storage centre.

    The above methods form the foundation for all internal and external practices to come. With regards to martial ability and health, these exercises increase breath capacity, digestion, metabolism, stamina, focus, blood flow, peripheral and central vision and coordination. The above are a result of controlling breathing, abdominal breathing massages the viscera increasing blood flow and tones the organs, which in turn increases digestion, which in turn increases metabolic rate. Better peripheral and central vision and coordination, are a result of learning how to coordinate breath with focus, and exercising one’s focus.

    After the aforementioned exercises have been mastered, and the ‘Chi’ channels and pathways have begun to open up, one progresses to further practices, which serve to balance and strengthen an individuals energy system. The reason the ‘Chi’ channels and pathways begin to open up as a result of increasing, or making strong the ‘Chi’ in the ‘Tan Tien’ and the ‘Conception’ and ‘Governing’ vessels. This is analogous to heavy rains making the flow of a river stronger, which in turn opens up new paths for the water from itself, and strengthens the flow in its existing paths.

    Along the ‘Governing’ and ‘Conception’ channels are several smaller ‘Chi’ storing centres, these are known as the ‘eight extraordinary vessels’. These ‘eight extraordinary vessels’ are what feeds your internal organs with ‘Chi’. Alternatively these eight points can be seen as areas which are connected to the vitality of the organs. Each organ has a corresponding vessel, and some organs have two, such as the heart and lungs. When the ‘Chi’ in the organs is either depleted or excessive illness can occur. By circulating ‘Chi’ through the eight ‘extraordinary vessels’ we first balance out the ‘Chi’ in the organs. After the organs regain a youthful vitality we then enhance their function, by strengthening their ‘Chi’ in a balanced way. This group of exercises is referred to as ‘Microcosmic’ circulation.

    Amongst ‘fire’ traditions, it is common that in ‘Microcosmic’ circulation one may utilise the ‘Ching Chi’ The ‘Ching’ is the essence of human beings, it is what drives life, or in other words sexual energy. This energy is primarily stored in the kidneys, and additionally in the testicles in men, and ovaries in women.

    The ‘Ching Chi’ is also utilised to activate another important vessel. This vessel runs along the waist like a belt, and is the connection for all the channels running up and down your body, its other function is to do with the health of the kidneys, which in turn relates back to the strength of the ‘ching’. The belt channel is activated by circulating ‘Ching Chi’ through it. The bones and skin are also often worked on using the ‘Ching Chi’, in order to increase their strength and vitality.

    One may notice that in healthy virile people the waist is usually strong and flexible, and the opposite is true for the unhealthy and weak. One may also notice that for a man, a sexy waist on a woman is very attractive, and for women a toned waste on men is also attractive. I believe this is an instinctual trait, which recognizes the connection between health and sexuality.

    In a martial context, as one gains the ability to control the ‘Chi’ in the ‘Conception’, ‘Governing’, and belt channels, one simultaneously increases ones ability to control all the muscles and soft tissue along the paths these channels take. In other words one gains the ability, and this increases with practice, to internally control all the soft tissue running up the spine and around each vertebrate, all the soft tissue running down the front of the body, such as the abdominals, and all the soft tissue associated with the waist. These factors contribute greatly to the force one can generate and absorb with the body. These methods also work the nervous system by enhancing the connection between the mind and body. Additionally, the breath, peripheral and central vision are further enhanced.

    In the health context, the main benefits come from increasing the chi supply to the organs, correcting the posture, and strengthening the muscles which support the posture and mobility, this in turn makes the blood flow smoother, and increases vitality.

    All the aforementioned exercises are also conducted in specific postures, which strengthen the core or postural muscles of the body, further enhancing the effects of the practice.

    The next set of exercises are usually trained after one has become proficient in the aforementioned methods, and gained some level of vitality in ones internal environment. The following set is referred to as ‘Macrocosmic’ circulation. This exercise is practised by moving the intent and ‘Chi’ along the channels running on the insides and outsides of the limbs. Basically, these channels run from the inside and outside of the arms, along the body, and down along the inside and outside of the legs. ‘Macrocosmic’, circulation is done for the following effects.

