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Exaggerating the internal
One of the problems with learning taijiquan is that the system is very subtle.
The skill is on the inside.
It is not showy and external.
Yet, in order to learn neigong, you must exaggerate certain qualities to make them discernable.
This carries some risk.
Watching an outward show of neigong can lead you to perform it in that way.
Remember that the neigong must exist within the framework.
When the movements are grossly exaggerated, the body is forced to twist and torque beyond a safe limit.
This can lead to instability of structure and potential injury if you are not careful.
There is a time
to embrace and a time to refrain.
By the time a student has learned the first neigong they are ready to start internalising the form slightly.
At this point many of the more explicit waist turns become smaller.
The need for groundpath and intent is emphasised.
This process creates internal tension and channels force much more effectively.
Neigong are often simply an awareness of what the body wants to do naturally.
You feel a need to turn, twist, release, open or close.
Providing the action does not compromise your structure, you allow it to happen.
Once you have patiently incorporated a neigong concern into how you use your body, the augment will remain.
Only contradictory or conflicting body use will remove the quality.
One danger lies with seeking to revise, 'practice' or re-incorporate an existing neigong.
To do a concern again will effectively double whatever the neigong entails.
i.e. if your sternum is already dropped, then aiming to drop your sternum will only serve to drop an already dropped sternum thereby collapsing the chest and affecting the knees.
Injury is possible if you double-up a neigong.
At best, you will lose the required augment and negatively affect other qualities.
At worst, you will cause unanticipated injuries as a by-product.
If you are patient and aware, the neigong will unfold.
Your main activity is simply to remove the obstacles that prevent the neigong from manifesting.
Typically the obstacle is tension.
Attempting to physically 'do' a neigong is not a good endeavour. Remember Yang Cheng Fu's maxim "use mind not force".
18 April 1995
Last updated 29 August 2019