Taiji WenWuTang

Grandmaster Wei ShuRen / Complete LaoLiuLu︰First Form

Explanations of Nei Gong (Internal Skill) Principles

Excerpts from the book "The True Teachings of Yang Jianhou's Secret Yang Style Taijiquan" by Wei Shuren

Historical background of Yang style Taijiquan as passed down by late Wang Yongquan

For more than half a century people in China and other countries have learnt about and to a certain degree understood Taijiquan, while health aspects of Yang style Taijiquan attracted special attention all over the world.

However very few people know that during the transmission of Yang style Taijiquan, its true essence has almost been lost and forgotten because old masters kept it secret.

Happily, the lineage that has been secretly passed down from Yang Jianhou in Beijing, has fairly completely preserved the practice methods and Kneading Hands (Rou Shou, i.e. Pushing Hands) techniques of original Yang family boxing. This is because of all the energy and efforts that Mr.Wang Chonglu and my teacher Wang Yongquan poured into as well as subtle inspiration that cannot be forgotten.

The origins of this art should be traced back to the end of Qing dynasty (1644-1911). At that time Mr.Yang Jianhou was summoned to the residence of Bei Lei and Bei Zi to teach Taijiquan to the members of the imperial family. Since at that time the Qing dynasty imperial family members and aristocrats enjoyed high positions and lived in comfort, it became fashionable to pay attention to good health. Most "bigwigs" learnt Taijiquan only because of fashion and considered it just another entertainment to divert themselves from boredom and did not really practice hard.

Only the oldest grandson of emperor Xuanzong, Pu Lun Bei Zi had become extremely interested in the skill that Mr.Yang Jianhou was occasionally revealing during the classes, and was often inviting Mr.Jianhou to his residence asking for guidance, paying very high salary and showing special favor to him. Because of dept of gratitude for Pu Bei Lun Zi's recognition and appreciation as well as special treatment, Mr.Jianhou gradually passed to him secret art of Yang family Taijiquan.


At that time there was a servant at Pu Bei Lun Zi's residence called Wang Chonglu, who was very interested in martial arts. Wang was receiving waiting upon Mr.Jianhou when he was coming to Pu Bei Lun Zi's residence to teach boxing. Wang, already skilled in boxing, when listening to Mr.Jianhou's very clear explanations of boxing principles, realized this art was out of ordinary and contained the ultimate principles of all times, heaven and earth, all things of creation; moreover, Wang noticed that the practice method taught by Mr.Jianhou was utterly different from everything he had seen before, and truly was the best martial art he had been yearning for day and night. For this reason he was particularly venerating Mr.Jianhou, very careful in all respects all the time, showing him every consideration.

After some time Mr.Jianhou was moved by Mr.Chonglu's sincerity and often taught him one or two boxing postures in free time. After few years Chonglu became very skilful at Taiji, and since he was honest, sincere and kind-hearted, Mr.Jianhou thought high about him and gladly accepted him as indoor disciple.


Wang Yongquan, Chonglu's son, was interested in martial arts since childhood and when seven started to study Buku ("wrestling" in Manchu language) and became very sturdy and his movements were strong and vigorous. At the age of eight he often accompanied father to Yang's house. Mr.Jianhou liked Yongquan as he was a very bright kid and allowed him to learn martial art of yang family. Mr.Jianhou ordered him to accept Yang Chengfu, Jianhou's third son, as his master. Since then father and son often went to Yang's house in the western part of the capital to study martial art.

Yongquan was also often sent by his father to Yang's house to help manage household affairs and could often hear Jianhou's and Shaohou's (father and son) discussions on boxing techniques. Sometimes in the height of his enthusiasm Shaouhou would call Yongquan to come and cross hands to feel his strength hence prove his point; since Yongquan had good basics in "Buku" and knew how to fall and was not afraid of it, every time he was hit by his gongfu uncle's (i.e. Shaohou's; since Yang Chengfu was Wang Yongquan's master - Shifu, gongfu father - and Shaohou was Chengfu's older brother, then Shaohou was Wang's Shibo - gongfu uncle; word "uncle" used later in the translations should read as Shibo - gongfu uncle; note from translator) swift and fierce power and tumbled several times on the ground, he would immediately stand up and move close to Shaohou waiting for another show of uncle's skill; for this reason Shaohou liked him a lot.