    Firstly, this exercise revitalise, strengthens, makes supple and lengthens the joint of the arms and legs, i.e. shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips knees and ankles. This has an effect of opening up the aforementioned joints, this in turn increase their flow of ‘Chi’ and makes their movement stronger and accurate. It also works the nervous system by enhancing the connection between the mind and the limbs. Each organ in the body and in turn its corresponding ‘extraordinary vessel. Have channels running from and away in to the limbs. These exercises connect the outside and inside of the body, thus, the ‘Microcosmic’ exercises make the organs stronger and their related ‘Chi’ flow, and the ‘Macrocosmic’ connect the limbs to the new enhanced ‘Chi’ flow. In this way the rivers of ‘Chi’ inside the body are further strengthened resulting in healing, increased mobility, increased coordination and increased power.

    After the above exercises are mastered, one learns how to root and sink oneself in to the ground. This is done by connecting ones own ‘Chi’ with that of the earth. This results in further increasing strength, and balance.

    The above processes are then incorporated in to the form, which by now should be well learned, and performed with ease. These internal aspects add a whole new dimension to from practice, as every posture and transition has its appropriate ‘Chi’ and ‘Yi’ movement, these are set up as per the eight internal energies of push, pull, press, rollback, lift, drop, elbow stroke and shoulder stroke. When these aspects are incorporated in to the form one then practices the newly internalised form and the ‘Nei Gong’, throughout the practice, the teacher usually adds further refinements, these serve to further strengthen body, mind, health and martial ability.

    As one enhances ones energy system one develops skills such as ‘listening skill’, which is a subconscious knowing of every weak point of your opponents movement or stillness, this skill also transfers to the environment around you. In other words you become extremely perceptive to any changes in your internal and external environment. This skill allows you to, as described in the classics ‘move after your opponent but arrive first’ and ‘you know your opponent, but they don’t know you’. Furthermore, after some time of continues practice and perseverance the body and mind become open and full of ‘Chi’, this results in the ability to ‘Fa Ching’ or discharge energy as well as affording one the chance to develop other forms of ‘Ching’, this is very useful in martial applications. For some additional information on ‘Ching’ in the martial aspect, one may refer to the following article:

    I would just like to mention that my writing here is very brief, and by no means cover all aspects of ‘Nei Gong’. This is just to give those who don’t know, a brief idea of what the ‘fire’ method of ‘Nei Gong’ entails.

    I would also like to add that these exercise should not be experimented with, as it can be very hazardous to mental and physical health if done incorrectly, in fact these exercise should only be learnt under a competent teacher.

    Thanks for reading. I look forwards to any thoughts, disagreements and questions any one may have.
  2. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Just wanted to add a bit, with regards to ‘listening skill’.

    ‘Listening skill’, is developed from ‘Nei Gong’ in the following manner. As previously explained, ‘Nei Gong’ is often done in various standing postures, and the aim is to increase and strengthen the ‘Chi’ circulation inside the body. What makes this task difficult is mental and physical blockages, which are basically tension. As one recognizes these blockages, one can see the blockages corresponding effects, these manifest in a number of ways. The manifestations can take form as a nagging thought, such as doubt, fear, impatience, anger, etc. They may also take form as certain muscles being tensed, or misalignment, this may be anywhere in the body, face, etc. These blockages are found because they make themselves apparent as one moves the ‘Yi’ and ‘Chi’ around the relevant paths. Every time a blockage is identified and cleared one becomes more relaxed and the ‘yi’ and ‘Chi’ become stronger.

    The above process carves a transparent energetic template out of your self. In other words as the blockages are removed, energy more easily passes through the body. When one trains in this manner, and does all the relevant ‘Nei Gong’ exercises, one eventually arrives at a point when ‘Yi’ and ‘Chi’ are moved by the will at an instant, this state feels very natural, and is accompanied feelings of vitality, speed, aliveness. As one arrives at this states, the perception (peripheral and central) become very acute, one can see and distinguish all movement within the filed of vision and feeling, simultaneously. Once a certain level is reached the process of removing blockages, which is directly connected to the aforementioned states, becomes imbedded in the subconscious with the following consequences. In an untrained person, or one that is less trained than oneself it is more obvious, but generally every thought, intention, habit, blockage manifest itself externally as something which is either subconsciously perceived or felt by one who has attained the following states. It is such that when you look at an individual, you can instantly tell where they are off balance, and where the slightest of pressure would cause the greatest amount of imbalance. This skill is also very interesting and beneficial in most aspects of life, as humans constantly give these extremely subtle clues, these clues can convey intention, thought, movement, health, attraction and more. This skill is equally useful for perceiving that which was previously invisible in the internal and external environment. In general, it makes much more information available about the environment internal and external to the individual that posses this skill, yet this skill is not dependant on though, it is subconscious, it grows with the strength of ones ‘Yi’ and ‘Chi’ and diminishes in the same manner.
  3. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    This is a great post with lots of info... printed it off to read on the plane... will digest and post later... thanks...
  4. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Cheers, enjoy your vacation!
  5. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I second that
    excellent reading, thank you inthespirit - feel free to add more... :)
  6. WVNicholson

