* Internal...

The following typical threads that plague martial arts sites will get moved here if not just deleted: 1 - My style is better than Your style" - 2 - "Internal & External" - 3 - Personal attacks - 4 - Threads that start well, but degenerate into a spiral of nonsense.

* Internal...

Postby D_Glenn on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:50 am

[edited due to feedback]

Martial Movements, in usage/ application and development, at the core level, are really similar to Basketball. Similarities include the training, solo and team practices, the bodily development, and differing skill levels dependent upon various factors of it's practitioners, etc.

Don't use Li (zhuo li- awkward/clumsy strength), use Qi. is easily and immediately known and understood when a person is trying to play basketball. Especially if they're playing against someone who is even just slightly more practiced in the art of basketball.

Basketball also makes use what we've dubbed 'Tendon strength' in English but is 'Jinmo' (Muscle Membranes) is Chinese, and are the Fascia that surround the muscles and gather into the tendons.

Don't use Li , but instead use Qi. is another way of referring to turning a biomechanical movement of our body (生物力 Shengwuli but also just referred to as 力 Li in the classics of IMA) into a movement that has been learned, ingrained and is a biomechanical movement that is very efficient, so efficient is the movement that it can be controlled with finite percentages of speed, power output etc.; where when a typical '生物力 Shengwuli' (body movement) is first learned it's either just zero or 100%, but when it's trained and developed into a 勁 Jin (Refined Movement) - as 勁 'Jin' is made up of the character for an 'Underground river' (巠 Jing) next to 'Biomechanical Force' (力 Li) and represents the underlying movement of 'Yi, Qi and Xue' (Intent/ thought, energy and blood) that provides the movement, and this 勁 Jin can be controlled with your mind, or power output in varying percentages- 30%, 90%, etc., like in basketball where the ball can be thrown with just the right amount of force to just make it into the hoop, no matter how far away you are standing when you throw it.

Internal Martial Movements take this movement of 'qi' (and blood) to another level as they strive to develop the physical system or network that qi and blood travel, to a degree that's not really seen in normal life. This development comes from Zhan Zhuang and Xing Zhuang (Static and Moving Standing) Cultivation practices. Also called 'Nei Dan' (Developing the network from the inside), opposed to practices that move blood, then qi via External movement and aerobics (Wai Dan).

These Internal Martial Movements can then generate a lot of power but in a short distance - Duan Jin (short power). Or a lot of power but traveling over a long distance but steady and continuous- Chang Jin (long power) for throwing.

The Key ingredient though is the 'Qi', which at it's root is our 'Yuan Qi' and 'Zhen Qi' (Original and True Energy) which in a healthy person is in ample supply and can provide the average man with the energy to be at the top of his game until around the age of 32 when it levels off and as you draw from this supply you gradually feel weaker over the years, around the age of 40 it naturally starts declining.

But the Internal Martial Artist's don't even want to draw on their 'Yuan Qi' at all, and do cultivation practices that draw from our 'Normal Qi' (from food, air, and stored fat), and through a process, and the nature of the practices, there is a surplus of 'Qi' in the body, and this surplus of energy can promote, or rather return to, and transform to become this different form of 炁 Qi Energy. This type of 炁 Qì begins to build up and is stored in the 丹田 Dan​tians and eventually throughout the whole body. (It can be looked at as: 精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen -> 炁 Qi). Where instead of: 'shen'returning to the void, it's used for energy to power the Internal Martial Movements.

Around the 1200s a.d. the Chinese Martial Artists began incorporating the 'Qi Preservation and Cultivation' Practices from the 'Quanzhen' school of Daoism (which is really an amalgamation of Daoism, Chan Buddhism, and Confucianism) to have an even better function of martial movement (勁 Jin) and maintain this level and degree of skill into old age.

The other aspect to this understanding is that of 'Conservation of Energy' (of the body) and the reason that Basketball players are the closest athletes to compare to High Level Internal Martial Artists, is because they're really only 'conserving' their power, during their practices and actually competing in a game, as they're only working against the light resistance of the basketball and the nature of how the game is played.

Chinese martial artists had also figured out that a more refined and powerful quality of movement could be obtained by spending a lot of time practicing the movements against the air - shadow boxing, developing the 'Chan Si Jin' (Silk Reeling Power) aka 'Tendon Strength'.

