what internal means, IMO

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

what internal means, IMO

Postby nianfong on Mon May 12, 2008 12:51 am

copied from the original forum:

Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 8:37pm
Internal, to me, is not a matter of system or style. It is a matter of body mechanics and related concepts. I believe many people confuse "soft" and "relaxed" with internal skills. I believe there are many Taiji and Bagua and similar players of Chinese martial arts who are soft and relaxed but have no internal skills to speak of.

In my experience, internal skill consists of having conscious control over muscle groups not generally thought of as being under conscious control, and being able to coordinate them in a fashion that is not, on the face of it, "natural". An example would be compression, or "suojing". Regardless of what a system calls it, this is the contraction of the muscles normally engaged in maintaining erect posture, as well as the intercostals and, at a more advanced stage, the stabilizing muscles at all of the joints in the kinetic chain under consideration. "Soft" and "hard" and "relaxed" don't really have anything to do with this picture. Cooked noodles are soft, and drunks are relaxed, but neither one is an example of internal training.
Posted by: HopGarSanSau Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 8:39pm
mr fish

can you tell me a bit more about those guys you met from back in the day from the southern kung fu lines? which southern kung fu lines influenced/impressed you? and more specifically i kind of want to know about henry leung of the fut sao wing chun lineage and your experience with him if thats ok.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 8:58pm
Sifu Leung was one of the highest level martial arts teachers I ever met - he had absolute control over every muscle and joint in his body, tremendous full body sensitivity and balance, body unity, qigong and neigong. He was one of the few people I met with qinggong skills (Ken Delves can back me up on this). The seemingly relaxed power he could generate was at once wonderful and terrifying. He was one of the yardsticks by which I measured other teachers.

His sticking hands was light as a feather - you could barely feel the contact - but he was always redirecting your entire body and balance with that touch. His wingchun encompassed all of the principles of real internal skill - it was like an education in the application of the classics.

I frequently took martial artists from other schools to meet Henry - they always came away impressed. I took a Chinatown gang instructor there one day (after clearing it with Sifu Leung) - the guy came away saying "this old man has the real art". He literally could not lay a finger on Henry, whereas Sifu Leung tossed him about like a toy.

Sifu Leung wrote a letter of introduction for me to the Wing Chun community - it was eye opening for me- everywhere I went the (generally older) sifu would read the note, have a expression that showed that they not only knew Sifu Leung but had great respect for his skills, and then be very open and somewhat deferential to me as a guest.

Also in New York was Lam Sang (Lam Wingfei). I met him in Taiwan while he was in retirement. He and Sifu Leung knew each other well, and considered each other as equals. Master Lam demonstrated some similar skills, and was the first person to show me that he could cause areas of his torso to well up into 1 or 2 cm mounds, which he could move at will. He also had qinggong.

Y.C. Wong in San Francisco has far higher level internal than most people realize (and higher than most "internal" martial artists I've seen). Touching him while he is doing his Hung Gar is like having a road map to control of fine muscle groups.
Posted by: Uatu the Watcher the Ed Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 9:07pm
1 or 2 cm mounds? That is pretty small - is this the so-called moving of dantian around? Or something else?

Those Southern stylists do seem "internal" to me...
Posted by: HopGarSanSau Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 9:18pm
that's amazing. thanks.

are there any other teachers of his "fut sao wing chun" from his generation? from what i know, it used to be called something else
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 9:23pm
They were about the diameter of a nickel, maybe a bit larger, and raised. He called them rouqiu, literally "muscle balls". He said they were concentrations of qi under the skin. Master Hu Jiemin of Lohan Shaolin had the same skills. Speaking of whom - his neigong was incredible. His body would expand and contract visibly. Once he showed me a "kip up" unlike anything I had ever seen - he lay on the ground on his back, raised his feet about six inches off the ground. A wave seemed to run through his body, and without bending his knees he was suddenly standing upright.

I used to go visit the abbot Heng Yueh at Muzhi mountain outside of Taipei - he was just over 100 years old when I met him. He was still practicing Lohan kung fu. When he moved he too seemed to expand and contract visibly - his forearm would swell to half again its normal size, and his mid forearm to his fingertips would turn quite red.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 9:27pm
I believe Sifu Leung mentioned someone - James Cama would know better than I would. Sifu Leung did tell me that he thought highly of Peng Nam and Cen Neng.
Posted by: onyomi Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 10:28pm
on May 4th, 2008, 9:23pm, kenneth_fish wrote:

I used to go visit the abbot Heng Yueh at Muzhi mountain outside of Taipei - he was just over 100 years old when I met him. He was still practicing Lohan kung fu. When he moved he too seemed to expand and contract visibly - his forearm would swell to half again its normal size, and his mid forearm to his fingertips would turn quite red.


That sounds like a great goal to aim for. I've noticed since practicing qigong for a few years that now my whole torso and even shoulders and upper thighs expand and contract much more noticeably when I breath. I only hope one day it can expand to so visibly include my whole body like that.
Posted by: Andy_S Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 11:00pm
Hmmm, if anyone else came up with a thread like this, it'd be BTDT, but in this case...

Ken:

You have obviously met some very interesting gents in your time. So....seeing as we are speaking of 'internal' here....have you come across any Taiji men you thought were wickdely good? I recall an article you wrote in IKF maybe 10 years ago in which you mentioned a Chen player you had been impressed with....?

Moreover, most of the gents on your list were in US or Taiwan. Nobody on the mainland?

Also, Park Bok-nam has a mixed rep, but I think you studied Bagua with him at one point....? I seem to recall you saying you ditched it as it didn't give you anything you didn't already have from HsingI. (And some do say that Park's Bagua is very HsingI-ish). Would be interested to hear an informed opinion on the man.

Oh, and what light skills, exactly, did Leung demonstrate? Was this the "jumping over the head" skill? Did any of his students get it?
Posted by: GrahamBonaparte Posted on: May 4th, 2008, 11:56pm
on May 4th, 2008, 11:00pm, Andy_S wrote:
Hmmm, if anyone else came up with a thread like this, it'd be BTDT, but in this case...


A man made for public life and authority never takes account of personalities; he only takes account of things, of their weight and their conseqences.
Posted by: Formosa Neijia Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 12:17am
on May 4th, 2008, 11:56pm, GrahamBonaparte wrote:
A man made for public life and authority never takes account of personalities; he only takes account of things, of their weight and their consequences.


Damn, that's deep.

Dave C.
Posted by: Arthur Ian Wellesley Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 12:40am
I bet Graham has been itching to use that one Grin
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 4:41am
RE: Master Park - as you noted, his training was not something I felt I needed to pursue.

Henry demonstrated various kinds of lightness skill. One which comes to mind - we were at his studio on 38th street - he was having some trouble with the electrical lines. Access was through a roof panel. Ken Delves and I offered to get a ladder - Henry just grinned and very lightly jumped up onto a decorative handrail (by the front steps of the lobby) that was about waist height to me- it was about an inch wide at best and flimsy - he landed and worked overhead as if he were on solid ground. Ken and I just gaped.

Funny you should mention Taiji - a few, but most of them had extensive training in other arts.

I did not spend enough time on the mainland to get into the martial arts community - although I did meet a couple who demonstrated real, high level skill when I was there.

Master Qian Zhaohong, whom I met here, in the states, has very high level skill - but shows only the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 4:44am
Getting back on track though- I started out with what I see as (at a basic level) the internal component of CMA. How do you see it?
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 5:01am
I pretty much agree with what you use as a definition as internal skills.

The question becomes, how do you achieve these skills.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 5:26am
Walter:

Bingo. And there's the rub.

There are, in my opinion, several prerequisites. First, you have to be aware that these skills exist. Second, you need to find a teacher who has these skills and is both willing and able to teach them. Third, he or she must allow you to touch their body when they are demonstrating or explaining these skills so that you have a clue as to what they are doing. Next, they must be able to correct you in a clear manner. Then you need to spend time, sweat, and brain power to train and figure out what your body is doing and what it should be doing. And be prepared to be told you are doing it wrong and start over.

For each skill and level of skill it is my experience that there are more and less efficient ways of training, and that good training is specific. Untraining is a part of the process, and the entire process can be like peeling the layers of an onion.
Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 5:46am
i also agree with your definition and can say that concious control of the musculature is an amazing and fascinating pursuit, regardless of martial applicability, the matrixing of ones whole self is an incredible pursuit for health and performance....i have found much outside of martial arts to help in my pursuit of whole body awareness.....in fact often the martial focus can get in teh way of taking the time to develop things that do not seem immediately applicable in that format.
Posted by: Jose Alb Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 6:20am
Regarding body awareness and concious control of the musculature, i read a great Systema article about cold water dousing. It said that it did wonders to body sensitivity and awareness.

Ken,

Contraction and expansion, thats where the money is. Ive been able to take out some moves that belong to some of our xingyi forms, that contain a fairly big expantion and contraction, and train them alone with this in mind. Start big and then getting it as small as i can, without loosing connection.

Have you done this with your xingyi or do you train it with other specific methods?

Posted by: C.J.W. Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 6:42am
on May 4th, 2008, 8:37pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
Internal, to me, is not a matter of system or style. It is a matter of body mechanics and related concepts. I believe many people confuse "soft" and "relaxed" with internal skills. I believe there are many Taiji and Bagua and similar players of Chinese martial arts who are soft and relaxed but have no internal skills to speak of.

