“Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

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

Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby yeniseri on Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:29 am

For my training over the decades. I have always been and will always be skeptical of this "internal" thang in CMA.
What I have encountered through experience is that "iinternal' is the 2nd to last criteria for it to be be considered as it is explained today.
Using yangsheng terminology, it follows the same steps as in taijiquan as we all have been exposed to because of the 4-6 steps needed for the effortless expression in out training.
1. There is the physical element of x routine where you learn the patters per your style i.e. stepping, moving, hand/body placement
2. Next is the actual routine where you become familiar with x postures over time
3. Memory enhancement: having to remember steps 1 nd 2
4. AFter repeated of the previous, you tie all the postures based on your lebel of physical conditioning, etc
5.At this stage, one gets into a rhythm and develops a sense of the routine
6. The internal critera become evident with the repeated form practice of providing the gog is done accordingly

Chen style has a process of elements associated with what is "internal for the stages of training
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:15 am

vadaga wrote:
Fubo wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:"Weight training is bad for internal development" is a terrible sweeping generalization.

We've all heard stories of old-time IMA masters training with long and heavy weapons or some other types of weighted apparatuses, so how can weight training be wrong?

The key is HOW you do it.

I'd actually say that weight training is beneficial to internal development -- if you do it right. ;)


Yes, I made that exact point in the opening post... the question however was not whether weight training is bad for internal development, but whether activities like skating and bicycling, which develop the legs in different ways from IMA, negatively affect IMA development.

Sorry for not responding to your previous post. It is a good question you have posed here... I cant speak to the skating but for biking I would say that it's not categorically the case that cycling will negatively affect IMA development. What will do that is doing a lot of cycle training without stretching properly before/after--- one thing I make sure to do at the end of long cycle training sessions is hamstring stretches on a waist-high table, windowsill, counter etc. and a set of splits.

Here we need to differentiate between extensive cycling, (I will arbitrarily set this at 100+km/week) and incidental cycling (totally OK)

One other thing of course is that if one is training seriously for cycling there are crowding effects for those of us who are not fulltime self-cultivators- when I am in cycle season and should be training on the bike ~15 hours a week (in addition to working the fulltime job), my IMA training basically consists only of the relaxed stuff... however the conditioning benefits allow me to then throw myself into very active training for martial arts when the cycling season winds up in the fall which is a benefit.


Thanks for mentioning your experience.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:31 am

Formosa Neijia wrote:
Fubo wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:"Weight training is bad for internal development" is a terrible sweeping generalization.

Yes, I made that exact point in the opening post... the question however was not whether weight training is bad for internal development, but whether activities like skating and bicycling, which develop the legs in different ways from IMA, negatively affect IMA development.


"Internal development" needs to be proven to exist in the first place. It's not a given and no two teachers even agree what it is. Defining internal as against fitness and comparing the two without seeing where they not only may overlap but actually might be two different names for the same thing will be limiting.

You get good at what you do: whether it's stancework or cycling. It's a matter of priority in training and then crosstraining other things to improve attributes your main activity may not adequately address.

So from fitness studies we've seen completely untrained beginners start a jogging program and in one month their 1 rep barbell squat goes up with no barbell squatting in the training simply due to an increased muscle stimulus from the running. It goes up but that tapers off quickly without further squat training as the beginner gains end.

Same thing with cycling and skating. Increasing your 1 rep squat will increase stroke power allowing you to pedal faster. Cycling done correctly can greatly increase muscle mass. My college roommate was a bicycle sprinter and he had the biggest thighs I've ever seen. With crappy form, he could put 300lbs on a bar and squat it any time. But to get better as a squatter, he would have to work on squat form. Further cycling's endurance building carries over to everything else. My first female trainer at my gym was an avid cyclist and i once gave my trainers a running test. She ran circles around all of them. But against a dedicated runner, she might not be so impressive. Looking at skating, skater squats are excellent for getting people to push off the ground when springing forward. Check out how cyclists and skaters train their legs and you'll answer your own question: no, it won't hurt anything else you do if you keep the majority of your focus on the main activity and crosstrain correctly.

IMO the real question that should be asked and never is is this: should people with zero baseline fitness be so desperately worried with largely fictional "internal development" especially if practicing an actual martial art involving punching and kicking people is the focus?


I agree that "internal" is a very subjective label, and tends to open a can of worms as to its' meaning. I suppose I was referring to it as a short hand for the types of attributes a lot of IMA tend to develop, but I guess the word "internal" should probably be avoided in general.
I never defined internal as against fitness... I was talking about how different activities develop the muscles in different way.
I've learned, from experience, that some types of training did increase levels of tension that were counterproductive to the IMA I train, where as some other types of training did not negatively affect it... hence the initial question.
As for your alternate question at the end, and your assumptions, I spent around 8 years training and competing in multiple combat sports, as well as over 25 year in IMA, so my initial question was not written as someone with "zero baseline fitness", nor as someone who's worried about "fictional internal development". I'm concerned with what works relative to what I train, that's about it.
Last edited by Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Bao on Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:22 am

Discussing definitions of "Internal" is pointless. It won't matter how much you read about or intellectualize terms.

And why are people here so obsessed by what not to do and prohibitions? Why not instead focus on discussing practical practice, practical exercises, how to practice and what to do?

Why do people discuss road blocks before discussing how to actually find the path?
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby wiesiek on Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:37 am

... IMO the real question that should be asked and never is is this: should people with zero baseline fitness be so desperately worried with largely fictional "internal development" especially if practicing an actual martial art involving punching and kicking people is the focus?.."

Motivation for trainings may be very different from person to p.
However basic warmup set is designed , well, for basic (body) development. In any style, I suppose.