At that time Shaohou, also called "Mr. Big", used to strike showing the opponent no mercy and became famous for his fierce and malicious power. People who had a taste of this power and were flung by him high up would tremble with fear and not dear to come close to him again. However Yongquan would do what he could to cross hands with uncle Shaohou to feel the direction of his strength (Jin), the power and timing, although hit and thrown on the ground. He could only feel the strength and would not dare to ask uncle what power he used. During several years Yongquan was imperceptibly influenced by what he saw and heard and was able to comprehend it. For this reason, and because of instructions he received earlier from Mr.Jianhou and later from his father, Mr.Yongquan received true transmission of Yang family Internal Skill (Nei Gong) and Power Methods (Jin Fa), and had high attainments in Kneading Hands (Rou Shou). After that for the next decades all along he kept practicing the original early methods of Old Six Routines (Lao Liu Lu) that he had learnt together with his father from Mr.Jianhou; the movements he taught were different from the postures and methods his teacher Yang Chengfu taught when he (i.e. Yang Chengfu) went south to Shanghai and other places. (...)

Explanations of Neigong (Internal Skill) Principles

Taijiquan practice must be conducted internally and externally, Yin and Yang must melt together into one. If one wants to achieve Internal Skill (Nei Gong) of Taiji, one must first grasp practice methods conforming with Taijiquan principles. Principles and methods of Internal Skill are the only way to cultivate Spirit (Shen), Intent (Yi) and Qi; that's why practice methods in traditional Taijiquan not only pay attention to movements of body and hands, but even more stress principles and methods of Internal Skill. Under any circumstances they cannot be separated.

Many students of Taijiquan practice incorrectly - first learn the routine, and only after they are skilled at it they explore the principles; what they do not understand is that through this empty practice without principles their bodies already get used to the incorrect way of practice, stiff, inflexible, with physical strength. Once the students want to explore the principles, the way they move (with stiff and inflexible strength) already becomes habitual and the problems are very difficult to get rid of; and although they practice correctly for a long time later, Internal Strength (Nei Jin) is out of their grasp and there is no way that they can reach deep understanding of high skill levels.

My teacher handed down a correct method of teaching martial arts - from the beginning both movements and principles are explained clearly, with stress put on using principles to guide the movements correctly. The principles of movements have very explicit guiding meaning, and only by following the correct order of practice handed down by old generations of masters one can quickly enter the correct path and pursue more advanced study.

Yang Style Taijiquan emphasizes internal and external practice, every movement and every posture should contain a Method (Shu) within, and the Method must come out of the movements and postures. Movements and Method depend on each other and complement each other. One must not first practice movements and then learn the principles, as well as one must not first learn the principles and then practice movements. The beginner by imitating (the teacher) will first grasp the external movements, but since the principles of Internal Skill (Nei Gong) cannot be seen, it is not easy to understand their essentials. Since on the elementary level Spirit (Shen), Intent (Yi) and Qi are not ready to accept assignments coming from the mind (consciousness), it is impossible to merge movements and Methods in one step. For this reason students should first of all attach importance to the careful study of the principles.

Every movement and posture of the boxing routine practice should have, as the boxing classics say, "Intent in first place" (Yi Zai Xian), Intention should guide the form from the beginning to the end, one should not practice "empty movements" even for a short moment. For example in the Commencing Form, before the hands raise and the movement is born from utmost stillness, Intention has already started to control the whole body so that all its parts one by one have been adjusted according to the Internal Skill principles.

