Is "internal" real that important?

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

Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby LaoDan on Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:30 am

MaartenSFS wrote:If you learn from a good teacher that doesn't waste your time then why not learn how to generate power in a way that almost no one else can, that doesn't require a wind up, that can be used from any angle, backwards or forwards, that does grievous damage to your opponent, that will only improve with age, not deteriorate?

Maarten,

I know that the promise is that “internal” power “will only improve with age, not deteriorate,” but I do not know if this is true. I lack the experience, even subjectively, to be able to evaluate this claim, and I doubt that there is scientific evidence to back it up. Although conventional strength gradually decreases with age (Functional Threshold Power [FTP] for cyclists, as measured with power meters, decreases by ~0.5%/year beyond age 35 for Olympic level training athletes, and probably somewhat more for others):

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If a similar decrease holds for fighters, then once someone reaches their mid-50s they would likely notice that they have less power (FTP = ~10% less, which should be noticeable) than when they were in their prime. This is when a fighter, who wishes to continue as a fighter, may look to switch to the promise of “internal” power. But are the claims just stories and ideals, or are there good reasons to believe the claims? What experiences (even subjective ones) can you relay to us that lead you to believe these claims for “internal” power?

John,

You seem to clearly realize that one looses power with age, and you maintain rigorous training in order to lessen those losses. Would you be more interested in “internal” training if you could be convinced that power “will only improve with age, not deteriorate?” What would be necessary to convince you of that? Personally I am doubtful of those claims, and feel that they come from the culture of Chinese longevity/immortality traditions (e.g., Daoism) that, at least in modern practitioners, do not seem to be convincing (at least to me).

Speculation:

I’ve known senior practitioners who have had amazing skills for their age, but not necessarily when compared with a 30 year old, at least when comparing power generation. Many senior practitioners compensate for reduced physical abilities by increasing their efficiency, sensitivity, knowledge, wisdom, etc. But are “internal” practitioners really able to maintain their physical abilities, or are they just compensating for any declines by increasing their functional abilities in other ways? All older “internal” practitioners that I have experience with seem to have diminished power when in their 70’s and above, despite their desires for “internal” power that does not diminish with age.

If we use the above graph as a speculative model, then we could assume that fighters trained in “internal” power could have 20% more power, the difference between the “no training” line and the “training like an Olympian” line. [Note that I have no idea what a realistic difference level for “external” vs. “internal” FTP would be, and as far as I know this has never actually been measured scientifically, but a 20% increase would not only be noticeable, it could subjectively seem very significant.] Using the graph, a “no training” fighter would notice a 10% decrease in their power when they reach age 40. After perhaps 5 years of subsequent “internal” training (“getting your shit together” line), the graph would indicate that they would have regained their previous level of FTP, and by age 50-55 would have increased their FTP beyond their prime untrained FTP (at age 25-30). At age 60 they may again notice a decrease in their FTP if their abilities were accurately reflected by the graph line for “getting your shit together.” IF they continued fighting to age 65 and older, then they would again notice a decline in their FTP. Again, they would only again notice the decline if they did not retire from fighting/testing when they became a senior citizen.

Maarten may be young enough now to scientifically measure his FTP for a strike, and re-measure it when he turns 70 to see if his power is actually maintained (or increases), but I am too old to do that myself. He could also measure before “internal” training and after “internal” training of any student that he could convince to undergo his version of training for “internal” power. Otherwise I doubt that there is scientifically reliable information currently available that is appropriate to this discussion of “internal” vs. “external” power generation, or the longevity of “internal” power. I can envision subjectivity and ego (as well as cultural influences) contributing to the idea that “internal” power “will only improve with age, not deteriorate,” but I would want reliable evidence before I would be convinced of this.
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby Bao on Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:54 am

But are the claims just stories and ideals, or are there good reasons to believe the claims? What experiences (even subjective ones) can you relay to us that lead you to believe these claims for “internal” power?


