Tai Chi Internal strength/ Iron shirt Qigong
Qigong/Neigong is an esoteric style of exercise and approach to wellbeing, which some people consider somewhat mystical. Some people use the term Qigong, others prefer ‘neigong’. This remarkable version of Qigong/Neigong can be seen as inner work building internal power.
The idea is that you rebalance the bodies natural energy systems and encourage a tendency towards health, wellbeing and optimal functioning.
Internal strength training classically works on what the ancient Chinese put forward as being the foundations of human existence and also the variables that determine if you thrive or don’t do so well.
The first pillar of internal strength neigong practice is to strengthen what is known as the ‘Jing’ of your human energy system. This is considered lower frequency energy (let’s not go too quantum for now) which results in the formation of your physical body. So neigong used practices to optimise and strengthen the physical structure of the body, externally and internally, as well as providing guidelines for how one should maximise your ability to store ‘Jing’.
Below you can see me performing the standard Tai Chi Neigong ‘test’- which is done after 3 months training
Benefits of Tai chi Neigong/Iron shirt Qigong.
- Enhances breathing patterns
- Expands lung capacity
- Improves functional working of all the joints
- Strengthens and lengthens muscles, tendons and connective tissue
- Improves circulation
- Enhances neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
- Improves health and function of the internal organs
- Lengthens telomeres (anti ageing)
- Develops Fa Jin power – trained and elastic internal power.
- Improves energy and stamina
- Develops integrated, whole body strength and movements
- Trains mindfulness
- Incorporates breath awareness meditation
- Includes mantra meditation.
- Leads to improved concentration, awareness and sensitivity.
- Develops toughness
- Gives you the ‘iron shirt’ – ability to absorb blows easily
The second pillar of the training is to strengthen your bodies ability to naturally circulate the higher frequency of universal energy known as Qi. This is often considered by many as a form of bio-electric energy which circulates around our systems. Any impediments to this creates problems, so exercises were created to facilitate the optimal flow and function of the meridian systems commonly associated with acupuncture. Breath focused work is also considered hugely important for not only awareness and mindfulness but also for improving the efficiency with which we can absorb Qi into our bodies.
The third pillar we are seeking to improve is the condition of our ‘Shen’ – which is our spirit and life potential and considered to be the highest frequency of human energy. Through the adoption of certain attitudes and by using certain styles of training we can still the mind, regulate the emotions and thereby allow the ‘Tao’ to enter into our system. This is the traditional theory. When our three pillars are maximised and trained we reach our potential as humans and can exist at our optimal level of experience.
The benefits of meditative training and enhancing tranquility have been thoroughly researched by science and is now known to provide a myriad of benefits.
Tai Chi Internal Strength/Iron shirt Qigong training consists of two sets of exercises, which we perform on alternating days. There are 12 sets in the Yin sequence and 12 sets in the Yang sequence. To practice a whole set of 12 exercises take an hour or so.
For optimal results traditional people would practice the exercises initially for 100 days everyday. In addition during this time they would carry out a dopamine fast, whereby all excessively stimulatory activities would be avoided. No drinking, no sex etc. This would help to build higher levels of Jing, Qi and Shen through various mechanisms. Combined with the Internal strength training and meditation you can produce remarkable personal transformation. Very few people do the full 100 day process however and it’s not mandatory – though results are even better.
My Internal Strength system has long been kept pretty secret and taught only to very serious students of the famed fighter Cheng Tin Hung, back in the days of Hong Kong’s full contact fighting era. Before that they came from mysterious Taoist sources, who some claim originally taught 100 such exercises.
It’s always been an extremely sought after system of mind and body preparation in ancient time’s because of the ability of the training to produce extremely powerful physiques and at the same time train the mind in stillness. This leads to extremely powerful martial arts movements and a much improved ability to keep a tranquil and alert mind that can apply exactly the right movements at the right time in the chaos of a real fight.
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