When the practice reaches the intermediary level, there are many principles, every movement and posture have one kind of fixed principles, and the principles between two movements may mutually alternate and derive from each other. On the high level the accumulation and changes of principles appear naturally, without thinking. My teacher once said, during routine practice, when movements and Methods are harmoniously combined so that they strictly follow ones Intent, at that moment a subtle and profound (phenomena) may develop. The whole body is transparent and empty, one forgets about oneself and is non-active - this high level starts from learning to soften hands and wrists. Every step and every move should be completely guided by the principles of boxing movements, and only later one can gradually attain the level of complete relaxation, transparency and emptiness.

For this reason all those who want to learn Taijiquan should be warned to seriously explore and understand the principles of boxing movements. Following are chosen explanations of the principles of boxing movements; for the sake of better explanation (deeper impression), the pictures show both correct and incorrect movements so that Taijiquan practitioner will not go astray.


Concerning "Crown of the head suspended", boxing manuals say "Emptiness guides propping up strength" (Xu Ling Ding Jin), "Top of the head suspended" (Ding Tou Xuan), "Baihui pushes up" (Baihui Shang Ding), etc.

My teacher never mentioned the above sayings; he only explained secretly transmitted essential "Back of the neck rubs against the collar". "Rub against" means that back of the neck is relaxed and straight, and is lightly kept close to the collar when slightly turning. During the process when the back of the neck rubs against the collar, cervical vertebra gradually tends to become upright and straight, and the posture of the body will also become centered and upright; when one attains the state when it is centered and upright, in that short moment all of a sudden whole body will get "fixed" - head will be centered, Spirit clear and Qi refreshed, relaxed and comfortable as if nothing existed. The feeling of relaxed head can make one happy and free of worry, and this state of mind will naturally influence the facial expression showing a slight smile; in this way both the inside and outside of the body will be in peaceful, gentle mood. Paying constant attention to slightly rub against the collar with the back of the neck will keep the Ren and Du channels clear of obstructions, and since when Qi flows than blood moves, chronic illnesses of insufficient supply of blood to the brain, neck aches and blocked Yuzhen will be eliminated.

If one does not correctly understand the relation between relaxed, straight neck and upright head, and does not realize how harmful it is for the postures and the body when head is not upright, then one will allow the head to bend and lift and this may turn into a bad habit.

When chin is withdrawn too much, head bends down, the front of the neck is suppressed, breathing is difficult, blood circulation is not smooth, and as a result one becomes apathetic and dispirited.

When head is lifted then back of the neck is suppressed, Internal Qi can only circulate between Jiabei and Weilü and cannot pass through Yuzhen. When Three Gates (San Guan) are not opened, then one gets neck and head aches, head swells, which may even result in vertigo.

Only when neck is relaxed and straight, then head is centered and upright, at ease and comfortable, which is a very important part of the (Internal Skill) principles.


Once the principle of relaxed and straight neck is correctly understood, head will be absolutely empty and eyes expression will naturally attain (the state) of looking and not seeing, which will integrate with (the state of) ears listening but not hearing. The feeling of relaxation of the head will make one's spirit happy and influence the facial expression, showing a slight smile.
One must not misunderstand the eyes expression of "looking and not seeing" as dull staring, like a pond with still water, without movement and changes. Going out and entering of eyes expression (Eye Spirit) is naturally interlinked with the mind and intention, which give rise to the changes of Opening/Closing of expression. When eyes expression is merged into the movements of boxing routine one should only keep the eyes open, when Eye Spirit goes out, it is for sure accompanied by the Spirit entering; entering of Eye Spirit is surely followed by the Spirit going out; only when going out and entering alternate and circulate, one can truly use eye expression in such a way that there is Yin within Yang, Yang within Yin and Yin and Yang are combined together. (Ill.4)

When Eyes Spirit is held back and looks towards the inside, it does not mean that eyelids drop and eyes are closed or one narrows the eyes and does not look ahead; when Eye Spirit is fixed on a point, it is not using strength and straining the eyes. If the Eyes Spirit is not correctly used, then eyes may hurt because of strain, and it is not only not healthy but very harmful.


