Internal power generation

Discussion in 'Internal Martial Arts' started by Simon, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award


    There is oh so much going on. The trick is to be strong and flexible enough and with enough control to make it look as though it's effortless.
  2. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I can see where you are coming from. However, there is still some training that really has no point to be artificially separated between internal and external. The reason is that the training already is isolated to structure. For example, training in proper posture is an aspect of internal training that is adopted early on in external training. I only wish I could say the same about in depth training in relaxation, because I feel it also is an aspect of internal training that should be adopted early on in external training.

    I sort of disagree with the self exploration piece. I think self exploration is one reason why internal arts can have huge quality issues when it comes to developing actual fighting ability.

    I believe a good internal arts instructor in these modern times should be able to provide real data to prove the benefits of internal training. I mean actually prove that you hit faster and harder using internal training methods.

    It can be hard to know yourself you are hitting harder and faster, you need external measurements and something to record the effect of the impact (such as a training partner or a target with sensors to pick up these things).

    Once the data is provided to back up the methods, then I think the self exploration is needed to move on further. I feel self exploration without the data is not a very good path.
  3. embra

    embra Valued Member

    The ability to make 'internal power' look effortless, only comes about in direct relation to some serious donkey work. The only teacher I know who has this ability in abundance is Ian Cameron - who has 45+ years experience. There will be others but not many. The majority that I meet are at best, aspirational and/or more more physical.

    To experience this, Pushing Hands, Applications, Forms become almost indistinguishable.
  4. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    Not sure in what sense you are using the term strong?, but it sounds like you are describing what we call "rubber man style", ?, which is not what I am describing.
  5. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    Check out the videos put out on YouTube by "practical method" he uses internal with structure which to me is more along the lines of what internal application looks like.
  6. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Nothing "internal" about it. It's all just body mechanics.

    Take a look at some of the videos of the push hands competitions he has posted. Very good technique with plenty of muscle at work because that's what actually happens when people are resisting. Heck that's what happens even when you can execute the cleanest and most beautiful technique.

    [ame=""]Second Daqingshan Taij Competition: Zhi Ning vs Hou Haoming - YouTube[/ame]
  7. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    I entirely agree with you. What I mean by self exploration is working to develop an awareness of what is going on inside the body and then using this awareness to analyse how to make applications more effective.

    I entirely agree that if this is not done purposefully with realistic feedback it can end up in the self obsessed navel gazing seen in the worst of practitioners.

    To give an example of how one might do it. Practice a technique with a partner. then identify one part of the technique, a step, a stance, a movement of the arms. Practice that movement on its own working on listening to how the body moves. then practice the technique again with the partner trying to recreate correct feeling while performing the technique. See whether the technique is more effective. Feel what the technique feels like when it is effective.

    The reason I say that this is done by self exploration is because although external effects tell you whether you are doing it right in that instant. It is building ones own sense of awareness of what is going on in the body that allows one to repeat the correct action again in the future.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    :confused:Do people think that those who practice "external arts" don't do what you describe below?

    Awareness is what my CLF instructor says is one of the things that defines an advanced MAist. I see what you describe below as something any MAist should be developing- whether practicing an internal or external art.

    Self exploration and awareness should be a part of any MA training IMO.

  9. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    Videos like these are not what I was pointing at, these ussally just turn more into wrestling matches, body mechanics do play a role, but it is the internal part that makes the difference in application, which also involves sensitivity and structure to apply.

    Body mechanics is just an external part you see, the practical method does use a lot of external but that is more because of the applications he is demonstrating ., which is more along the line of pushing applications.

    The internal part is not seen, but he does an OK job of trying to describe how he applies things, the internal can be applied many ways, his is pretty close to his center, which makes it more physical.
  10. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Well given that this is what all the high level Chinese push hands tourneys turn into and that it resembles combat effective techniques from other arts I would say that looking like wrestling is a very good thing. Can you show any highly resistant competition which doesn't use whatever the heck you've determined "external" to be?

    Used by so called "external" we have:
    -Muscular strength
    -Muscle recruitment patterns
    -Technical mechanics

    Would you please define in exact physiological terms what mechanics/processes you are referring to when you use the word "internal?"
  11. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    I don't think that 'internal' training is intended to make you hit harder or faster, it's just a way of differentiating that flow between extremes seen through martial art, like explosiveness from a static position, or relaxation during great physical stress. That makes a lot more sense to me than rote categorizations like 'internal/external', 'weak/strong', and so on being used to describe different things..they are describing the same things from different points of view, in my opinion.

    One thing is for sure sparring never seems to be 'black/white', but a constant flux between extremes. Nothing is truly 'external' or 'internal', but it's the constant change between these things that really defines what I think we're trying to talk about. A useful set of analogies my instructor used included 'rise/sink', 'spit/swallow', 'expand/contract', to illustrate what was meant by 'internal/external'. It makes great sense in the right frame of reference, but as soon as you over-analyze it, forget it! Then it becomes quite literally, hot air.