But it's important to find the balance between slow and fast movements, as the slow movements are a type of 'Xing Zhuang' (Moving Standing), while the fast are more burning-up or using energy. (To offset this, and be able to do a lot of fast movement striking drills, into the air, in Yin Fu style of Baguazhang we keep the Laogong points on the palms of the hands covered with the thumb, which helps to circulate the 炁 Qi back around, and prevents 'dispersion' (Sangong).)

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Last edited by D_Glenn on Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: * Internal...

Postby GrahamB on Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:04 am

Seems to imply that *internal is just taking a movement, like throwing a baseball, and refining and refining it until it becomes.... Internal?
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Re: * Internal...

Postby D_Glenn on Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:21 am

GrahamB wrote:Seems to imply that *internal is just taking a movement, like throwing a baseball, and refining and refining it until it becomes.... Internal?

Ahh... nope.

If he did some some form of Quanzhen Cultivation practices everyday, for several years, to develop a Dantian, and then he wouldn't be using up his own 'Yuan Qi', then I guess you could consider that baseball pitcher 'Internal' but only in that he'd be using 'Nei Dan' (Developing the Dantian internally) to augment his sport. Using that Dantian to then change the bio-mechanics of the throw would be a totally different 'road' that he would then have to travel down on his own.


.
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Re: * Internal...

Postby Patrick on Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:42 am

FWIW I understood your post/article as graham. Internal=high level of coordination skills.
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Re: * Internal...

Postby D_Glenn on Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Patrick wrote:FWIW I understood your post/article as graham. Internal=high level of coordination skills.

Thanks for the feedback.

I edited my post to maybe clear it up.

Internal = a high level of coordinated skills plus (+) a lot of internal cultivation practices.

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Re: * Internal...

Postby amor on Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:18 pm

D_Glenn wrote:


Basketball also makes use what we've dubbed 'Tendon strength' in English but is 'Jinmo' (Muscle Membranes) is Chinese, and are the Fascia that surround the muscles and gather into the tendons.

.


I think you're right in this line of thought. What I've found is that you don't need Qi to strengthen the muscles. You can strengthen the muscles by 'playing with forces' in the body. But you'll only ever develop that muscle in its current state. I think, maybe, qi comes in use for developing these muscle-membranes. It actually puts more flesh into the muscle somehow so you can develop a bigger muscle and overall stronger body. Probably the dynamic tension stuff you mentioned other threads achieves this well.

D_Glenn wrote:The Key ingredient though is the 'Qi', which at it's root is our 'Yuan Qi' and 'Zhen Qi' (Original and True Energy) which in a healthy person is in ample supply and can provide the average man with the energy to be at the top of his game until around the age of 32 when it levels off and as you draw from this supply you gradually feel weaker over the years, around the age of 40 it naturally starts declining.
.


What if the man doesn't have sex at all or once say, once a month. Do you think they would have a good supply of yuan/zhen qi to continue building themselves well past 40?


D_Glenn wrote:But the Internal Martial Artist's don't even want to draw on their 'Yuan Qi' at all, and do cultivation practices that draw from our 'Normal Qi' (from food, air, and stored fat), and through a process, and the nature of the practices, there is a surplus of 'Qi' in the body, and this surplus of energy can promote, or rather return to, and transform to become this different form of 炁 Qi Energy. This type of 炁 Qì begins to build up and is stored in the 丹田 Dan​tians and eventually throughout the whole body. (It can be looked at as: 精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen -> 炁 Qi). Where instead of: 'shen'returning to the void, it's used for energy to power the Internal Martial Movements.
.



Do you know what cultivation practices they did to replenish this (yuan?) Qi. I think that (精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen -> 炁 Qi) is just the microcosmic orbit. Making sure that the qi goes down the ren channel to the dantien and when the dantien becomes full it floods other meridians. You think this is main cultivation practice to achieve this?
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Re: * Internal...

Postby Alexatron on Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:52 pm

I found this post very interesting - many thanks.

It appears to explain my personal experiences with MA - prior to taking up Taiiji and Bagua I was training in a sport Karate style. I noticed as I got older I felt more and more depleted after training. I improved my diet and increased my training but this didn't seem to help. I actually felt like I was getting older and to be honest found it a bit depressing. Just maintaining the status quo in regards to strength and fitness became an arduous and unpleasurable experience. In the last couple of years since doing Taiiji and Bagua I feel this decline has not only been halted but actually reversed to some degree and your post I believe explains this process. And the training is once again pleasurable.

