“Neigong: Martial Qigong for Internal Power” with Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming is a thorough look at the internal training of neigong, this traditional Chinese practice which is part of Qigong. Because it is an element of Qigong, and an important part, I’ll be using the term Qigong in this review more than Neigong. In fact, in the DVD chapters, the term Qigong is used more than Neigong too. They are related and intertwined, so don’t get too hung up on this. Like many YMAA DVDs, this program doesn’t skimp on information. The 2 DVD set contains approximately 340 minutes of instruction. If you are familiar with Dr. Yang’s “Understanding Qigong” series (which is excellent by the way) you will be familiar with the format of the first part of this program. It is a lecture by Dr. Yang in front of a white board where he makes illustrations as he talks to explain the concepts of theories of this practice and discipline. There are English subtitles to assist with following along with the lecture.
The first DVD is approximately 157 minutes long. This is over two and a half hours of lecture, so I’d recommend breaking up your watching unless you are a die hard in studying traditional Chinese internal art theories. These are the DVD chapter topics covered in this first DVD:
Part 1: General Concepts includes discussion on the definition of Qi and Qigong, scope of Qigong practice, schools of Qigong practice and the history of martial Qigong.
Part 2: Neigong Theory contains lecture on human qi netowrk, muscle/tendon changing, qi quantity and quality, small circulation Qigong, martial grand circulation Qigong, and Neigong and the martial arts.
Again, this entire first DVD is lecture, similar to the “Understanding Qigong” series. In part one Dr. Yang is inside in front of a white board, and in part two he’s moved outside with his white board, but it is still academic in nature to help understand the history and theory behind the practice. Some of these theories may be a bit difficult, especially if you haven’t studied internal Chinese practices. A study of Traditional Chinese Medicine will also help with the information presented in this program, as would previous study of Dr. Yang’s other Qigong DVDs or in person instruction. I’ll admit, I’ve done a fair amount of study on the topic and it is still difficult for me to understand everything at times, and “Western” training sometimes interferes with some of my thoughts on the traditional Chinese concepts and theories. And this is okay. One wouldn’t have to believe or understand EVERY part of this traditional practice to benefit from this DVD and Qigong study and practice.
The second DVD in this set is approximately three hours long. Again, I recommend breaking up your study of this program over several sessions.
The program begins with Part Three: Basic Neigong Training – Foundation. This part contains these three main topics: increase qi quantity, improve quality of qi manifestation, and martial grand circulation. The first 50 plus minutes is still a lecture, but Dr. Yang has moved his whiteboard to a different location outside. When Dr. Yang starts talking about martial grand circulation, he moves to a different location (still outside) and he no longer has his whiteboard, but rather he actually starts to illustrate some different breathing exercises and how to practice Neigong. He also uses students of his to help teach and illustrate the practice. Some of these breathing exercises are done standing, and others sitting.
Just after the first hour of the DVD, Part Four, Applications of Neigong, begins. This portion includes the topics: Gongli Training, Rooting, Jing Manifestation, Iron Shirt or Golden Bell Cover, and a short conclusion. Dr. Yang first points out that there are so many ways to train Neigong and you won’t master them all. While this part of the program still contains a fair amount of lecture, there are also a few different exercises you can do on your own to actually practice Neigong and Qigong, rather than the academic study of theory that the earlier parts of this program teach. Remember, Dr. Yang mentioned that there are many ways to train in Neigong, and the thing I really appreciate with this program is the focus on theories and concepts that apply to martial aspects. If you practice Chinese martial arts, much of this will fit easily. If you practice different styles, you will have to analyze how it fits with your training. The concepts will fit, but some of what Dr. Yang discusses and teaches won’t be as familiar. (I fall into this latter group and that is why sometimes it is harder for me to understand some of the traditional Chinese and I have to think on it a bit longer.)
The final 40 minutes of the program, after Dr. Yang’s conclusion, show different students of Dr. Yang practicing various Neigong and Qigong exercises, but there isn’t any instruction or explanations of what they are doing. The video shows the students performing different exercises and Chinese music plays. One thing about this part is that it shows what a beautiful place Dr. Yang’s retreat center is. (And we only get to see a small part of it.) While the students are shown doing these different exercises, it really isn’t a follow along workout. But it provides examples of how you can train.
In conclusion, this is an outstanding academic resource on the theory of Neigong. If you are familiar with Dr. Yang’s teachings, you will know what to expect from this program. If not, understand that this program is primarily lecture and theory and meant to accompany his other programs that instruct on and illustrate more movement and exercises. It is a long program and will take several viewings to completely understand and grasp everything Dr. Yang teaches. For the student who wishes to better understand the concepts and theories of Neigong, Qigong, and the Traditional Chinese concepts on internal energy, this is an excellent home study resource.
Check out this Neigong DVD on amazon: