“Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

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

“Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 3:14 pm

One of the older common pieces of advice from years ago was that weight training hinders internal development, because it makes the muscles tense. I think many people now realize that this is a lot more nuanced, because swinging around heavy staffs can be considered “weight training”, yet internal artists do it… it’s more about how you include weight training into your program and keeping it inline with the principles you train under.

Not all “internal” martial arts practitioners agree on what the right way to train is, but at least a certain portion agree that you need to relax certain muscle groups in the legs and torso in order to develop that feeling of gaining more heaviness, balance, solidity in the lower half… part of this comes from relaxing the chest and allowing the weight to sink down, but also relaxing part of the hips, butt and legs like the hamstrings… to allow other muscles and connective tissue to develop.

This is, there are a number of activities that require recruiting various lower body muscles groups like, running, cycling, skateboarding, roller skating, rollerblading etc. So you spend years developing your the perfect balance of muscle groups for your “internal” body method… what are your thoughts on engaging in other lower body heavy activities that work the lower body in different ways? Do you think, have you found, they disrupt the “internal” development by developing different muscles, or does nothing get in the way of “internal” lower body development? Basically, can you do things like cycling, skateboarding, roller skating etc, and maintain your “internal” body development?

Curious to hear all your perspectives.
Last edited by Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Bhassler on Sun Jan 09, 2022 3:55 pm

Unless you're physically damaging yourself beyond ordinary training effects in strength training, larger, stronger muscles do not equate to "tightness" at all. Muscular tension (or not) is a function of the nervous system. So there may be some benefit to taking a break from other forms of physical activities that reinforce existing non-helpful habits while learning new ways of movement associated with IMA, but that shouldn't be generalized to a prohibition against other strenuous forms of activity long term. Many people would actually benefit from the additional proprioception gained by hard physical work/training. Also, tight muscles are frequently weak muscles, and sometimes building strength sensibly in the extreme ranges of motion can serve to unlock stubborn flexibility issues.

The other consideration is just one of available resources. If you're lifting weights, you're not practicing gongfu, etc. Also, we only have so much physical stress we can recover from day to day, and if someone adds other types of physical exercise on top of gongfu, that's competing for the same finite resources as one's martial arts training. So in that sense it's just a basic evaluation of cost to benefit ratio as it relates to one's training and overall goals in life. But if someone has the time and energy, then they likely would find other, varied activities to ultimately be quite complementary to internal body training.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:14 pm

Bhassler wrote:Unless you're physically damaging yourself beyond ordinary training effects in strength training, larger, stronger muscles do not equate to "tightness" at all. Muscular tension (or not) is a function of the nervous system. So there may be some benefit to taking a break from other forms of physical activities that reinforce existing non-helpful habits while learning new ways of movement associated with IMA, but that shouldn't be generalized to a prohibition against other strenuous forms of activity long term. Many people would actually benefit from the additional proprioception gained by hard physical work/training. Also, tight muscles are frequently weak muscles, and sometimes building strength sensibly in the extreme ranges of motion can serve to unlock stubborn flexibility issues.

The other consideration is just one of available resources. If you're lifting weights, you're not practicing gongfu, etc. Also, we only have so much physical stress we can recover from day to day, and if someone adds other types of physical exercise on top of gongfu, that's competing for the same finite resources as one's martial arts training. So in that sense it's just a basic evaluation of cost to benefit ratio as it relates to one's training and overall goals in life. But if someone has the time and energy, then they likely would find other, varied activities to ultimately be quite complementary to internal body training.


Thanks for the very well reasoned and detailed response. Makes a lot of sense. Cheers
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby everything on Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:51 pm

One question is where did these “don’t do this” ideas come from?

If we try to find what people like Sun, Guo Yunsheng, Wang Xiangzhai and others said,

There is some commonality. Zhan zhuang, sink Qi, etc.

As far as I can tell, people don’t listen.

So why are they making up long lists of don’t dos?

Is there somewhere where Sun said “don’t do…”?

I can only find shit he says to DO that people don’t do.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby marvin8 on Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:42 pm

Not "internal," however ...