In my experience, internal skill consists of having conscious control over muscle groups not generally thought of as being under conscious control, and being able to coordinate them in a fashion that is not, on the face of it, "natural". An example would be compression, or "suojing". Regardless of what a system calls it, this is the contraction of the muscles normally engaged in maintaining erect posture, as well as the intercostals and, at a more advanced stage, the stabilizing muscles at all of the joints in the kinetic chain under consideration. "Soft" and "hard" and "relaxed" don't really have anything to do with this picture. Cooked noodles are soft, and drunks are relaxed, but neither one is an example of internal training.


Completely agreed.

Too many people misinterpret the ideas of "relaxation" and "not using muscle" found in Taiji classics and exalt them as the epitome of IMA. Anatomically speaking, whenever our bodies move, there's always muscle contraction. If we were really completely "relaxed" and "not using muscle," we'd be lying in bed like vegetables.

It's a matter of utilizing muscles differently.

Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 7:02am
Jose:

Yes, do pretty much what you are doing - train each skill and muscle group discretely with specific exercises, then train them within the context of the moves from the system (tongbei or xingyi). Master Zhang had some interesting equipment, and my students and other teachers have shown me other equipment/drills/concepts that have been of great value in this regard.

BTW I have found Pilates to be of tremendous help - the equipment (reformer, cadillac) does not allow you to cheat.
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 7:29am
Ken,

I want to add that I find this discussion helpful in that I misunderstood your position. When a lot of posting was going on in my early days here I thought you were saying that there was no difference between internal and external.

In light of what you have posted now I am taking this to mean that in a variety of arts, some labeled internal, some labeled external, there are practices that help one to develop the sensitivity and abilities that lead to what has become classified as internal arts.

Am I correct in this understanding?

Walter
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 7:38am
Walter:
Yes, that is exactly what I meant- and why I have mentioned that some of the best "internal" skills I have seen were demonstrated by masters who were teachers of arts not popularly thought of (in the West) as Internal.
Posted by: Arthur Ian Wellesley Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 7:39am
on May 5th, 2008, 6:20am, Jose Alb wrote:
Regarding body awareness and concious control of the musculature, i read a great Systema article about cold water dousing. It said that it did wonders to body sensitivity and awareness.


That was most likely Kevin Secours:

http://montrealsystema.com/Articles.html


Posted by: Jose Alb Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 7:48am

Ian, thats the one.
Posted by: Arthur Ian Wellesley Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 8:00am
Yes, it's great for body sensitivity.

Don't know about awareness, though.

I totally burned my head today. In a drunken stupour. Was having a shower, wanted some icy cold water, turned the faucet the wrong way and got scalding hot liquid hell instead. It took a second to register. I screamed and almost fell out the tub. haha

Be careful - home can kill you.
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 8:48am
I'd like to add to Ken's list as far as requirements. One has to have a good level of neigong and Qigong to achieve a higher level,. Unfortunately this area has been associated with 'magical' practices involving tricks, but a level of Qigong implies you are able to put your 'mind' at various points in the body, control local muscles, change the EM field and even project an EM field. The training involves visualization, several types of breathing standing and physical movement.
Yes Henry was a phenom, if you crossed hands with him you couldnt find his center it was like hunting a ghost and at 5 ft nothing he could dominate a much larger person
Posted by: bailewen Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 9:18am
on May 4th, 2008, 8:58pm, kenneth_fish wrote:

Y.C. Wong in San Francisco has far higher level internal than most people realize (and higher than most "internal" martial artists I've seen). Touching him while he is doing his Hung Gar is like having a road map to control of fine muscle groups.


Heck. That's where I originally got my bagua from.

I learned (and then forgot) his Guangping Yang taiji form too at one point. Too much time in China without corrections and eventually I just switched over to my current style.
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 9:44am
While it's certainly true that a Hung Gar, Wing Chun, or Karate adept can develop internal skills, it seems to me that the generally accepted internal systems like taiji, xingyi, bagua and liu ho ba fa offer students a more direct path to those internal skills since they already emphasize body awareness, relaxation, connectedness, etc. These skills are not necessarily emphasized in the so-called external arts, so students of these arts may be facing an uphill battle, or at least may have to do a lot of retraining in order to master the internal skills.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 9:53am
Ron:

I think it really depends on the teacher - this is what I was saying before to Walter - in the States the view of CMA is pretty rigid - an art is either internal or external. Not so in China (and the closed door Chinatown schools). Real Hung Gar is very much about developing the same skills (Lam Jo, Sifu Wong's teacher, has an incredibly high level of internal). Moreover if we accept the Shaolin link to Xinyi and Taji, it becomes clear that it is not a matter of which art, but how completely its taught. I dare say that an awful lot of Taiji teachers haven't a clue to the internal, whereas most white Crane teachers I've met do.

I cannot speak for Karate - I am just not familiar with it. From what I have seen though it is strictly based on the strength and speed of the extremities.
Posted by: Andy_S Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 9:54am
What Ken #2 (Delves) notes is, I think, on the damn money. Ability to put your awareness into certain parts of the body where it normally isn't. And if that is what Ken #1 is talking about, fine.

However, I would say that the example Ken #1 (Fish) applies (of rib power) is pretty HsingI specific. HsingI (and maybe Tongbei...?) uses a lot of vertical power, I believe. IME, Bagua and Taiji, while containing this component, do not use it as extensively as HsingI; horizontal waist movement may be more important there.

To take the discussion beyond shenfa and into application:

IMHO, "internal" martials arts have sensitivity practices that allow the practitioner to flow and change their technique, mid-gear. So, unlike some MA, it is not a case of powering through when applying a strike, putting on a lock or executing a throw, but - when faced with resistance - changing the direction of the strike, changing the angle of the lock, or reversing the throw.

It is this which makes good IMA look effortless.

FYI and FWIW:
I have been cold dousing every single morning for a year or two now, and while I belive it highly beneficial - it certainly fortifies the mind on a cold day, wakes you the hell up, and I have not suffered a single cold in the time I have been doing it - I do not believe it has anything to do with what we are discussing here (ie what IMA means)
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 9:57am
on May 5th, 2008, 8:48am, kenneth_delves wrote:
I'd like to add to Ken's list as far as requirements. One has to have a good level of neigong and Qigong to achieve a higher level,. Unfortunately this area has been associated with 'magical' practices involving tricks, but a level of Qigong implies you are able to put your 'mind' at various points in the body, control local muscles, change the EM field and even project an EM field. The training involves visualization, several types of breathing standing and physical movement.
Yes Henry was a phenom, if you crossed hands with him you couldnt find his center it was like hunting a ghost and at 5 ft nothing he could dominate a much larger person


I agree with you on everything except the EM fields Ken. As a life long practicing electrical engineer I have done considerable work on EM fields, and as far as I know, humans have no mechanisms, nor can they develop any mechanisms, for producing, changing, or sensing EM fields. If you know of any peer-reviewed scientific proof of this, I would love to know about it. Would you know what the frequencies of these fields would be in Hertz, their incident energy in milliWatts/square centimeter, and their strength in milliGauss? I have EMF meters in my lab and would just love to test someone with these skills.
Posted by: Dale Dugas Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 10:10am
on May 4th, 2008, 8:37pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
Internal, to me, is not a matter of system or style. It is a matter of body mechanics and related concepts. I believe many people confuse "soft" and "relaxed" with internal skills. I believe there are many Taiji and Bagua and similar players of Chinese martial arts who are soft and relaxed but have no internal skills to speak of.

In my experience, internal skill consists of having conscious control over muscle groups not generally thought of as being under conscious control, and being able to coordinate them in a fashion that is not, on the face of it, "natural". An example would be compression, or "suojing". Regardless of what a system calls it, this is the contraction of the muscles normally engaged in maintaining erect posture, as well as the intercostals and, at a more advanced stage, the stabilizing muscles at all of the joints in the kinetic chain under consideration. "Soft" and "hard" and "relaxed" don't really have anything to do with this picture. Cooked noodles are soft, and drunks are relaxed, but neither one is an example of internal training.



Excellent post Shifu Fish.

Spot on!!

I think it takes long and hard work looking at ones structure and learning to first train it as parts and learn to integrate as a whole.

Posted by: TaoBoxer Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 11:16am
I agree with Mr. Fish's statement regarding the rigid and ridiculous notions of Internal and External in the US.

I dont feel like hard/soft has anything to do with Internal or External. My current position runs somthing a long the lines that Internal and External refer to a starting point in your training method. External schools tend to work skin, muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, and marrow, saving specific Qi cultivation for last. Internal schools tend to reverse the process. The goal however is to arrive in the same place.

I think one of the highest Internal players I have met was Col. YW Chang, student of Chen Pan Ling. He did things not readily explainable. Other than him, my current Yi Quan teacher has shown me things quite far beyond the reach of the typical "kung fu teacher."

As one of my greatest influences in kung fu told me "Theory is theory, but boxing is boxing." It's great to have a lot of ideas, but the key is to be able to use it.

Lewitt
Posted by: johnwang Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 11:50am
If we look at CMA from the angle of application then the word "internal" and "external" will have very little meaning. "Internal" and "external" are like different programming language such as Java and C++. They may have different syntax but when the product is finished and used by the customers, the customers won't be able to tell whether that program was written by Java or C++.

Most of the time when "internal" style generate Jin, it's linear and one Jin only. External style such as SC, sometime will need to generate 5 Jins at the same time. So I don't know which style is more "internal".

The SC "leg twisting" will require the following 8 Jins to work at the same time.