This gave me something else to ponder. A few posters on RSF who have been doing internal styles for a long time almost appear to doubt the internal nature of internal arts and I got to wondering if this is because they take for granted the benefits their styles are bestowing upon them. For me the health and vitality benefits after only a couple of years of training have been profound so although I might not be able to define or measure the internal aspect it is very tangible. I'm sure this vitality by extension increases my martial capability and will continue to do so as I add more layers to my training.

Anyone else with a similar background experience this?
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Re: * Internal...

Postby NoSword on Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:19 pm

Fantastic post, I shared it with my friends.

I would pick a small bone with the last part: over the last 15 years or so basketball has become quite a muscular sport, the athletes are much larger and heavier than ever before. Now training with weights is pretty much indispensable for basketball players, not only for performance but for injury prevention.

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Re: * Internal...

Postby D_Glenn on Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:24 pm

amor wrote:
D_Glenn wrote:Basketball also makes use what we've dubbed 'Tendon strength' in English but is 'Jinmo' (Muscle Membranes) is Chinese, and are the Fascia that surround the muscles and gather into the tendons.

I think you're right in this line of thought. What I've found is that you don't need Qi to strengthen the muscles. You can strengthen the muscles by 'playing with forces' in the body. But you'll only ever develop that muscle in its current state. I think, maybe, qi comes in use for developing these muscle-membranes. It actually puts more flesh into the muscle somehow so you can develop a bigger muscle and overall stronger body. Probably the dynamic tension stuff you mentioned other threads achieves this well.

Actually you do need Qi to provide the energy for the muscle to function, to grow, and then maintain that growth. This Qi is in the blood and is called 'Ying Qi'. In our Baguazhang we first practice a posture that promotes the growth of the red muscle tissue, which in turn, increases the overall 'ying qi' in the body. The larger muscle also stretches the fascia that surrounds it and stimulates the 'Wei Qi' to build it up. This is for promoting the 'conservation of 'Jing' and conversion to 'Qi' phase. Years later, there is a different posture that has more stretching and lengthening of the limbs and body and promotes the tightening down or wrapping-in of the fascia and the red muscle tissue shrinks down and this makes your body more lean and thin and is more for promoting the conductivity or quickness of the 'Yi' to move the 'qi', and also represents the phase where you have built up enough 'qi' and want to promote the conversion of 'qi' into 'shen'.

amor wrote:
D_Glenn wrote:The Key ingredient though is the 'Qi', which at it's root is our 'Yuan Qi' and 'Zhen Qi' (Original and True Energy) which in a healthy person is in ample supply and can provide the average man with the energy to be at the top of his game until around the age of 32 when it levels off and as you draw from this supply you gradually feel weaker over the years, around the age of 40 it naturally starts declining.

What if the man doesn't have sex at all or once say, once a month. Do you think they would have a good supply of yuan/zhen qi to continue building themselves well past 40?

These are just rough guidelines that were figured out years ago by taking the average from a large sample of people. The Daoist numbers are lower than the TCM guidelines but probably only to give more incentive for the young adepts to practice. Every single human being is born under different circumstances so there is no way to say what one person does, or practices, will have the same effects for another person. Factoring in all the hormones and pollutants in our food, access to stimulant-like drugs and supplements, etc. leads to wondering if these guidelines are even still accurate for these modern times.
'Use it or lose it' is also a factor in both Western and Eastern thought. Even though amateur and professional athletes are burning something up, just using that something, is drastically better than letting it go unused. It's like having a nice sports car but never driving it around or taking it out of the garage and running the engine. A sports car that's never driven is no better than the jalopy that sits rusting, because if it is suddenly driven fast on the highway it will probably blow a piston as the engine is not use to it.

amor wrote:
D_Glenn wrote:But the Internal Martial Artist's don't even want to draw on their 'Yuan Qi' at all, and do cultivation practices that draw from our 'Normal Qi' (from food, air, and stored fat), and through a process, and the nature of the practices, there is a surplus of 'Qi' in the body, and this surplus of energy can promote, or rather return to, and transform to become this different form of 炁 Qi Energy. This type of 炁 Qì begins to build up and is stored in the 丹田 Dan​tians and eventually throughout the whole body. (It can be looked at as: 精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen -> 炁 Qi). Where instead of: 'shen' returning to the void, it's used for energy to power the Internal Martial Movements.