During boxing practice people often only pay attention to sinking the shoulders and often overlook to empty the armpits. They often incorrectly believe that sinking and dropping is the correct movement of the shoulders. Actually deliberately sinking the shoulders, which are pulled down with strength, may result in the feeling of heavy and tired shoulders.

Concerning empty armpits, the secret method passed down by my teacher is "practicing boxing with two hot steamed buns carried under the armpits". My teacher used to give an example from a daily life to explain this: when you pick steamed buns from the steaming hot food steamer, the movement and posture at this short moment are vivid explanation of the essentials for empty armpits. At that moment the strength you use to grasp the bun is extremely precise, because you may scald your hand when you grasp the bun too tightly, and drop it when the strength is not sufficient; at the same time it forces you to use your hand in such a way that it is neither too close nor too distant (from the surface of the bun), in a state of holding with just right strength. "Practicing boxing with two hot steamed buns carried under the armpits" in a plain and easy to understand way illustrates that the armpits should be relaxed and at the same time one should combine a very intriguing, slight strength that is both antagonistic and united. When one practices boxing keeping in mind the hot buns kept under the armpits, then Internal Qi in shoulders and arms will pass smoothly and flow swiftly. After a long time of practice the habit will become natural and emptying the armpits will not have to be intentionally conducted.

If one keeps two armpits empty incorrectly, the elbows raise and shoulders becomes stiffened and tensed; the flow of Internal Qi will be obstructed. When armpits are not empty, the arms are kept close to the torso, shoulders can't relax and hence Internal Qi is suppressed and does not flow.

Translated from Chinese by Jarek Szymanski;
© J.Szymanski 2000 ChinaFromInside.com

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YANG 22 movements (internal routine)

Extracted by Wei Shu Ren from the "Lao Liu Lu" (The old six routines), and 89 movement routine also named secret transmission by Yang Jianhou, wich the complete names is:



Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872) was the creator of the Yang style of tai-chi chuan, the most popularized in the West. The Yang family dedicated itself to the teaching of tai-chi chuan, nevertheless they had a pact of not teaching the form that they themselves practiced, outside their family they only taught a less profound version. But due to special circumstance, Yang Jian Hou (one of the children of Yang Lu Chan) passed on the complete teachings to Wang Zhong Lu and his son Wang Yong Quan (1903-1987) who at that time was only 7 years old. Also, Yang Cheng Pu, the son of Yang Jian Hou, later also taught Wang Yong Quan.

Wang Yongquan (Wang Yong Quan) also dedicated himself to teaching tai-chi, respecting the pact. Nevertheless, at 70 years old and very influenced by the Chinese Revolution and its opening reforms, he decided to make public the secrets that until then had been kept. He, like Wei Shu Ren, one of his students, (see information on him in the Masters section), received the complete teachings of the Yang family taichi chuan and, as he was university educated, later transformed it into three books that were published in China, and finally opening one of the most wonderful secrets of the Chinese internal arts to the world, through the form "Internal Yang" (which is a simplified translation).

Originally this form, called "Lào Liù Lù" (The Six Old Ways, or work routines) consisted of 89 movements. Wèi Shù Rén simplified them, eliminating the repetitions, to 22 movements.

Perhaps the most notable is the emphasis on the practice of nei-gong and the solid explanations of making it effective in the martial practices. As well as this, there is the following example of other characteristics:

* 1 One "Asking the Star": Is a very useful technique especially in the exercises, whose meaning comes from "aiming at the target" This movement contributes to the active part of Shén ("spirit")
* 2 Two globes of qi in the palms of the hands. They are exercised a lot in nei-gong. Used to push others off balance, like the 3 rings of qi.
* 3 Three rings of qi that surround the hips, waist and shoulders. Their use in the exercises are effective and in addition allow more fluid accurate movements.
* Form a bell. Imagine the body as a bell, divided into 5 points:

o The hoop that maintains the bell. Which corresponds to the neck. Is movable.
o The point located between the previous point and point 3. This corresponds to the chest, and is unmovable ("dead")
o The central point corresponds to the waist. Which is movable.
o The point located between point 3 and 5 corresponds to the midpoint between the waist and the coccyx (base of the spine). It is unmovable ("dead")
o The clapper of the bell corresponds to the coccyx which is movable.

