Tien Shan Chi Kung

Internal and External Chi Kung ~ Nei Kung versus Chi Kung

Arriving at the Formless.

Tien Shan Chi Kung is an internal Chi Kung or a Nei Kung.  Most of the types of Chi kung that people in this country are familiar with are the more common type of Chi Kung which are called "external Chi Kung".

Not too many decades ago the term Chi Kung was rarely used, the more common term was Nei Kung. Nei means inner, so Nei Kung is a more internal of the internal arts. The different types of Chi kung for health along with Tai Chi and the other internal martial arts are all different types of internal work, it's just that some are more internal than others. There is a great variety of blends from soft to drunken monkey to military like ridgidity. The harder or more external styles tend to be more like common physical exercise, while the internal styles, which can still be plenty of exercise, are more energy based and are more soft, slow, and flowing. For the sake of this article I will call Internal Chi Kung Nei Kung, and the more common external Chi Kung will be called Chi Kung.


A Person Evolving from the Maelstrom of Life, NASA photo

Chi kung practices are small sets of exercises that come from vast Nei Kung systems. Nei Kung moves from the inside out, Chi Kung moves from the outside in. Nei Kung focuses on developing the core energy that travels through the center of the body and from there opening and energizing the outer energy channels while Chi Kung works the more superficial energy lines. In this.

In Chi Kung the practitioner works one technique at a time. For example one channel is energized and then the practitioner works on another, commonly to the exclusion of some others that could be just as important to your health. Nei Kung systems, on the other hand, seek to work all the energy flows at the same time in order combine all of the chi flows in the body. The person then functions in the manner of a huge cell, with all their chi pulsing in unison.

Of course Nei Kung is learned one piece at a time but it is practiced in a way that many of the learned pieces are performed at the same time, like overlapping layers. This has a synergistic effect. In Tien Shan system we save a great deal of time because it concentrates the practice so that it usually works on strength, flexibility, energy cultivation, and meditation, all at the same time, which is another beautiful efficiency, and is essential for making fast progress. Eventually the practitioner's energy permeates to the center of the bone marrow and the spine. For this reason Nei Kung is considered superior for people who want to have the seemingly conflicting goals of both superior health and great physical prowess.


Most Chinese medical Chi Kung systems use physical breath to activate the chi. Similarly, most Buddhist Chi Kung practices are based on awareness of physical breath. In Nei Kung, however, movement and postures are used to move chi without the assistance of breath. The mind remains purely aware of the internal energy. In Nei Kung chi movement is independent of the breath, regardless of how you are breathing.

A Nei Kung expert will normally know all Chi Kung methods but a Chi Kung expert will know only a small percentage of all Nei Kung methods. Most types of Chi Kung consist of forms which contain quite a limited number of techniques. I prefer to teach Tien Shan Chi Kung the way my teacher taught me, as an entire Nei Kung system, the same way my teacher taught me, because it is the true way and it is so rare. It takes many years to learn all of the techniques and variations, and many more to continue to discover the treasures contained therein. There are so many variations and methods that it is said of Nei Kung systems that they contain ten thousand techniques. The ultimate goal is to go beyonds forms and arrive at the formless, wherein the practitioner achieves the inner essence of the practice and leaves the external scaffolding behind. This aspect, of arriving at the formless, is a fundamental principle of Taoist philosophy. Tai Chi Chuan, at it's higher levels, also has the goal of achieving formlessness, but as it says in the Tai Chi Classics, one must first study the forms in order to eventually arrive at formlessness.


For self healing: Chi kung usually uses specific techniques for specific problems while Nei Kung energizes the whole system and this overall increase and improvement leads to the eventual resolution of particular problems. Therefore Chi Kung can be a superior practice for healing many diseases and dysfunctions because these are often caused by an imbalance in only one part of the system and only a small number of chi flows need to be learned and practiced to solve the problem.

Nei Kung, on the other hand, is for supercharging your health and so will ultimately lead to much superior health and longevity.

In the final analysis, Tien Shan Chi Kung is all about cultivating chi power. It is power oriented and it is fast. Before one can cultivate a lot of good chi they must first heal themselves and Tien Shan Chi Kung is amazingly fast and efficient at that as well.


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