Tai Chi’s 24 part Neigong system is considered by many to be the most important part of the art of Tai Chi Chuan.
It has always been taught extremely secretively, taught only after a student has become an ‘inside the door’ disciple.
Also known as ‘internal strength training’, Tai Chi Neigong is a series of 24 different styles/exercises which are designed to be practiced on a daily basis to build the strongest possible foundation for high level tai chi skills.
There are two sets of Neigong. The 12 Yin styles which are softer and more therapeutic. There are 12 complimentary Yang styles which are more explosive and dynamic, and focus on building strength and Tai Chi oriented power (Jin).
Traditionally practitioners would practice the Yin styles one day and the Yang the next, alternating daily
Once learned most practitioners would use the Neigong system as the core of their practice. It would be practiced daily by most people because of the remarkable array of benefits received.
Dan Docherty, my original teacher, once observed that since he had learned the neigong he never missed a single day or practice since 1974.
Cheng Tin Hung, Dan’s teacher, was reputed to practice for 2-3 hours a day with his fighting tai chi master Qi Min Xuan. He subsequently became famous in Hong Kong as the top martial arts fighter around.
The Neigong system was taught to him by his uncle Cheng Wing Kwong, who had learned them from Wu Chien Chuan. He also learned them from Qi Min Xuan, who he credits as teaching him the fighting side of the art.
It is said that the exercises come from the Taoists, who developed the system based on observations of natural process and inspirations from animals. For example one exercise, The Golden Tortoise, develops deep and long diaphragmatic breathing, because the posture we use is like a tortoise shell forcing the diaphragm to expand downwards towards the naval, rather than expanding through the chest.
For anyone looking for an all around physical and mental training method Neigong system is not only incredibly effective, it’s also very time efficient.
This system of Neigong is the advanced version of the Cheng Tin Hung method
Although I originally learned the Neigong from my first teacher, Dan Docherty, owing to various research I conducted I ended up relearning the practice directly from Cheng Tin Hung’s son.
I believe this method to be more advanced, more detailed and to build far better skills and attributes than the one I had previously learned, and which is prevalent in Europe.
Tranquility of mind and emotions
The Taoists who developed Neigong believed strongly that developing a tranquil mind and stable emotions was key to a good, long and healthy life, and leads to higher states of consciousness. The original text on Taoist breath work ‘Inward Training’ makes clear that they believed relaxed concentration, combined with postural awareness and deep, soft breathing is the way to go to achieve this.
Tai Chi Neigong includes a wide variety of standing postures, which are practiced meditatively, with mindful awareness.
Breathing slows down, with the lungs and diaphragm expanding deeply to the Tan Tien (lower abdomen). This deeply relaxes the practitioner and strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest state, which opposes the fight or flight stress state.
The practice is always engaged with a non-judgemental, open awareness attitude which over time will diffuse any black or white associated with unhealthy mental states. In fact one exercise ‘embracing the one’ is a reminder to aim for a non-dual mindset in the practice.
Rhythmic repetitions of special movement patterns are practiced, again using a mindful attitude, to further enhance the relaxation response.
At the end of the exercises a breathing meditation practice is used to further calm the mind and enhance breathing patterns. This is followed by either visualisation, mantra or mindful meditation to complete the session.
So the Neigong approaches the attainment of ‘stillness in motion’ or tranquility in living by various means.
Practitioners report feeling far more relaxed, less stressed, slower to anger, less prone to illness and enhanced sleep quality after Neigong practice.
Strengthening the health and functioning of the internal organs
The deep breathing action of the diaphragm is combined with carefully designed movements of the torso to provide a stimulating and massaging effect for the internal organs, making them stronger and healthier.
Over time and with regular practice this helps provide them with better blood flow as well as movement and removal of toxins and waste products.
The Taoist idea was that movement of fluids within the body leads to better overall health and vitality as we depend very much on the state of our internal organs for health and feelings of wellbeing. Each organ is associated with an excess or deficiency of a certain emotion according to Taoist medicine.
A sluggish liver for example is equated with an angry temperament, so with regular practice and a healthy lifestyle, as liver function improves you would find yourself less prone to anger.
Some of the exercises are specifically designed to squeeze certain organs like a sponge, so that waste and toxins are better excreted.
Whole body, unified strength.
Neigong training produces a remarkable strong practitioner, whose strength is that of an athletic, unified variety.
The exercises systematically strengthen all the muscles, fascia and connective tissues of the body in a unified way.
The body and mind are treated as a unified whole and strengthened in a way so that you develop a connected strength, which is martially far more useful than the type of strength you would develop by training various limbs or muscles separately.
The major fascial systems are systematically stretched and strengthened, in all their possible planes of motion, providing the practitioner with enhanced athletic and martial potential.