Seek out William Chen (about 85 yrs old) or any of his senior students so you yourself can experience what Maarten spoke about.
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby johnwang on Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:15 am

C.J.W. wrote:Here's another similar clip also done from a similar cross-body throw position. Do you guys do this in SC? I bet the answer is also a big NO.

Compress and release. Same power generation method.

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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby johnwang on Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:16 pm

LaoDan wrote:You seem to clearly realize that one looses power with age, and you maintain rigorous training in order to lessen those losses. Would you be more interested in “internal” training if you could be convinced that power “will only improve with age, not deteriorate?” What would be necessary to convince you of that? Personally I am doubtful of those claims, and feel that they come from the culture of Chinese longevity/immortality traditions (e.g., Daoism) that, at least in modern practitioners, do not seem to be convincing (at least to me).

Power is not what I'm interested to maintain. Even 2 weeks ago, my 2 new students still could not break my grips. Even 2 weeks ago, I could still use my head lock to tap out my new students. The leg skill is what I truly want to maintain. It's just my SC solo training can polish/enhance my leg skill more than my Taiji solo training can. I want to maintain my leg skill such as cut, knife hook, inner hook, outer hook, twist, lift, … Any training with both legs on the ground is not what I'm interested at this point of my life.

If I only have time to train 1 solo drill, this is the one that I'll definitely train. I believe if I can still do this when I'm 90, my body condition should still be good.

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I have spent so much training time to develop this leg skill. I don't want to lose it.

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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby roger hao on Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:41 pm

John -
Apologize to be wise-ass -

Do you think he will always pull up his pants when he applies this move?
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby dspyrido on Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:11 pm

marvin8 wrote:
johnwang wrote:
dspyrido wrote:Training hard with a partner intensely then when the body is sore training to recuperate yet still keep learning by doing it slowly?

I have always believed you should only spent 75% of your energy in training. You feel you want to do more, but you force yourself not to, so you will expect next day training.

Most external fighters do this too—not training to failure, infrequent hard sparring, recuperating with ice baths, cryovac, etc.

dspyrido wrote:The point was to be aware of spectrum of training and to acknowledge it goes to two extremes - hence the description internal vs. external.

I think that awareness & training at both ends is what provides a much greater ability. ...

Looking at your points - guess what - you're more of an internal guy than you like to accept. Again it just depends on the view of internal vs. external but on a spectrum you are 2/3 of the way in the internal realm than the external with so much repetition. Sure you might refuse to do standing posture but you are definitely not gassing yourself to push your cardio to a sport specific 3-5 minute rounds as intensely as possible. You are building through controlled repetition.

Using your logic shuai chiao and external fighters are "2/3 of the way internal?" A real street fight shouldn't last more than "3-5 minutes."


I've said many many times that the internal and external go hand in hand and one can't be trained without the other. It's a range for the training and where the focus drifts to. IDK why this view exists in the IMA community where training should not contain ANY external methods or that external people can't train internal practices.

But there is a difference in doing kickboxing and then adding yoga vs. doing a IMA form that touches both external and internal and can be trained on either end of the spectrum.

Why do you think so called external fighters should not know internal mechanisms and training methods?
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby LaoDan on Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:02 pm

johnwang wrote:I want to maintain my leg skill such as cut, knife hook, inner hook, outer hook, twist, lift, … Any training with both legs on the ground is not what I'm interested at this point of my life.

If I only have time to train 1 solo drill, this is the one that I'll definitely train. I believe if I can still do this when I'm 90, my body condition should still be good.

Image

Well, if you are seeking to maintain leg strength, then I suspect that you will decline in a manner similar to cyclists at a rate near -0.5% per year, assuming that you maintain your training regime. This is probably noticeable to you when training with equipment, but you can probably overcome this decline due to your experience, ability with timing your opportunities, working efficiently, setting up the opponent better, better awareness of your balance, etc. when engaged with an opponent. But I doubt that you will be able to maintain actual leg strength, unless you do something different than Olympic level “external” style training...