    WVNicholson Valued Member

    Actually I'm not really familiar with nei gong. Also, it's a while since I've really practiced any IMA. I used to do tai chi with some hsing-i and pakua; but I really just train in EMA now... However, I am curious about nei gong. I bought a book recently about hsing-i nei gong which I found interesting. Has Bruce Frantzis written any books or done any videos that describe his nei gong system (i.e. in enough detail to learn how to do the exercises or at least get an idea what they're like, rather than abstract discussion of the theory)?

  7. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Hi William,

    There are three training books that I know of.

    “Opening the Energy Gates of the Body” works primarily on developing the correct structure and connectedness, and some principles of movement.

    "Relaxing in to Your Being", and the follow up "The Great Stillness" teach breath, intention, and internal/external connectedness. These should be learned in sequence after one has mastered that which is in the “Opening the Energy Gates of the Body” book.

    The methods in his books are very good and safe, though may take longer to learn and put in to practice than some more high risk/high gain schools.

    The authors knowledge and instruction are very deep and precise. However, it may be a bit difficult to learn without physical instruction, thus prior experience or a teacher is recommended. A small misunderstanding in the beginning can lead to big mistakes later on.

    All respect to Mr. Frantzis though, a good body of knowledge and practice in these books that will see you through for a life time if you persevere, but these are slow and safe chi gung/nei gung methods, so don’t expect miracles without diligent everyday practice.

    He also recently released some other Chi Gung/Nei Gung training sets on DVD. I think these are older than the aforementioned books, he just recently had them made in DVD format. I have not seen any of them, but all the material I ever got from B. K. F. was top notch. In fact I would say as some of the most in depth knowledge I have come across.

    Here is a link to his online shop:
  8. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    We have a 24 move set of Nei Kung. 12 Yin excercises and 12 Yang.

    After completion of the Yin excersises, after about 100 days of doing them (traditional time) the student can take a person jumping from the shoulders of another onto their belly with no ill effects. I am currently going through the process of having my kung tested, it is actually alright.
  9. airweaver

    airweaver Valued Member

    nice post inthespririt, its really rekindled my interest in cultivating my inner senses..

    check this out..

    Anyone ever heard of the "new energy ways" (NEW) system?? its a less esoteric energy development system based on recreating feelings with the mind, like now..remember or imagine what it feels like to stroke a paintbrush down your arm....
    the guy who did this was robert bruce who is an expert in the mechanics of astral projection and lucid dreaming- basically, the chi/energy body can and does indeed leave the physical body when we sleep- the NEW system is all about strengthening the energy body so that all psychic and esp type practises become more refined and developed.

    when i first started this (before starting tai chi) i had some strange energetic experiences on some nights when just close to being asleep, like hearing a tremendous crashing sound like a basketball repeatedly being slammed off a locker really fast, seeing tunnels and faces in my minds eye, and actually once having an out of body experiences which lasted for only a few moments because i became so excited and woke up..

    and generally during the time i raised energy up through my legs and into my torso, i became much more in tune with the higher nature of life and of being.

    the similarities between NEW and chi kung are obvious, all except bruce's NEW system is pretty recent and not steeped in the asian traditions or terminology..

    heres the link again ;)
  10. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    You people are killing tai chi.
  11. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    and you are a troll.. :rolleyes:
  12. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Urge to kill, rising!
  13. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Why dont you enlighten us oh great one...
  14. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Well, I really do not know where to start, but to randomly pick some of your points:

    This process may also be reversed for a technique called ‘reverse breathing’, this method is used in internal power generation, though will not be further expounded here, unless that is someone else wishes to post about it.

    Ey? Define internal power, why will reverse breathing generate internal power?

