Tai chi exercises/Neigong

Tai chi exercises/Neigong

Postby Mello » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:43 pm

I've studied both chen style and yang style taiji and at the training sessions the first half is always spent doing various exercises, like
silk-reeling (in chen style) and neigong. I'd like to know more about what the purpose of these exercises are in taiji. Some of them I've found on the web
(like zhan zhuang) but others I'm clueless about. My teachers has just given me some vague explanations. It's easy to find information about the taiji forms, but I haven't found much info on these exercises.
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Re: Tai chi exercises/Neigong

Postby mls_72 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:56 pm

In my experience with teachers from Shanghai and Hangzhou where Yang Chen Fu had disciples, they still do warm up and calisthenic sets to this day that I have not seen publicly from Yang Family members. Some of these teachers who are from the lineage of Yang Chen Fu's disciples teach one or more of these sets.

Some of these are:

1. Joint opening exercises.
2. standing meditations and posture holding.
3. Ba dua Jin.
4. Stretching sets.
5. Solo movements for push hands.
6. Fajing and fa li exercises.
7. Yang Taiji Qigong.
8. neigong and sitting meditation.

here are two sets i have come across on Youtube: i do not know the validity of them.

Yang Taiji song gong http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5hLaNkkA3I


Yang Taiji Ba dua jin
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Re: Tai chi exercises/Neigong

Postby Activeghost » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:45 am

Perhaps not publicly, but I've seen a large number of different solo excersizes from Master Yang Jun that he has demonstrated and had students practice (here in Redmond) -- either in the advanced class or the push hands classes:

- joint warmups
elbow rotation (important! -- teaches alot of good movement)
hand and elbow rotation
wrist rotation
neck rotation
shoulder rotations
knee rotation, etc...

1. zhan zhuang
He expects us to do it 30 minutes to an hour a day.... but if given a choice due to time contraints, make sure to do the form. Zhan zhuang builds up your martial capability.

2. fajin excersizes
The form is considered a warmup to these, and once that is done -- starting in zhan zhuang feel (feet apart, correct body) go from waist excersizes to gross arm movements, gradually moving the energy out through the shoulders or elbows or hands. After that do moving fajin excersize from bow stance and then practice using fajin in the form with a goal of hiding the fajin but still feeling it.

The chest excersizes are also probably more here than in loosening/relaxing. This consists of following your own push into your chest on both sides and the center. This can lead to the ability to fajin via the chest or shoulder although is primarily used to teach neutralization skills in the beginning.

3. breathing excersizes
Starting with the feeling of a zhan zhuang stance, practice energy storage and release (fajin excersize) and/or deep relaxed breathing (different excersize).

4. kicking excersizes
similar to #3 in feel, meant to teach relaxation of the foreleg/calf while kicking -- and as a warmup. Kicks are done out to the side, low (think foreleg target) and with explosion energy. This is meant to help your kicking in the form.

5. Staff
Staff excersizes are emphasized (or were a few months ago). Really helps build your energy and ability to emit it. Simple staff excersizes were given for the four directions, as well as some of the staff forms.

There are also two person excersizes for practising fajin, neutralization and loosening the joints in addition to push hands. I haven't seen any of these on youtube outside of the staff excersizes (the shivering staff forms), although I haven't specifically looked for them.
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Re: Tai chi exercises/Neigong

Postby Audi » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:26 am

Greetings Mello,

I've studied both chen style and yang style taiji and at the training sessions the first half is always spent doing various exercises, like
silk-reeling (in chen style) and neigong.

As I understand it, the term "silk-reeling" is best applied to Chen Style, but I know of many self-described Yang Stylists that practice "silk-reeling" exercises. According to the Chen style approach, all movement should proceed in spirals and these exercises help you focus on integrating the whole body to generate spiral movement in the limbs. I think Chen Style concentrates on originating the spirals from the dantian.

The term "neigong" means something like "inner work/training/skill." It is used in opposition to "waigong" ("outer work/training/skill"). From what I understand, some use the term "neigong" for any type of training that focuses on "internal aspects" of training like qi cultivation or breathing.

From my perspective, there is not a clear separation between neigong and waigong, since both must contain aspects of the other; however, I would consider that exercises such as qi gong or standing or sitting mediation would be neigong. One of Yang Chengfu's Ten Essentials is "Unite inner and outer." This means that no matter what Tai Chi exercise you are doing, there ideally should be both neigong and waigong going on, even though you might focus more on one or the other.

As for describing the purpose of these exercises, it is hard to say without more specifics. The earlier posters gave a good range of some of them and some of their uses. I would say that most have multiple uses, depending on the level of your skill and understanding, just like doing the form. The form has so much going on, however, that it can be good to concentrate on specific things by doing simple exercises. It is also good to balance out your practice, so that doing a lot of rather external things, like fajin, is balanced with doing some rather internal things, like simple qi gong.

Specific goals of Tai Chi neigong might include helping to raise you spirit, calm and relax your mind, let the qi sink and concentrate in the dantian, and open up the meridians. Your eyes, breath, or voice can even get in the act, depending on what you are working on. Each of these things can be matched to something external. For instance, when we talk about issuing energy, we have both an internal and external perspective. To issue energy really well, you need to understand, train, and use both aspects together. To be able to use them together, it may be good to train them separately on occasion.

Take care,
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