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Tai Chi Neigong: The Internal Strength training at the heart of Tai chi Chuan

In older times, when real personal self defence skills were critical and people trained in martial arts for personal survival, Internal Strength training was the foundation and most essential part of the martial training process.

Tai Chi Neigong was developed by Taoists and passed on secretively to only initiated disciples from master to student. This system of Neigong was taught to master Cheng Tin Hung by his teacher and uncle Cheng Wing Kwong, who learned it from his master Wu Chien Chuan, head of the Wu style of Tai Chi.

Cheng Tin Hung’s students became the top full contact Kung fu fighters in Asia because of their Neigong training, in addition to practical combat training.

Tai Chi Neigong is a daily system of training the eight fundamental powers of Tai Chi

The internal strength exercises build remarkable levels of elastic and tendinous strength throughout the body, whilst at the same time developing skill, technique and explosiveness in each of the 8 major Tai Chi forces.

Neigong is designed to strengthen the body internally and externally

The internal strength exercises include special training to develop deep abdominal breathing, to increase the length and subtlety of the breath, strengthen the diaphragm as well as to massage and increase the health and functioning of the internal organs, as well as strengthen the fascial systems that hold them in place.

Internal Strength is designed to create a very tough physique that can withstand real combat

In a real fight, particularly against multiple opponents, the martial artists of older times knew you needed to have a physique that could withstand the blows and impacts of unexpected strikes. A standard test in Neigong is to have someone jump from head height onto the abdomen as a demonstration of this ability.

Internal strength training is influenced by Taoist internal alchemy techniques

It includes an approach to training which is designed to develop mental and emotional tranquility, allowing the practitioner to achieve ‘stillness in motion’ – a completely calm  yet focused state during periods of intense activity (such as during combat).

There are two sequences of 12 exercises, one developing Yin attributes and the other developing Yang skills.

This has been designed to give practitioners an incredible, rounded training system that will develop all the attributes needed by a Tai Chi martial artist or anyone that wants to develop Neigong skills.

The course consists of 6 lessons, taught by Neil Rosiak MSc, who has practiced the Neigong for 30 years.

Neil initially learned as a young student of the first Wudang Tai Chi teacher in London, Dan Docherty, who in turn had learned from senior students of Cheng Tin Hung. Neil refined his understanding of the neigong with research into the various approaches taken across the various branches of the Wu style. This culminated with learning the 24 exercises directly from Sifu Cheng Kam Yan, son of Cheng Tin Hung. For this reason the method presented in the course can be considered the definitive approach of the Cheng Tin Hung school.

 

Online Neigong Course content

The Yin Internal Strength System

Lesson 1

Introduction

Golden Tortoise: Proper technique and alignments to get the most from this whole body toughening and strengthening exercise. Breathing becomes longer and deeper with practice, being based on a tortoise posture, which encourages deep diaphragmatic breathing.

Embracing the One: Learning precise alignment guidelines and practical recommendations for this whole body strengthening posture, which focuses on building ‘Peng’ Jin when properly trained. A form of standing meditation also.

Holding the golden plate: This exercise is almost a mirror image of the previous exercise, strengthening the shoulder structure and stability in an extremely useful way, as well as developing the strength and flexibility of the wrists.

Jade rabbit facing the moon: Learn the proper and precise positioning of the body through the repetitions, so that the breath becomes extremely deep and abdominal, so that the ‘Qi sinks to the Tan Tien’ – the formal purpose of this important exercise.

Lesson 2

Red Capped Crane stretching its feet: Learning the correct technique to train not only explosive, upwards force ‘Peng’, but also to gently stretch the lungs.

Civet Cat Catches Rats: This important exercise is taught in the traditional 6 steps so that maximal structure is trained, along with shoulder strengthening and the development of the explosive spiralling power/Jin ‘Lieh’.

Flick the whip: Teaching this exercise in the traditional manner, which maximises the development of explosive power from the waist, incorporating ballistic movement. An important exercise for those wanting to develop Fa Jin for Tai Chi striking techniques.

