Nei Jing

Nei Jing

The term Nei Jing (Traditional Chinese:內勁) or Nei Gong (Traditional Chinese: 內功) is a salient concept in traditional Chinese kung fu (martial arts). It purports to be the key to unlock the secrets of advanced kung fu in many classic Chinese martial arts training scripts according to Wu Tunan, the expert practitioner of Tai Ji Quan [To put in Master Ng Tunan’s words in Chinese,「識得內功休再問,貫徹拳經千萬篇」。吳圖南。《太極拳之研究:吳圖南太極功/ 吳圖南講授 ; 馬有清編著》。香港:商務印書館,2004。頁11 Wu Tunan, Tai Ji Quan Zhi Yan Jiu: Wu Tunan Tai Ji Gong/ Wu Tunan Jiang Shou; Ma Youqing Bian Zhu, Hong Kong: The Commercial Press (H.K.) Ltd, 2004, page 11] .


The Forces of ‘Li’ and ‘Nei Jing’

The central difference between the elemental and advanced level of kung fu does not lie in its form per se, but rather on the nature of the force employed [陳靖。《拳道要略》。香港:陳靖,修訂版:2005年12月。頁20至38。 Chen Jing,Quan dao yao lue (Principles of Quan Dao), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, pp. 20-38] . There are two fundamentally different kinds of forces in traditional Chinese kung fu. The external mechanical force is called ‘Li’ (Traditional Chinese: 力) which is commonly observed at an elementary level of kung fu. In contrast, the internal force is called ‘Nei Jing’ (Traditional Chinese:內勁 ) or Nei Gong (Traditional Chinese: 內功) , which is the source of power in advanced kung fu. Thus, proficiency in martial arts is not determined by the level of difficulty or complexity of forms or styles, but instead depends on the nature of the force employed.


The degree of ‘Li’ force one can employ in kung fu depends on several variables such as resilience of muscles, strength of bones, speed and timing of attack and so on. An effective way to enhance the ‘Li’ force is to exercise one’s muscles and bones by applying increasing pressure on them [陳靖。《拳道中等學 : 太極拳鍊與悟》。香港:陳靖,第三版:2004年。頁89。 Chen Jing, Quan dao zhong deng xue: Tai ji quan lian yu wu (Insights in Practice on TaiJi), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, page 89 ] . The stronger one’s muscles and bones become, the more powerful and skilful the level of kung fu is [陳靖。《拳道要略》。香港:陳靖,修訂版:2005年12月。頁21至24。 Chen Jing,Quan dao yao lue (Principles of Quan Dao), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, pp. 21-24] .


On the other hand, the level of the ‘Nei Jing’ force depends on the extent one can exercise one’s will power to release an inner energy called ‘Qi’. Within the framework of Chinese martial arts, every person is believed to possess the inborn energy of ‘Qi’. Martial artists can harness the force of ‘Qi’ so that it is strong enough to be applied in combat. When ‘Qi’ is being directed by one’s will, it is called ‘Nei Jing’ [陳靖。《拳道中等學 : 太極拳鍊與悟》。香港:陳靖,第三版:2004年。頁38至41。 Chen Jing, Quan dao zhong deng xue: Tai ji quan lian yu wu (Insights in Practice on TaiJi), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, pp 38-41] .


The ‘Li’ force is observable when it is employed. At the point of attack, one must tighten up one’s muscles to unite one’s strength and create an explosive power. In this process, the state of one’s muscles changes from soft and loose to tight and tense. The effectiveness of ‘Li’ follows the principle of leverage. In the combat, the point of contact is the point of attack. The combatant who can make better use of this pivot point has a greater chance to defeat his or her opponent. [陳靖。《拳道中等學 : 太極拳鍊與悟》。香港:陳靖,第三版:2004年。頁89。 Chen Jing, Quan dao zhong deng xue: Tai ji quan lian yu wu (Insights in Practice on TaiJi), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, page 89]


Unlike the ‘Li’ force, ‘Nei Jing’ is invisible and hence unobservable when employed. The pivot point is not necessary in the combat. At the point of attack, one must ‘song’ [As described below.] himself to generate all ‘Nei Jing’ energy one possesses and direct this energy stream through one’s contact point with an opponent. [陳靖。《鑿琢順軌太極拳論評說. 1, 王宗岳太極拳論》。香港:陳靖,2002。頁38,79至82。 Chen Jing, Zuo zhuo shun gui tai ji quan lun ping shuo zhi yi.1, Wang Zong Yue Tai ji quan lun (Commentary on Wang Zong Yue¡¦s Tai Chi Theory), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2002, page 38 and pp. 79-82] The contact point only represents the gateway to conduct ‘Nei Jing’ energy at the point of attack. [陳靖。《拳道要略》。香港:陳靖,修訂版:2005年12月。頁25至38。 Chen Jing,Quan dao yao lue (Principles of Quan Dao), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2005, pp. 25-38]


