Internal and External Okinawan Styles.

arnisador

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I see on a Shorei-ryu page the statements:
Okinawa has 3 basic facets:
1). Shuri-Te (external, also known as Sho-Rin Ryu.)
2). Tomari-Te (external and internal, also known as Isshin Ryu.)
3). Naha-Te (internal, also known as Goju Ryu.)

Leaving aside any issues with the identification of the three earlier arts with Shorin, Isshin, and Goju, respectively, I find the identification of Shuri-te as external and Naha-te as internal a bit simplistic and perhaps not entirely an appropriate way of viewing an Okinawan system (through this Chinese point of view). I know Isshin thinks of itself as hard and soft but Goju does a better job of that in my opinion (as per its name), and as for Shorin I wouldn't think of it as external in comparison to Goju. Of course, I know something of the Sanchin from Goju and Isshin but not from Shorin; Goju's Tensho kata is certainly internal in nature.
 
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GojuBujin

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Okinawa has 3 basic facets:
1). Shuri-Te (external, also known as Sho-Rin Ryu.)
2). Tomari-Te (external and internal, also known as Isshin Ryu.)
3). Naha-Te (internal, also known as Goju Ryu.)


There are many styles that represent the more generic terms of Shuri-te, Tomori Te, Naha te

Goju and Uechi would be naha te systems of karate

shuri te covers shorin ryu and shuri ryu (maybe more)

not as familiar with the tomari-te styles. I know Isshin is a hybrid part of that being Goju.

Goju is definately internal. Alot fo that is from its origin in White Crane Kungfu and perhaps Tiger Boxing. Sanchin is most heavily stressed (the first kata - the Go (Hard) and Tensho the last kata focuses on the Ju- the softness

These really focus on the chi, the internal engergy. MY Old Sensei, Tony Madamba was a prime example. 68yrs old 5'2" (maybe) but definately not an opponent to be challenged. It was his internal engergy that made him so powerful.

Michael
http://www.inigmasoft.com/goyukai
 
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arnisador

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Originally posted by GojuBujin

Uechi would be naha te systems of karate

This was an interesting post, and I liked your take on Goju-ryu. I disagree about Uechi-ryu however--it's overwhelmingly literal Southern Chinese kung fu with somewhat of an Okinawan tint. I really think it's an exception as other karate styles have much more indigenous Okinwan arts mixed in with the Chinese arts.
 
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Chiduce

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You know; most people do refer goju as more internal that it's sister system shorin ryu. Now fact of the matter is that shorin-ryu karate, either matsubayashi or matsumura seito is more internal oriented than goju ryu. Guju advertises more along the internal lines were as shorin ryu keeps the internal training of it shaolin kempo base or hakutsuru more secretive! The hakutsuru kata provide along with various other basic and advanced kata of the shorin ryu system provide the practitioner with the internal and more kung fu oriented concepts! Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
 
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Chiduce

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You know; most people do refer goju as more internal that it's sister system shorin ryu. Now fact of the matter is that shorin-ryu karate, either matsubayashi or matsumura seito is more internal oriented than goju ryu. Guju advertises more along the internal lines were as shorin ryu keeps the internal training of it shaolin kempo base or hakutsuru more secretive! The hakutsuru kata provide along with various other basic and advanced kata of the shorin ryu system provide the practitioner with the internal and more kung fu oriented concepts! Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
 
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arnisador

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From what I know of them, I feel that Shorin is more internal, Goju less so--but, I am no expert in this!
 

Shorin Ryuu

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Could a Chinese martial artist help us out here? I've always felt it strange that there has been an internal and external classification of Okinawan karate, however that works out. But if you look at the internal and external classifications in Chinese martial arts, it really is only Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua as internal vs. everything else being external. Regardless of whether you are a Goju Ryu or Shorin Ryu practitioner, you trace back to Southern China and external Chinese martial arts. I think there may be a misunderstanding (myself included) about the difference between a style trying to use energy and a style being "internal". I think many styles have some internal elements in them, but that doesn't make them "internal", or does it?

I'm curious to see what you all think. In the end, perhaps only a semantic and academic debate, but I guess that is what these forums are best at.
 
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twayman

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I am no expert on this subject but, here is my two cents. I think most shorin-ryu styles have a mix of internal and external within the individual styles depending on the definition of internal and external. “Using the mind to coordinate the leverage of the relaxed body” (internal) prior to say, executing a punch then using the external aspect of that technique would be becoming rigid at the point of contact at this point the technique becomes hard (external). In shorin-ryu it is difficult to differentiate between an internal vs. external technique they seem to mix and are expressed within the style. I guess I would define internal as the artful side of the technique (controlling the body to the most efficient way of performing the technique) and external as brute strength.
 
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arnisador

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I'm still not sure the idea fully fits the Okinawan arts--a mix as you say, perhaps, or just the wrong concept to apply here.
 
