Internal vs. external

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

Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Doc Stier on Mon Oct 25, 2021 8:27 am

Good grief! Topics like this are always circular debates akin to a 'wild goose chase', which go round and round only to end up where they began with no consensus of agreement on anything. :-\

So, just forget about it. Go ahead and define 'internal' however you choose to. Train whatever you want to and however you want to. The merits of your opinion and your training regimen, or the lack of merit, will be easily seen by all over time in the demonstrated skills and benefits derived from your practice. ::)

Excellence in any martial art generally shines forth like a beacon light on a hilltop, while posers and frauds eventually expose themselves as such no matter what they claim or how they attempt to conceal their lack of genuine achievements. :)
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby wiesiek on Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:24 am

@Royal Dragon
Adding DT generated power to the power chain is also present in 'externals.
all powah come from the hara... remember?
real difference is,
well,
internal... :D
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Kelley Graham on Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:59 am

As this question comes up often, everywhere, from new and accomplished students, it's obvious that the lack of a serious definition is an issue. In what respected discipline is the actual scope of practice undefined or vague, or open to individual interpretation? An optical engineer, physician, lawyer, or architect first must learn what they are and what they are not doing in order to successfully enter their profession. The profession itself only prospers through a well reasoned and informed membership. Without clear standards, the profession weakens. Without an objective definition, our collection of practices under the NeiJia umbrella will continue to suffer fools and charlatans. So, I will continue to respond to any and all questions of this sort, regardless of circularity, or repetition of seeming uselessness, in order to help establish our work as valuable and worth preserving.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby oragami_itto on Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:41 am

Is there really any value to labelling things "internal" or "external" though?

It always seems to revolve around assumptions about what other systems train and how those methods are inferior. It doesn't really add anything to the practice.

I, personally, think it's better to just focus on what it is I want to accomplish and whether or not what I'm doing is serving that purpose. Much more productive than spending cycles imagining what other people are doing wrong.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby everything on Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:55 am

It depends on what you want to do. If you want to be like Fedor or Adesanya or whatever, you should do what they did.

If you want that venn diagram intersection of neigong and MA for whatever reason, you should do that. "Neijia" was apparently a label Sun came up with, and he seems to give extremely, extremely clear definitions and descriptions. So why not use those? No idea why people think it would be anything else. If they think it's "fascia" or some such nonsense, they should just say they do "fascia MA" or "eccentric MA" or whatever. NO IDEA why they would think they are on Sun's level, either, that they could "found" or interpret any of that correctly. That seems incomprehensibly arrogant. It would be like me trying to say Einstein was wrong when I know (about) so little physics. /rant
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Doc Stier on Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:14 am

everything wrote:It depends on what you want to do. If you want to be like Fedor or Adesanya or whatever, you should do what they did.

If you want that venn diagram intersection of neigong and MA for whatever reason, you should do that. "Neijia" was apparently a label Sun came up with, and he seems to give extremely, extremely clear definitions and descriptions. So why not use those? No idea why people think it would be anything else. If they think it's "fascia" or some such nonsense, they should just say they do "fascia MA" or "eccentric MA" or whatever. NO IDEA why they would think they are on Sun's level, either, that they could "found" or interpret any of that correctly. That seems incomprehensibly arrogant. It would be like me trying to say Einstein was wrong when I no (about) so little physics. /rant

Ain't that the truth! Well said and spot on. I totally agree. 8-)
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Bao on Wed Oct 27, 2021 2:09 pm

Kelley Graham wrote:it's obvious that the lack of a serious definition is an issue.


Marketing and politics is a bigger problem IMO, that is why there's a confusion, because everyone want to claim their own narrative.

everything wrote: "Neijia" was apparently a label Sun came up with, and


The name is not new at all,"neijiaquan" is an old name describing arts connected to Daoism. The "new" use was a label which Sun Lutang claims that his teachers used before him.

he seems to give extremely, extremely clear definitions and descriptions. So why not use those? No idea why people think it would be anything else.


What are those "extremely clear definitions and descriptions" you mean that he came up with?

The Wudang group he was a member of just used it as collective name for the arts they practiced, i.e. Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguaquan (Yes, Baguaquan. Sun used "quan" and not "zhang" for bagua). So if you go by that definition, no other art is "internal". Not Yiquan, Liuhebafa, Xinyi Liuhe and definitely not Wing Chun. Then it's just a collective name for three specific arts.