Punchin' In
Aug 5, 2021

American Top Team's Coach of the Year Mike Brown discusses his views on strength and conditioning and how it applies to MMA in todays era.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFwe2BQDGB4

Former American Top Team's S & C Coach, Phil Daru.

Phil Daru
Mar 1, 2021

Bio -
Phil Daru is the Head trainer for some of the top athletes in the world and creator of Daru Strong Training Systems and founder of Daru Strong Performance Center. Daru has degrees in sports medicine and exercise science from Alabama State University where he played division 1 football. Holding certifications with Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Functional Range Movement Specialist (FRCms) and Kabuki Movement Specialist (NSCA-KMS).

Daru then began a career in MMA and turned professional at 21 years old where he then developed his own systems for training fighters. Daru has also competed in strongman, bodybuilding, and Bjj Gi and No Gi and currently competes in powerlifting. He has worked with well over 200 plus fighters including world champions like Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, Junior Dos Santos, Frankie Edgar, Tecia Torres, King Mo Lawal, Andrei Arlovski and many others. Coach Daru is a two time award winning Trainer of the Year for the Florida MMA Awards and Nominated for the Trainer of the Year for the World MMA Awards. He has been globally recognized for his contributions in combat sports performance and has traveled to over 10 countries teaching and mentoring. We want to welcome you to this channel and hope you enjoy the content!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqQkShM0zds
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:43 pm

everything wrote:One question is where did these “don’t do this” ideas come from?

If we try to find what people like Sun, Guo Yunsheng, Wang Xiangzhai and others said,

There is some commonality. Zhan zhuang, sink Qi, etc.

As far as I can tell, people don’t listen.

So why are they making up long lists of don’t dos?

Is there somewhere where Sun said “don’t do…”?

I can only find shit he says to DO that people don’t do.


You make a good point, but I don't think it was so much these famous martial artists saying to not do certain activities, but to avoid using brute strength... then people come to conclusions about what that means, and what type of activities and exercises more likely involve such strength/body development.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:50 pm

marvin8 wrote:Not "internal," however ...

Punchin' In
Aug 5, 2021

American Top Team's Coach of the Year Mike Brown discusses his views on strength and conditioning and how it applies to MMA in todays era.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFwe2BQDGB4

Former American Top Team's S & C Coach, Phil Daru.

Phil Daru
Mar 1, 2021

Bio -
Phil Daru is the Head trainer for some of the top athletes in the world and creator of Daru Strong Training Systems and founder of Daru Strong Performance Center. Daru has degrees in sports medicine and exercise science from Alabama State University where he played division 1 football. Holding certifications with Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Functional Range Movement Specialist (FRCms) and Kabuki Movement Specialist (NSCA-KMS).

Daru then began a career in MMA and turned professional at 21 years old where he then developed his own systems for training fighters. Daru has also competed in strongman, bodybuilding, and Bjj Gi and No Gi and currently competes in powerlifting. He has worked with well over 200 plus fighters including world champions like Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, Junior Dos Santos, Frankie Edgar, Tecia Torres, King Mo Lawal, Andrei Arlovski and many others. Coach Daru is a two time award winning Trainer of the Year for the Florida MMA Awards and Nominated for the Trainer of the Year for the World MMA Awards. He has been globally recognized for his contributions in combat sports performance and has traveled to over 10 countries teaching and mentoring. We want to welcome you to this channel and hope you enjoy the content!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqQkShM0zds



I agree with what he says, but I think the point I was getting at is not what the best way to development strength or attributes relative to your art is, but whether or not activities like ice skating, skateboarding, bike riding etc. which all have a strong lower body developmental aspect to it, impede the lower body development of IMA, because they may focus on different muscle groups, and maybe specifically one's that IMA people work hard to activity try to remain relaxed.
Last edited by Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby marvin8 on Sun Jan 09, 2022 8:23 pm

Fubo wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Not "internal," however ...

Punchin' In
Aug 5, 2021

American Top Team's Coach of the Year Mike Brown discusses his views on strength and conditioning and how it applies to MMA in todays era.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFwe2BQDGB4

Former American Top Team's S & C Coach, Phil Daru.

