To those uninitiated with the Internal Chinese Martial Arts or Neigong, a brief introduction would be useful.
Neigong means internal cultivation; Westerners are more familiar with the word “Qigong” – breath cultivation. Although it might not specifically imply martial training, those in the martial arts world will be aware that the word “neigong” is synonymous with health cultivation and conditioning for martial training.
Chinese Internal arts date back a long time. If we take the understanding of “hard” and “soft” as a fundamental of the internal arts, then it can go back to the Spring and Summer Annals of Wu and Yue (5th century BC).
The 5th century BC also saw the emergence of Taoism in China and Buddhism in India. A momentous century indeed!
Chinese Neigong with its deep roots in Taoism and Buddhism helps us to embrace our physicality and spirituality through love, kindness, compassion and benevolence in our interaction with the Universe. They give us a code of conduct, to live life with, to take positive control of our own lives. Unlike certain religions that seems to control, usually through fear, guilt, dissatisfaction and the promise of rewards,
Taoism talks about “humanity, heaven and earth”. How we connect with our own universe. How we go about cultivating of our inner smile, to be light, lovingly detached and always having gratitude in our interaction with the world. Intention with no expectations……do we actually need to understand more than that??!
These are operation systems, tools, vehicles for us to apply in our journey through life. They help to form that primary relationship with ourselves; after all, if we haven’t got a good relationship and understanding with ourselves and our own body, how do we expect to form good relationship and understanding with any other being?
A lot of people learn Taiji, but do not really understand what it means; let along the meaning of Wuji.
Wuji translates as “no ultimate” and Taiji as “supreme ultimate”
To a Westerner, Wuji does not have much meaning, as some may understand it as “nothingness”. In an external materialistic world that we live in,
“nothing “doesn’t sound too good, but if you change the word from ultimate to limits then the meaning changes. Wu Chi becomes Potential, Stillness, and Emptiness with presence, being in the moment without inner chatter.
Taiji becomes the limits of our journey… The max! Possibilities!
Wuji, Taiji, potential and possibilities. Every moment of our lives is Wuji, Taiji, potential and possibilities. So Taiji is not just about old folks moving slowly in silk pyjamas. It’s not about relaxing and switching off…….it is about switching on and understanding. Frequently people come along and tell me that they want to do “Tai Chi” and “Yoga”, and that they want to be “healthier”. Sadly, time and time again, the said people could never tell me what “Tai Ch” or “Yoga” mean, or even what “health” is.
Internal Martial training is not about violence and aggression. It is about endurance, character building, cultivating the fighting spirit without the physical fight, understanding boundaries, respect and self-respect, compassion and strategies and of course, health and internal balance/harmony.
More than ever we need the above qualities in our lives. For those of us who are therapist healers, not only do we need to manifest these qualities in ourselves, we also need to share them with our patients and students.
At Shining Tree, we practise a variety of Neigong systems, Come and join us.
James Wong Lic.Ac.