Do you know what cultivation practices they did to replenish this (yuan?) Qi.

I don't know what the older practices were but I know what practices we use in my line of Baguazhang. Xingyiquan and Xin-Yi Quan also have some different practices that are a type of abdominal self-massage but those are still tightly kept secrets. We use Standing and long amounts of only Circle Walking, as a type of internal self-massage from the wringing and twisting of the abdomen, to go through the phases and achieve the same thing.

amor wrote:I think that (精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen -> 炁 Qi) is just the microcosmic orbit. Making sure that the qi goes down the ren channel to the dantien and when the dantien becomes full it floods other meridians. You think this is main cultivation practice to achieve this?

Actually {精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen} is something that is happening in animals and humans all the time. And it's not in any specific order, like if you're sitting at a desk studying for a test then 精 Jing is being converted to 神 Shen to increase mental function. If you're digging a hole in the ground then 精 Jing and 神 Shen are being converted back into 氣 Qi to provide the energy for your muscles to work the shovel. If your girlfriend surprises you by showing up wearing some lingerie then 氣 Qi and 神 Shen might have to be converted back into 精 Jing.
In the Martial Arts and Cultivation side, we talk about them in phases but these are stages that occur over many years, and it's where you want the focus to be on, and it is in order because 精 Jing is larger than 氣 Qi, which is larger than 神 Shen, and 精 Jing is in ample supply when we're young but declines every year, so the more of it you can convert in a given time, the better, as it just cascades down.

Standing practice (Zhan Zhuang) can naturally open/ turn up the flow of the microcosmic orbit (small orbit), if the physical requirements are adhered to, but this is natural and is something you don't want to think about (it's happening faster then your mind could follow). This is good for developing the Lower Dantian.

Moving Meditation practices (Xing Zhuang) can also turn up the flow of the small orbit and then cause the large orbit (flowing through all 12 meridians) to flow, but again it's a natural thing and you don't want to put your mind on the through the meridians, but just focus on the biomechanical movements you're doing and their martial functions. This is good for strengthening the lower Dantian and building the Middle Dantian.

But yes, small or small and large orbits need to be flowing in order to be 'cultivating' and building up the Dantian(s).
These orbits are a natural thing and can happen when we do any sort of strenuous repetitive exercise. It's "getting in the zone" or "catching my second wind" and other sayings, but usually these exercises are using up just as much energy as one is converting, so there's never a surplus, and in many cases a deficit, or one is overdrawn in their checking account. Extreme over-exercise combined with lack of sufficient food or other circumstances, is where one has to actually dip-in to their savings account of 'yuan qi'.


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Re: * Internal...

Postby Patrick on Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:44 am

Internal = a high level of coordinated skills plus (+) a lot of internal cultivation practices.


I made several times now the suggstions to distinguish internal work from external work on the focus
on type I training. Sadly noone commented on it.
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Re: * Internal...

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:05 am

Haven't re-read this after the edits, but the original reminded me of the story from Chuang Tzu about the cook. I suppose you could say it's one type of 'internal' (today called 'being in the zone, or in flow'), but probably not what Bodywork means. ???

Ting the cook was cutting meat free from the bones of an ox for Lord Wen-hui. His hands danced as his shoulders turned with the step of his foot and bending of his knee. With a shush and a hush, the blade sang following his lead, never missing a note. Ting and his blade moved as though dancing to “The Mulberry Grove,” or as if conducting the “Ching-shou” with a full orchestra.

Lord Wen-hui exclaimed, “What a joy! It’s good, is it not, that such a simple craft can be so elevated?”

Ting laid aside his knife. “All I care about is the Way. If find it in my craft, that’s all. When I first butchered an ox, I saw nothing but ox meat. It took three years for me to see the whole ox. Now I go out to meet it with my whole spirit and don’t think only about what meets the eye. Sensing and knowing stop. The spirit goes where it will, following the natural contours, revealing large cavities, leading the blade through openings, moving onward according to actual form — yet not touching the central arteries or tendons and ligaments, much less touching bone.

“A good cook need sharpen his blade but once a year. He cuts cleanly. An awkward cook sharpens his knife every month. He chops. I’ve used this knife for nineteen years, carving thousands of oxen. Still the blade is as sharp as the first time it was lifted from the whetstone. At the joints there are spaces, and the blade has no thickness. Entering with no thickness where there is space, the blade may move freely where it will: there’s plenty of room to move. Thus, after nineteen years, my knife remains as sharp as it was that first day.

