All have internal and external elements

clfsean

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haha. i just recalled a quote from CMC where he says that internal means the art came from inside the chinese mind and external means that it came from outside the chinese mind...or China i guess would be more accurate. simple enough.

Respectfully,
Marlon

Actually it was somewhere during that time that CMC & Robert Smith coined & popularized the "internal' & "external" catch phrases.
 

pete

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gotta look further back than the 1960's for the usage of internal/external, or neijia/weijia. not sure if its where it was 'coined', but definitely popularized in Shen county martial arts association, where Xingyi, Bagua, & Tai Chi were taught by Li Cun Yi, Cheng Ting Hua, and Liu De Kuan, circa early 1900's...

pete

ps... any other differences in internal vs external methods?
 
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Xue Sheng

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for purposes of discussion and to add to defining the differences between Internal and External methods,
1. pre-programmed reflexive action vs continuous conscious thought (already discussed)
2. acting to control vs following the lead of your opponent to receive control.

this is easily understood by comparing internal methods of chin na vs external jujitsu locks. the physical manipulations are the same, however the internal artist will not act to apply the lock on his opponent. Rather he will follow and redirect so that anything the opponent does puts him more and more into trouble, thus the internal fighter receives control.

pete.

Talking CMA and only CMA from my POV and since others nationalities tend not to talk along the lines of a division between internal and external. Both internal and external styles do both 1 and 2 just to varying degrees and it cannot be divided along a line consistently to say internals always do more of one thing than an external does. Of course there are different approaches to training method. I am not saying that Taiji trains like Wing Chun or Changquan but then taiji does not train like Bagua or Xingyi and for that matter styles of taiji train differently as do styles of Bagua and Xingyiquan.

Which leads me back to the division, IMO, is great for easy of discussion and categorization but not much else. And since Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi do not have the same approach to everything along the lines given then the label internal may or may not apply to all of them using both 1 and 2 as a point of definition.
 
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Xue Sheng

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gotta look further back than the 1960's for the usage of internal/external, or neijia/weijia. not sure if its where it was 'coined', but definitely popularized in Shen county martial arts association, where Xingyi, Bagua, & Tai Chi were taught by Li Cun Yi, Cheng Ting Hua, and Liu De Kuan, circa early 1900's...

pete

ps... any other differences in internal vs external methods?

As I said earlier in this post it first appears in 1669 in the Epitaph for Wang Zhengnan more and many suspect it as more of a political shot at the Qing than anything else
 
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Xue Sheng

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haha. i just recalled a quote from CMC where he says that internal means the art came from inside the chinese mind and external means that it came from outside the chinese mind...or China i guess would be more accurate. simple enough.

Respectfully,
Marlon

Actually it was somewhere during that time that CMC & Robert Smith coined & popularized the "internal' & "external" catch phrases.

Actually the Epitaph is interpreted as saying that internal styles come from internal to China, the Ming and Taoism where external styles are from external sources such as Buddhism and the Qing (Manchu). This is where the whole political thing comes in. Of course this is speculation by a bunch of historians who have not found the division written down prior to 1669 and since the guy that wrote it Huang Zongxi (1610-1695 A.D.) was not available for comment they could not ask him :D

And Sun Lutang and Tung Ying Chieh as well as possibly Yang Chengfu were big on Internal and External Styles
 

clfsean

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ok... my bad so let me clarify... brought the terms to the west... stressed in the west... popularized in the west...

That kind of thing.
 

pete

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Consider this: Internal vs External METHODS... as opposed to styles.

The more you utilize one method vs the other within your training would determine how YOU practice (or were taught to practice) your style.

Are there styles that are classically known as external that utilize some internal methods... sure! Are there people training an 'internal' style with an abundance of external methods... yep! Is it apparent in their form practice, application, and midset... I see it all the time!

A lot of the distraction to say either 'there is no difference', or the differentiation is based on politics and/or marketing (as opposed to training methods), are basic misunderstandings and a desire to break down walls and get along... much of it because differences lead to evaluation, and especially in the Martial Arts, the inevitable arguement of who's better / who's best.

That's why I suggest the discussion keep to identifying differences, rather than voting for which is better.

Look at the arts that are classically 'internal' and those 'external'. Even the most casual observer will notice differences in training methods... those differences are real. I contributed 2 examples to the conversation, 2 pretty obscure ones... there are others that are more obvious.