- Embrace
- Twist
- Press down,
- Jump,
- Kick out,
- Rotate,
- Flip,
- Face change.

The "external" style may have more complex Jin generation then the "internal" style.
Posted by: C.J.W. Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 12:24pm
on May 5th, 2008, 9:44am, Ron_Panunto wrote:
While it's certainly true that a Hung Gar, Wing Chun, or Karate adept can develop internal skills, it seems to me that the generally accepted internal systems like taiji, xingyi, bagua and liu ho ba fa offer students a more direct path to those internal skills since they already emphasize body awareness, relaxation, connectedness, etc. These skills are not necessarily emphasized in the so-called external arts, so students of these arts may be facing an uphill battle, or at least may have to do a lot of retraining in order to master the internal skills.



Not really.

Take Southern CMA systems for example, they are usually regarded as "hard," "rigid," and "external" due to the forms's appearances, which isn't true at all.

Southern systems are actually more internal than Taiji, Xinyi, and Bagua at beginning stages. Specific breathing and dynamic tension exercises designed to build up internal muscle/fascia/tendon are often incorporated in the styles' most basic forms (i.e. Sanchin) and taught to beginners.

It's a more no-nonsense and practical approach to acquire internal skills comparing to the ones found in the 3 internal styles because the students won't be bothered with ideas about relaxing and staying soft, which, in my opinion, can be misleading and confusing to beginners.
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 12:48pm
on May 5th, 2008, 12:24pm, C.J.W. wrote:


Southern systems are actually more internal than Taiji, Xinyi, and Bagua at beginning stages. Specific breathing and dynamic tension exercises designed to build up internal muscle/fascia/tendon are often incorporated in the styles' most basic forms (i.e. Sanchin) and taught to beginners.


I may be wrong, but when I think internal, I think of "relaxed extension" rather than "dynamic tension." It always looks like the blood pressure of a Sanchin player is going through the roof.
Posted by: Kevin_Wallbridge Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 12:52pm
I pretty much disagree with everybody on this. While I think that Ken's defintion and the various shades that have been added to it explain how external training can also lead to internal mechanics, it is still Waidan that is being discussed.

There seems to be a tacit acceptance of Cartesian dualism in these definitions. The body one thing and the mind is another. Is conscious control enough to define internal?

The mechanics is one thing. In fact I would say that the starting point of internal work has been clearly stated. The process of overcoming issues surrounding stabalization of kinetic chains and active disengagement through cascades of relaxation are necessary for there to be the fertile ground for internal work to take place. However, its like building a magic gateway and never bothering to step through it.

Emotional habits, personal egoistic mythologies, issues that arise from existential concern and fundamental metaphysical assumptions about what is real, all contribute to distortions that can be propagated through the tissue. Internal mechanics is amazing to experience, yet internal alchemy can shake you in your clinging to the earth.

Is it enough to have the power to apply killing force? How can we talk of Neidan and not address issues of character and martial virtue. I don't mean the Confucian pablum of "respect your teacher," I mean letting the work affect how you actually behave in the world as a moral being.

I've met plenty of accomplished internal practitioners who could rip me a new one, yet I have met far fewer whose human development touched me at my core.

I agree that "it is not a matter of system or style" but I do not agree that it merely an issue of the meat. If we only apply the mind in a downward direction to the Jing/essence we can achieve what is beyond most people's ability. However, if the pure potential of the Jing does not then arise to affect the mind just as profoundly, then I say it is still Waidan. Great Waidan. High level Waidan. Only Waidan.

If we are going to bother with these anachronistic practices should they serve some real end? Self defence? Bullets trump bengquan. Athletic achievement? Do MMA and don't bother with the esoteric attempts at fangsong ziran. Health? Do the martial skills really do anything more than a good gym routine? How many masters with great skills have died no later than the average guy?

I used to care if I could use it for real. What a masturbatory fantasy that was. Now I only try to be better man
Posted by: Deus Trismegistus Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 1:17pm
I think there comes a point when you KNOW you can use it for real. Once you pass that you can start to focus on other things. I know that right now I feel like that is something I need to pass. I have had people with years of military, martial arts, and street fighting experience tell me that they wouldn't want to fight me. Unfortunately that doesn't equate to knowing. In some cases your teacher or someone else can know you better than you know yourself, because they have been there and know what happens there and know what you can do, even if you don't. Until you experience it for yourself you will never get rid of your doubt that your shit won't work. As long as that doubt is there how can you focus on the very large world beyond simply winning a fight?
Posted by: Jose Alb Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 1:57pm
Kevin, you have touched the very depths of the bottomless chasm which i call my soul.

Im going to stand up from my work space and walk around for a bit. Maybe drink some melon juice later.
Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:06pm
"I used to care if I could use it for real. What a masturbatory fantasy that was. Now I only try to be better man"

I am right there with you Kevin...kudos to you for saying it!!
Posted by: Kevin_Wallbridge Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:07pm
DT, I would say that the focus on winning the fight is one of things in the way of surpassing the doubt. It goes back to Ken's first point about relaxed. Is the ego relaxed? Does it require proof to be relaxed? Can the ego ever be sure if there are still untouched opponents still walking the Earth?
Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:12pm
"not knowing is the fundamental condition of life"
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:14pm
on May 5th, 2008, 12:52pm, Kevin_Wallbridge wrote:
I pretty much disagree with everybody on this.

Is it enough to have the power to apply killing force? How can we talk of Neidan and not address issues of character and martial virtue. I don't mean the Confucian pablum of "respect your teacher," I mean letting the work affect how you actually behave in the world as a moral being.

If we are going to bother with these anachronistic practices should they serve some real end? Self defence? Bullets trump bengquan. Athletic achievement? Do MMA and don't bother with the esoteric attempts at fangsong ziran. Health? Do the martial skills really do anything more than a good gym routine? How many masters with great skills have died no later than the average guy?

I used to care if I could use it for real. What a masturbatory fantasy that was. Now I only try to be better man


So why do you have to go to all the trouble of studying a martial art to be a better person? Most of the people I know are good people and they don't study martial arts. And don't forget that many of the past masters who we emulate were killers.
Posted by: Bär Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:21pm
Does following a strictly non-martial path of qigong, meditation, etc... lead to the same places that a martial practice does?
Posted by: GrahamBonaparte Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:30pm
Let me toss this one into the discussion:

It's interesting to note that nobody considers the strategy of the art as part of a definition of 'internal'.

What if an 'internal guy' (if such a thing exists) proceeds to use his 'internal body method' (tm) that he has developed over long and arduous periods of self examination, hands on correction, learning to exert conscious control over muscle groups, touching up teachers, and generally being told he's crap and starting again, to hard block the attacks from his opponent, using his force directly against his attacker. Is he still an internal guy? And what, like Mr Wang points us towards, really makes him (or her) any different from somebody just hard blocking without all the complicated body method?

Any takers?
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:36pm
on May 5th, 2008, 2:21pm, Bär wrote:
Does following a strictly non-martial path of qigong, meditation, etc... lead to the same places that a martial practice does?


No - you won't be able to defend yourself.
Posted by: Qiphlow Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:48pm
on May 5th, 2008, 2:21pm, Bär wrote:
Does following a strictly non-martial path of qigong, meditation, etc... lead to the same places that a martial practice does?

depends. are you trying to cultivate the next step in your evolution as a human, or merely trying to learn how to be the most efficient and deadly killer on the planet?
Posted by: Bär Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 2:53pm
on May 5th, 2008, 2:36pm, Ron_Panunto wrote:


No - you won't be able to defend yourself.


Grin Yeah ok, I'll fix the code.

Will the sole practice of qigong, etc... lead to the same non-martial benefits of martial practice in a similar fashion and timeframe? Does "deep" IMA practice have something beyond fancy fighting skills with "spiritual" practice tacked on?

Posted by: Jose Alb Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 3:11pm
I really liked Kevin's post. Hes right....but if he is, then half of all the IMA legends that we have had in the past, and have now, were just doing "high level Waidan".

Guys like Xue Dian, for example.

So, even though he makes a valid point, it really depends on the eyes one chooses to look at the issue.

And for gods sake, somebody toss napoleon a cookie. Hes getting lonely in Saint Helena.
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 3:11pm
Ron
I can appreciate your scepticism. My major was in Physics and I am an Engineer, like many in my profession I do not have any time for air fairy notions.When I first experienced projected energy I didnt believe it either, I thought it was some kind of hypnotic suggestion, so I spent many years learning it. The field is confused by people who use trickery but it does exist, I can do it. The fields I suspect are very small as are the body's fields and would need a SQUID to detect them.
The projected energy is almost a byproduct of increased energy in the body.
Andy brings up a good point that internal MA practitioners can change with the flow but this is a direct result of the nature of the art insofar as the shock power is applied at will, not as a result of increased speed or momentum
Posted by: cdobe Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 3:41pm
on May 5th, 2008, 3:11pm, kenneth_delves wrote:
Ron
I can appreciate your scepticism. My major was in Physics and I am an Engineer, like many in my profession I do not have any time for air fairy notions.When I first experienced projected energy I didnt believe it either, I thought it was some kind of hypnotic suggestion, so I spent many years learning it. The field is confused by people who use trickery but it does exist, I can do it. The fields I suspect are very small as are the body's fields and would need a SQUID to detect them.
The projected energy is almost a byproduct of increased energy in the body.
Andy brings up a good point that internal MA practitioners can change with the flow but this is a direct result of the nature of the art insofar as the shock power is applied at will, not as a result of increased speed or momentum


Hi Kenneth,

if the fields are so small that you need a SQUID to detect them, how can they have an effect on a much larger scale, like when someone moves you by "projecting energy"?
I'ld say hypnotic suggestion is a very plausible explanation.

