“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 Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:46 am

Doc Stier wrote: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. :-\


These are all great points, general health, diet and fitness are important... but not really to the point of the question, which is about whether or not doing different kinds of non-IMA lower body training will impede IMA development.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:50 am

marvin8 wrote:
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.


Ok, I appreciate the direct response.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:53 am

Graculus wrote: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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Thanks for adding your experience, that is helpful! I would imagine that at least some of those high level professional cyclists would incorporate some form of weight training, which may also account for the large leg muscles.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:33 am

It was only ice skating I mentioned standing on a single blade is quite different to the way we aim to sink in IMA
Nothing wrong with skating great exercise
The point of IMA is not long healthy it is a side benefit
I had an aunt who lived to 103 long life is more about overall lifestyle
Any physical activity is good
People ask me to teach them quite often ,I advise walking
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Bao on Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:35 am

A couple of interviews I've read through the years with centenarians:

One 104 year old's advice to long life = Begin each day with a sturdy English breakfast with bacon and egg.
Another 104 year old's advice to a long life = Have one Dr Pepper every day.

Studies of Cities in Japan that have the greatest amount of centenarians says that elderly people there have a good social life and engage in lots of activities.

Hong Kong is the place on Earth where people enjoy the longest life (Yes, despite now being communist! LOL!). In HK there is no real general pension, people need to continue to provide for themselves and many people work until they die. Look at Run Run Shaw for instance, never stopped producing movies, and lived to 106! They not only keep active, but they usually have a good social life as well.

For what I get out of what I've learned so far, living a long life has probably something to do with a combination of genes and the general attitude towards life. If you stay active and curious and feel that your life has meaning, I would guess that there's a chance that you would live longer. General activity and keeping movability seems to be more important than specific exercises.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Mon Jan 10, 2022 9:17 am

Fubo wrote:
Doc Stier wrote: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. :-\


These are all great points, general health, diet and fitness are important... but not really to the point of the question, which is about whether or not doing different kinds of non-IMA lower body training will impede IMA development.

Actually, it is very much on point, because what difference does it make if those who claim to have IMA development by any means of training don't live with stronger internal strength reflected in their health?

Should we conclude that organic physiological health has no relationship to IMA cultivation, or that those who failed to maintain that during their lifetime simply weren't perpetuating their cultivation practices? ???
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby LaoDan on Mon Jan 10, 2022 9:34 am

One difficulty with the question of other exercises being beneficial or harmful to one’s IMA practice is the subjectivity of the experiences. If you work as a laborer, then you are probably OK. Exercising specific muscles through specialized training, though, could be good or bad depending on how it is specifically done. [E.g., pole shaking seems to have been a popular supplemental training practice for developing power in TJQ.]

The only objective experience that I have with a similar topic is through high school swimming (though this was long ago, and training may be different now) and winter sports (skiing etc.). While we would train preseason with running, we would not do so during the season, and participating in winter sport activities over a weekend would result in longer times in events (i.e., these activities would harm the swimming). My understanding was that swimming benefited from relaxed muscles, and winter sports tightened the muscles, resulting in worse times for the swimming events (although only for a few weeks). I do not know of any way to objectively measure MA ability after supplemental training or activities.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Bhassler on Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:23 am

Doc Stier wrote:Should we conclude that organic physiological health has no relationship to IMA cultivation, or that those who failed to maintain that during their lifetime simply weren't perpetuating their cultivation practices? ???


We shouldn't conclude anything, because there are too many other complicating factors to determine what effect, if any, IMA practice has on long term health and longevity. The best we can do is collect anecdotes from respected sources and each make our own conclusions as to what makes sense for us. But regardless of individual conclusions relative to longevity, it still doesn't answer the question of whether additional activities harm IMA performance.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Doc Stier on Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:43 am

Bhassler wrote:
Doc Stier wrote:Should we conclude that organic physiological health has no relationship to IMA cultivation, or that those who failed to maintain that during their lifetime simply weren't perpetuating their cultivation practices? ???


We shouldn't conclude anything, because there are too many other complicating factors to determine what effect, if any, IMA practice has on long term health and longevity. The best we can do is collect anecdotes from respected sources and each make our own conclusions as to what makes sense for us. But regardless of individual conclusions relative to longevity, it still doesn't answer the question of whether additional activities harm IMA performance.

Ok, fair enough. Speaking solely for myself, the long-term use of free weights and other exercise equipment, running, biking, etc, for strength and athletic fitness apparently hasn't had any negative affects on my IMA training and internal development in the past 60+ years thus far. And in turn, the IMA and Nei-Tan training has always had a positive impact on any sport activity I chose to engage in.

As far as I can tell, the two have been mutually beneficial, so I have concluded that it's all good. 8-)
Last edited by Doc Stier on Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Steve James on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:01 pm

Pro cyclists walk fine. Some participate in cyclocross (bike/runs over mixed terrain). One is a world champ in cyclocross and has also won the Tour de France. In fact, running and skating are the traditional winter training sports for racing cyclists.

Not all pro-cyclists have huge legs. Many are cut but skinny. The best sprinters, especially on the track, are the ones with monster thighs. Leg size over 100km is really a drawback. Fwiw.

Afa the question of whether "external" training hinders "internal" development, I only accept the premise to the extent that time spent training one thing takes away time for training something else. Whether a particular form of training complements another depends on the practitioner's goals. Yeah, a construction laborer has a head start when it comes to lifting weights, and might want to consider stretching more.

