What is Neijiaquan Kung Fu?
Neijiaquan Kung Fu also goes by the name Wudang Kung Fu and Internal Boxing. The name Neijiaquan is given to differentiate the training methods of Weijiaquan or External boxing. The most famous type of Neijiaquan Kung Fu is Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and the most famous type of Weijiaquan Kung Fu is Shaolin Kung Fu. In fact most of Neijiaquan Kung Fu can be traced back to Shaolin Kung Fu.
In the beginning of training in Neijiaquan Kung Fu, more emphasis is put into correct body structure as well as making the Qi or Energy Flow in the body stronger. As the Internal gets stronger the focus of training will slowly switch to strengthening the external such as the muscle groups used in fighting. In the end, there really is no difference in the way Internal Kung Fu looks compared to External Kung Fu. Because so much focus is put into correct body structure and strong Qi flow, the practioner of Neijiaquan is able to exert less physical strength to overcome an opponent. In many situations a smaller older fighters using Neijiaquan can easily overcome a younger, stronger adversary.
The 3 most famous types of Neijiaquan are Baguazhang, Taijiquan and Xingyiquan. All 3 of these kung fu styles are based on Daoist (Taoist) principles. Though the internal principles of training are similar, the usage of these three types of Kung Fu are different.
Baguazhang (Bagua, Pa Kua) in English it is translated as 8 Trigram Palms and is based on the Daoist Yi Ching or the Book of Changes. It is designed to fight multiple opponents. Baguazhang is best known for its circle walking training and the use of palms in fighting, even though straight line training forms and fist, elbows, knees and feet are also used in fighting. Baguazhang incorporates many throws and joint locks as well. Baguazhang was the preferred method of kung fu for the Qing Dynasty’s Empress Dogwager Cixi and Prince Su’s personal bodyguards, so many common weapons such as the Jian (straight sword) Dao (Broad Sword) and Gun (staff)and exotic weapons like the Dear Hook Blades and Bagua Needles are also taught.
Taijiquan (Tai Chi) in English is translated as Supreme Ultimate Boxing and is based on Daoist Yin and Yang theory. Taijiquan is best known in the world for its many health benefits, it is famous for its slow movements and focus on breathing and Qi. If a Taijiquan Boxer studies Taiji as a complete fighting system though, the movements are also learned fast with Fajing or explosive energy. It is said that Taijiquan Boxer should use 3 ounces of force to defeat 3000 pounds of force, and the analogy of a needle wrapped in cotton is often used to describe Taijiquan. There are many strikes, kicks, throws and joint locks in traditional Taijiquan. Training is also given in the use of the Jian (straight sword) Dao (Broad Sword) and Gun (staff).
Xingyiquan (Xing Yi) is translated as Mind Form or Intent Boxing. It is based on the Daoist 5 chinese elements that make and destroy each other- fire, water, earth, metal and wood. Most Xingyiquan lineages also teach 12 animal forms. Xingyiquan fighting is known for its explosive force of Fajing energy and many of the fighting movements are based on ancient spear techiniques. Spear, Staff, straight sword and broad sword are also taught in most Xingyiquan lineages.