Chris
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 3:45pm
Graham:

I don't think that blocking hard or soft is relevant to whether one has internal skill - in fact if ones internal skill is good and alignment is proper, one can block "hard" and the person being blocked feels as though he has struck a steel post, although the blocker appears relaxed.

One of the best Chen style teachers I met could be either "hard" or "soft" in his approach - one really got an appreciation for the "steel wrapped in cotton" analogy. What he was not was rigid.

Master Qian has demonstrated this both from a blocking and striking standpoint, as has just about every other teacher I have listed.

As for spiritual development - that was not the point I was making with this thread - I was attempting to share my definition of the physical components of internal training.

Regarding human electrical fields - a search on the Journal of Electrical Medicine might be informative. Also human-machine interface anomalies.
Posted by: JRobS Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 4:06pm
on May 5th, 2008, 12:48pm, Ron_Panunto wrote:


I may be wrong, but when I think internal, I think of "relaxed extension" rather than "dynamic tension." It always looks like the blood pressure of a Sanchin player is going through the roof.


Depends on the Sanchin being performed and the way it was taught really. Same goes for Iron wire in my experience.
Posted by: C.J.W. Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 10:34pm
on May 5th, 2008, 3:45pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
Graham:

I don't think that blocking hard or soft is relevant to whether one has internal skill - in fact if ones internal skill is good and alignment is proper, one can block "hard" and the person being blocked feels as though he has struck a steel post, although the blocker appears relaxed.



Agreed once again.

For someone who has sufficiently trained the deep muscle, tendon/fascia, connective tissue around joints, and learned how to coordinate and utilize them for fighting purposes, a strike that feels like a ton of bricks to the opponent may feel quite "relaxed" for him because he's simply maintaining his resilient structure by "tightening the screws" in the body.

When the opponent hits him, it's actually the opponent who's getting hit.

This is where, I believe, the idea of using relaxation and not tension comes from. They can't be simply looked at as being hard or soft.
Posted by: GrahamBonaparte Posted on: May 5th, 2008, 11:22pm
Force is the law of animals, men are ruled by conviction.
Posted by: Formosa Neijia Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 2:19am
on May 5th, 2008, 8:48am, kenneth_delves wrote:
I'd like to add to Ken's list as far as requirements. One has to have a good level of neigong and Qigong to achieve a higher level,. Unfortunately this area has been associated with 'magical' practices involving tricks, but a level of Qigong implies you are able to put your 'mind' at various points in the body, control local muscles, change the EM field and even project an EM field. The training involves visualization, several types of breathing standing and physical movement.


This is what I've been taught makes your practice internal. It goes far beyond body usage/shenfa requirements. The addition of the other mental and spiritual parts of the qi paradigm as mentioned above changes things quite a bit, although it can be overwhelming at times.

As to relaxation, I would say it's a necessary but not by itself sufficient condition for internal strength.

Dave C.
Posted by: wiesiek Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 3:45am
on May 5th, 2008, 2:21pm, Bär wrote:
Does following a strictly non-martial path of qigong, meditation, etc... lead to the same places that a martial practice does?


They will became one...
eventualy
Wink
i worked last 15 years with non-martial path of qigong,
and
right now i feel a need for more martial oriented forms
to suplement my non-martial path .
however
my previous extensive judo/karate backround may ring this bell.
Cheesy

PS
i just read u 2nd post , and answer is:
YES
Posted by: Deus Trismegistus Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 7:36am
on May 5th, 2008, 2:48pm, Qiphlow wrote:

depends. are you trying to cultivate the next step in your evolution as a human, or merely trying to learn how to be the most efficient and deadly killer on the planet?


I see no reason why you can't do both. As far as Ron's point about knowing plenty of good people who aren't martial artists, martial arts isn't the only way to become a better person or to tread a spiritual path, but IMO it is the most fun way I have come across.
Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 7:41am
i have known plenty of commercial fisherman that would beat the living shit out of most martial artist I have known, so martial arts is not really the best way to learn to fight...live a hard life and fight alot who needs all the movement, theory or speculation
Posted by: Deus Trismegistus Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 7:45am
on May 5th, 2008, 2:07pm, Kevin_Wallbridge wrote:
DT, I would say that the focus on winning the fight is one of things in the way of surpassing the doubt. It goes back to Ken's first point about relaxed. Is the ego relaxed? Does it require proof to be relaxed? Can the ego ever be sure if there are still untouched opponents still walking the Earth?


To quote my favorite band, "go beyond the ego". Ego gets in the way, maybe my feeling that I need to prove to myself that my shit does work is my ego getting in the way. I guess I won't know until I try though. Which is why I want to do San shou and shuai jiao tournies. I feel that the competitive environment can give you the confirmation and knowlegde that you actually know what you are doing, and that self confidence that comes with that.
Posted by: Deus Trismegistus Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 7:48am
on May 6th, 2008, 2:19am, Formosa Neijia wrote:


This is what I've been taught makes your practice internal. It goes far beyond body usage/shenfa requirements. The addition of the other mental and spiritual parts of the qi paradigm as mentioned above changes things quite a bit, although it can be overwhelming at times.

As to relaxation, I would say it's a necessary but not by itself sufficient condition for internal strength.

Dave C.


I personally think that learning to relax the body and mind are the first step to developing actual internal ability. Its a hard one and I am still working on it. What lies beyond that I don't know, I do know that not everything I have felt can be explained from pure body mechanics and shen fa and relaxation.
Posted by: C.J.W. Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 8:10am
on May 6th, 2008, 7:41am, 8gua wrote:
i have known plenty of commercial fisherman that would beat the living shit out of most martial artist I have known, so martial arts is not really the best way to learn to fight...live a hard life and fight alot who needs all the movement, theory or speculation


I wouldn't be surprised.

Imagine having to maintain your balance on the ship deck out at sea when waves are high and perform heavy manual labor for hours on a daily basis - it's hardcore whole-body conditioning as well as stability/root/balance training.

They probably have better connected internal strength than most martial artists who focus only on forms and sparring.
Posted by: GrahamBonaparte Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 8:22am
on May 6th, 2008, 8:10am, C.J.W. wrote:


I wouldn't be surprised.

Imagine having to maintain your balance on the ship deck out at sea when waves are high and perform heavy manual labor for hours on a daily basis - it's hardcore whole-body conditioning as well as stability/root/balance training.

They probably have better connected internal strength than most martial artists who focus only on forms and sparring.


Same with people who work in 'construction' (as you guys call it). Builders we call 'em.

However, I've also never met an old builder who didn't have a really bad back of some kind.
Posted by: Qiphlow Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 8:23am
on May 6th, 2008, 7:36am, Deus Trismegistus wrote:


I see no reason why you can't do both. As far as Ron's point about knowing plenty of good people who aren't martial artists, martial arts isn't the only way to become a better person or to tread a spiritual path, but IMO it is the most fun way I have come across.

true, one can use anything as a means to cultivation, really. i would think that the martial aspect would become kind of meaningless at a certain point in cultivation, though. but then again, i'm just speculating.
Posted by: Brett Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 9:33am
Mr. Fish and Mr. Delves, where would breathwork fit into your ideals of internal? Is it a means to access those muscles, or is it something else, or both?
Posted by: Jose Alb Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 9:44am
Brett, you didnt ask me...but i think its both. A means to Access them, to train them, and to use them.

Breath coordination is essential for muscle control. Like contraction improved by exhaling, for example, i think.

I would be interested in Ken's response to this, also.

Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 9:51am
although I also wasn't asked i will give my .2 breath leads into, opens and strengthens those difficult to feel connections...it is a huge piece inmho
Posted by: Brett Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 9:54am
I like hearing from you all as well. Grin
Posted by: Billy_K. Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 10:15am
on May 6th, 2008, 7:41am, 8gua wrote:
i have known plenty of commercial fisherman that would beat the living shit out of most martial artist I have known, so martial arts is not really the best way to learn to fight...live a hard life and fight alot who needs all the movement, theory or speculation


i don`t think so, or else people around the world would've sent their fishermen and construction workers to war instead of their warriors.
however, hard physical work may have take the place of modern physical training in those times for said warriors.
Posted by: Buddy Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 10:35am
I'll chime in before the two worthys respond. I often use the phrase "Breathe into your...(insert body part)" Obviously you can only breathe into your lungs. But the idea of breathing into some other area teaches you how to use the intention for conscious control.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 12:39pm
Breathing is an entire subject unto itself. Broad topic touching on a number of areas, from focus to power to mental cultivation, qi, and spiritual development. Not to mention getting air into our lungs....

I still remember the answer a friend of mine gave when a student asked "what about breathing?"

"Highly recommended. Much better than not breathing."

Anyway, Buddy touched on one of the focus techniques (used in just about every facet of breath work at the beginning stage - not just Martial Arts - think Yoga, Pilates, psychoanalysis). And I agree with Ken, Dave C., and CJW on the need for training qi - an essential part of every Chinese martial art.

My view is that you must first train the prerequisites (the mechanics, alignment, focus etc) in order to have the proper container or vessel for whatever the heck qigong produces - you wouldn't pump high pressure water through rusty leaky pipes and expect them to remain intact.