Phil Daru
Mar 1, 2021

Bio -
Phil Daru is the Head trainer for some of the top athletes in the world and creator of Daru Strong Training Systems and founder of Daru Strong Performance Center. Daru has degrees in sports medicine and exercise science from Alabama State University where he played division 1 football. Holding certifications with Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Functional Range Movement Specialist (FRCms) and Kabuki Movement Specialist (NSCA-KMS).

Daru then began a career in MMA and turned professional at 21 years old where he then developed his own systems for training fighters. Daru has also competed in strongman, bodybuilding, and Bjj Gi and No Gi and currently competes in powerlifting. He has worked with well over 200 plus fighters including world champions like Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, Junior Dos Santos, Frankie Edgar, Tecia Torres, King Mo Lawal, Andrei Arlovski and many others. Coach Daru is a two time award winning Trainer of the Year for the Florida MMA Awards and Nominated for the Trainer of the Year for the World MMA Awards. He has been globally recognized for his contributions in combat sports performance and has traveled to over 10 countries teaching and mentoring. We want to welcome you to this channel and hope you enjoy the content!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqQkShM0zds


I agree with what he says, but I think the point I was getting at is not what the best way to development strength or attributes relative to your art is, but whether or not activities like ice skating, skateboarding, bike riding etc. which all have a strong lower body developmental aspect to it, impede the lower body development of IMA, because they may focus on different muscle groups, and maybe specifically one's that IMA people work hard to activity try to remain relaxed.

It is they (Mike and Phil) with opposing views on S & C for fighting/competition. Phil Daru was let go from ATT.

What muscle groups are important in IMA? If your activities build the same attributes as the following, my guess is they would not impede "development of IMA," although they may not be as efficient and there may be an opportunity cost as Bhassler mentioned.

From previous RSF post, "So what exactly is Jibengong anyways?"

kenneth fish wrote:Robert Young brings up an interesting point - the difference in how Chinese traditionally looked at the world, and how "Westernized" Chinese look at the world - an ongoing process.

Although the Chinese can lay claim to high levels of technical and basic scientific achievement prior to the West's industrial revolution, the "scientific mindset" did not really exist - by which I mean a kind of intellectual training by which natural phenomena are systematically examined and tested. Still, the methods of Chinese forensics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, and metallurgy have much in common with modern methods.

Traditional Chinese thought placed significant emphasis on classification, organization, and the naming of things - there are entire schools of thought in this regard. In Chinese medicine there are entire treatises that discuss/argue the classification and proper terminology for specific disease entities. In Chinese martial arts there is some degree of agreement on terms as well - particularly in the Shaolin traditions, but across the arts as well (although this is less the case with respect to martial arts tied to mystic traditions, such as Daoism).

With that in mind I am have attempted to classify, broadly and generally, the different types of jibengong (not jibendongzuo, although some could probably fall into the categories below as well):

Strength: Jibengong that develop strength in: Small muscles, large muscles, stabilizers, strength within a limited range of motion across a single joint, strength through a large range of motion involving several joints.

Stability: Exercises that build stability for stancework, , stepping, gripping, and balance

Balance: exercises that teach balance on two feet on a narrow base, exercises that teach balance on a single point, exercises that develop whole body balance (for example balancing laying on ones back on a suspended length of rope)

Plyometric strength: Exercises that train explosive movement and/or ballistic, dynamic, movements. Exercises that develop the ability to jump.

Speed: Exercises that develop speed in stepping, turning, kicking and punching (although the exercises may not direct employ kicking or punching)

Range of motion: Exercises that increase functional range of motion (not stretching)

Penetration and force: Exercises that develop the foundation for striking power, penetration, and focus

Multiple Axis exercises: Exercises that teach awareness of and movement around various axis and lines of motion (these are not stepping or similar movement drills - they are mostly standing in place)

The above tend to be single movement, generally of limited range, may or may not employ equipment such as weights, hammers, spears, jars, and specialty devices.

