Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The mythical yin and yang in tai-chi nei gung

Tai chi is a discipline that offers highly flexible and adaptive objectives, from patients recovering from major illness (like cancer, stroke or heart attack) to athletes taking part in mixed martial art ring combat.  Yet, in all cases, there need to be a balance between yin (陰:feminine) and yang (陽:masculine) elements, defined differently according to different objectives.  In tai-chi, yin and yang are symbolized in two ways, the black and white fish AND the black and white dots within the fish in the tai-chi symbol.  In short, don't forget yin when you're doing yang, and don't forget yang when you're doing Yin.  Simple concept!

Take an example.  In 24 styles tai-chi nei gung, the first style Golden Turtle is the Yang white dot in the 12 Yin style set; whereas the last style Old Man Cultivating Golden Elixir (老叟燒丹) is the Yin dot in the 12 Yang style set.  I did some discussions of the Golden Turtle (or Tortoise) in some previous posts, I shall discuss the latter one briefly below (per a special request!):

In short, the style is divided into three parts.  The first two parts are the two directions of front back dantian roll while the third part is meditation along the central channel (中脈), one can choose the whole channel or meditate the heart chakra.  Needless to say detail explanation is beyond the scope of the blogging media.

This is an advanced style.  Having said that seasoned meditators will likely find it easy (in other words, rather basic) rolling their dantian and doing point or channel meditation even without any external movements, as the 24 styles nei gung required.


  1. Good.
    Interesting, does the book describing the "24 styles tai-chi nei gung" mention (for the 3rd part of Old Man Burning Cinnabar) the mantra which has to be chanted as in the CTH transmition?

  2. Mantra is an interesting thing. TM guys love it, and TM instructors will tailor-made individual mantra for each student and bid him keep it secret and personal (therefore mythical). I don't work with mantra in my practice, and Wang didn't seem to, there was none in his book. My believe is that if a meditator can focus his mind through point or channel meditation, there is really no reason to complicate it with a mantra. But for some, a mantra might be helpful, though doing it mythical or not, is of one's own personal preference...:):)

    Thanks for sharing, as always.

  3. Actually in CTH lineage I met nobody (up to now) doing a channel meditation, for the internal strength the guys just do the nei kung and even an average/ordinary guy (not great figther) after 100 days proper Yin can withstand easily kicks and jumps onto his abdomen from 2 meters high. I try to do a reasearch explaining this.
    Some examples:
    My belief is that CTH produced such a good pure tai chi fighters winning tournements in Lei Tai because the stress was put onto the practical side of the art, the mythical side was given to the "'arm chair'' tai chi masters/instructors.
    Concenring the mantra it is a short one (and the same for everybody) paying tribute to the one who is considered to be the founder of the art. And it goes very well with the last part of the Old Man (no chaneling and chakras). I do not see any miths inside.

  4. Thanks for your sharing. I'm sure different people or lineages do tai-chi or tai-chi nei gung with different objectives. Wang learned from CTH, and he had a different approach, and training people to take punches or do jumping onto abdomen demos didn't seem to be his reason for writing the book (Boxing and Muay Thai I believe will have their own methods in this area, which of course I'm not interested in either). Hope you would share the research you mentioned some day....looking forward to it. Thanks again!

    PS: I pleaded guilty to be one "arm-chair" teacher as per your definition....:):)

    1. Thanks Paul. I think that these demos only show the body conditioning achieved after this particular nei kung practice, necessary for free fights. I am sure and I am already feeling it has much more deeper influence concenring the health of the body and mind.
      In all the cases your writings are a good interdisciplinary brige as well as East-West.
      Thanks again and keep it on.

    2. Thanks for your continual enriching the "beef" here (assuming that there is indeed some in the first place..:):)). Once it is out, it is part of the public domain (for good). I always joke to my friends about this blog: it will be here forever, like the sun and the moon, not until Google decides to close this Blogger thing down (or it being out of business, which is quite unlikely). Look forward to reading more of your valuable comments in future.


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