“Even so, there are always difficult places, and when I see rough going ahead, my heart offers proper respect as I pause to look deeply into it. Then I work slowly, moving my blade with increasing subtlety until — kerplop! — meat falls apart like a crumbling clod of earth. I then raise my knife and assess my work until I’m fully satisfied. Then I give my knife a good cleaning and put it carefully away.”

Lord Wen-hui said, “That’s good, indeed! Ting the cook has shown me how to find the Way to nurture life.”
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Re: * Internal...

Postby Trip on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:34 am

D_Glenn wrote: where when a typical '生物力 Shengwuli' (body movement) is first learned it's either just zero or 100%, but when it's trained and developed into a 勁 Jin (Refined Movement) - as 勁 'Jin' is made up of the character for an 'Underground river' (巠 Jing) next to 'Biomechanical Force' (力 Li) and represents the underlying movement of 'Yi, Qi and Xue' (Intent/ thought, energy and blood) that provides the movement, and this 勁 Jin can be controlled with your mind, or power output in varying percentages- 30%, 90%, etc., like in basketball where the ball can be thrown with just the right amount of force to just make it into the hoop, no matter how far away you are standing when you throw it.


The phrase "just the right amount" to make a hoop, sparked a new way for me to look at something I've done for a while. Thanks. :)

The words thrown and force that bracket that phrase sparked a few thoughts too.

Like...in basketball when someone uses the word thrown, it is not a compliment. To say someone can’t shoot they say he’s throwing up bricks. An implication that he’s not accurate and using too much force.
It means you might as well be tossing bricks because you do not know how to shoot a basketball.

In addition, when your shot is off, it’s not just something people observe objectively: it is also a visceral feeling. When they shout “He’s throwing bricks” it is accompanied with a frown and a groan.

When someone shouts he can shoot, they say things like,
“he’s feeling’ it”, “he’s got a shooter’s touch”, “He’s got a hot hand”,
“He’s on fire”, “he’s lighting it up”
“He’s in rhythm”, “He’s on a streak”
"he's schooling folks", etc.

Their description implies they are getting a kind of…sense of you: that you have a certain touch, that you have a feel for the game.
They say—he got skills.

Whereas, the use of force is described as, “he’s bulling his way in”. They are happy you scored but it is not as respected as having skills.

The odds increase that you can acquire the skills—to be a good shooter faster—if someone teaches you proper shooting position and wrist usage.

Like many, I played basketball since I was a little kid; shot thousands of shots, and won many games. Still, it was not until someone taught me proper hand position and wrist usage; and many drills that my shot got better. It was kinda funny because proper hand position and wrist usage was actually really simple. But I didn’t know that until after someone taught me. Plus, it’s so simple it’s easy to skip as a solution; easy not to do. Weird. Anyway, after a lot of practice, I began to shoot in a game without being aware of proper hand position and wrist usage.

It is the same with almost anything. If someone does not teach you, how will you know? Maybe you could read about it but that could lead you down many wrong paths. By the time you figure it out, years have gone by and you are old. In addition, what you teach yourself runs a high risk of being one-sided or just partial learning.

For instance, in Taiji if someone does not teach you how to fight with it properly, it does not matter how much you’ve read about it, how much push hands you do or how many fights you have. The odds will still be low that you will actually use Taiji in a fight properly.

Natural talent plus someone teaching you things properly and hard practice makes the odds high that you will be good at what you do. And, just maybe someone will shout he’s got skills.

☮☮☮
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Re: * Internal...

Postby Tom on Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:49 am

GrahamB wrote:. . . probably not what Bodywork means. ???


Dan was just in Bristol this past weekend . . . you could have asked him. 8-)
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Re: * Internal...

Postby Deadmonki on Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:01 am

Thanks for the illuminating post. Does all this information come from your teacher He Jin Bao?

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Re: * Internal...

Postby amor on Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:18 pm

@D_Glenn

I think Bruce Lee had that body you mentioned the lean thin look towards the end of his life near the time when he did Enter The Dragon. I'm guessing this is how the body changes when you build up qi which burns the fat out of those 'cell membranes' so then it starts to reside in those spaces. It looks like and people might even say to you 'why you starving yourself' but they couldn't be further from the truth ;D
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