How does breathwork fit in? Well, in my opinion, at its most basic level it allows for a shift of focus in movement - once you have trained just the movement working on coordinating the breathing allows the body to play out its programming.

It can be a means for focusing beyond the body, and a tool for visualization.

While I do not believe that "qi" is air, breath work allows some alteration of autonomic processes, and brings about an elevation of some physiologic responses which are usually not under conscious control (endocrine, vasodilitation/constiction, muscle contraction) resulting in enhanced performance, both physical and mental.

I also believe that while "energy" work is aided by focused breath work, it is not necessary for qi development - some kinds of movement work direct the qi and produce very high level results (the focus is on the movement or beyond the body, and the breathing takes care of itself, following the motion).

KJF
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 2:12pm

I can add little to Ken#1's comments except my subjective experience which is the linking of mind[brain] and action becomes one, for example in Pichuan you think 'down' and the hand immediately has a downward intent and power, this is, as far as I can determine, a direct result of specific breathing and visualization techniques
Posted by: Buddy Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 2:12pm
"Highly recommended. Much better than not breathing."
Ima have to steal this one. Grin
Posted by: Interloper Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 6:57pm
on May 6th, 2008, 12:39pm, kenneth_fish wrote:

How does breathwork fit in? Well, in my opinion, at its most basic level it allows for a shift of focus in movement - once you have trained just the movement working on coordinating the breathing allows the body to play out its programming.

It can be a means for focusing beyond the body, and a tool for visualization.
[snippage]


Besides the need for 0-sub-2, I see breathwork as being useful for something a lot more basic, martial, and a lot less esoteric than all the good visualization and qi stuff: You can use it to expand your body physically (mechanically) and thus extend your reach and connective penetration into your opponent.
Last edited by nianfong on Tue May 13, 2008 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: what internal means, IMO

Postby nianfong on Mon May 12, 2008 12:51 am

Posted by: jafc Posted on: May 6th, 2008, 10:27pm
I think it's important to point out that sort of body control is not necessarily unique to Internal Martial arts.

If you regard the body as one really big sensory organ, then you can find a lot of similarities with other disciplines.

Music, for example, uses hearing & gradually develops the ability to analyze sound (the sensory input) & produce sound through specific motor tasks. So talented violinists can hear notes & easily reproduce them. Eventually, they imagine notes & produce them. Finally, the conscious mind is taken out of the equation & the music spontaneously arises from ?where? A similar analogy can be made to art.

When you examine how top level musicians & artists talk about their work, parallels in the kind of language used to describe the "mind-body" connection abound. Further, many artists' interaction with takes on an almost spiritual quality as they advance & their work becomes a vehicle to embrace both their own humanity & humanity in others.

High level martial arts can be viewed similarly. Here, you tune into the peripheral nervous system which gives unbelievable amounts of information on the status of both skin & skeletal structure and also the internal organs. Much of the information is typically ignored but, with the teaching, sweat & hard work Ken alluded to, can be recognized & analyzed. Once that is achieved, influencing how the system behaves is possible - first in a deliberate, patterned way & then in a more spontaneously way in accordance to sensory input. the other senses - sight,balance,hearing - can also be integrated. Eventually, the thorough ability to be "in your body" can be both spiritual & a way to understand the rest of humanity

& that is why, at some level, fighting with it seems trivial - it is simply a very obvious physical extension of lifetime of "body understanding". At the heart of it, this analogy is why I continue to practice. It's selfish on the one hand & has little to do with my ability to defeat opponents. On the other hand, it works as my vehicle to understand what other folks go through.

JC
Posted by: cdobe Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 2:47am
on May 6th, 2008, 10:27pm, jafc wrote:
I think it's important to point out that sort of body control is not necessarily unique to Internal Martial arts.

If you regard the body as one really big sensory organ, then you can find a lot of similarities with other disciplines.

Music, for example, uses hearing & gradually develops the ability to analyze sound (the sensory input) & produce sound through specific motor tasks. So talented violinists can hear notes & easily reproduce them. Eventually, they imagine notes & produce them. Finally, the conscious mind is taken out of the equation & the music spontaneously arises from ?where? A similar analogy can be made to art.

When you examine how top level musicians & artists talk about their work, parallels in the kind of language used to describe the "mind-body" connection abound. Further, many artists' interaction with takes on an almost spiritual quality as they advance & their work becomes a vehicle to embrace both their own humanity & humanity in others.

High level martial arts can be viewed similarly. Here, you tune into the peripheral nervous system which gives unbelievable amounts of information on the status of both skin & skeletal structure and also the internal organs. Much of the information is typically ignored but, with the teaching, sweat & hard work Ken alluded to, can be recognized & analyzed. Once that is achieved, influencing how the system behaves is possible - first in a deliberate, patterned way & then in a more spontaneously way in accordance to sensory input. the other senses - sight,balance,hearing - can also be integrated. Eventually, the thorough ability to be "in your body" can be both spiritual & a way to understand the rest of humanity

& that is why, at some level, fighting with it seems trivial - it is simply a very obvious physical extension of lifetime of "body understanding". At the heart of it, this analogy is why I continue to practice. It's selfish on the one hand & has little to do with my ability to defeat opponents. On the other hand, it works as my vehicle to understand what other folks go through.

JC


Very nice post ! Thanks for your insights.
Posted by: briggy Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 5:28am
bump
Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 5:42am
great post!!!!
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 6:49am
jafc:
great post - I have used the same analogies when explaining to my students, but I think you have put them forth with eloquence.
Posted by: Strange Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 7:11am
"we were also trained to conciously slow our heart rates. this enabled us to literally shoot between heart beats... this this also gave us the ability to direct warmth to different parts of the body so we could selectively warm a trigger finger, or feet that had gotten too cold. we could lie perfectly still for hours on end, letting the body rest even when the mind was staying active.... think of it as having the patience of a reptile. these invaluable skills were attributable to the biofeedback training we received from the unit psychologist."
- eric l. haney
INSIDE DELTA FORCE

internal Smiley
Posted by: Swede Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 7:17am
I loved that book (Inside Delta Force)--totally forgot about that quote! Thanks for reminding me!
Posted by: I-mon Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 7:35am
jafc that was great. i agree!
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 7:39am
on May 7th, 2008, 7:11am, Strange wrote:
"we were also trained to conciously slow our heart rates. this enabled us to literally shoot between heart beats... this this also gave us the ability to direct warmth to different parts of the body so we could selectively warm a trigger finger, or feet that had gotten too cold. we could lie perfectly still for hours on end, letting the body rest even when the mind was staying active.... think of it as having the patience of a reptile. these invaluable skills were attributable to the biofeedback training we received from the unit psychologist."
- eric l. haney
INSIDE DELTA FORCE

internal Smiley



Interesting skills and control over the autonomic systems, but not much of the actual mechanics of opening and closing the body, no mention of overall whole body-coordination in movement, not establishing of the internal connections consistent with movement.

Internal?

In a very broad sense, yes.

As it applies to empty hand fighting skills, not really.
Posted by: Strange Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 7:46am
Smileyyou r right
the author had a remington .308 calibre bolt action rifle with a birdsong finish rifle barrel in mind....then there's also instinctive double-tap fire, but thats another story for another time. cheers
Posted by: Darth Rock-n-Roll Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 11:00am
on May 4th, 2008, 8:37pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
Internal, to me, is not a matter of system or style. It is a matter of body mechanics and related concepts. I believe many people confuse "soft" and "relaxed" with internal skills. I believe there are many Taiji and Bagua and similar players of Chinese martial arts who are soft and relaxed but have no internal skills to speak of.

In my experience, internal skill consists of having conscious control over muscle groups not generally thought of as being under conscious control, and being able to coordinate them in a fashion that is not, on the face of it, "natural". An example would be compression, or "suojing". Regardless of what a system calls it, this is the contraction of the muscles normally engaged in maintaining erect posture, as well as the intercostals and, at a more advanced stage, the stabilizing muscles at all of the joints in the kinetic chain under consideration. "Soft" and "hard" and "relaxed" don't really have anything to do with this picture. Cooked noodles are soft, and drunks are relaxed, but neither one is an example of internal training.


That 's all well and good for you Mr. Fish. BUt what about those of us who think this is an utter crock of crap and would ask you to substantiate even one iota of the theory with even 20% of the evidence.

Using physiological terms to talk about something, doesn't make that something any more real than using rocketry terms to describe a starwars movie sequence.

If one cannot substantiate a theory with results after all these years, then the theory is rubbish.

no offense, but the whole internal/external argument is in my opinion nonsense and cannot be substatiniated or proven, however it can be shown that with vigorous exercise on a scheduled program with task specific exercises can produce a proficient fighter in a realtively decent time line provided they have the guts to fight to begin with.

as for therapeutic value in martial arts, yes that exists also, as well as calming exercises, washing exercises, qi gongs and yogas for health.

but martial art is martial art. You can either use the result effectively in combat or not.
Posted by: johnwang Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 12:13pm
What's the meaning of "body mechanics"?
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 12:13pm
What I have outlined are the mechanical aspects of generating force with stability in the context of CMA. This produces greater speed, stability, and terminal force in a strike. These are not to be taken out of the context of training techniques, reactions, body placement, footwork, and all of the other components of martial arts training.

How would you propose demonstrating the effects of this training on a chat board? Thats a bit like asking to demonstrate the effects of a hammer curl by phone.
Posted by: neimen Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 12:37pm
umm...

i'm getting confused.

is anyone on this thread suggesting that traditional IMA and EMA training produce:

a) identical skill sets

and/or

b) identical approaches to combat situations

?

