How much external before internal?

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

How much external before internal?

Postby Jaspalfie on Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:45 pm

I think it would be true to say that a fair few internal schools follow the path of doing external training (through whatever foundation exercises) followed by a shift in focus to internal aspects. I'm just wondering people's thoughts on how much external is enough before focusing on internal aspects of training and if they feel there are consequences for switching to the internal aspects too early or too late?
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby Steve Rowe on Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:37 am

If you have an outside you have an inside. If you have a body you have a mind. Best to engage all of them right from the start in the simplest terms and then layer them all as you progress.
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby RobP3 on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:05 am

Steve Rowe wrote:If you have an outside you have an inside. If you have a body you have a mind. Best to engage all of them right from the start in the simplest terms and then layer them all as you progress.


Boom! This thread is done :)
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby Ron Panunto on Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:22 am

In Taiji, try for a 50/50 split.
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby Bao on Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:51 am

Softness is harder and take a longer time to develop, so IMHO, it's better to start with softness first. But if you are very young, it's wise to build some strength, stability and flexibility first.
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby robert on Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:35 am

I suspect it depends on the art, but if you want to learn taiji why would you do any external training? Chen Ziqiang says he started standing when he was 3.

"I started my training at three years old," Ziqiang tells me. "For the first couple of years, all I did was standing meditation. I didn't like it, but no child would like long periods of just standing. So my father would bribe me to train. One time my father came back from Japan where he had been teaching, and he brought back a small television. My father knew I liked cartoons, especially Mickey Mouse. So to get me to train, he said I could watch the cartoons after my training each day. That got me to do my training. Later, I got my inspiration from my older brother, Chen Bing."

http://www.kungfumagazine.com/magazine/article.php?article=681

Here is a video of Chen Pengfei (Chen Xiaowang's 3rd son) at 3 or 4 years old.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM-EKKy4354

Why not train relaxed strength, correct posture, and learn the principles of the art you want to study from the start?
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby RobP3 on Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:37 am

robert wrote:I suspect it depends on the art, but if you want to learn taiji why would you do any external training? Chen Ziqiang says he started standing when he was 3.



Standing training is external to start
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby robert on Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:52 am

RobP3 wrote:
robert wrote:I suspect it depends on the art, but if you want to learn taiji why would you do any external training? Chen Ziqiang says he started standing when he was 3.



Standing training is external to start

We all start off moving "externally" and you have to learn how to move "internally" and from that stand point I agree, but external schools and internal schools approach standing differently.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Feng Zhiqiang -

Jarek Szymanski: Mr.Feng, it is known that you studied Shaolin Standing Post methods in your youth. How would you compare it to Neijia practice?

MR.FENG ZHIQIANG: Yes, I learnt and practised Standing Post exercises of Shaolin school. The main difference between them and the methods of Neijia school is that Neijia emphasizes relaxation to greater degree. For this I think there is certain reason in dividing martial arts into External and Internal Families. It is also related to the methods of using Qi - External Family (Waijia) uses physical strength (Li) to drive Qi, while Internal Family (Neijia) uses Intention (Yi) to move Qi. Anyway, I had to give up all my external practise after I started practising Neijia.

http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/FZQinterview.html
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby Jaspalfie on Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:39 am

I wasn't referring to external arts in my original post but to external training aspects in internal arts. Since Taiji was mentioned, I see a lot of external training in Taiji in the foundation exercises in those training not purely for health. As for developing both internal and external concurrently, is that really possible?
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby robert on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:14 pm

Jaspalfie wrote:I wasn't referring to external arts in my original post but to external training aspects in internal arts. Since Taiji was mentioned, I see a lot of external training in Taiji in the foundation exercises in those training not purely for health. As for developing both internal and external concurrently, is that really possible?

I don't understand the distinction you're making. In Chen taiji standing is standing. In the beginning you may need leg strength so your legs may shake and they may ache afterwards, but the goal is to stand with correct posture, to be connected, and to relax and to calm the mind. After training for a while you develop the strength so you can stand comfortably and more leg strength enables you to achieve better posture, to be more connected, and to relax and to calm the mind. Silk reeling, forms, push hands, and applications are all the same. In learning silk reeling and forms you need to learn the choreography, which is external, but if you started with standing you should still be trying to move "internally", you should strive to follow the principles.

If people just learn the choreography of forms and neigongs they are external, but do some people in IMA deliberately train to be external?
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby wayne hansen on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:27 pm

Most people who think they are doing internal training are actually doing external
A lot of what people consider external is internal
It is not about ex v in
It is about correct training and process in an entire system that has a logical pathway
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby choldstare on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:08 pm

If you are healthy/young and have an invest in loss attitude no matter what art you do find a place where people engage in uncooperative sparring/drills; Where you can condition your mind and body to deal with forces that you're not expecting or accustomed to.

That's the path I am following. It helps me see the deficiencies in my internal and external body highlighting what to work on. Also try to go somewhere where the instructor isn't an asshole unless you like that type of thing.
Last edited by choldstare on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby MaartenSFS on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:31 pm

Just learn how to fight. The softness will come with hard training and fighting experience.

Also, failing that, softness without strength is worse than being too hard. ;)
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby johnwang on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:52 pm

For "health", if we compare the following drills,

1. Swing your leg over your head 20 times.
2. Drill long fist crescent kick 20 times.
3. Drill XingYi Beng Chuan 40 times.
4. Drill Taiji brush knee twist step 40 times.
5. Drill Bagua circle walking 40 times.

Drill 1 and 2 will give you the best exercise. It will help you to develop:

- balance,
- flexibility,
- endurance,
- ...

Why do you just want to do 3, 4, 5 and don't want to do 1 and 2? If you want to live healthy and long life, you have to do external.

Image

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Last edited by johnwang on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: How much external before internal?

Postby windwalker on Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:23 pm

Jaspalfie wrote:I think it would be true to say that a fair few internal schools follow the path of doing external training (through whatever foundation exercises) followed by a shift in focus to internal aspects. I'm just wondering people's thoughts on how much external is enough before focusing on internal aspects of training and if they feel there are consequences for switching to the internal aspects too early or too late?


Just reading the basic question indicates a flawed understanding of what internal / external means and what it deals with.
They are very different paths training the same system "human body" to achieve different ends.

One does not magical evolve into the other as is put forth by some people, each path is physical demanding although some
might suggest that what is billed as internal is not, only indicating another lack of understanding.

The better, more clear question might be what is it that one is trying and expecting achieve.

All CMA has / includes both types of training done to develop and achieve different ends.
In mid to beginning levels of training many things might seem the same, done for very different reasons.

The problem with the "shift in focus" is that many aspects may have already been ingrained and may not be able to be undone if at all.
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