White Ape pushing out its Paws: This exercise develops the use of the waist for non ballistic power/Jin for moments when we need to overcome heavy resistance, such as pushing or Tai Chi grappling techniques.

Lesson 3

Swallow piercing the clouds: This important movement trains spiralling force whilst developing the waist. It’s design helps to escape negative clinch and grappling positions and grabs.

Leading the goat smoothly: This pattern is designed to build spiralling force which can be used in Tai Chi grappling techniques and throws. It also develops thoracic spinal freedom of movement, the waist generally and the strength of the rotational muscles of the trunk and spine.

Giant Python rotates his body: This exercise is traditionally said to develop the health and wellbeing of the Kidneys, which in Chinese medicine and inner martial arts is equated with production or storage of Jing. This important health focused exercise also develops the torquing ability of the arms when applying techniques.

Elephant shakes its head: This special finishing movement is designed to relax and loosen the entire body at the end of the Yin sequence. It builds skill in becoming ‘sung’ the special type of looseness sought in tai chi. As a result Fa Jin and explosive power paradoxically increase.

The Yang Internal Strength System

Lesson 4

Tiger Paw: This powerful exercise develops the dynamic strength and condition of the entire body. One of its primary functions is the development of explosive ‘Jie’ force. The entire physique becomes stronger and Jie releases become incredibly focussed and powerful.

Golden Dragon Coiled around the pillar: This exercise develops high levels of leg power and endurance, as well as stretching the muscles of the waist areas.

White Horse Pounds It’s Hooves: This movement builds strength across the entire body and develops crushing ‘An’ power, which is compression force downwards.

Planting the Fence: This standing meditation posture building strength through the body and is designed to develop an incredible ‘Bridge’ or physical frame that cannot be broken down.

Lesson 5

Wugang Cutting Laurels: This movement is focused on building rotational explosiveness issues from the waist. Rotational and stabilising muscles and connective tissue of the trunk and core are toughened and developed. High levels of rotational Fa Jin result from practice.

Rhinoceros facing the moon: This standing meditation posture develops the strength of the entire body, especially the spinal and core muscles. It is traditionally said to also focus on developing kidney health and strength.

Reclining Tiger stretching his waist: This movement develops the waist power for upwards directed Jin. Specifically designed to strengthen ‘uprooting’ Jin, which is hugely important in Tai Chi pushing hands or grappling.

Monarch of the mountain exiting his cave: Performed correctly this exercise further develops leg strength in order to improve your stance and stability.

Lesson 6

Boatman Rowing the boat (Asian style standing): The exercise builds dynamic strength through the whole body, and develops the ability to transmit power using dynamic weight shifting in multiple planes.

Hungry eagle looking for food: This standing meditation strengthens the upper back and entire shoulder complex, whilst improving the flexibility of the upper body.

Macaques Monkey leaping through trees: This explosive movement develops the Fa Jin ground reaction power of the lower body, triple extension of the lower body combined with forward expression of power, as well as the balance.

Old Man Burning the Cinnabar (making the medicine): This extremely important meditation exercise is said to put mind and spirit in unity. There are two breathing exercises as well as a stillness meditation that comprise this ‘medicine making’ exercise.

 

 

 

17 comments
  1. Neil is a fantastic teacher, and I’ve really enjoyed studying Neigong with him. The instruction in the video is very clear and moves at a good pace. There are different camera angles and movements are repeated and narrated so that the nuances come across. Strongly recommended!

  2. Having dabbled with Tai Chi Neigong, but in the absence of a good teacher and without any real consistency, it is refreshing to find a teacher of Neil’s caliber and experience. He has delivered a very accessible and transformative instructional video. He distills and delivers the essence of ancient Tai Chi Neigong practice in a very precise and easy to follow manner.
    Through regular practice, this instructional video has helped me to foster a greater sense of inner peace, connectedness and fortitude in my own life.
    I would wholeheartedly recommend this instructional video for anyone with an interest in Tai Chi Neigong and/or as means of self improvement as i feel that it is a powerful means of inner engineering.

