External vs internal martial arts

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Zeny

Zeny

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Believe it or not I have involved with "internal vs. external" discussion for more than 20 years in another "internal CMA forum". My observation is:

Internal guys only want to talk about "push". When you mention about kick, punch, lock, throw, ground game, they will consider those as "low level". The general conclusion from those kind of discussion are "internal" can help you to develop your body. But it may not affect directly to how you may apply your MA skill. The "internal" is pretty much equal to "functional training".

For example, in all those "internal vs. external" discussions, not even a single person has addressed how "internal" can help you to execute your:

- hip throw, single leg, firemen's carry, ...
- roundhouse kick, side kick, ...
- hook punch, uppercut, ...
- wrist lock, elbow lock, shoulder lock, ...
- side mount, arm bar, leg bar, choke, ...
- ...

Since I'm not interested in "push". I soon lost interested in those discussion. Even today, I still don't understand why people are interested in "push" that much and want to devote all their life training time to develop such skill.

It's pretty much like the game that you had played when you were a kid. Your hand hold on your opponent's hand. You can move your hand any way you want. if you can make your opponent's foot to move, you win. I just don't see this kind of skill can be any useful in fighting.


That’s an extremely valid observation. Unfortunately, many internalists, as you say, only talk about “push”. I myself am guilty of this. Some even go further and join “push hands” competitions, where the aim is to fell the opponent or both parties stand inside a circle and the aim is for one party to “push” the other party out of the circle. I myself also find these “push hands” competitions rather pointless. You can “push" another person out of a circle, so what? In doing so you may have thrown your whole body weight at your opponent (which is dangerous) or exposed your body to any number of potential strikes (which is also dangerous). That’s why many people don’t view an internal art like taijiquan very seriously as a martial art, and you can’t quite blame them for having that view.

I have personally met a couple local taijiquan instructors of my style who told me, Zeny, we have been there and done that, “sung” and “use soft to overcome hard” does not work, we have trained this for many years and when we go out to cross hands with martial artists of other styles we have our asses handed back to us. So you see, even people who are supposed to be “internalists” also share your view. My former fuzhou white crane teacher also said, if he can punch someone and make them bleed, why “push”? And another friend also said to me, Zeny, many people purport to train sung and softness, but when they join "push hands" competitions, their movements are no different from wrestlers.

The problem is, in my view, many internalists are barking up the wrong tree. They don’t practise an “internal” martial art the way it should be practised. In an earlier post, I said, when an internalist engages, say myself, if you are slow I am slower, if you are fast I am faster. If you advance towards me you will feel that I am very far, and if you retreat you will feel that I am very near. What does this mean? This makes no sense at all to an ordinary person on the street or any non-internal martial artist.

In essence, it means that the (high level) internalist moves better than you ("general" you). If you stand still he can stand still better. If you lower your stance he can do better. If you advance he can retreat better. If you retreat he can advance better. If your right arm engages his left arm, his left arm has better angle and positioning. If you want to apply force on him he has already emptied the contact spot. If you throw your body weight at him he has already stepped to the side. This sounds like magic. And in truth, it does. No beginner internalist is going to achieve this or realise this is how it works. However, after years of training, said internalist suddenly realises, hey how come my opponent is so clumsy, can’t even stand straight properly or is doing so many pointless moves, I seem to be able to run circles around him. If that day comes, do we still need to talk about push, kick, lock or throw?
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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If that day comes, do we still need to talk about push, kick, lock or throw?
IMO, when that day comes, you still need to talk about "finish moves" such as kick, punch, lock, throw. Even if we don't want to talk about "kill", we still need to talk about:

- fist meets face, and
- head meets ground.

fist_meets_face.jpg

head_into_ground.jpg
 

Kung Fu Wang

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some use muscle and power to apply a qinna,
IMO, all joint lock require leverage. For example, when you apply a wrist lock, it's not how much power that you can apply on your opponent's wrist but whether or not you understand how to

- drop down your own wrist, and
- raise up your own elbow.

 
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