Two Kinds of Qigong Training

Qigong (气功) means energy work or technique

Neigong (內功 ) means inner energy work, like using breathing and meditation to create awareness and control of Qi. This is used in the soft martial arts like tai chi.

Waigong (外功) means outer energy work. This is used in the hard martial arts like wushu (kung fu).

I will share a training secret I experienced with each one.

Neigong (inner practice): We were in the woods. My uncle had me kneel down on the ground, facing away from him and close my eyes. He told me a to do a special breathing technique to still my mind. He told me to calm down everything in my body and to become aware only of the Qi. I felt my body become warm and buzzy and the boundaries of inside and outside of me dissolved. 

Uncle walked about 10 meters behind me. He said when I felt something come at me from either side, I should turn my shoulders to that direction. We did this very slowly at first. When I felt something come at me from the left, and I would turn that way; the right, to that way.

Afterwards, he showed me what he had been doing. He was lifting his arm straight out from the side of his body, holding a stick of wood. Sometimes to the left, then left again, then right. But I was only to turn at the very moment he did this.

The next time we did this exercise, Uncle only held out his arm. And the next time, he kept his arms at his sides and only turned the palm of his right or left hand towards me. The purpose of this training was to develop awareness and to learn to anticipate the direction of an attack.

Waigong (outer practice): Uncle took me to the end of a playing field where students were running around it on a track. We stood side by side doing a slow circling movement with our arms called 'casting the net'. He had placed stones on the field some distance apart, going away from us and told me to focus my eyes on a farther and farther stone 'Look at stone number 1. Send your net of qi around it. Now stone number 2' and so forth. After some time, he had me focusing and sending my net of qi around a tree at the far end of the field. 

This had been going on all afternoon and my arms were tired. 'Uncle, I can do these movements now. Can't we stop for today?' 'You can do the movements but do you think you are extending your qi?' he asked 'I think so' I said. 'Then do this' he said ' You see that fellow running at the far end of the track in the red shirt? Watch this'. Then uncle made the circular movement with his arms, throwing his Qi net out.

The runner in the red shirt at the far end of the track stumbled and fell down.

This is a true story.


(Pronunciation note: The Chinese g sound is between a g and a k sound. So in Wades Giles spelling, Qigong is spelled Chi Kung. The Gong sound is between 'gut' and 'got'  but is not pronounced 'koong', as I have heard some westerners say. It's more like Kong in Hong Kong)



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2 Responses Mar 13, 2009

xiaomei,<br />
<br />
Thank you for sharing these two examples...<br />
<br />
I have not had formal training in Qi Gong but have read books and practiced in my own. I will share a practice and experience and please be so kind as to give me your thoughts on it.<br />
<br />
I practiced the deep breathing in the horse stance, focusing on the breath churning the Qi, for some years in my late teens. Since then I always, naturally breathe in my lower abdomen. A few years back I developed a practice which I thought would benefit me in the martial way. I started running on the in southern California. I began my training just walking. My extreme focus was on proper deep breathing technique as I walked. This forced me to hold y upper body very erect. I walked with a very slight bend in my knees and focused on moving forward (almost pressing forward) from the center of my body below my navel. When this became more natural and required less concentration, I began to jog then, eventually, run with these focuses. Soon I was running very smoothly, almost gliding forward. At length I began to run with my eyes closed. At first just a couple of strides. Then farther and farther distances with my eyes closed. (I would set my gaze on a distant point of reference, close my eyes and imagine I was driving forward from my Qi point towards the point of reference.) I would open my eyes to see the reference point checking the accuracy of my direction. at first I would drift off course. (Especially since the beach slopes down towards the water.) But soon I was able to run, 30, 50, 100 yards with eyes closed and remain on course. This was phenomenal to me and especially because I was learning to do this with out anxiety of stumbling or running into the sea or into people.<br />
<br />
But an even more amazing thing I noticed; The beach had many, many stones (1-4 inches, smooth, black, "river bed" stones.) and also dried kelp which is sharp and gives splinters. (I always ran barefoot) Whenever I was running focused solely on the breathing and moving forward from the center of Qi, I would not step on a rock nor kelp. I noticed that If I became distracted thinking of the rocks or kelp or anxious of going off course, I would step on rocks and go off course... ( I always knew when I steeped on rocks because it hurt.)<br />
<br />
I did not continue this practice after my situation no longer allowed the beach runs...<br />
<br />
Please share any thoughts on this. It would be most appreciated.

Wow, I never new that there was such a practice. Thats very neat!