Nei Kung

Nei Kung means internal work. Ten postures and exercises are specifically designed to build the strength and flexibility needed for Tai Chi. Master Gohring uses the Nei Kung set to help beginning Tai Chi students get up to speed in their physical conditioning. More advanced students benefit from regular practice as well.

The primary sourcebook for CK Chu's Nei Kung system

The primary source book for study of Nei Kung.

Nei Kung was created by Grandmaster CK Chu (1937-2013) as part of his Eternal Spring system for health, self-defense and meditation. His book (above) describes the ten postures in detail with excellent illustrations. Master Gohring offers video demonstration and instruction of all the postures.

Then ten postures and video links are:

  1. Embracing Horse
  2. Ride the Wild Horse (includes general discussion of Nei Kung by Master Gohring)
  3. Playing Guitar
  4. The Compass
  5. Double Dragons Leap from Sea
  6. Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon
  7. Ride the Tiger (Additional demo)
  8. Phoenix Spreads Wings
  9. Hit the Tiger (On the cover of CK Chu’s book above!)
  10. Owl Turns His Head

The eight important points for Nei Kung are listed below. The ten postures and eight important points are on both the first and second degree black sash tests. Repetitions and durations of postures for beginning, intermediate and advanced students can be found in the book. For the black sash test, we are required to hold Embracing Horse for 20 minutes.

  1. Head suspended
  2. Toes in, knees out, pelvis tucked under
  3. Chest concave
  4. Body rounded
  5. Shoulders and elbows down
  6. Waist loose
  7. Kua (hip joints) loose
  8. Deep breathing

Additional video can be found on Master Gohring’s YouTube Channel.

Advertisements

Yang Applications

For the black sash, both first and second degree, we are tested on self-defense applications of the Yang 108. The list and applications may vary slightly from year to year. This is the list for 2014 (as far as I know! I may be in for a surprise).