    Furthermore, after some time of continues practice and perseverance the body and mind become open and full of ‘Chi’, this results in the ability to ‘Fa Ching’

    Really? Can we provide some evidence of the body and mine becoming full of chi? I fear not.

    In other words one gains the ability to move ‘Chi’ and blood inside the body. One of the finals stages of these beginning exercises is to learn how to move the ‘Chi’ from outside oneself in to the lower ‘Tan Tien’(like a battery, something that ‘Chi’ can be stored or increased in). This specific exercise is retained and upgraded throughout future practices, and is used as a means to restore used ‘Chi’ to the body’s ‘Chi’ storage centre.

    Again, any evidance of this? How are you moving this blood? How are you banking this chi?

    What in fact are you basing any of your training on? Are you just spewing forth out dated ideas and attributing way to much credit to them. Have you just ignored the biological advances of the last 300 years? Or do you really just love the old Chinese idea of chi?
  15. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    You demonstrate to have a lack knowledge of such arts, technically, spiritually and practically, I don’t particularly feel like answering your ignorant questions, but hey I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Define internal power, why will reverse breathing generate internal power?

    Firstly, this sort of breath increases internal pressure resulting in a greater power output form inside to outside. On top of this, intention is trained to coordinate with this sort of breathing when discharging energy, hence when this is habitual, the two process are linked, once again resulting in more power/intention being used in a movement/strike.

    Can we provide some evidence of the body and mine becoming full of chi?

    I fear you really have no concept of Nei Jia, the proof is in the pudding. When you feel it, from correct practice, then you will know.

    Again, any evidence of this? How are you moving this blood? How are you banking this chi?

    Practice correctly and you will see.

    I am basing my training in what I learned from the adopted son of a disciples of Yang Shao Hou, who coincidentally also studied with Wu Chien Chuan.

    If you’re here to debate the existence of Chi, then your not getting another word from me, if you want to know why I believe what I believe, then you can go study with my teacher and experience this for yourself. Alternatively you can dredge through the countless debates on the validity of Chi, found in this forum. The purpose of this thread is to discuss the Nei Gong training methods not to debate your ignorant claims of the falsity of Chi. Please troll elsewhere.
  16. Sandus

    Sandus Moved Himself On

    No good can come of this...
  17. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Sadly, Tai Chi, and the miss placed belief in Chi as some sort of ultimate power, has produced lots of puddings. :woo:
  18. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    It seems that you have the misplaced belief in “Chi” as some sort of ultimate power, and that is your dilemma to enjoy.

    The fact is there are several martial arts, and a whole holistic medicinal practice based around the “Chi” framework. Personally, I don’t expect anyone without “real” experience to understand what I write in regards to “Chi”, and in my opinion understanding such matters is as much to do with experience as with intellect.

    In other words, if you want to understand what I’m talking about you have to practice the relevant disciplines for a prolonged period of time. Whether you believe in “Chi” or not the results of such “correct” practice are very real and very noticeable. The “Chi” concept is really irrelevant, though with it and the associated framework you can explain what takes place with regards to the implied disciplines.
  19. airweaver

    airweaver Valued Member

    liokault, practise some of the NEW tecniques from the link on my earlier topic on this thread and you'll feel something in about 10 minuites..
    weather or not its "cosmic energy", prana or just plain old nerve stimulus doesnt matter (there just words), the point is there is some kind of inner awareness of ourself we can develop- THIS is true.
    you shouldnt be so hostile with your posts, things like that really dont fit into an artform which is essentially about harmony, surely that attitude is the kinda thing killing tai chi.
  20. tcgohan

    tcgohan New Member

    Asked a physicist

    I do TCC with a guy who has a PHD in physics (fellow student, he's been playing at least twice as long as I have) and I asked him if there was any scientific basis for chi correlaries were mentioned and he said until someone can measure chi he will remain skeptical but he said we could discuss "weird stuff that happens in tai chi [practice]" all day long.
    Basically don't get hung up on wether or not chi exists. I can get rid of heart burn by imagining a cool river running through my body. Just because a large mass of water below room temperture did not go through my body does not make the heartburn any less gone.
    :woo: END DISCUSSION OF CHI. :woo:

    Spirit I really enjoyed that post. Got any more info on microcosmic orbit? I was intoduced to it by my instructor a few weeks ago and don't fully understand it's practice. Do I activate all the energy centers first or can I just draw chi from the sex organs through the pernium and just get that flowing?

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