Nei Kung: Internal Strength

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The 24 Nei Kung techniques are a part of the ’Inner Art’, meaning that they only can – and should – be learned directly from the Tai Chi Master, which is why we will only tell a little about the techniques without showing them here.

Both regarding health and martial aspects, these exercises are in our opinion the most important of our style.

Nei Kung exercises – 3 levels:

These exercises can be done at 3 levels:

  • Basic level, where all the exercises of either the Yin or Yang set takes about 1 hour.
  • Intermediate level for ’Tai Chi Fighters’ takes between 2 and 3 hours per set.
  • While the ’Tai Chi Masters’ level can take as much as 7 hours.

Yin & Yang exercises

There are twelve Yin and twelve Yang exercises. The ideal is to do the twelve Yin and the last of the Yang exercises one day and the twelve Yang and the first Yin exercise the following day and then continue doing either set each day – If you’re ill or feeling weak it is better to focus on the Yin exercises. This will provide you with a daily training routine of the Thirteen Tactics that are all practised in various combinations through the Nei Kung.

Some of the exercises are static and has no direct Self Defence application, but are very effective in strengthening the joints and tendons, as well as ones strength of character. Other exercises are mobile and have one or several Self Defensive applications as well as a therapeutic aspect. Only the third part of the last Yang exercise contains a purely meditative aspect. The therapeutic aspects makes the body more flexible and thus less likely to sustain injury as well as they are useful as a sort of self-administered Physiotherapy to help in the healing of joint-, tendon-, muscle tissue- and bone damage.

100-day Kung

These Exercises are also known as ‘One Hundred Days Kung’. After practising the Yin set on a daily basis, as well as abstaining from sexual activities in the same period, male students can be tested by taking blows to the body and by having someone jumping onto their belly from a height of about 2 meters.

In this type of training we work with the respiratory system, blood circulation, nerve system and the brain in such a way that an imbalance in the training will affect the energies in the body as well as the mind of the practitioner, which is why we strongly recommend, that those who are interested in the Nei Kung / Qigong practise of any type, is very meticulous in their choice of teacher and the type of Nei Kung / Qigong they choose.

Should you experience problems, stop your exercises and contact your teacher first. If the problem is not solved, stop your practise and find another teacher. The 24 Tai Chi Nei Kung exercises are a fantastic form of training if done right. If you some day are forced to choose, then we recommend doing these exercises over the Hand Form. That is how important they are.

Each of the exercises can be done at 3 levels: beginners, advanced and Master. It can take anywhere from 50 minutes to 7 hours to do the 12 exercises. Instructor Michael Andersen from the Aarhus Club has put out a demo of his own test after 100 days of Nei Kung practise on Youtube. You can see it here:

(Warning: you cannot do this demonstration without skilled instruction, guidance and training – it is potentially lethal)

Nei Kung is only for ‘Inside the Door’ students

To become an ‘Inside the Door’ student, one must as a minimum have practised in the PTCC DK for a year, or have completed the Short Hand Form (round). One becomes an ‘Inside the Door’ student at the ‘Bai Shi’, which is a ceremony where the students show their respect to the founder of Tai Chi Chuan, Chang San-feng, ones Master and the Style. After the ceremony one is initiated to the first 4 Nei Kung exercises. This is not a religious ceremony – we worship no one, but show our respect to those who came before us!

Nei Kung & the black T-shirts

As a symbol of having passed the ‘Bai Chi’ and having become an ‘Inside the Door’ student, one is now allowed to wear the black t-shirts of PTCC DK.

No Chuan (the Martial aspect) without Kung (Strength)

It is said, “to practise Chuan without practising Kung, even if done until one is old, will still be in vain”. In other words, some types of Martial Nei/Qi Kung/Gong strength practise are necessary if we wish to be able to fight. This claim is truth for both Internal Martial Arts as well as External Martial Arts. Tai Chi Chuan, perhaps exclusively, combines martial, meditative, therapeutic, religious and philosophical qualities. One should then expect that Tai Chi Kung contain these qualities. Unfortunately, many of the systems that are taught or demonstrated under the title ‘Tai Chi Qi Gong / Tai Chi Nei Kung’ completely lacks the Martial qualities even though they have the preposition. Thus every type of Kung should be analyzed and tested by experience, before being approved to meet our prepositions.

It is clear that when Yang Lu-chan taught Tai Chi Chuan to the Imperial Guard, he had some effective Kung training methods. Even after the sudden raise in popularity of Tai Chi Chuan, after the fall of the Ching Dynasty, it looked like the members of the famous Tai Chi families either wouldn’t – or couldn’t – pass on effective Kung training methods to their students.