There is one last issue that we have touched on before - some exercises may be publicly taught - but without the "key" idea of what to look for at each level of training and how to train them, one doesn't get the benefit . In other words, the answers to the key questions "what should this feel like? How do I know if I am doing this right? What is the result of the exercise? Usually this last question is answered first - the teacher demonstrates something, then shows the exercise needed to develop the strength etc for the action demonstrated.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:55 pm

marvin8 wrote:It is they (Mike and Phil) with opposing views on S & C for fighting/competition. Phil Daru was let go from ATT.

What muscle groups are important in IMA? If your activities build the same attributes as the following, my guess is they would not impede "development of IMA," although they may not be as efficient and there may be an opportunity cost as Bhassler mentioned.

From previous RSF post, "So what exactly is Jibengong anyways?"

kenneth fish wrote:Robert Young brings up an interesting point - the difference in how Chinese traditionally looked at the world, and how "Westernized" Chinese look at the world - an ongoing process.

Although the Chinese can lay claim to high levels of technical and basic scientific achievement prior to the West's industrial revolution, the "scientific mindset" did not really exist - by which I mean a kind of intellectual training by which natural phenomena are systematically examined and tested. Still, the methods of Chinese forensics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, and metallurgy have much in common with modern methods.

Traditional Chinese thought placed significant emphasis on classification, organization, and the naming of things - there are entire schools of thought in this regard. In Chinese medicine there are entire treatises that discuss/argue the classification and proper terminology for specific disease entities. In Chinese martial arts there is some degree of agreement on terms as well - particularly in the Shaolin traditions, but across the arts as well (although this is less the case with respect to martial arts tied to mystic traditions, such as Daoism).

With that in mind I am have attempted to classify, broadly and generally, the different types of jibengong (not jibendongzuo, although some could probably fall into the categories below as well):

Strength: Jibengong that develop strength in: Small muscles, large muscles, stabilizers, strength within a limited range of motion across a single joint, strength through a large range of motion involving several joints.

Stability: Exercises that build stability for stancework, , stepping, gripping, and balance

Balance: exercises that teach balance on two feet on a narrow base, exercises that teach balance on a single point, exercises that develop whole body balance (for example balancing laying on ones back on a suspended length of rope)

Plyometric strength: Exercises that train explosive movement and/or ballistic, dynamic, movements. Exercises that develop the ability to jump.

Speed: Exercises that develop speed in stepping, turning, kicking and punching (although the exercises may not direct employ kicking or punching)

Range of motion: Exercises that increase functional range of motion (not stretching)

Penetration and force: Exercises that develop the foundation for striking power, penetration, and focus

Multiple Axis exercises: Exercises that teach awareness of and movement around various axis and lines of motion (these are not stepping or similar movement drills - they are mostly standing in place)

The above tend to be single movement, generally of limited range, may or may not employ equipment such as weights, hammers, spears, jars, and specialty devices.

There is one last issue that we have touched on before - some exercises may be publicly taught - but without the "key" idea of what to look for at each level of training and how to train them, one doesn't get the benefit . In other words, the answers to the key questions "what should this feel like? How do I know if I am doing this right? What is the result of the exercise? Usually this last question is answered first - the teacher demonstrates something, then shows the exercise needed to develop the strength etc for the action demonstrated.


I must have missed the 2nd video as I only watched the first, so I was initially referring to the first, so I will say that I've found actually rolling in grappling to be the best way to condition for grappling, so in that respect I agree with the first guy, but I also believe all the solo training is fundamental to whatever effectiveness I have, be it strength, flexibility, stamina, endurance etc. so I don't discount that either... but that's not really what my initial post was about. Dr. Fish's post contains a lot to unpack, so is probably a lot more so than necessary for the simpler question I'm posing.