Huh
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 12:42pm
What I am proposing is that IMA and EMA are not really good descriptive terms. In historical terms these terms only recently came into use in China - what the Chinese refer to is training the internal and external components of whatever martial art they are discussing.

John: Body mechanics - another word for kinesthetics - how the body is built to move and how it moves relative to itself and its surroundings.
Posted by: chicagoTaiJi Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 12:44pm
external = muscle, bone, skin

internal = organs, breath, spirit, mind, blood.


the external arts also train internal at higher levels.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 12:47pm
Also - these concepts, particularly the idea of moving the body as a single unit, rotating around a central axis to generate force more effectively are not unique to CMA. Look at Tunney's book on boxing, or any of the stacks of books on golf - they all talk about these concepts.

If you look at a clip of Muhammed Ali throwing a straight punch you will see that he rotates around his central axis and extends from his flank - and his hips and shoulder move in unison. This gave him superior reach with stability to deliver the force generated by his rotation and his extensors.
Posted by: Robert_Young Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 1:06pm
[quote
jafc:
great post - I have used the same analogies when explaining to my students, but I think you have put them forth with eloquence.
[/quote]

Me too. I always use playing songs as analogies to CMA forms training to my students. You can learn a lot from playing a good song just like you can learn a lot by practicing a good form. It applys to techniques, strength, arts that fit to the arts.

on May 7th, 2008, 12:42pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
What I am proposing is that IMA and EMA are not really good descriptive terms. In historical terms these terms only recently came into use in China - what the Chinese refer to is training the internal and external components of whatever martial art they are discussing.


Exactly, IMA and EMA are new terms from mid 20th century.

"Internal" used to refer to NeiGong training like Qigong which may train a person to have "Iron Shirt" or "Iron Head" that kind of "internal" strength. "External" used to refer to skills, speed and power/condition on the body movements.

In the past, a good CMA master should have both "Internal strength" and "External strength and skills".


Posted by: johnwang Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 1:41pm
on May 7th, 2008, 12:42pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
Body mechanics - another word for kinesthetics - how the body is built to move and how it moves relative to itself and its surroundings.

Do all animal has good body mechanics? When a lion attacks a deer, Does that lion has good body mechanics? Can that lion move differently by either "internal" way or "external" way. In other words, Does the word "internal" mean anything in the animal kingdom or just in the human world?

on May 7th, 2008, 1:06pm, Robert_Young wrote:
IMA and EMA are new terms from mid 20th century. ... In the past, a good CMA master should have both "Internal strength" and "External strength and skills".

Robert Young will agree with me on this. All GM Han's students training both "external" and "internal" arts but I have never heard even one person mentioned the word "internal".

We train muscle, bone, and skin on the outside and we train the Chi inside. It's pretty much common sense as 1 + 1 = 2.
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 1:48pm
Actually John, animals learn body mechanics too - cubs mimic the movements of their elders. Part of this has to do with the maturation of the nervous system - in early life all mammals must learn how to coordinate - and this programs the nervous system (our resident neurosurgeon can probably put this more plainly than I can) .

In learning any new activity we learn new ways of using our muscles - whether that be firing sequence/coordination or use of strength or spatial perception feedback. Not just martial arts. The attempt at reproducing an action/activity programs the neurology and increases the efficiency and accuracy of repeated attempts.
Posted by: johnwang Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 1:53pm
So there is only the effective (right) way of movement and none effective (wrong) way of movement. Do we really need to add the word "internal" to the natural world?

Every principles that Taiji used such as Sung, sticky, relax, body unification, body vibration, yield, borrow force, ... all exist in the SC art. If we look at Hwang Sin-Shin's Taiji match clip, we cannot find any difference between his movement vs. any SC guys movement except his "leg usage" and "contact points concept".
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 2:14pm
Excellent post jafc, you put into words the essence of what we were groping for. Your final comments re 'the
fighting seems trivial' struck a chord, merely extending your arm is martial arts, it has connection and the potential for power. The training in any high level physical art can carry over because moves are 'natural', using minimum energy and often aesthetically pleasing. I was watching 'Dancing with the stars' last night and noticed how Ono, a past winner applied his body skills attained in speedskating to ballroom dancing with remarkable success
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 2:15pm
Excellent post jafc, you put into words the essence of what we were groping for. Your final comments re 'the
fighting seems trivial' struck a chord, merely extending your arm is martial arts, it has connection and the potential for power. The training in any high level physical art can carry over because moves are 'natural', using minimum energy and often aesthetically pleasing. I was watching 'Dancing with the stars' last night and noticed how Ono, a past winner applied his body skills attained in speedskating to ballroom dancing with remarkable success
Posted by: kenneth_fish Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 2:15pm
John, I think thats the point I was making (btw I don't think anyone used the terms internal and external in referring to the natural world). There are more efficient and less efficient ways of moving - moreover there are ways of training to augment strength and coordination that generally do not occur naturally in an untrained or differently trained individual.

Look at your own learning - I am sure you did not move like your teacher when you first started to learn shuai jiao. You learned new body mechanics.
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 2:44pm
on May 7th, 2008, 2:15pm, kenneth_delves wrote:
I was watching 'Dancing with the stars' last night and noticed how Ono, a past winner applied his body skills attained in speedskating to ballroom dancing with remarkable success


Ken, I applaud your confidence. Your probably the first hard-core martial artist who has admitted that they watch "Dancing with the Stars." Grin
Posted by: Robert_Young Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 3:28pm
on May 7th, 2008, 1:41pm, johnwang wrote:

Robert Young will agree with me on this. All GM Han's students training both "external" and "internal" arts but I have never heard even one person mentioned the word "internal".

We train muscle, bone, and skin on the outside and we train the Chi inside. It's pretty much common sense as 1 + 1 = 2.


Totally agree.

I was trying to quote the last sentence, but you said it for me.

Yes, we do conditioning/power training on sand bag and some instruments, and we do QiGong to train the Chi inside.
Posted by: bailewen Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 3:30pm
on May 7th, 2008, 2:15pm, kenneth_delves wrote:
Excellent post jafc, you put into words the essence of what we were groping for. ...


Seconded.

I only dropped in on the thread when I glanced at page 7 and saw that there was actually a 7 page discussion on it as opposed to the half page discussion + 6 pages of jokes I was expecting.

I was going to try and articulate how I see it but saw that jafc really did pin it down close enough for me.
Posted by: AWESOME X...Awesome. Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 4:05pm
jafc's post reminded me of something from the Metallica DVD s&m?

There is one scene in the extras where they are practicing and the conductor stops the whole orchestra and tells a guy to tune his instrument because he is a quarter of a tone out of tune. The Metallica guys are amazed because he is able to hear that amongst an entire orchestra playing as well as metallica busting out loud metal.

As jafc pointed out, this strikes me as extremely similar to high level martial artists, although they are listening with their bodies rather than their ears. They can touch you and instantly tell where your centre is and which parts are out of alignment.
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 7:04pm
I am an enthusiastic dancer[Argentine Tango-is that hardcore enough] and found there are many characteristics in AT which are similar to Bagua
To all you MA dancers out there-come out of the closet
I would recommend 'The Tango lesson' to see the art at its best, there are some excerpts on Youtube
Posted by: AWESOME X...Awesome. Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 8:17pm
on May 7th, 2008, 7:04pm, kenneth_delves wrote:
I am an enthusiastic dancer[Argentine Tango-is that hardcore enough] and found there are many characteristics in AT which are similar to Bagua
To all you MA dancers out there-come out of the closet
I would recommend 'The Tango lesson' to see the art at its best, there are some excerpts on Youtube


*comes out of the closet*

hiphop here. i've found that MA has helped infinitely with all arts that I practice (dancing, music, drawing), but especially dancing. relaxing seems to be the key to doing any physical activity well, whether it be basketball, golf, dancing or MA. All the pro's you see at whatever sport make it look easy, they never look forced or seem tense, always relaxed, sometimes to the point where you dont even notice the amazing feats they are performing (ever stood at a basketball court on the key line and looked at the ring? there are plenty of bballer's that can jump from that point and dunk a full sized ring....crazy).
Posted by: GrahamBonaparte Posted on: May 7th, 2008, 11:49pm
I did a bit of ballroom years ago. Its great - you don't have to put up with wankers telling you you're not internal enough Smiley

Tango was my favourite.
Posted by: wongying Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 2:07am
Well you certainly do need a room big enough for those balls of yours Graham
Posted by: Ian Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 2:14am
on May 7th, 2008, 7:04pm, kenneth_delves wrote:
I am an enthusiastic dancer[Argentine Tango-is that hardcore enough] and found there are many characteristics in AT which are similar to Bagua
To all you MA dancers out there-come out of the closet
I would recommend 'The Tango lesson' to see the art at its best, there are some excerpts on Youtube


I'm learning tango right now, and also occasionally visiting a local bagua group, and this is exactly what I've been saying.

Tango is awesome.
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 4:47am
We do a training routine in our Taiji class called Fred (Astair) & Ginger (Rogers) to practice sticking, adhering, and lively footwork.

Both students touch hands and the Fred student gets to be the aggressor. He can move anyway or anywhere he wants, and the Ginger student gets to be the defender who has to follow, stick and adhere to Fred.

Then the roles are reversed, and finally the roles are mixed where either student can change to the Fred role at will, and the other has to follow.