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twayman

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Yes, I think internal & external mostly refers to Chinese arts (Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua internal everything else external) as Shorin Ryuu posted. But, the feel (for lack of a better word) may apply to Okinawan arts.
 

eyebeams

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It relative terms to CMA, virtually all Okinawan karate styles are external. By this I mean that a given system may emphasize relaxation and kiko (qigong), but never as much as a known internal Chinese art like Taijiquan. But there are big variations within Okinawan arts, too. The fact is, though, that the roots of the Okinawan arts are mostly in external southern styles and either get even harder or adhere to those styles. On the other hand, the remnants of non-karate arts may cover the gamut. Udunti is supposed to be similar to aikijujutsu in practice, tegumi is somewhat judo-like and so on. I couldn't speculate about things like Jo-odori because I haven't seen them. Still, distinct training methods like the makiwara are pretty external.
 

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Ok, I've extensively studied karate (considered external) as well as Hsing-I Chuan and Tai Chi Chuan (considered internal). Could someone tell me what is the difference between internal and external martial arts?

Seriously, I mean, where the rubber meets the road. Not what you're imagining is happening, i.e., breath circulating up your spine and such, but what are the genuine physical differences between the two.

Let's take the simple reverse punch. What's the differnce between a proper karate reverse punch, an an "Internal" one? Mechanically. What does the external stylist do different from the internal stylist do?

Rob
 

Kosokun

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Todd,

I've spoken to a bunch of "internal" CMA'ists in my day. They describe their punch exactly as you described your punch, below. Perhaps Shorin Ryu is "Internal" hehehehehe. :wink2:

Rob

twayman said:
I am no expert on this subject but, here is my two cents. I think most shorin-ryu styles have a mix of internal and external within the individual styles depending on the definition of internal and external. “Using the mind to coordinate the leverage of the relaxed body” (internal) prior to say, executing a punch then using the external aspect of that technique would be becoming rigid at the point of contact at this point the technique becomes hard (external). In shorin-ryu it is difficult to differentiate between an internal vs. external technique they seem to mix and are expressed within the style. I guess I would define internal as the artful side of the technique (controlling the body to the most efficient way of performing the technique) and external as brute strength.
 

Kosokun

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GojuBujin said:
Okinawa has 3 basic facets:
1). Shuri-Te (external, also known as Sho-Rin Ryu.)
2). Tomari-Te (external and internal, also known as Isshin Ryu.)

I don't buy your classification. Kyan's (one of tatsuo shimabukuro's teachers) style is exemplary of tomari te. It'd be rather difficult to distinguish his style from Chibana's karate (shuri.) Also, given that Isshin Ryu is a combination of Kyan's Shorin Ryu (tomari) and Goju Ryu (naha) how can that be exemplary of tomari te?

There appears to be a growing group of people who consider the indentification of Tomari Te as artificial. That, it was mentioned in a festival on Okinawa, so as not to offend instructors from that region, rather than to distinguish a different type of karate.

3). Naha-Te (internal, also known as Goju Ryu.)
And, ryuei ryu and uechi ryu.

There are many styles that represent the more generic terms of Shuri-te, Tomori Te, Naha te

Goju and Uechi would be naha te systems of karate

shuri te covers shorin ryu and shuri ryu (maybe more)

not as familiar with the tomari-te styles.

ones that have become known as tomari-te are Seibukan (Sukinahayashi) Shorin Ryu and Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu.

I know Isshin is a hybrid part of that being Goju.
correct
Goju is definately internal. Alot fo that is from its origin in White Crane Kungfu and perhaps Tiger Boxing. Sanchin is most heavily stressed (the first kata - the Go (Hard) and Tensho the last kata focuses on the Ju- the softness

These really focus on the chi, the internal engergy. MY Old Sensei, Tony Madamba was a prime example. 68yrs old 5'2" (maybe) but definately not an opponent to be challenged. It was his internal engergy that made him so powerful.

Michael
http://www.inigmasoft.com/goyukai
What's internal energy? It wasn't his years of training and accumulated skill?

I find it interesting that one can't find white crane forms (and they're lots online) that resemble the goju forms, apart from Sanchin.

Rob
 

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I've heard that ryuei ryu comes from a style of kung fu called black tiger boxing, not having seen either style I can't say much beyond that
 
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arnisador

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I think eyebeams makes several good points.

I want to say again that Uechi-ryu is just exceptional in so many ways...it's different from the others. Much less Okinwan influence, for one thing.
 

Kosokun

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I don't find it that different from Goju. I see many similarities, sorta like "cousin" styles.

Rob

arnisador said:
I think eyebeams makes several good points.