With regards to this: "What muscle groups are important in IMA? If your activities build the same attributes as the following, my guess is they would not impede "development of IMA," although they may not be as efficient and there may be an opportunity cost as Bhassler mentioned." This is why the question is posed, because these other activities may work similar muscles as IMA, but work other ones too, and in a different way, which is why you can do 30 minutes of ice skating and 30 minutes of Zhan Zhuang, and while you're thighs may have been works hard in both activities, you end up with different results. As far as I've learned, the glutes and hamstrings are maintained in a relatively relaxed state, where as the thigh muscles are a lot more engaged... The question was asked, because activities like skates, ride etc. activate muscles like the glutes and hamstrings to a far greater degree, where as a lot of IMA training aim to keep these muscles more relaxed (as taught in some schools).
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:26 pm

It’s not what muscles you train it’s how you train them
Ice skating trains the leg muscles in a totally different way
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I saw Sun do a kick flip the other day
He can’t skate
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:31 pm

everything wrote:One question is where did these “don’t do this” ideas come fromage?

One of the few "don't do's" that I have always thought made perfect sense was the admonition to avoid practicing sword forms with live blades outdoors during thunderstorms. ;D

What's the worst that could happen, right? Perhaps an unexpected Sudden Enlightenment! :o
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Sun Jan 09, 2022 11:10 pm

wayne hansen wrote:It’s not what muscles you train it’s how you train them
Ice skating trains the leg muscles in a totally different way
I went from a job in industrial law to lugging boxes of bananas at the markets
2000 a day at the insistance of one of my teachers
It was invaluable
I saw Sun do a kick flip the other day
He can’t skate


Ok, so maybe the question should be, if ice skating trains leg muscles in a totally different way, then will doing ice skating regularly impede ones IMA training, since IMA training aims to train legs in a totally different way from ice skating?
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Sun Jan 09, 2022 11:15 pm

Makes me wonder. :-*

My dad lived to be 90 years of age with good health and fitness until the end. He continued the country farm diet he grew up with throughout his lifetime, did deep breathing exercises and walked several miles outdoors daily, lifted free weights, and maintained a positive mental attitude with a great sense of humor. It was a good life well lived, without doing a lick of kungfu training ever. :o

In contrast, I have known many famous and highly accomplished kungfu practitioners and teachers noted for their 'internal' cultivation and development, who suffered multiple heart attacks and strokes, or had diabetes or other chronic diseases. Many of them ultimately died from these diseases or from various types of cancer, just like millions of ordinary people do, despite their training and supposedly adhering to all of the traditional do's and don'ts.

So in the end, how much value to a long life with optimal health and fitness is really derived from adhering to the lists of do's and don'ts? Hmm. Makes me wonder. :-\
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby marvin8 on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:22 am

Fubo wrote:what are your thoughts on engaging in other lower body heavy activities that work the lower body in different ways? Do you think, have you found, they disrupt the “internal” development by developing different muscles, or does nothing get in the way of “internal” lower body development? what are your thoughts on engaging in other lower body heavy activities that Basically, can you do things like cycling, skateboarding, roller skating etc, and maintain your “internal” body development?

Physiologically, low intensity, endurance type exercises will not "disrupt the 'internal' development," as they don't develop overly big muscles. Conversely, high intensity training such as bodybuilding (e.g., heavy weights, low reps) can disrupt "internal development" and fighting skills.

Fubo wrote:... because they may focus on different muscle groups, and maybe specifically one's that IMA people work hard to activity try to remain relaxed.

Functional strong muscles, without bulk, do not impede relaxation. They may help it.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Graculus on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:30 am

I guess it depends how much you do - if you are serious about cycling or skating (especially speed skating) it will seriously impede your ability to get your legs into a normal pair of jeans. :) I have also heard at least one high ranking professional cyclist say that it affected his ability to walk what would be considered normal distances, but these are guys who cycle 30k on their days off...

I have used my bicycle a lot to get around over the last thirty years or so and have found no negative effects on IMA. It is also quite a good way to connect up various parts of the body and feel what parts are (or are not) doing the work. You can certainly feel when your legs are doing the work and when you are actively utilising the core, hips, back etc in various ways and when you are not. As the legs are not bearing your weight but are working against a load, it makes it easier to isolate some of the things IMA are working on. Definitely complementary as far as I'm concerned.

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