Internal and External Okinawan Styles.

eyebeams

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Kosokun said:
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".
Oh, sure. The falling step is very nearly universal. I think bengquan is somewhat distinguished by the fact that the weight returns to the rear foot almost immediately.
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.
I'll give that a definite maybe:)
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.
The flexion of the muscles in the side of the torso causes the striking-side shoulder to drop just a bit.
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.
True enough, but I think it wouldn't be too much of a generalization to say that since they are understood as one unit, you don't often get the same kind of coiling that occurs due to the relationship between the hips and waist. What you *do* get is a distinct and powerful technique in its own right.
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.
No, they aren't static. But they do not push directly into the punch. The hips move from an angled position to a square position within a track determined by proper technique and your level of flexibility. Karate (and many external arts) tend to drive the hip more directly into the blow, and with an emphasis on testing one's athletic limits in the execution of the technique. This is why an external style is such a great personal physical challenge.
My internal arts teachers specifically told me not to slouch in practice, so I'm not following your comment about curved torso.
You generally keep a curved line to your back instead of a straight back. It isn't really "slouching," because the torso muscles are engaged.
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
Anything signature to one art is probably going to have presence in another, but the level of emphasis is likely to dffer quite a bit.
 

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eyebeams said:
The flexion of the muscles in the side of the torso causes the striking-side shoulder to drop just a bit.
it can, but it doesn't need to.

<snip> No, they aren't static. But they do not push directly into the punch. The hips move from an angled position to a square position within a track determined by proper technique and your level of flexibility. Karate (and many external arts) tend to drive the hip more directly into the blow, and with an emphasis on testing one's athletic limits in the execution of the technique.
In karate the hips move from an angled position to a square position, as well.

I'm not sure what you're saying about driving the hip more directly into the blow. Are you speaking about the forward movement of the center of mass/hara/tan tien towards the target? In beng chuan, in partucular (That's Hsing-I chuan's "Wood"- aka "crushing"- for those not familiar with the Chinese terms) the body moves forward as a unit. Net: Pelvis pushes forward. Also, many hsing-i instr's teach a pelvic tuck. The dynamics of that cause the forward pushing of the pelvic girdle.


You generally keep a curved line to your back instead of a straight back. It isn't really "slouching," because the torso muscles are engaged. Anything signature to one art is probably going to have presence in another, but the level of emphasis is likely to dffer quite a bit.
I guess, YMMV. the Hsing-i instr's out here tend to be upright. Supple, yet upright.

Now, while I don't find any difference worth noting between "Internal" arts and Karate, let me share my observation of "external" CMA and "Internal" CMA.

What I've observed, is that with many of the external artists that I've seen is that they tend to move their limbs independantly of their waist, vs. "Internal" artists or karate people moving their limbs in concert with their waist. Having said that, I've been hearing of upper level forms of the external CMA, i.e., "internal Choy li fut", "Internal crane" or "Internal Shaolin" where they bring their limbs back into concert with their waist.
The question I have is whether this uncoupling of the limbs and waist is simply an error, or whether that's just a stage that one goes through and the goal is the coupling of the waist and limbs. A similar thing happens in karate, where a movement is broken up then re-intergrated and the coupling of the waist and limbs is the goal. Todd alludes to this in his post.

Rob
 
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twayman

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Yes Rob (My analogy was not quite as clear). The waist and limb integration is the goal in our style and coupled with body weight shifting the technique delivery is devastating power.
 