Anyone see differences in training an internal art vs external?

pete
 

kaizasosei

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isn't all body conditioning internal to some degree. i would think that all healthy forms of breathing training or correct posture training to have internal benor health befits as well as external benefits of strength muscle memory.

at the end of the day, all things in life have internal as well as external aspects. not only martial arts.
basically, the way to achieve internal power is through experience of living external technique, the way to use external power is to use your head or heart and choose/find the right exercises to practice.

as far as fighting goes, i have a question..when a policeman uses his voice and mere presence to direct an individual or suspect, how external is that from a ma point of view? im talking about the directions, not the physical act of cuffing or immobilizing in some way...
in some way, all people are all directing each other in various ways-be it passively or actively- noone can perfectly see the end result of any given action.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Consider this: Internal vs External METHODS... as opposed to styles.

The more you utilize one method vs the other within your training would determine how YOU practice (or were taught to practice) your style.

Are there styles that are classically known as external that utilize some internal methods... sure! Are there people training an 'internal' style with an abundance of external methods... yep! Is it apparent in their form practice, application, and midset... I see it all the time!

A lot of the distraction to say either 'there is no difference', or the differentiation is based on politics and/or marketing (as opposed to training methods), are basic misunderstandings and a desire to break down walls and get along... much of it because differences lead to evaluation, and especially in the Martial Arts, the inevitable arguement of who's better / who's best.

That's why I suggest the discussion keep to identifying differences, rather than voting for which is better.

Look at the arts that are classically 'internal' and those 'external'. Even the most casual observer will notice differences in training methods... those differences are real. I contributed 2 examples to the conversation, 2 pretty obscure ones... there are others that are more obvious.

Anyone see differences in training an internal art vs external?

pete

I can't speak for anyone else but I'm not saying either is better or worse I am not sure why you return to this, I am saying they are the same.

As to differences in training I have already said that as well. All styles of CMA have differences in training. Different styles of what we now call internal also have different approaches to training. Different styles of the same internal say Yang taiji and Chen Taiji have different approaches to training.

As to the arts that are classically 'internal' and those 'external' what I am saying here and all I am saying it that prior to 1669 the terminology as it is now applied to CMA did not exist. It came from a political poke at the Qing and it was not associated with Xingyiquan, Baguazhang or Taijiquan when it appeared it was specifically associated with the martial arts of Wang Zhengnan which his son later wrote about and it was still not Xingyi, Taiji or Bagua. That application came later and is currently MUCH more important in the west than it is in China, however the application to these styles did start in China after 1669.

The only difference I do see between what we now call internal and what we now call external is the focus on and the amount of training of Qi. But I have not trained too many externals (changquan and Wing Chun) but I suspect that it is possible that White Crane may have a similar emphasis on Qi
 

clfsean

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The only difference I do see between what we now call internal and what we now call external is the focus on and the amount of training of Qi. But I have not trained too many externals (changquan and Wing Chun) but I suspect that it is possible that White Crane may have a similar emphasis on Qi

The majority of my training has been the "external" type. You'd be suprised how much time is spent on qi development. Building it with exercises (oooh... qi gong) and learning how to issue the energy with strikes (oooh... fa jing) but not in the Chen style. Just learning how to put the "umph" with the strikes & absorb with bridges & deflections to turn it back on them.
 

pete

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To Xue Sheng: I've read your words and understand your position. You do not need to re-state for my purposes, but please consider this thread is open to all posters and what i am doing is trying to spur good conversation... basically, while i my posts are directed at the greater 'you' meaning you as a member of this forum... they are not directed at YOU as an individual. I'd use email or PM if yours and only your opinion was of interest to me.

To all (including Xue Sheng): #3: while both internal and external methods may include Qigong, or the development of qi, the methods are very different. One method may work towards sinking the qi to one's center, while another may work towards expressing it outward to the surface (iron shirt)... One may work towards an unencumbered natural flow to all parts, while another may divert, redirect, and pack qi in specific parts. One may train qigong to calm the mind, dissolve tensions, thereby increasing awareness and sensitivity... while another may train qigong to concentrate and build 'dynamic tension', thereby increasing laser focus and physical strength.

Are some of these internal while others external? does anyone see differences and contradictions in the methods, while both being 'Qi Gong'?

pete.
 

clfsean

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Qi gong is qi gong... necessity, reason & intention drive the use...
 
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Xue Sheng

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To Xue Sheng: I've read your words and understand your position. You do not need to re-state for my purposes, but please consider this thread is open to all posters and what i am doing is trying to spur good conversation... basically, while i my posts are directed at the greater 'you' meaning you as a member of this forum... they are not directed at YOU as an individual. I'd use email or PM if yours and only your opinion was of interest to me.

Thanks, my "opinion" is based on historical fact and experince, but understood and I am aware of this, I was adding your quotes to let others know who and what I was responding to.