A slightly different question is whether someone who practices internal arts needs a healthy cardiovascular system. And, that means not just for doing ima, but simply for living life, going up stairs, carrying groceries, etc. Is just training internal enough? I think the answer is very subjective and depends on individual goals.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:17 pm

Doc Stier wrote:
Fubo wrote:
Doc Stier wrote: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. :-\


These are all great points, general health, diet and fitness are important... but not really to the point of the question, which is about whether or not doing different kinds of non-IMA lower body training will impede IMA development.

Actually, it is very much on point, because what difference does it make if those who claim to have IMA development by any means of training don't live with stronger internal strength reflected in their health?

Should we conclude that organic physiological health has no relationship to IMA cultivation, or that those who failed to maintain that during their lifetime simply weren't perpetuating their cultivation practices? ???


That maybe the point you’re trying to make, but it wasn’t the point of the topic. It is a given, for me at least, that good health is the byproduct of good IMA practice, and diet etc. but you can get that from other exercise too. Of course there’s a correlation between IMA and health, but that’s not the point here. The point is whether continuously training your legs in other activities like skating will get in the way of using your legs as intended in IMA, since both ways tend to develop the legs differently.
Last edited by Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:36 pm

Steve James wrote:Pro cyclists walk fine. Some participate in cyclocross (bike/runs over mixed terrain). One is a world champ in cyclocross and has also won the Tour de France. In fact, running and skating are the traditional winter training sports for racing cyclists.

Not all pro-cyclists have huge legs. Many are cut but skinny. The best sprinters, especially on the track, are the ones with monster thighs. Leg size over 100km is really a drawback. Fwiw.

Afa the question of whether "external" training hinders "internal" development, I only accept the premise to the extent that time spent training one thing takes away time for training something else. Whether a particular form of training complements another depends on the practitioner's goals. Yeah, a construction laborer has a head start when it comes to lifting weights, and might want to consider stretching more.

A slightly different question is whether someone who practices internal arts needs a healthy cardiovascular system. And, that means not just for doing ima, but simply for living life, going up stairs, carrying groceries, etc. Is just training internal enough? I think the answer is very subjective and depends on individual goals.


I guess besides pro athletes, I was more thinking along the lines of recreation and commuting. I think the argument that time spent doing other activities besides martial arts training hinders ones martial arts by taking time away, is a legitimate argument, but if someone spends and hour and a half commuting to work everyday by bike or rollerblades, they aren't taking time away from training, yet they are essentially training the legs and core in different ways... not to the level of elite athletes, but affecting ones development, either positively or negatively, nonetheless.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:41 pm

LaoDan wrote:One difficulty with the question of other exercises being beneficial or harmful to one’s IMA practice is the subjectivity of the experiences. If you work as a laborer, then you are probably OK. Exercising specific muscles through specialized training, though, could be good or bad depending on how it is specifically done. [E.g., pole shaking seems to have been a popular supplemental training practice for developing power in TJQ.]

The only objective experience that I have with a similar topic is through high school swimming (though this was long ago, and training may be different now) and winter sports (skiing etc.). While we would train preseason with running, we would not do so during the season, and participating in winter sport activities over a weekend would result in longer times in events (i.e., these activities would harm the swimming). My understanding was that swimming benefited from relaxed muscles, and winter sports tightened the muscles, resulting in worse times for the swimming events (although only for a few weeks). I do not know of any way to objectively measure MA ability after supplemental training or activities.


I am totally fine with subjective anecdotal evidence, because as you've pointed out, there are no real objective measurements on this topic, so I'm more interested in hearing people's personal experiences.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Bhassler on Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:59 pm

Doc Stier wrote:Speaking solely for myself, the long-term use of free weights and other exercise equipment, running, biking, etc, for strength and athletic fitness apparently hasn't had any negative affects on my IMA training and internal development in the past 60+ years thus far. And in turn, the IMA and Nei-Tan training has always had a positive impact on any sport activity I chose to engage in.

As far as I can tell, the two have been mutually beneficial, so I have concluded that it's all good. 8-)


That has been my observation and experience, as well. Except for the 60+ years part. I've been doing MA for less than 25 years, which makes me a total noob by your standards.

Fubo wrote:I guess besides pro athletes, I was more thinking along the lines of recreation and commuting. I think the argument that time spent doing other activities besides martial arts training hinders ones martial arts by taking time away, is a legitimate argument, but if someone spends and hour and a half commuting to work everyday by bike or rollerblades, they aren't taking time away from training, yet they are essentially training the legs and core in different ways... not to the level of elite athletes, but affecting ones development, either positively or negatively, nonetheless.


One of the guys I train with has commuted by bike for forever. He suffered just as much as anyone, initially, but got IMA strong legs really quickly, as he was just kind of "filling in the gaps" rather than starting from scratch. And now the dude can train for forever without getting worn out, because his body is so used to sustained exertion of all types.
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Re: “Internal” body training and non-complimentary activities

Postby Fubo on Mon Jan 10, 2022 1:19 pm

Bhassler wrote:
One of the guys I train with has commuted by bike for forever. He suffered just as much as anyone, initially, but got IMA strong legs really quickly, as he was just kind of "filling in the gaps" rather than starting from scratch. And now the dude can train for forever without getting worn out, because his body is so used to sustained exertion of all types.


Thank you, this is the direct kind of example that speaks to the question.
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