In fact, what Sun said is that it's only a name and that he didn't believe in the distinction of internal and external arts. He said that it's the understanding and development of Qi that determines if something is internal or external and nothing else.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Bhassler on Wed Oct 27, 2021 7:10 pm

everything wrote:"Neijia" was apparently a label Sun came up with, and he seems to give extremely, extremely clear definitions and descriptions. So why not use those? No idea why people think it would be anything else. If they think it's "fascia" or some such nonsense, they should just say they do "fascia MA" or "eccentric MA" or whatever. NO IDEA why they would think they are on Sun's level, either, that they could "found" or interpret any of that correctly. That seems incomprehensibly arrogant. It would be like me trying to say Einstein was wrong when I know (about) so little physics. /rant


Neijiaquan was the name of a specific art that appears to be gone and that no one knows much about, as far as I can tell. If anyone has credible information on the original art, it might be interesting to read. The internal/external distinction was apparently first coined by Huang Zongxi in 1669, and was more about politics and nationalism than martial arts. Robert W Smith intimated that there was a reason that Sun Lutang was not the head of the local martial arts association. Lutang's famous because he wrote books-- beyond that, he's someone who was apparently respected, but that doesn't automatically make him any kind of genius. It could have just as easily been social/political. So there's no reason for anyone not in his lineage to give any special weight to his definition of anything. That pretty much holds true for all the "classics", IMO.

People get really attached to the idea that there's a commonality between arts. What most seem to fail to realize is that it's the practitioner who is the same.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby wiesiek on Thu Oct 28, 2021 12:20 am

so,
we have to go over those two, to reach the one,
`caue there is no difference when you get there.
You can go from external to internal, or in reverse order, doesn`t matter. It is personal choice, but you have to get both under your belt if you hope to find the one.
What is most important during the way thru?
Harmony and inner peace

then, I can think of "3rd way" , when both are cultivated/practised equally from the start.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Bhassler on Thu Oct 28, 2021 8:03 am

wiesiek wrote:so,
we have to go over those two, to reach the one,
`caue there is no difference when you get there.
You can go from external to internal, or in reverse order, doesn`t matter. It is personal choice, but you have to get both under your belt if you hope to find the one.
What is most important during the way thru?
Harmony and inner peace

then, I can think of "3rd way" , when both are cultivated/practised equally from the start.


This is wrong. You develop what you practice. If your system has different practices that someone else's, you will get different results. No one is saying if you practice BJJ long enough you will magically acquire Muay Thai skills. It's the same with any other arts.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Quigga on Thu Oct 28, 2021 8:57 am

Wiesiek, I agree :) Just as if clasping two hands together for prayer and grasping the middle.

The meridians in the fingers in this position strongly swirl energy in and around the body, and a lot of heat, inner peace is generated.

Bhassler, what's the difference between BJJ and Muay Thai skills? Is it the movesets?

Or do both train response to stress and pressure, feeling of distance and timing in their preferred range, reading the partner on multiple levels, breath work, managing weight, dealing with potential pain and fear... And education on the human level or virtue level that a responsible instructor is engaging in.

No one is saying a striking art will teach you grappling moves or vice versa. But what are the factors that allow a person to successfully execute those techniques?
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Quigga on Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:07 am

Also the physical education or training for MT and BJJ seem to be pretty similar. Lift weights explosively, get fast, get strong, have insane stamina, be pliable and smooth, be flexible, maybe some hypertrophy - definitely as a side effect. Demonstrate good mobility for your preferred range of fighting, i.e. closing in, creating space, chasing, retreating, angling, circling, side stepping. Moving on the ground... Get some harder and denser bones, grind some muscle memory. Managing your breath and stamina, being relaxed under pressure. Get comfortable with being close to another person who wants to hurt you. How to create difficult situations for the other person and how to prevent them from doing so to yourself - or worst case, learning how to escape from difficult situations.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Bhassler on Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:14 am

Yes, and they also need to eat, breathe, and shit. Therefore, if all one does is eat, breathe, and shit, they are master of all things. Which is a silly way of pointing out that if you gerrymander the cognitive domains enough, you can rationalize just about anything.

I'm talking about concrete skills and attributes, not meta skills or philosophical constructs.
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Quigga on Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:29 am

So you're talking about movesets? I agree, BJJist won't be a good striker and MTist won't be a good grappler. Would you describe what concrete skills and attributes you are talking about, please? :)

After I was done addressing Wiesiek and started addressing you, exactly zero what I wrote can be called a philosophical construct. I'm pretty sure about that, yet am curious to know and willing to listen.

Are you calling conditioning and range management - creation/prevention of situations meta-skills?

Maybe the important point is that 2 or more people are in dynamic 'conflict'. And the mechanisms that allow people to communicate with each other and allow them to act upon each other don't change. Whether you give them sticks, knifes, gloves, guns, swords, spears,...

Or are we back in the realm of 'I drill moves and combos, develop eye and timing and set up for unleashing those and that makes me a very good martial artist.' ?
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Re: Internal vs. external

Postby Quigga on Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:37 am

Oh, and I've never met a martial artist who doesn't eat, breath and shit! :D Certainly my performance would suffer if I was starving or overeaten, had a stuffy nose or smoked a pack a day, and be constipated for 3 days or had raging diarrhea that day!

Now where might be the connection between 'life nourishing arts' (ah what's that called in Chinese again, I honestly forgot.. Yang shen fa?) and potentially lethal situations that arise without prior warning, as they did during the time of the CMA greats...?

Maybe to keep oneself in optimal performance condition cause you never know when the shadows come alive :O

Also your logic doesn't really check out, but that's ok :)
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