apps

  1. Ward-off right/left: RIGHT punch. Pivot on right heel to get out of the way of the blow while blocking with the right arm. This is a yielding ward-off. Then step into the attacker with a left blocking blow to the body. [Note: weight on left leg; adjust right foot position as needed.]
  2. Grasp the bird’s tail: RIGHT punch followed by left, then by two-handed rush. Step in to block with the right arm while the left hand checks the elbow. Block left punch with left and pull the attacker past you. Press back on the left shoulder. [Note: be prepared to step back with the left foot.] The attacker comes straight on, arms outstretched. Block the arms apart from inside and push the attacker away. [Note: let the ugi come in close enough to get a good push with the legs.]
  3. Single whip: LEFT punch. Deflect and send the attacker past you by shifting to the left foot, and grabbing the left wrist with the left hand. Transfer the wrist to the right hand and shift back to the right (whipping the ugi around). Step into a chop to the neck with the left hand. [Note: ugi should protect the neck, as this can easily be a very sharp blow.]
  4. Lift hands: RIGHT punch. Block with the right, check the elbow down with the left and strike the chin with the right hand while shifting some weight onto the right heel. [Note: start with weight on the left foot; right foot makes the kick stand.]
  5. White crane: RIGHT punch and kick. Block the kick down with the left hand, blosk the punch up with the right.
  6. Brush knee push: BOTH sides. Block a right punch with the left hand and/or left punch with the right hand. Step forward on the side of a block and push the attacker back with the other hand. [Note: step in with the block on the same side as the punch; i.e., block a left with the right, right with left to expose the chest.]
  7. Playing guitar: RIGHT punch. Step back on the right foot, out of reach. Strike the elbow with the left and the forearm with the right while shifting forward onto left heel. [Note: be prepared to step back more or less, depending on the reach of the punch. Strike above the elbow when sparring to avoid injuring the ugi’s elbow.]
  8. Step forward, deflect etc: RIGHT punch. Block a punch with the right arm while checking the shoulder with the left, step in and punch to the body. [Note: weight on left, T-step onto right. Step left into punch.]
  9. Embrace tiger return to mountain: RIGHT kick. A right kick is aimed at the body from behind right. The right arm catches the leg and holds it up until the ugi can be pushed away with the left.
  10. Fist under elbow: LEFT punch. Block the punch with the left, grab and pull the left wrist. Strike with beak/wrist in the back of the head (middle of back when sparring). Simultaneously hammer punch with the right fist and stomp behind the left knee to take the ugi down. Pull the left wrist up with the left hand and force the shoulder down with the right, transferring the weight to the right foot. Lean forward onto the left heel to complete the arm bar. [Note: take a little time to get all the component moves in place. Start with weight on the right foot. After stomping, step inside with the right. Don’t forget to step forward onto the heel of the left foot when cranking the arm.]
  11. Repulse monkeys: BOTH sides. Catch a left-leading punch with the left, twist and pull up while turning to the left and forcing the shoulder down with the right. Catch a right punch with the right, turn to the right, twist and push down with the left. [Note: be sure to sink rather than bending over.]
  12. Slant flying: LEFT punch. Block with the left, grab the left wrist with the left hand and pull down while stepping right behind the attacker’s left foot. From under the ugi’s left shoulder, lift the right arm to throw the ugi over your back. [Note: step well in with the right to get leverage. Start with weight in the left.]
  13. Needle at sea bottom: RIGHT handed grab on the right wrist. Trap the ugi’s hand with the left. Turn the right palm to your face, then to his face and down. [Note: This works best if the movement with the right hand is circular (clockwise) and ends up pointing down.]
  14. Fan through back: LEFT punch. Block the punch with the right hand and step into a blow with the heel of the hand into the chin or face. This movement follows Needle at Sea Bottom, so the starting position is somewhat bent over. [Note: ugi should protect the face.]
  15. Cloud hands: BOTH sides. Block a right punch with the right arm, stepping left and checking the elbow with the left hand. Block a left punch with the left arm, closing with the right foot. Yield (lu) when warding off the right; turn into the left punch with peng.
  16. High pat on horse: RIGHT punch. Hook the punch aside with the left and chop into the neck with the right. [Note: start with weight on the right and don’t forget the cat stance with the left.]
  17. Heel kick: LEFT punch. Block the punch with the left hand and push the ugi with the heel. [Note: start with weight on the left foot and place the right at optimum distance before starting the kick. May hold on briefly with the blocking arm for balance.]
  18. Four corners: BOTH sides. Block with the right against a right punch from behind; block with the left against a left punch from in front. One hand blocks, the other pushes (or strikes under the chin).
  19. Snake creeps down/Golden rooster: RIGHT punch deep. Block down and out with the left and circle back up to the ugi’s right shoulder. With the ugi’s right arm pinned, bring the right elbow down on the ugi’s head while simultaneously kneeing him with the right leg.
  20. Step back ride the tiger: RIGHT kick. Crossed wrists strike down to deflect and catch the kick. Right chop to the neck. [Note: start with weight on the left, step back with the right. Go to left cat stance with the chop. Ugi should protect the neck.]
  21. Sweep the lotus: RIGHT punch. Block with the right hand and transfer to left while pivoting on the right heel heel. Step all the way around and plant the left foot. Coming out of the full turn, contact the ugi with the right hand while crescent-kicking in the back (of the head in theory; middle of the back in practice). [Note: weight is on the right foot to start, as if from Ride the Tiger, but shift onto the left foot with the block. Be careful about the distance of the step back with the left.]

Notes for Ugi: Protect for Single Whip, Lift Hands, Fan Through Back, High Pat, and Ride the Tiger (all blows to the neck or face). Be prepared to:

  1. Ward-off R/L: Right punch
  2. Grasp the bird’s tail: Right then left punch, then rush
  3. Single whip: Left punch
  4. Lift hands: Right punch
  5. White crane: Right punch/kick
  6. Brush knee push: BOTH sides
  7. Playing guitar: Right punch
  8. Step forward etc: Right punch
  9. Embrace tiger: Right kick
  10. Fist under elbow: Left punch
  11. Repulse monkeys: BOTH sides
  12. Slant Flying: Left punch
  13. Needle at sea bottom: Grab R w/ R
  14. Fan thru back: Left punch
  15. Cloud hands: BOTH sides
  16. High Pat: Right punch
  17. Heel kick: Left punch
  18. Four corners: Both sides (R behind)
  19. Snake creeps: Deep right punch
  20. Ride the tiger: Right kick
  21. Sweep the lotus: Right punch

Chen 38 Breathing (1)

For the second degree test, we are expected to pace the Chen 38 so it takes no less than 12 minutes. The key to meeting this requirement is correct breathing. The untethered mind may race ahead under test conditions, but the heart and lungs will not.

breathing

The movements of this form are complicated; a single movement may have as many as a dozen components. Correct pacing and rhythm depends on correctly placed inhales and exhales.