Later we escalate to free-style push hands with strikes, chin na, and takedowns. It's kind of like martial dancing.
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 6:20am
on May 7th, 2008, 12:37pm, neimen wrote:
umm...

i'm getting confused.

is anyone on this thread suggesting that traditional IMA and EMA training produce:

a) identical skill sets

and/or

b) identical approaches to combat situations

?

Huh


I'm not, I can't speak for anyone else.

I think saying that is overreaching with the definition and doesn't take into account that even with similar body mechanics and "internal" practices there will be stylistic differences in skill sets and strategies.


Posted by: Eric Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 7:25am
on May 8th, 2008, 2:14am, Ian wrote:


I'm learning tango right now, and also occasionally visiting a local bagua group, and this is exactly what I've been saying.

Tango is awesome.


Same here - the similarity in stepping is uncanny. The good teachers understand connection and sensitivity better than most IMA teachers IMO.

The training partners are much hotter too.

Posted by: Dmitri Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 8:06am
on May 7th, 2008, 12:37pm, neimen wrote:
is anyone on this thread suggesting that traditional IMA and EMA training produce:

a) identical skill sets

and/or

b) identical approaches to combat situations

?

Consider two people trying to get to the top of a mountain.

One goes to rock-climbing school, then spends a long time thinking about it, then designs some gear to be used, researches the best approaches to the top, etc., then spends some time training to use that gear, and then finally goes on to climb.

The other just climbs, and climbs, and slips, and keeps climbing, and figures it out along the way.

They both make it to the top; it's the same mountain, they're at the same place, but their experiences and the skills they have developed during the process are very different.

(Not sure if that helps or confuses the issue further... Undecided)
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 8:41am
Wow, seem to have unleashed the inner dancer. Years ago I went to modern dance and ballet classes to improve my movement and flexibility, they were the hardest training sessions I've ever done. I am not fond of the ballroom version of Tango, it was watered down. The AT version was born in brothels and bars and has a certain grittiness, most AT instructors I've met are also proficient MA's, [probably to fight off jealous husbands]
The 'follower' in AT develops a high degree of sensitivity since she is totally dependent on the leaders move, one difference in AT is that the 'leader' learns the followers steps as well. Same art different intent
And as was said you meet hot chicks[or guys if you're female]
Ron, do you wear a tux for the training session
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 9:05am
on May 8th, 2008, 8:41am, kenneth_delves wrote:

Ron, do you wear a tux for the training session


Would silk PJ's suffice?
Posted by: wongying Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 10:45am
I have heard that salsa is very good for developing a penetrating root Grin
Posted by: jafc Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 10:55am
With regard to animals,
Many species have prewired hardware that allows them to pick up certain skills more easily. The example of songbirds sticks out most - they are prewired to absorb & repeat a song starting at a specific age & ending shortly thereafter. If you give them a different song or no stimulus, they produce that song or something disordered or no song.

Other species have similar wiring for skill sets that are in part "instinctual".

They can learn outside the box but it takes longer for them to master.

That said, many animals have amazing skills with respect to their bodies & its interaction with its environment. Chimps, for example, can be trained to recognize the numbers 1-10 on a TV screen & press the # in order. Once that is accomplished, the experimentor can flash the #1-10 in a random positional arrangement on the screen & quickly mask the numbers (replace them with a hatched pattern). Chimps require 0.6 seconds before masking & can correctly tap the # in the correct order 100% of the time. Ten year human boys were shown the same scenario & allowed over a minute to memorize the positions & were correct only 55% of the time. It is thought that Chimps have this ability to assess the environment for survival reasons

So imagine yourself with that skill, you walk into a bar & in 0.6 secs, you know how many people, where they are, what they look like & have assessed their threat level. At any time that you think you need to update that info, a quick glance up from your drink & its all available to you.

So with regard to their "internalness", animals still make judgements, still make calculations & mistakes but the information they act on is, in many ways, more accurate & less filtered. Humans process information in a more complex way that allows for better manipulation of data but, consequently, results in slower reaction to stimulus times - we consider more options, consciously (really slow) or unconsciously (slow). Animals' brains don't get in the way quite so much. At lot of what we train to do is to get our brains out of the way as we master a skill set.

Lastly, most animals feel no guilt or remorse following a decision to act. Their attack stops when the threat is neutralized - they just do & then stop & walk away.

hope that was helpful
JC
Posted by: Miro Posted on: May 8th, 2008, 2:49pm
Hi Ken,

on May 4th, 2008, 8:37pm, kenneth_fish wrote:
Internal, to me, is not a matter of system or style. It is a matter of body mechanics and related concepts. I believe many people confuse "soft" and "relaxed" with internal skills. I believe there are many Taiji and Bagua and similar players of Chinese martial arts who are soft and relaxed but have no internal skills to speak of.

In my experience, internal skill consists of having conscious control over muscle groups not generally thought of as being under conscious control, and being able to coordinate them in a fashion that is not, on the face of it, "natural". An example would be compression, or "suojing". Regardless of what a system calls it, this is the contraction of the muscles normally engaged in maintaining erect posture, as well as the intercostals and, at a more advanced stage, the stabilizing muscles at all of the joints in the kinetic chain under consideration. "Soft" and "hard" and "relaxed" don't really have anything to do with this picture. Cooked noodles are soft, and drunks are relaxed, but neither one is an example of internal training.


It will not go, I am afraid, because what you described here is perhaps common aim of all martial arts. I agree with your description, however, as far as your subject is What internal means, then I have to ask: What/where exactly is part called "internal"? Or what then does it mean "external"?
The same goes to beautiful contribution by JC on page 5.

Personally, I solved this problem for myself (and only for myself) by the following simple distinction: the direction of mind.
If your mind is directed outwardly (like for fighting or for performance), you are external martial artist (does not matter what style you practices).
If during practice and even during fighting (!) you look inside, into your body, only then you can be internal.

Miro
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 5:35am
on May 8th, 2008, 2:49pm, Miro wrote:
Hi Ken,


It will not go, I am afraid, because what you described here is perhaps common aim of all martial arts. I agree with your description, however, as far as your subject is What internal means, then I have to ask: What/where exactly is part called "internal"? Or what then does it mean "external"?
The same goes to beautiful contribution by JC on page 5.

Personally, I solved this problem for myself (and only for myself) by the following simple distinction: the direction of mind.
If your mind is directed outwardly (like for fighting or for performance), you are external martial artist (does not matter what style you practices).
If during practice and even during fighting (!) you look inside, into your body, only then you can be internal.

Miro


Under your definition I was an "internal" artist while practicing kenpo.

Yet I feel that it wasn't until I started training with Buddy doing standing and taiji that my internal understanding really began.
Posted by: crazydave Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 5:57am
As long as we have an AT (close embrace, baby!) sidebar going here...

One of my ba gua brothers is heavily into it, and I've been dabbling lately myself. And yes the stepping is eerily similar to BG. But here is what blows my mind: in BG you are hiding your intent and center from your "opponent" and therefore keep your weight back and low as you walk. In AT it's the exact opposite. You are combining your center with your partner and feeding them signals. Horacio (the instructor) is constantly smacking me and telling me to put my weight forward and up in my chest (the contact point) and I find it VERY hard to do consistently. However, it's that very contact that makes me keep trying Wink!

Any advice from the more experienced on how you make that shift more comfortable? I'm sure my dancing will improve greatly once I can make that natural.

Sorry if this is a de-railer.
Dave
Posted by: mix Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 6:16am
I would just like to refute what miro said by saying that to be a martial artist in general, you should try to have both of those skills. Internal martial arts specifically need these skills, they should not be separated.
Posted by: kenneth_delves Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 10:30am
The 'mind inside the body' refers to the basic level where you are synchronising muscle groups, reprogramming and integrating this into the neuromuscular system. Later it becomes intent and the mind effectively operates outside the body
Re the AT, you are correct, but the hiding intent is the flip side to showing and communicating intent, each helps the other. Some instructors have the'push your chest forward ' mindset I find this unbalancing, my instructor prefers to 'put your mind in your back' approach
Posted by: Ron_Panunto Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 1:06pm
Good post Ken.
Posted by: Buddy Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 3:41pm
Miro,
I don't think anyone will confuse you with someone who knows what they are talking about.

Walter,
Thank you for the kind words, I only pointed the way, you did the work.

Re: tango

I taught a class last month where there was tango being taught in the other room. There were several, shall I say luscious, females dancing with each other because the lack of men. I could not help for the life of me, but wonder why these single young men were in my class. I love my art but these were WOMEN.
Posted by: Uatu the Watcher the Ed Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 5:36pm
Talk about distraction! Grin Did you manage to teach anything that day, Buddy?
Posted by: crazydave Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 6:13pm
Thanks Kenneth, I'll try thinking about the back instead of the chest next time, that may help.

Of course, I'll still be thinking about her chest....

Dave
Posted by: Kreese Posted on: May 9th, 2008, 11:53pm
According to some research into mastery in sports psychology, having an "internal" focus is not the highest level of performance.
Posted by: Interloper Posted on: May 10th, 2008, 8:08am
on May 9th, 2008, 11:53pm, Kreese wrote:
According to some research into mastery in sports psychology, having an "internal" focus is not the highest level of performance.


According to some research into researchers, some research into sports psychology researchers reveals that they have a completely different definition of what "internal" focus is than do practitioners of internal martial arts.

Wink

Posted by: Kreese Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 8:51am
Touche.