..."I suppose I was referring to it as a short hand for the types of attributes a lot of IMA tend to develop, but I guess the word "internal" should probably be avoided in general. ..."
so, then
let`s agree, that meditation is internal, kickin` the arses - external, ;)
What about:
punching while not punching ?
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby wiesiek on Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:48 am

..."Why do people discuss road blocks before discussing how to actually find the path?..."

This is some kind of specific humans brains waves:
thinkin` about constipation, before it happen and discussing it endlessly, instead using enema and changing diet. :) -oldman-
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:51 am

Bao wrote:Discussing definitions of "Internal" is pointless. It won't matter how much you read about or intellectualize terms.

And why are people here so obsessed by what not to do and prohibitions? Why not instead focus on discussing practical practice, practical exercises, how to practice and what to do?

Why do people discuss road blocks before discussing how to actually find the path?


Doing different things creates different “paths”. I know my path, yet have found some things keep me on it, and others change it… it’s not about road blocks, it’s about maintaining the path one wants to stay on.

As for a practical example, when I was training concurrently in combat sports and IMA, and competing regularly, there were certain types of training that while making my body stronger, also created a certain amount of tension which made me less rooted and easier to throw... When I altered my training, that changed.
Last edited by Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:26 pm

In my initial learning of IMA styles many decades ago, it was explicitly stated repeatedly that the internal work (nei-kung) didn't involve anything magical or mystical, either physically or energetically. Instead, it was and is all about developing an inner awareness of how to unite the physical and mental components of the practices for optimal functional efficiency.

The physical components require a greater awareness of where blood circulation is impeded and stagnant in the body, where unnecessary muscle tension impedes a freely moving range of motion and flexibility, where structural alignment needs to be adjusted and corrected for improved stability and body control, how to properly place the center of gravity and body mass for improved balance, how to coordinate and synchronize physical movements to create an integrated whole body power, and so forth.

The mental components require a better understanding of how thoughts, emotions, and the spirit of focused intent can be modified via meditation, mental visualization, verbal affirmation, autosuggestion, etc, in order to enhance the physical aspects of the forms or drills and their practical fighting applications.

None of these things involve any imaginative efforts to develop the ability to launch invisible energy balls or to perform the magical feats seen in many kungfu movies. It's just about eating bitter in prolonged, old-fashioned hard work in a legitimate, serious training regimen. Few people in any generation develop high level martial skills simply because they prefer instead to search for shortcuts and secrets to avoid the hard work. ::)
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:56 pm

I don't think anyone has brought up magic or mysticism, yet, and not sure where anyone said they're trying to avoid the hard work. ::)
Last edited by Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:05 pm

Fubo wrote:I don't think anyone has brought up magic or mysticism, yet, and not sure where anyone said they're trying to avoid the hard work. ::)

What's up with the snarky comment? My post was a general commentary, not directed at anyone here. If you don't like my posts, feel free to simply scroll past them. Enjoy your weekend. :)
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:31 pm

Doc Stier wrote:
Fubo wrote:I don't think anyone has brought up magic or mysticism, yet, and not sure where anyone said they're trying to avoid the hard work. ::)

What's up with the snarky comment? My post was a general commentary, not directed at anyone here. If you don't like my posts, feel free to simply scroll past them. Enjoy your weekend. :)


It's difficult to read your post as anything but snark or condescension when you add an eye roll after saying that people chase after magic, mysticism, and are unwilling to work hard, on a topic about how other activities may impact one's IMA development... The insinuation is that those who contemplate how other training methods and activities may affect one's IMA training are some how about the woo woo, or just can't or not willing to put in the hard work. If you can't see the snark in your own comment, intentional or not, I don't know what you tell you. Have a nice weekend.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:28 pm

Fubo wrote:
Doc Stier wrote:
Fubo wrote:I don't think anyone has brought up magic or mysticism, yet, and not sure where anyone said they're trying to avoid the hard work. ::)

What's up with the snarky comment? My post was a general commentary, not directed at anyone here. If you don't like my posts, feel free to simply scroll past them. Enjoy your weekend. :)


It's difficult to read your post as anything but snark or condescension when you add an eye roll after saying that people chase after magic, mysticism, and are unwilling to work hard, on a topic about how other activities may impact one's IMA development... The insinuation is that those who contemplate how other training methods and activities may affect one's IMA training are some how about the woo woo, or just can't or not willing to put in the hard work. If you can't see the snark in your own comment, intentional or not, I don't know what you tell you. Have a nice weekend.

With all due respect for your opinion, I stated previously on this thread that I have long included other training methods in conjunction with my IMA regimen without negative affects, and have found both to be mutually beneficial to one another. I guess you missed that memo.

I make every effort to be direct and straightforward in posting my opinions in order to eliminate any insinuation or vagueness. You read much into my post which wasn't intended, wasn't said, and simply isn't there. :-\
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:06 pm

Doc Stier wrote:With all due respect for your opinion, I stated previously on this thread that I have long included other training methods in conjunction with my IMA regimen without negative affects, and have found both to be mutually beneficial to one another. I guess you missed that memo.

I make every effort to be direct and straightforward in posting my opinions in order to eliminate any insinuation or vagueness. You read much into my post which wasn't intended, wasn't said, and simply isn't there. :-\


I read your input about your experiences... if you understood my post, you would know that I wasn't talking about your experience, but about the snarky additions. As direct you are with your opinions, you still inserted snark into your post, whether you see it or not.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:30 pm

Whatever, dude. Any problem you perceive here is all yours, as I have no argument with you.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:34 pm

Doc Stier wrote:Whatever, dude. Any problem you perceive here is all yours, as I have no argument with you.


I don't believe you have any argument with me personally, I just think you were projecting when you were pointing out my snark. :)
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