eyebeams

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Kosokun said:
it can, but it doesn't need to.
If you're "dancing," through the form, this won't happen. When you're expressing it with power, though, you will lean forward slightly with the rotation. The animation for bengquan at http://www.emptyflower.com/xingyiquan/splitting/beng_app.gif illustrates this.
In karate the hips move from an angled position to a square position, as well.
The range of motion is much larger in most karate kata.
I'm not sure what you're saying about driving the hip more directly into the blow. Are you speaking about the forward movement of the center of mass/hara/tan tien towards the target? In beng chuan, in partucular (That's Hsing-I chuan's &quot;Wood&quot;- aka &quot;crushing&quot;- for those not familiar with the Chinese terms) the body moves forward as a unit. Net: Pelvis pushes forward. Also, many hsing-i instr's teach a pelvic tuck. The dynamics of that cause the forward pushing of the pelvic girdle.
That's true, but that's different from the rotation of the hip into the movement that you see in kata like Kusanku. Really, I wonder what the motive is to claim "internal" status for karate when its external parentage is well-known history. Monk Fist and Southern Crane are well kwown external styles. The *only* exception is the possible connection between Xingyi and Kojo-ryu.
What I've observed, is that with many of the external artists that I've seen is that they tend to move their limbs independantly of their waist, vs. &quot;Internal&quot; artists or karate people moving their limbs in concert with their waist. Having said that, I've been hearing of upper level forms of the external CMA, i.e., &quot;internal Choy li fut&quot;, &quot;Internal crane&quot; or &quot;Internal Shaolin&quot; where they bring their limbs back into concert with their waist.
Actually, this is something in both internal and external CMA related to developing power in the waist. And karate most certainly *does* feature it as a characteristic of kata such as naihanchi.
The question I have is whether this uncoupling of the limbs and waist is simply an error, or whether that's just a stage that one goes through and the goal is the coupling of the waist and limbs. A similar thing happens in karate, where a movement is broken up then re-intergrated and the coupling of the waist and limbs is the goal. Todd alludes to this in his post.

Rob
They are never "uncoupled" in the first place. The goal of that training is to develop coiled power in the waist so that the hips contribute to power regardless of their position thanks to timing. This is more obvious in external arts because of the "athletic" approach to the range of motion, where you can really see how far the waist is turning. You generate power by creating elastic tension between the hips and waist which expresses itself when they end up realigning. In the meantime, there is time to perform techniques based more on passive finesse than expressing power. You might bridge the gap in a coiled position and then unload when the coil expresses itself.
 

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I belive one key in chinese internal arts is to be able to generate and issue power with very small movement, jing, fa jing etc, from any point of the body. Also alignment and root are very important and generally placed above everything else as they are the foundation ( and the final goal)
Alignment + root eventually should lead to alignment+root+issuing power


Someone could learn internalization and apply it to thier karate but I dont think the practices to develop internalization are included in "standard karate training". Just like some chineses styles while not classified as fully internal have some internal aspects to them in thier training. However not everyone develops these aspects.
 
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arnisador

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Would you consider the heavy Sanchin training of some Karate styles to be a form of (internal) rooting? Obviously, some other aspects of Sanchin are external!
 

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arnisador said:
Would you consider the heavy Sanchin training of some Karate styles to be a form of (internal) rooting? Obviously, some other aspects of Sanchin are external!

THatis a good question I will ask my teacher. I would say to some degree it is, the stance in sanchin is derivative of certain stances found in southern chinese arts used for rooting. However I get the impression sanchin training is tension based not relaxed structure based like wing chun .which has some internal aspects, much less tai chi , xing yi, bagua.
 
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arnisador

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Oh yes, definitely tension-based. It does come from China though (as sam chien). Tensho kata is the more internal version of it; it's done in Goju, for example.

I got to do a little xing yi this morning for the first time! Definitely educational.
 

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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.


tamari te was karate from tamari village. tamari village was between shuri and naha. becouse of this perhaps they took influinces from both and more and that is where tamari te came from. I study a system that is at least 70% tamari te. It is the style founded by Chotoku Kyan called Shobayashi Shorin Ryu. its both circuler and liner, and hard and soft. and I have found it has from what you have discribed both external and internal influinces. after all it tryes to efficently and effectivly with body machanics and alinement and breathing deliver the techniques in the way that has been discribed by meany in this thread as internal.. and by meany in this tread as external.
 