To all (including Xue Sheng): #3: while both internal and external methods may include Qigong, or the development of qi, the methods are very different. One method may work towards sinking the qi to one's center, while another may work towards expressing it outward to the surface (iron shirt)... One may work towards an unencumbered natural flow to all parts, while another may divert, redirect, and pack qi in specific parts. One may train qigong to calm the mind, dissolve tensions, thereby increasing awareness and sensitivity... while another may train qigong to concentrate and build 'dynamic tension', thereby increasing laser focus and physical strength.

Are some of these internal while others external? does anyone see differences and contradictions in the methods, while both being 'Qi Gong'?

pete.

But I make reference to your standards of what makes an internal and the you come back with #1, #2 and I reply to #1 and #2 and you come back with #3. Without any reference to the prior association between internal and external training and then without any response to #1 and #2. If you want discussion I would think you might and thereby get other involved.

But so be it. As to #3

I agree they do train differently and I agree that they are now called internal but the term internal was not applied to them when they came into existence nor is it all that important in their country of origin today. It is accepted terminology that is of much greater importance in the west. And I have observed on many occasions (and this is by no means any reference to you or anyone else in this thread) that it is used by many as a term to state their superiority when in fact they are no better or no worse than any external style.
 

pete

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While there has been some unwillingness to accept the first 3 differences I’ve provided (so far) between internal and external methods, there has been no substantial argument or specific examples. All I’ve read has been simple contradiction.

To drill deeper into what I’ve provided, let’s give some thought provide some simple answers:

#1. If you can accept that Meditation is a method that develops consciousness, clarity of thought, and awareness of the here-and-now… one would expect that a martial art that integrates Meditation into its training methods would value consciousness during an altercation. Conversely, a martial art that does feature Meditation, or keeps whatever meditation is done separated from its martial practices, may rely more towards reflexive/unconscious reaction in a fight.

So by popular vote, what specific art have you practiced that has taught you how to integrate meditation practices within the fighting style?

#2. Building on your thoughts regarding #1, would you think an art that trains to develop higher levels of consciousness would also be more aware of changes in the enemy, the environment, and the escalation of events as they present themselves? Therefore, would that same art that relies on acting through conscious thought be more or less concerned with trying to control what could happen… or be confident in dealing with what may happen should it happen? Would an art that trains to react to a stimulus with a series of prescribed action be more apt to try to control and prevent an opponent, regardless of what that opponent is doing?

So by popular vote, what specific art have you practiced that through countless repetition, will provide you with an extended series of actions to address the enemy’s initial attack, regardless of what the enemy tries to do?

pete
 
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Xue Sheng

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As I asked several posts back, define what you mean by mediation because to me in CMA if falls under the heading of Qigong.

 

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I think the whole conversation could be more productive if we, at least initially, recognize by definition those things that differentiate internal from external, rather than making qualitative statements regarding which is ‘better’. ***

Might I suggest actually defining how you understand the terms "internal" and "external." You've offered some description but no definition, at least not that I understood.

I'm with Xue Sheng, I think this is largely an artificial distinction. Whatever differences there may be, in the hands of a good instructor, there really isn't one. To me, there is no bright line separating the two. But you seem to be approaching this from a different perspective.
 

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i was reading some of the excellent material that XS has made available and it came to me that internal styles focus inwards to feelings and sensations that are inside the practitioner and external styles do not.

marlon
 
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Xue Sheng

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i was reading some of the excellent material that XS has made available and it came to me that internal styles focus inwards to feelings and sensations that are inside the practitioner and external styles do not.

marlon

Intersting point, I will have to think about that, thanks

But since I have limit training in external CMA I would like to hear an external POV on that too.
 

marlon

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XS i have trained in shotokan, kyokushin, hung gar and of course skk which are all taught as external styles. We were never taught to pay attention or develop any internal feelings / sensations


Respectfully,
marlon
 

pete

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EXACTLY~!

Paying attention to internal feeling / sensations will interrupt the unconscious reflexive actions of an external art.

That is why internal arts practice (a) meditation for clarity of thought & calm awareness, (b) specific forms of qigong/neigong to understand and sense energy patterns within, (c) 2-person exercises, such as pushing hands and rou shou, to sense energy patterns of another, while maintaining your consciousness of your own. These 3 components are practiced and integrated to develop martial awareness.

External fighting methods include basic athletic conditioning, muscular contraction exercises to develop strength, aerobic training for stamina, and repetitive hand-eye coordination drills to develop speed (through unconscious reflexive action).

Internal fighter uses mind intent, weight momentum, pumping of bodily fluids and energy discharge for strength, relaxation and diaphramatic breathing for stamina. Rather than speed, per se, the internal fighter will take advantage of his opponents gaps in consciousness to create timing and and a skillfull use angles for positional advantage.

pete.
 

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