Nearly every move involves more than one full breath (inhale and exhale) plus at least one settle and/or fajin. Settles are complete exhales with full relaxation and pause. Fajin is an explosive movement with an outburst of air. Fajin usually follows an extended inhale, and may be followed by an extended exhale and settle.

Qishi: Lift knee (in); step left and settle (ex).

Jin Gang Dao Dui: One of the most complex movements in the form, the Buddha Stamp occurs five times, and each one is somewhat different from all others except in the signature stamp itself. The opener is the most complicated, with ten full breaths (in, ex) leading up to fajin (the stamp) and a final exhale and settle.

  1. Lift arms (in); lower arms (ex).
  2. Turn right (in); return (ex).
  3. Right over left (in); sink down (ex).
  4. Lift up (in); settle (ex).
  5. Reach back left (in); block right (ex).
  6. Pull in (in); push (ex).
  7. Turn left (in); kick/step (continue); settle (ex).
  8. Reach back (in); face front (continue in); settle (ex).
  9. Flick, brush (in); hold fist (ex).
  10. Raise fist (in); fajin (pound fist) and settle (ex).

Lan Zha Yi: Five full breaths.

  1. Form an X (in); lower hands and settle (ex).
  2. Lift left knee/step left (in); settle (ex).
  3. Lift wrist (in); shift left (continue in); lift knee (quick in); step right/settle (ex).
  4. Circle hands up and right (in); press to left (ex).
  5. Open arms (in); settle (ex).

Liu Feng Si Bi: Three breaths and settle.

  1. Press R (in); press down (ex).
  2. Block up (in); press down (ex).
  3. Push (in); settle (ex).

Dan Bian: This is the first of five single whips in the form, all identical, with four full breaths.

  1. Left reach (in); right reach (continue in); press across body (ex).
  2. Form beak (in); lift left knee and step (continue in); settle (ex).
  3. Turn to left (in); reach right (ex).
  4. Open arms (in); settle (ex).

Jin Gang Dao Dui (2): Much simpler: just three full breaths.

  1. Block down to left (in); black across to right (ex).
  2. Reach (in); face front (continue in); settle (ex).
  3. Flick, brush (in); hold fist (ex).
  4. Lift fist (in); fajin (pound fist) and settle (ex).

Bai He Liang Chi: Five breaths.

  1. Circle hands to form X (in); settle (ex).
  2. Lift knee/step back (in); settle (ex).
  3. Lift wrist (in); shift back (ex).
  4. Step in (in); step back (ex).
  5. Reach out and up (in); settle (ex).

 Xie Xing: Four breaths.

  1. Turn left (in); turn right (ex).
  2. Qin na (in); push (ex).
  3. Circle arms/lift knee (in); Step (continue in); settle (ex).
  4. Brush knee (in); push with right (continue in); open arms (ex).

Lou Xi Ao Bu: Four breaths.

  1. Circle/press hands (in); hands down to left (ex).
  2. Push up (in); load up (continue in); press forward (ex).
  3. Lift knee (in); step and load (continue in); push (ex).
  4. Circle arm/step up (in); Qin na (ex).

Yan Shou Gong Quan: Two breaths.

  1. Lift knee (in); step left (ex).
  2. Load punch (in); fajin (ex).

Jin Gang Dao Dui (3): Three breaths.

  1. Lift fist (in); touch fists (ex).
  2. Pull fists back (in); sweep right leg (continue in); rest fist (ex).
  3. Raise fist (in); fajin (pound fist) and settle (ex).

Continued: Chen 38 Breathing (2)

Yang Saber

The Chinese saber, or Dao, is a single-edged long knife used for chopping and slashing. It is the weapon of the infantry, the foot soldier. For the Yang saber form, we use a saber with a rigid blade (for Chen saber, we use a flexible blade).

The form we learn at Master Gohring’s school is not the most common version; it’s a little faster, more martial and more dramatic than most other Yang saber forms I find on the Web.