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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


I study Shobayashi Shorin Ryu, and it is at least 70% tamari te. that being said it teaches external and some internal by the definitions I have seen. I would say that my sensei at 58 is at least as formadable as any black belt in any style I have seen at say the age of 26! Acualy I would happily face the black belt at 26 from the what ever system then my sensei any day. but as to tamari te, it is a style of karate that developed in Tamari villege and has influinces from naha te and shuri te, and the interpitations that developed from that. I think all 3 are very effective, but I prefer what I study to for instance Matsumura Seito, a shuri te system I studied in the past for a while.
 

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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.

Uechi Ryu has traditionally been held by Okinawans to be a Naha Te system.
 
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arnisador

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It's all but literally Chinese Kung Fu, modified in some of its training routines only...it doesn't come out of the Naha tradition.
 

Insley Stiles

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Uechi Ryu has traditionally been held by Okinawans to be a Naha Te system.

Uechi Ryu's original name was Pangainoon. This was taught to Kanbun Uechi at the Central Temple in Fukien Province in China. After 10 years of training he went back to Okinawa and after several years and some coercion (sp) was talked into opening a dojo. He added to Pangainoon somewhat and taught until his death at the age of 71. His son, Kanei, changed the name to Uechi Ryu to honor his father.

Regards,
Ins
 
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arnisador

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Uechi Ryu's original name was Pangainoon. This was taught to Kanbun Uechi at the Central Temple in Fukien Province in China. After 10 years of training he went back to Okinawa and after several years and some coercion (sp) was talked into opening a dojo. He added to Pangainoon somewhat and taught until his death at the age of 71. His son, Kanei, changed the name to Uechi Ryu to honor his father.

This is my understanding too!
 

Karatedrifter7

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How about White Crane Okinawan Karate? Which is a style that has more of its roots in China, anybody care to classify that? hard soft or both?
 

Jin Gang

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The more you practice the various arts, the more the line between internal and external is blurred. Every style, at its highest levels, is both hard and soft, internal and external. The difference is in the order and manner in which things are taught to beginners. "External" styles tend to begin with the physical, athletic aspects, and work up to the more subtle manifestations of force and power. "Internal" styles start out with practices to develop the subtle forces with much less emphasis on athletics, and develop the hard applications after.
I read an interview with Wudang temple monk, discussing the various martial arts they practice there. Everyone knows that Wudang is famous for the internal styles that it is said to have inspired, but he revealed that they practice external arts as well. In fact, he said that young students should begin with the external styles, to develop the strength and flexibility while they are still physically capable. The internal styles are focused on later, as one leaves "peak" physical condition.
This is just one opinion, of course, some people think that it should only be one way or the other.

Once you learn the mechanics and methods of "internal" power generation, everything you do is "internal". It's learning to generate "whole body" power, which can manifest with very little outward movement.

The Chinese styles which influenced Okinawan karate are all considered "external" styles, though white crane is probably half and half. Tiger fist, monk fist, five ancestors, are all definately external styles. From the perspective of Chinese martial arts, all karate styles are quite hard and external. Though, like every style, the different ryus have soft and internal elements, they predominantly focus on physical conditioning to develop power at first, and are mainly athletic in performance.

Then distinctions really all go away eventually. It's a matter of perspective and experience. The longer you practice, the more everything becomes the same.
 

chinto

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Uechi Ryu's original name was Pangainoon. This was taught to Kanbun Uechi at the Central Temple in Fukien Province in China. After 10 years of training he went back to Okinawa and after several years and some coercion (sp) was talked into opening a dojo. He added to Pangainoon somewhat and taught until his death at the age of 71. His son, Kanei, changed the name to Uechi Ryu to honor his father.

Regards,
Ins


that is what my reserch has tended to state as Uechi Ryu's history as well.
 

chinto

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How about White Crane Okinawan Karate? Which is a style that has more of its roots in China, anybody care to classify that? hard soft or both?
most of the shuri te linage and tamari te linige have a lot of crane influince. I can not say for sure about the naha te .. except that I know that they do have a Hakitsuru kata. that is literaly White Crane Kata.
 

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