For what you are seeking, your drill seems like the way to go – I have no better suggestions considering what I know of your current training and abilities. Possibly some of the balance training equipment could be added, but I am not particularly knowledgeable about these. You could, for example, explore practicing the same exercise while standing on a balance ball...?
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby LaoDan on Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:10 pm

Bao wrote:Seek out William Chen (about 85 yrs old) or any of his senior students so you yourself can experience what Maarten spoke about.

I would be interested in seeing force measurements for Max and Tiffany now, when they are relatively young, and see how their power is maintained in 20 years...
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby johnwang on Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:51 pm

marvin8 wrote:Zhang Yun (Yang taiji), shuai chiao and Zhonghua (Practical Method) show 3 different variations of diagonal fly: shoulder strike, trunk hitting and rotational disc, respectively.

Does Zhang Yun "knows very little about 'good Taiji,'" since his diagonal flying is different from Zhonghua's? Do you think Zhonghua's body method is "really that important" (the OP topic)? If so, can you explain why?

IMO, Zhonghua's body method is not important at all.

What's the difference between Taiji "diagonal fly" vs. SC "撞(Zhuang) - Trunk hitting", or SC "靠(Kao) - Advance squeeze"? The difference is the leg skill. In SC "撞(Zhuang) - Trunk hitting", you want to control your opponent's back leg (I have posted 3 clips for that). In SC "靠(Kao) - Advance squeeze", you want to control your opponent's leading leg. If you have the correct leg skill, you don't need much power generation.

In the folowing clip, you use your knee to press on the back of your opponent's knee. If you can achieve that, you don't need much power generation.

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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby C.J.W. on Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:44 pm

johnwang wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:Here's another similar clip also done from a similar cross-body throw position. Do you guys do this in SC? I bet the answer is also a big NO.

Compress and release. Same power generation method.


That is.....a very broad generalization. Might as well say that they are all the same because they all follow laws of Physics. :-\

You have too much pride in SC, and is in denial about the fact that there are other -- and potentially better -- methods out there.

It is now clear to me that you are more interested in convincing others that SC is better than IMA rather than trying to understand it.
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby johnwang on Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:39 pm

C.J.W. wrote:You have too much pride in SC, and is in denial about the fact that there are other -- and potentially better -- methods out there.

It is now clear to me that you are more interested in convincing others that SC is better than IMA rather than trying to understand it.

By using the Taiji diagonal fly as an example, we are discussing whether "internal" is needed to make it work. I have posted 5 clips (include the one below) to prove it works without any "internal" involved.

It's your turn to prove that "internal" is necessary in order to make diagonal fly work.

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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby Trick on Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:37 am

johnwang wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:You have too much pride in SC, and is in denial about the fact that there are other -- and potentially better -- methods out there.

It is now clear to me that you are more interested in convincing others that SC is better than IMA rather than trying to understand it.

By using the Taiji diagonal fly as an example, we are discussing whether "internal" is needed to make it work. I have posted 5 clips (include the one below) to prove it works without any "internal" involved.

It's your turn to prove that "internal" is necessary in order to make diagonal fly work.

Image

That karate guy probably has the Naihanchi/Tekki katas in his style curriculum, the technique in the gif is one of those katas signature. As alsothe previous gif of Lyoto Machida also shows.
Once again I stress the importance of those katas for an internalized Karate performance....8-)
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby marvin8 on Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:11 am

dspyrido wrote:But there is a difference in doing kickboxing and then adding yoga vs. doing a IMA form that touches both external and internal and can be trained on either end of the spectrum.

That's part of the OP question: What difference will "internal" training make when training how to fight? What is the difference between internal and external dao gou, foot sweep, hip throw, diagonal flying, etc.? Attributes were proposed (e.g., non-telegraph, power) but no videos were posted that showed "internal" training makes a difference in a fight (arguably?).