I want to say again that Uechi-ryu is just exceptional in so many ways...it's different from the others. Much less Okinwan influence, for one thing.
 

eyebeams

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Kosokun said:
Todd,

I've spoken to a bunch of "internal" CMA'ists in my day. They describe their punch exactly as you described your punch, below. Perhaps Shorin Ryu is "Internal" hehehehehe. :wink2:

Rob
Not really. The posture and breathing used in Taiji and even Xingi is markedly different from what's used in karate. Key differences would be: 1) Use of the waist to generate power in rotation while the hips stay along a set biomechanical track instead of hip rotation. 2) Curved line of the torso instead of upright and straight. 3) The stepping motion is different. External martial arts is not brute force, by the way. It's a way to maximize power through improved physical fitness and relatively larger, more obvious body movement. Internal arts concentrate on changing the relative positions of different body structures to express power instead of making expansive movements. Both sides attempt to get to the point where natural, relaxed movement is effective. For example, Xingyi's beng is an internal punching method that uses a falling step, waist rotation, shoulder tilt and hip alignment to generate power. The actual space you take up with beng only increases slightly when you punch. In Mizongluohan you have something partially more karate-like (though it tries to combine internal and external), where the hip rotates in a large motion that complements a lunge and the fist moves quite far. I enjoy learning both to take advantage of their respective merits.
 
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twayman

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This may be a little abstract but just a thought I had during lunch while pondering this thread. I remember when I first started studying MA and executed a (what I thought) reverse punch. It was all external, no body mechanics only my arm strength, no focus of technique and such. As training progressed my body learned the correct mechanics, proper focus all the while gaining more strength, the same technique became more internal.

Another thought internal (soft) arts seem to be more associated with circular motion and open hands while external (hard) arts associate with more linear motion and closed fists. Again shorin-ryu exhibit both circular and linear technique. I believe the more circular movements are associated with southern China MA while the more linear movements are associated with Northern China MA.

With that said.

Naha-Te is thought to originate from Fujian Province (southern China) hence, a lot of circular technique. Emphasis on internal generation of power.

Shori-Te is thought to originate form the Hanon Province (North Eastern China) hence, more linear technique. Emphasis on speed and power.

Now Tomari-Te has little info that I can find on the origins. It is believed that the origins come form a Chinese sergeant and has all but been absorbed between the Shori-Te and Naha-Te arts. Tomari-Te is said to be the origins of Passai, Rohai, Wanshu and possibly Chinto katas.
 

Kosokun

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Eyebeams,

Thanks for stepping up to the challenge and actually talking about physical differences in the two methodologies. Good on you!! Far too often, people simply say that the methods are just different or that karate emphasizes external strength and internal arts emphasize chi, and leave it at that.

You mention a falling step, and I think of tobi komi kizami zuki. The stepping and delivery is very, very similar to the Hsing-i animal set "Horse".

Beng chuan's punch is very similar in most every respect to the punch in Kosokun (Kushanku) and in Unshu, where one is punching from a cat stance. In both of these the waist generates the power along with the forward shifting of the body to commit ones entire weight into the punch.

As for a tilt, I've not encountered that element in the punch. Rather it was a rotation of the waist and shoulder without intentionally changing the horizontal plane of the shoulder.

Karate uses the waist, and not just a rotation of the pelvis. In Japanese, Koshi is more of a general area comprising the pelvis as well as the waist and lower back. The focusing on the pelvis alone, from my experience is a misunderstanding.

Are you saying, below that the hips remain static while the waist rotates in the Hsing-i movement? That certainly wasn't my experience in Hsing-i, Tai Chi or karate.

My internal arts teachers specifically told me not to slouch in practice, so I'm not following your comment about curved torso.

Could you elaborate more? You see, from my experience and from interviewing a number of different tai chi and hsing-i instr's where the rubber meets the road the mechanics of the movements are the same. This would make sense, since we're talking about the human body, which would be the same, regardless of the art.

Rob

eyebeams said:
Not really. The posture and breathing used in Taiji and even Xingi is markedly different from what's used in karate. Key differences would be: 1) Use of the waist to generate power in rotation while the hips stay along a set biomechanical track instead of hip rotation. 2) Curved line of the torso instead of upright and straight. 3) The stepping motion is different. External martial arts is not brute force, by the way. It's a way to maximize power through improved physical fitness and relatively larger, more obvious body movement. Internal arts concentrate on changing the relative positions of different body structures to express power instead of making expansive movements. Both sides attempt to get to the point where natural, relaxed movement is effective. For example, Xingyi's beng is an internal punching method that uses a falling step, waist rotation, shoulder tilt and hip alignment to generate power. The actual space you take up with beng only increases slightly when you punch. In Mizongluohan you have something partially more karate-like (though it tries to combine internal and external), where the hip rotates in a large motion that complements a lunge and the fist moves quite far. I enjoy learning both to take advantage of their respective merits.
 
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