  3. This is a great instructional video of a very rare conditioning program from internal martial arts. In fact its the only one I have ever seen by a western or eastern student with detailed instructions in English. I work as a physiotherapist and can vouch for effects of this system in developing a strong balanced physique. It combats the detrimental effects of sedentary living and poor posture by strengthening the major muscle and fascial trains that meander through the body form a deep to superficial level. From a martial stand point it delivers a strong root in conjunction with focused coordinated movement essential for effortless striking and parrying. Despite practicing neikung for ten years I have found this video a great blue print to keep my practice on track. Neikung builds your body from the inside out so the mind body and breath work in harmony.

  4. Hi so to all the people who wants to try this amazing tai chi nei gong system.. I can only recommend with fully of my heart. I have been doing it for 20 plus years. Love it and it’s the best I have ever try and been training in.
    Highly recommend to buy and start your new journey too

  5. This is a brilliant instructional video for anyone wanting to learn the neigong system and also for people wanting to improve / refresh their neigong training. Neil has a deep-rooted understanding of each neigong exercise and demonstrates / explains each one in a very clear and concise way. Even if you think your neigong training is at a pretty good level I would recommend this video. I’m sure it will identify areas where your technique can be improved upon and you can maximise the benefits to be gained from practicing this awesome system.

  6. I have been a student, practitioner and sometimes teacher of this system for 3 decades now, having trained under Dan Docherty, Neil Rosiak and others. Nei gung is the holy grail of this system and is generally reserved for students that are able to fully dedicate themselves to the art. Anyone wishing to embark on this section of the tai chi syllabus should not take it lightly. Neil has a profound and in depth knowledge of the system. The instructions in this video are insightful, clear and to the point and will assist anyone wishing to develop and improve their nei gung conditioning. I can fully recommend this video as an aid to help support your training.

  7. Neil’s deep expertise and joy for Taiji in all its expressions is rooted deeply in freedom and form. At the core, Nei gung opens the door to a world of possibilities within the body, self-awareness and beyond. Very grateful to Neil for opening this door for us. You will love and benefit from this video, Neil’s clear and heart-full instructions will guide you through.

  8. Neil’s deep expertise and joy for Taiji in all its expressions is rooted deeply in freedom and form. At the core, Nei gong opens the door to a world of possibilities within the body, self-awareness and beyond. Very grateful to Neil for opening this door for us. You will love and benefit from this video, Neil’s clear and heart-full instructions will guide you through.

  9. A comprehensive, and professionally produced video, clearly illustrating and explaining all the Nei Gong postures.
    I found the video very helpful, as an aide memoire, and as motivation to be more attentive and focused in my practice – having noted some suspect habits in my own practice!
    It was also helpful to have front and side views of the postures with voice over talking one through the movement and posture. Noteworthy, particularly for those new to these exercises, is the availability of support from Neil via email or mobile.
    Neil is clearly a very experienced and competent teacher who has created a much needed and valuable learning tool.

  10. The best way to learn tai chi is of course from a great teacher. There are very few who really know the depth and detail of tai chi as well as Neil. This video of the nei gung exercises is exceptional, i have found nothing like it anywhere else. It provides a hugely valuable reference. These conditioning exercises build a strong and solid foundation for tai chi. I am slowly building my practice, going back to this often to check both the basics of the movements but also the detail of alignment and breathing. This very helpful and great value.

  11. For me this is more than helpful in so many ways. If you practice Neigong you will appreciate and perfect your practise with Neil’s help and guidance. He’s a pocket guide on woodland trips.

  12. Hi
    Love the concept, your web page doesn’t mention a format so just checking Is this a physical video or a download. Definitely a goal for 2021.

  13. Is there a separate, non instructional follow along section on the video where one can follow the teacher in real time? Thank you!

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