A MMA fighter doesn't need to "add yoga." Fighting attributes/skills can be internalized through shadow boxing, technique repetition, equipment, pad work, strength and conditioning, partner drills, technical sparring, visualization, flow state, etc.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D92xTWTZhU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLnHoe6tqmA

dspyrido wrote:Why do you think so called external fighters should not know internal mechanisms and training methods?

Not sure if that's a rhetorical question. However, many external fighters probably know about "internal mechanisms and training methods," but choose to train using proven modern methods.
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby ctjla on Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:24 am

johnwang wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:You have too much pride in SC, and is in denial about the fact that there are other -- and potentially better -- methods out there.

It is now clear to me that you are more interested in convincing others that SC is better than IMA rather than trying to understand it.

By using the Taiji diagonal fly as an example, we are discussing whether "internal" is needed to make it work. I have posted 5 clips (include the one below) to prove it works without any "internal" involved.

It's your turn to prove that "internal" is necessary in order to make diagonal fly work.

Image


Hmmmmm. Make it work on who? And with how much resistance involved? One probably doesn't need much martial art training of any sort to to toss some compliant students during a demo. A second string high school wrestler could train just using that video as curriculum and pull of the same demo in a couple of months. Could we refine the question to ask "how do we make it work on a non-compliant opponent who hasn't already compromised their own balance without resorting to striking (and/or superior physical strength)?"

So depending on how strong you are (+ how many extra tricks you have) and who you're trying to make it work on -- you're right, you probably don't need "internal."

And to C.J.W.'s point, it does appear that you believe there's no point in studying internal mechanics. So much so that it's actually confusing as to why you're wasting your time on an internal arts forum. This could be just a distraction from practicing and promoting SC (the better art for you)? Unless the goal is to be the internet version of Xu Xiaodong and save everyone on this forum from wasted practice hours.

Or if there's genuine curiosity... you could go out there and feel what some more well-reputed individuals have to offer? Heading down to the local Shaolin school to pick up some Yang style most likely isn't going to provide the depth required to answer these sorts of questions.

Dan Harden seems to be really good about providing physical explanations to these types of questions. His seminars are all over the place and a little more advertised these days. https://bodyworkseminars.org/seminar-dates-and-locations.html. There's also Sam Chin, whom I don't know and Minoru Akuzawa who can demonstrate quite a bit of combative technique with way beyond ordinary power. I'm sure others on this forum would have some solid recommendations as well.

It might take a few dollars but depending on how much everyone's time is worth, it's a lot more cost effective to just see it in person and get these kinds of questions resolved once and for all.
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Re: Is "internal" real that important?

Postby ctjla on Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:40 am

marvin8 wrote:
dspyrido wrote:But there is a difference in doing kickboxing and then adding yoga vs. doing a IMA form that touches both external and internal and can be trained on either end of the spectrum.

That's part of the OP question: What difference will "internal" training make when training how to fight? What is the difference between internal and external dao gou, foot sweep, hip throw, diagonal flying, etc.? Attributes were proposed (e.g., non-telegraph, power) but no videos were posted that showed "internal" training makes a difference in a fight (arguably?).

A MMA fighter doesn't need to "add yoga." Fighting attributes/skills can be internalized through shadow boxing, technique repetition, equipment, pad work, strength and conditioning, partner drills, technical sparring, visualization, flow state, etc.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D92xTWTZhU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLnHoe6tqmA

dspyrido wrote:Why do you think so called external fighters should not know internal mechanisms and training methods?

Not sure if that's a rhetorical question. However, many external fighters probably know about "internal mechanisms and training methods," but choose to train using proven modern methods.


If one is looking to gain combat effectiveness in a short period of time, is already somewhat athletic and has the resources to train hard more than a couple of times a week -- then investing in anything of a more traditional sort seems to be kind of a waste of time, doesn't it? See your point about modern methods. Certainly something to think about.

I also wonder how many people on this forum fit that profile? Why do you think anyone trains in any type of Traditional/Chinese Martial Art at all? It's not like it has the best fight record as a style.
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