Saber is one of the three forms required for the first degree black sash, so of course it will be part of the second degree test as well. The full playlist of demonstration and instructional videos can be found here:

The list of the movements below is somewhat sketchy. While some of the names seem to be real Chinese names, others are improvised descriptions. Also, the original form has been modified to accommodate space and timing issues.

  • Step Up Seven Stars Left
  • Step Up Seven Stars Right
  • White Crane Spreads Wings
  • Turn Around Hidden Knife
  • White Crane Stands on One Leg
  • Diagonal Push-Knife
  • Lift Knife Left
  • Lift Knife Right
  • Straightforward Push-Knife
  • Fair Lady Works the Shuttle
  • Center Lift
  • Middle Pull
  • Horizontal Push-Knife
  • Straightforward Push-Knife
  • Turn Around Over the Head Hidden Knife
  • Slice Up Left
  • Slice Down Right
  • Straightforward Push-Knife
  • Turn Around Over the Head Hidden Knife
  • Slice Up
  • Slice Down
  • Slice Up
  • Golden Rooster Stands on Left Leg
  • Double Jump Kick Hit the Tiger Form
  • Turn Around White Crane Spreads Wings
  • Heel Kick
  • White Crane Spreads Wings
  • Toe Kick
  • Brush Knee Push
  • Straightforward Push-Knife
  • Turn Around Over the Head Hidden Knife
  • Push Boat with Current (L, R, L)
  • Turn Around Hidden Knife
  • Slice Up
  • Slice Down
  • Slice Up
  • Heel Kick Jump Step
  • Use Strength to Axe Mountain
  • Embrace Knife Stab and Kick
  • Flip Over Change Step
  • Use Strength to Axe Mountain
  • Close Form

I haven’t found any one dominant Yang saber form. Here’s one interesting alternative, not too unlike ours:

The Yang 108

The Yang 108 is the traditional Yang-style empty-hand long form and the major component of our first degree black sash curriculum for Tai Chi at Master Gohring’s Tai Chi and Kung Fu. The form originated with Yang Luchan and was widely promulgated by his grandson, Yang Chengfu, in the first half of the 20th century.

Here’s a cool video–not exactly a video; rather a succession of stills of Yang Cheng Fu performing the 108 moves:

You can see that the names of the movements are provided in Chinese and German. I’d like to study the stills and the Chinese names to see how this compares to the list I have arrived at. And I wonder if I can find a list of the names from Yang Cheng Fu himself? I wonder what the source for this video was?

The Yang family today lists 103 moves in basically the same form; here’s the Yang Family long form, which does not include a shoulder strike after Lift Hands. There are other variants of this form, some of which differ only in how the moves are counted, others making a difference in how the form is actually done. All this makes me appreciate the modern Chinese campaign to standardize.

Quibbling over the most authentic way to count the moves, or what exactly to call them, doesn’t seem very important to the practice of Tai Chi, but I am hung up on it anyway! My list below is based on the names mostly as we learn them at Master Gohring’s (but not exactly) and the Chinese as best I can gather from sources such as this list of the movements, which is close to ours but differs in a few details.