Develops advanced relaxation skills
Tai Chi Neigong practice aims to enhance your ability to detect and dissolve physical (and also mental) tension, through both the static meditation postures as well as the movement exercises.
With the relaxed time spent in the postures and repetition of the movements, combined with an open awareness you can effectively reduce any tension or tightnessdetected in different parts of your body. This will improve your overal health and wellbeing as well as enhancing your athleticism and martial skill.
Developing advanced levels of rootedness
One of the core skills in Tai Chi is the development of ‘root’ or connectedness to the ground.
This is helpful for wellbeing and tranquility but from a tai chi self defence or martial perspective highly essential.
A strong root enhances your ability to produce power when issuing your techniques, and also will help you absorb and redirect forces from an opponent.
Neigong is the quickest root I know of to advanced rooting skills.
Developing Tai Chi’s trained force
Tai Chi as a martial art is heavily dependent on your ability to instantaneously express the foundation forces of the art, known as ‘Jin’.
There are 8 foundation forces within the art, which produce all the attacking and defensive options you need for effective self defence.
Tai Chi Neigong is specifically designed to not only build all the health benefits outlined above, but also to carefully build your skill and ability in the expression of these tai chi forces.
Through training these forces become deeply bound in your ‘muscle memory’ so that you can use them immediately as required.
The connective tissues of the body are stretched and released in all the major force generated ways, to improve their elastic power generating potential.
All the muscles, tendons and connective tissues are trained to integrate perfectly for the delivery of a wide variety of forces, which come into play in tai chi punches, throws, pushes, restraints and so on.
Extreme explosive power that leverages the full potential of the entire body is the overall objective.
The online course
The online course is split into 6 lessons, each one with 4 exercises.
The lessons have been carefully designed to be easy to follow.
All the main teaching points and details are highlighted so that you will easily learn the material.
You have access to email and WhatsApp support as well as attendance of the monthly online Neigong workshop, where you can receive guidance and ask any questions.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi Spike it’s a donwloadable file for ease and
How long does it take to perform the practice daily?
Hi Michael Between 20 minutes and an hour or so..
Is there a separate, non instructional follow along section on the video where one can follow the teacher in real time? Thank you!
Hi Michael that’s a good idea which I’ll include on a following update. I’ve now started to include an ebook however which bridges the gap.
The Wudang style of tai chi is not only a complete and effective fighting system, as demonstrated by its success in full contact competition against other martial artists, it is also a subtle and sophisticated method to improve and maintain health and strength, both physical and mental. We are fortunate indeed that pioneers like Dan Docherty and Ian Cameron first brought this system to the UK in the seventies and eighties, both having studied in Hong Kong under the legendary Cheng Tin Hung (鄭天熊). I have practiced this style since the nineties, initially with Dan and subsequently with some of his senior students, and have maintained the practice of nei gong throughout this time.
Most recently, it has been a privilege to be taught and corrected by Neil, one of the handful of people (including Dan) that I can say it has been a life-changing experience to meet. Neil has not been content to pass on what he originally learned, but has tirelessly continued to deepen and extend his understanding of the art, returning to the source and studying under Cheng Tin Hung’s son, Cheng Kam Yan (鄭鑑恩). He has tested it in competition against fighters from many styles and shown its effectiveness as a martial art.
He is also interested in the science and physiology behind the style’s many health benefits. Of these I can speak personally – my nei gong practice has been the bedrock of my training, and the effects are palpable in terms of greater strength, stability and inner calm. Anecdotally, my martyrdom to annual doses of heavy flu stopped completely once I started practicing. Although no expert, my professional career was in medical research at the intersection of the nervous and immune systems, and we now understand enough of the relations between them, and the way that stress affects the latter and can be modulated by the former, for this to be plausibly attributed to the relaxing and calming effects of the nei gong exercises. It’s claimed effects on the ability to withstand heavy blows to the body was unintentionally tested by Neil himself, on an occasion when I foolishly walked into his very focused front kick while sparring, which floored me but left me unwinded and able to stand up immediately to continue. I only reflected subsequently that it would have taken me minutes to recover from this prior to practicing nei gong.
Neil’s commitment to teaching and transmitting this art extends to the production of very high quality teaching aids. While it remains true that the best way to learn any martial art is by personal instruction from a qualified teacher, the videos offered by Neil are an invaluable aide memoire, which communicate clearly, reliably and without undue mystique the essence of the techniques. They are beautifully produced, will not mislead, and are a valuable investment that will repay their cost many fold. I recommend them unreservedly, and in addition suggest that anyone interested in learning or developing this martial art seeks personal training with Neil. In a world full of over inflated egos, Neil is a modest and unassuming person of genuine attainments who truly lives the Dao.