The kung fu component of ‘Li’ force is limited by one’s physical condition. When one passes one’s prime age, one’s kung fu ability will pass the optimum level, too. The degree of kung fu will decline when muscles and bones are not as strong as they used to be. On the other hand, the kung fu aspect of‘Nei Jing’ continues to grow as long as one lives. ‘Nei Jing’ energy becomes stronger despite the aging process [陳靖。《拳道要略》。香港:陳靖,修訂版:2005年12月。頁22,33至34。 Chen Jing,Quan dao yao lue (Principles of Quan Dao), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2005, page 22 and pp. 33-34] .


The way to nurture the force of ‘Nei Jing’

Within martial arts, the key to unlock and nurture stronger inner energy of ‘Nei Jing’ is through practising ‘song’ (Traditional Chinese: 鬆 ). The term ‘song’ can function as a verb which means to keep one’s mind and body loose resilient and expanding like the consistency of cotton or clouds or relaxed yet concentrated like the sharp alertness of cats immediately before attack [ To put in Master Ng Tunan’s words in Chinese,「鬆者,蓬鬆也;寛而不緊也;輕鬆也;放開也;輕鬆暢快也;不堅凝也。含有小孔以容其他物質之特性也」。吳圖南。《太極拳之研究:吳圖南太極功/ 吳圖南講授 ; 馬有清編著》。香港:商務印書館,2004。頁12。 Wu Tunan, Tai Ji Quan Zhi Yan Jiu: Wu Tunan Tai Ji Gong/ Wu Tunan Jiang Shou; Ma Youqing Bian Zhu, Hong Kong: The Commercial Press (H.K.) Ltd, 2004, page 12] . The term can also be used as an adjective which has the same meaning as described above. The greater the extent one can achieve ‘song’ and minize the use of ‘Li’, the greater the release of ‘Nei Jing’ force [陳靖。《拳道中等學 : 太極拳鍊與悟》。香港:陳靖,第三版:2004年。頁43至54,頁89 Chen Jing, Quan dao zhong deng xue: Tai ji quan lian yu wu (Insights in Practice on TaiJi), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, pp. 43-54 and page 89] [陳靖。《鑿琢順軌太極拳論評說. 1, 王宗岳太極拳論》。香港:陳靖,2002。頁50至56 Chen Jing, Zuo zhuo shun gui tai ji quan lun ping shuo zhi yi.1, Wang Zong Yue Tai ji quan lun (Commentary on Wang Zong Yuei’s Tai Ji Theory), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2002, pp.50-56] .


Practising ‘song’ is part of kung fu training process. It occurs when one keeps reminding oneself to ‘song’ thoroughly and refrain from the ‘Li’ force because the energy of ‘Nei Jing’ will be locked and blocked whenever the force ‘Li’ is applied. So, ‘Nei Jing’ and ‘Li’ are said to be mutually exclusive [陳靖。《拳道中等學 : 太極拳鍊與悟》。香港:陳靖,第三版:2004年。頁43至54,頁89。 Chen Jing, Quan dao zhong deng xue: Tai ji quan lian yu wu (Insights in Practice on TaiJi), Hong Kong: Chen Jing, 2004, pp. 43-54 and page 89] .


Therefore, the Tai Ji Quan master Yang Chengfu used the concept of‘song’ as a benchmark in his daily teaching. It was his daily routine to keep reminding his disciples to ‘song’ thoroughly more than 10 times when he inspected them [In Chinese, 「要鬆,要鬆,要鬆凈。要全身鬆開。」「不鬆,不鬆,不鬆就是挨打的架子。」, 鄭曼青。《鄭子太極拳十三篇》。台北:時中拳社,1950年。頁45。 Zheng, Manqing. Zheng zi tai ji quan shi san pian, [Taibei] : Shi zhong quan she, Min 39 [1950] , page 45] .


External links

* [http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJaaVm7rKqE Taiji master Wang Yongquan’s demonstration]
* [http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=0fIucL-Q4vo&NR=1 Taiji master Ma Yueliang’s demonstration]


References


ee also

*Tai Chi Chuan



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