  1. Preparing Form – Yubei Shi
  2. Commencement – Qishi
  3. Ward-off Left – Zuo Peng
  4. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  5. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  6. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  7. Strike with Shoulder – You Kao
  8. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  9. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  10. Playing the Lute – Shou Hui Pipa
  11. Left Brush Knee Push – Zuo Lou Xi Au Bu
  12. Right Brush Knee Push – You Lou Xi Au Bu
  13. Left Brush Knee Push – Zuo Lou Xi Au Bu
  14. Playing the Lute – Shou Hui Pipa
  15. Left Brush Knee Push – Zuo Lou Xi Au Bu
  16. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  17. Withdraw and Push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  18. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
    [Second section:]
  19. Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain – Bao Hu Gui Shan
  20. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  21. Diagonal Single Whip – Xie Dan Bien
  22. Fist Under Elbow – Zhou Di Chui
  23. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  24. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  25. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  26. Slant Flying – Xie Fei Shi
  27. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  28. Strike with Shoulder – You Kao
  29. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  30. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Ao Bu
  31. Needle at Sea Bottom – Hai Di Zhen
  32. Fan Through Back – Shan Tong Bei
  33. Turn and Strike with Backfist – Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui
  34. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  35. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  36. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  37. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  38. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  39. High Pat on Horse – Gao Tan Ma
  40. Separate Right Foot – You Fen Jiao
  41. Separate Left Foot – Zuo Fen Jiao
  42. Turn and Strike with Heel Left – Zhuan Shen Zuo Deng Jiao
  43. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  44. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  45. Step Up and Punch Down – Jin Bu Zai Chui
  46. Turn and Strike with Backfist – Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui
  47. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  48. Strike with Heel Right – You Deng Jiao
  49. Hit the Tiger Left – Zuo Da Hu Shi
  50. Hit the Tiger Right – You Da Hu Shi
  51. Strike with Heel Right – You Deng Jiao
  52. Box the Tiger’s Ears – Shuang Feng Guan Er
  53. Strike with Heel Left – Zuo Deng Jiao
  54. Turn and Strike with Heel Right – Zhuan Shen You Deng Jiao
  55. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  56. Withdraw and push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  57. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
    [Third secton:]
  58. Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain – Bao Hu Gui Shan
  59. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  60. Diagonal Single Whip – Xie Dan Bian
  61. Part the Wild Horse-s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  62. Part the Wild Horse-s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  63. Part the Wild Horse-s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  64. Ward-off Left – Zuo Peng
  65. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  66. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  67. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  68. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  69. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  70. Ward off Left – Zuo Peng
  71. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  72. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  73. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  74. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  75. Snake Creeps Down – Xia Shi
  76. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg – Jin Ji Du Li
  77. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg – Jin Ji Du Li
  78. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  79. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  80. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  81. Slant Flying – Xie Fei Shi
  82. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  83. Strike with Shoulder – You Kao
  84. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  85. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  86. Needle at Sea Bottom – Hai Di Zhen
  87. Fan Through Back – Shan Tong Bei
  88. Turn and White Snake Spits Out His Tongue – Zhuan Shen Bai She Tu Xin
  89. Step Forward, Block, Parry, Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  90. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  91. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  92. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  93. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  94. High Pat on Horse – Gao Tan Ma
  95. Pierce Palm – Chuan Zhang
  96. Cross Form Kick – Shi Zi Tui (?)
  97. Step Forward and Punch to Groin – Jin Bu Zhi Dang Chui
  98. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  99. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  100. Snake Creeps Down – Xia Shi
  101. Step Up Seven Stars – Shang Bu Qi Xing
  102. Step Back and Ride the Tiger – Tui Bu Kua Hu
  103. Turn and Sweep the Lotus – Zhuan Shen Bai Lian
  104. Bend Bow Shoot Tiger – Wan Gong She Hu
  105. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan hui
  106. Withdraw and Push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  107. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
  108. Close Form – Shou Shi

Ha! I just typed that from memory! I’ll have to double-check.

I’ll post more (maybe much more) on this form, including links to video sources and applications. I love all the new material I’ve learned since I got my black sash, but this form remains my favorite and (as Master Gohring says) my core discipline.

Flute Form

This short, energetic form is required for the first degree black sash. Master Gohring’s YouTube play list includes a full walk-through (about two minutes), a full-speed demo (about half a minute), and several more clips of instruction and demonstration. It’s almost impossible to learn a form entirely from video (for me anyway), but you can certainly polish and/or resurrect your form with these video tools.

The full-speed demo above is faster than most of us can manage. For me, this form takes about one minute. The movements don’t have names, so these are just my notes on the sequence:

  1. Strike left, left hand only
  2. Hit left with two-hands on
  3. Pull in and kick right
  4. Turn left, hit/stamp down
  5. Shove, Row
  6. Pivot left and right, hitting over, over, under under
  7. Row, Shove
  8. Helicopter (360 turn with ball-change to hit)
  9. Block up (skip), hit under arm
  10. Row, shove
  11. Turn 180/hit
  12. Block up (skip), hit under arm
  13. Row, shove
  14. Turn 180/hit
  15. Step right/hit back
  16. Turn 180/hit

Switch to one hand and advance, striking:

  • High, high, low, low, high, high, low, low

Close form:

  • Turn to left, brace wrist
  • Pivot 270 on right
  • Open arms, thrust with two hands
  • Step back left, left hand
  • Circle and bow

The pivots in step number 6 above are on the heel of the leading foot and the ball of the trailing foot, 180 degrees per step. For the striking advance before the closing, step forward left and close with the right.