But I think you know what I mean - too much emphasis on solo form, chi gung, etc. is stagnation on the road towards "mastery". Internal, external, the debate rages on while fighters fight and don't give a damn.
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 9:50am
on May 11th, 2008, 8:51am, Kreese wrote:
Touche.

But I think you know what I mean - too much emphasis on solo form, chi gung, etc. is stagnation on the road towards "mastery". Internal, external, the debate rages on while fighters fight and don't give a damn.


Good fighters examine their training methods for effectiveness. Over time some of these made distinctions about training methods and classified them.

I still don't buy that if you think about and study something (the scholarly approach) you can't fight. This seems to be a popular view on this forum.

Or, as one poster wrote, that if you enjoy intellectual discussion of these arts, you're an attention ho.

Luo spent years researching ba gua and hsing I from a scholarly as well as a practical perspective. I believe this method has the potential for the greatest yield.

Like all things, balance is needed.

Too much training without examining the method has the potential to lead to a blind alley.

Too much research in a scholarly mode has the same result, but the alley is on the other side of town.


That's right folks, I'm a certified master of the obvious.




Cool
Posted by: Swede Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 12:30pm
I am part way through an excellent book called Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales (highly recommend this book). One chapter focuses on the way people's perceptions do not always match reality. Gonzales makes the point that we use a lot of mental shortcuts because reality provides way too much data for us to sift through it all, and one of the shortcuts is a mental model of what's around us. Accidents (such as mountain climbing accidents, plane crashes, etc.) often are in part due to people paying attention to the mental model rather than paying attention to the actual reality unfolding right in front of them--when there is a shift in the reality that demands attention, that shift is missed because the person was focused on their mental model of what is going on rather than what actually is going on.

As I read that, it got me thinking about IMA. So much of the training is devoted to awareness and sensitivity and requires (if done right) the practitioner to feel what is actually going on rather than having a mental model of what is going on. For example, I am intellectually aware that I have a lower back, but I am not paying attention to the signals my nervous system is sending me about the status of my lower back because I am busy typing (although typing about my lower back has suddenly raised my awareness of it). However I am much more acutely aware of my lower back when I am practicing zhan zhuang or circle-walking or a taiji form. I wonder if one aspect of IMA training is simply to get the mind to quit relying on mental models of the body structure and position and degree of tension, etc. and instead prompt us to become better at being aware of the reality of the body without having all that data compromise our ability to also be aware of the fellow trying to punch us in the nose?

Eh, half-baked theory that came to me on the spur of the moment, but it makes enough sense at the moment.
Posted by: johnwang Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 12:34pm
on May 11th, 2008, 8:51am, Kreese wrote:
while fighters fight and don't give a damn.

Try to look at this way. If you spend all your time and try to make your:

- punch and kick strong,
- lock and throw sharp,
- enter safely,
- finish quickly,
- effective counters,
- surprise set up and combo, and
- fast footwork,

You may not have time to think about whether you are using "internal" or "external" method.

When I learned program languages in school, I had to learn the syntax, semantic, data structure, software testing, program verification, ... for all the different languages. When I did my work, I no longer thinking about those languages any more. My concentration was on how to design my product with less bugs, less amount of code, and easy of maintain.

No matter what style that you come from, the set of CMA problems that you need to solve will be the same (a punch to the head, a kick to the chest, a lock on the elbow, a throw over the head, and an arm bar on the ground).
Posted by: Walter_Joyce Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 12:53pm
It's not like I think, "Is this internal" when I train, at least not now that I am comfortable with the practices. Even whil I was getting comfortable with the methods I didn't think "is this internal?" I thought about maintaining a certain posture and structure, a certain method of breathing, a certain calmness in action.

Now when I train, in addition to basic skills that I worked on for years, like punching, kicking, throwing, I also use standing meditation, focus on structure and posture whenever I train anything related to movement. Plus I've adding coiling methods and silk reeling and have really begun to use whole body structure.

Like most here I have long known that the internal methods are not a substitute for other skills, they augment the other skills.
Posted by: 8gua Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 1:09pm
so looking back to the original question I would say that what it means to me is that you do not let your process get so focused upon simply attaining the end of winning the fight that you allow your practice to develop into a life pursuit, instead of a survival method, it becomes a "thrival" method.....no one wins all the time so knowing this get out of that mindset and create a practice that will help you to evolve as a person......it is about living not surviving.

another cool and relevant vid from teh site Omar put up

http://www.ted.com/talks/view?id=195


think true definition of chuan
Posted by: johnwang Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 1:11pm
The way that I drill my

- LF 5 punches and XY 5 elements,
- Taiji brush knee and SC inner leg hook,
- Taiji cloud hand and SC arm locking kick,
- Taiji pull back and SC diagonal pull,
- Taiji fair lady work on shuttle and SC diagonal strike,

have no difference. The word "internal" has no meaning to me at all.
Posted by: C.J.W. Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 2:43pm
If you are able to kick, throw, punch, and joint-lock with devasting effectiveness and external body movements so minimum that an average martial artist can't replicate or even begin to figure out how you generate power and leverage, you most likely possess internal skills.

There aren't really style boundaries.
Posted by: Kreese Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 6:29pm
I was originally referring to one's focus in the heat of the moment, be it a soccer match or a fighting match. Whatever relevance you may find between sports psychology (admittedly not a hard science) and martial arts, people have invested billions into figuring out how to make athletes better at what they do. We can learn from this investment.

I'm all for research, hell, the OG EF was like a great coffee with some really experienced people. All the stuff we deem internal wasn't developed by idiots.

JW - I am still training basics, but when I train fighting, I am of the same mindset as you. My body is my body, and when I want to use it, I want the maximum effect with the minimum effort. In other words, I see from your point of view more and more the less ignorant I get. Thanks.
Posted by: Formosa Neijia Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 9:52pm
on May 11th, 2008, 9:50am, Walter_Joyce wrote:
I still don't buy that if you think about and study something (the scholarly approach) you can't fight. This seems to be a popular view on this forum.

Or, as one poster wrote, that if you enjoy intellectual discussion of these arts, you're an attention ho.


I'm glad you caught that. Sadly this is the way of things.

Most people don't want to have a scholarly view inform their practice because they might have to give up their preconceptions in the process. Few are willing to do this.

The classics so very clearly condemn a lot of what people are practicing as not being IMA. But people don't want to face that. As Kreese said, "fighters just don't care."

I find the "Lost Taichi Classics of the Late Ching Dynasty" by Wile to be especially helpful. His translations of Yang Ban-hou's poems clearly show that both the martial and neigong elements must be present in the training or we have gone off track.

So the classics have something that condemns most everyone. Smiley

Dave C.
Posted by: onyomi Posted on: May 11th, 2008, 10:41pm
Honestly, I think it's just about training the blood, breath and nervous system along with the muscles, the coordination, the cardio and the technical. If you incorporate those aforementioned elements into your training and practice arts with technique designed to take advantage of those kinds of training then you could say you are doing an "internal" art (because you're training your insides and using the abilities developed by that training).

Really, I think it's just about expanding our ideas of what constitutes fitness, health and physical skill.
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Re: what internal means, IMO

Postby Yin on Mon May 12, 2008 4:22 pm

Hey there

Nice to see the new home. Bit sparesly furnished as yet, but I see that you've managed to bring across one of the best threads from the old place to start off the decor. Congratulations and well done.

Love the new moticon things, particularly this one -nuke-

:D :D :D
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Re: what internal means, IMO

Postby Craig on Tue May 13, 2008 5:37 am

Yes I'd like to see this thread continue. Fong could you please bold the name of each person per reply so we can separate them a little easier :D Cheers
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Re: what internal means, IMO

Postby nianfong on Tue May 13, 2008 9:13 am

good idea. I've bolded the first part. I'll do the rest later. I'll include this in the "how to move threads" procdures.
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Re: what internal means, IMO

Postby onyomi on Wed May 14, 2008 9:35 am

Re. how one can "train the blood," perhaps it would have been better if I'd said "train the blood vessels." Lots of qigong and yoga-type exercises put obvious stress on the blood vessels, which improves overall circulation, especially to the extremities. Probably the most obvious example would be the headstand, one of Yoga's mot important exercises. The function is clearly to increase blood flow to the head such that the body must eventually adapt by improving circulation to that area. Over time, our circulation has a tendency to retreat back to the center of our bodies because it is more work to pump lots of blood to the head, hands and feet (though the feet at least have gravity on their side). Qigong and Yoga pull that energy back out by stressing the blood vessels of the extremities. Look how rosy babies look and compare it to the average middle-aged person. In order to recover the health, vitality, recovery speed and flexibility of the baby, you must recover the circulation of the baby.
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Re: what internal means, IMO

Postby Sprint on Wed May 14, 2008 10:14 am

"In my experience, internal skill consists of having conscious control over muscle groups not generally thought of as being under conscious control, and being able to coordinate them in a fashion that is not, on the face of it, "natural".

I'd go along with that. I always think of sneezing as being the best example internal power. It is not under conscious control of course. But the idea of relaxed, effortless, incredible power over an extremely short distance - in a fraction of a second - is all there in a sneeze. People talk about the need for relaxation and tension interminably. Should there be any? how much? etc,etc. What internal power is about is the body's transition from one end of the spectrum to the other in the shortest possible time. Ever have someone jump out from behind a door and scare the shit out of you? Practically every muscle in your body is energized for a split second. Imagine if you could, at will,put all that energy into uprooting someone? That is roughly what you are aiming for in my view.
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