* The armpits maintain "man tou" (steamed dumpling) serve to control the correct position of the arms.
* Heaven and Earth (trigrams Qian and Kun) is a small detail within the movements, as the White Crane Extends its Wings, to openly show it’s purpose.
* The five divisions in the positions of the feet: Which depict 5 points, (1) is one of the feet, (5) the other foot, (3) is right in the centre between both feet, and points (2) and (4) in between points 1 and 3 and 3 and 5 respectively. This serves to control the correction in the movement and the distribution of weight. In general the movement is made by way of tilting between points 2 and 4.
* The four requirements to practice the exercise, that are four simultaneous stages of learning:





When doing the movements it is necessary to acheive:

sòng (to be RELAXED),

wên (to be STABLE, BALANCED),

mán (to make it SLOW),

yún (to make it HOMOGENOUS, UNIFORM)

Three basic elements

Shén: Translated like spirit. It relates to the spirit that we mean when saying, for example: "He has enterprising spirit, to raise the spirit, the eyes are the mirror of the soul…" The eyes are an expression of the Shén.

Yì: Mind-intention-will. Not treated like the rational mind, but a capacity to "guide", a type of decision making, the will to do it, intentional, but not logical or rational, a "more primary" mind

Qì: Defined already in "introduction" and "glossary" (chi)

Taijiquan Neigong from The Secret Yang Family Teachings
(it forms Internal Yang)
Wei Shu Ren

1. Beginning the exercise.
2. The horse shaking its main, left and right
3. The White Crane shows its wings
4. Block the knee and inverted march, Left and Right
5. Playing the guitar.
6. Roll the arms while moving backwards, left and right
7. Catching the Sparrows’s tail, left and right
8. Moving the hands like clouds
9, Simple whip
10. Carressing the horses neck
11. Move the right foot
12. Both fists cross the ears
13, Stamp your heel to the left
14. The Jade Lady reels off the loom shuttle, left and right
15. Lower to the right and the golden rooster stands on one foot
16. Lower to the left and the golden rooster stands on the other foot
17. The needle at the bottom of the sea
18. The fan crosses the back
19. Turn the body and throw the hammer
20, Step backwards, turn and lower the body, intercept and strike
21. As if everything was closed
22. Cross the hands gather

As it is possible to observe in the photos Depending on the exercise, some positions present/display slight variations, whereas others are already nonexistent in the other forms of the Yang style.

Quoted from TAI CHI CHUAN TAO;
© TAI CHI CHUAN TAO Taijiquandao.com

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◇ The book "The True Teachings of Yang Jianhou's Secret Yang Style Taijiquan, Chinese Edition" and Multimedia set "The True Teachings of Internal Skill of Yang Jianhou's Secret Taijiquan" (containing one book, two video CDs and one CD Rom) by Wei Shuren is available through ChinaFromInside.com (Jarek's Chinese Martial Arts Pages)

Master Guo ZhengXun


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Taiji "RouShou"-Training by Master Guo ZhengXun NEW
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Master Guo ZhengXun:Seminars in Hong Kong, 2006 (1)
Master Guo ZhengXun:Seminars in Hong Kong, 2006 (2)
Master Guo ZhengXun:Seminars in Hong Kong, 2006 (3)
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"Lao-Liu-Lu" by Grandaster Wei ShuRen (1)
"Lao-Liu-Lu" by Grandaster Wei ShuRen (2)
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Instruction of Taiji "RouShou" by Grandaster Wei ShuRen
Wei ShuRen(80 Years Old) Taiji "RouShou" Demo NEW

Ancient Yang Style Taiji RouShou Club, Taiwan


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