    I also think there is a difference brother based on his idea of 'self exploration' and your own description. I don't think he means 'Self exploration' as in solo practice per se, what he's describing from a Hung gar point of view makes perfect sense to me and something done both solo and with partners while training or sparring. The internal aspects of Hung gar are first learned and trained individually, without any big to-do whatsoever, they are the very basics of the art, but wrapped tightly in a very 'external' training regimen. By the time you get later on the art, as far as I know (from reading and discussions and basic practice of early sets that I know contain basic 'internal' Hung gar training), you're not learning about 'internal' methods for the first time, but re-discovering what you just learned, and how to progress even further, and largely that requires moving beyond the labels and unifying the concepts mentally. And without a doubt, one cannot progress in either Hung gar internal or external training without sparring and learning what it really means. You may never be a master of any part of the art, but you can learn to replace what you think 'external' and 'internal' means with physical experience of attacking someone, getting hit, thrown, et cetera.

    What I realized as I went was the 'internal' aspects of the art are so interwoven with the pure physical training that when the time comes to start 'talking internal' with the sifu (which is typically done with an explanation of the Animal/Element categorization system and related concepts), the whole internal/external dichotomy has become a sort of unified physical 'common sense'. Motions, stances, and movement that was very difficult at first becomes natural, strong, and forceful, whether they were learned as 'internal' or 'external'. In the class notes I have this is described as external cultivating the internal, and vice versa.

    I've done P90X and gym boot camps that didn't come close to the suffering of an hour of hard Hung gar training. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting that sort of difficulty at all. And the internal training was some of the MOST difficult, not the least. So anybody who says 'internal' training doesn't require strength is a bit suspect.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  12. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Besides take down vs. push back, will you be able to tell the difference between

    external wrestling "shoulder strike",


    and "internal" Taiji "diagonal fly"?

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  13. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Apologies brother for the extra post, but I wanted to point out this separately. This part of your post makes perfect sense to me, and here's why.

    Both frame/posture and learning to relax are basic early Hung gar training, but it's very difficult at first for what I think is an obvious reason: you're just not conditioned for it! Relaxing under stressful conditions whether it's planking, or a stance, or sparring is definitely a SKILL, right! Planking is a great example isn't it? The proper posture doesn't come right away, there is a balance of mental and physical conditioning you need to combine to plank properly, and then maintain it. Planking isn't 'internal', but it's got the parts. It isn't really 'external' either, right? But you can describe planking with some combination of both concepts, I believe.

    So even if we try to learn it early on, it takes time and effort and the right mindset (i.e. "gung fu"). And that's where I think the 'internal' arts have promise. They emphasize mental and physical balance, but also the ability to withstand and travel between the extremes. I don't think any good martial arts practiced today are really missing this either. As an MMA fan, I think arts like Judo and jiujitsu showcase what internal concept is supposed to mean all the time, without a lot of need for endless technical dissertations or esoteric criteria. Outside of MMA, I think all forms of wrestling seem to illustrate both 'external' and 'internal'. Maybe that's because I've learned not to discriminate them the way I once did. But that's just me :D
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  14. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    What does it matter if it puts the opponent on the ground, right? If he puts the partner on the floor, especially if the partner resists, then he can call it whatever he likes.

    To quote a favorite Saturday Night Live skit, it's BOTH a dessert topping AND A floor wax all in one!! :D
  15. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Agree! if you

    - can do it, you don't care whether people may call it "internal" or external.
    - can't do it, the fancy term "internal" will not help you much.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  16. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    You won't usally see a lot of it in tournaments because of rules used, opponents ussally end up locking up and a struggle of strength results.

    If you watch the practical method enough, you might understand what he is saying, but if you only do external what he says won't make sense and you will just label it as some kind of body mechanic application.
  17. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    One guy is rooted or at least balanced and the other is off balance and no root, but the one guys root is not chalenged at all by opponent. , not much going on here, the one guy is basically invading the other guys space and he has no where else to go., the invader is not giving up his arm position which could involve a structure that is rooted., its not a shoulder strike.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  18. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    No bench pressing, arm wrestling, those are struggles of strength. A martial arts competition is a struggle to pull off techniques against a resistant opponent. That requires the use of physical force. Physical force is caused by muscle action. Even the cleanest technique requires the use of muscular strength. This kind of nonsense excuse reminds me of Dillman's excuses for why no touch knockouts don't work.

    Or I've done "internal" styles and just recognize that's all it is.

    And you still haven't answered my question.

    I'm waiting.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  19. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    Like I already said, watch a bunch of those he just doing techniques? , or is he adding another element.
  20. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Found an excellent (old but good) video of Hung gar fist set with Internal elements, mostly at the start, but conceptually throughout.

    This is master Chiu Wai performing the beginner and core fist set, Gung Gi Fook Fu (Lam Family Version), which contains parts of the Hung gar Iron Wire, the final 'internal' set of Hung gar. Gung Gi is sometimes considered a very 'external' set, but it is loaded with 'internal' training for the same reason I mentioned earlier, to prepare the student for more advanced training from the get-go.

    Clearly, he has great physical strength and applies it in all movements, whether they are more internal than external or vice versa.

    AT this level, they are really one and the same, no? All I know is, I would like some of whatever he's having. :D

    [ame=""]Chiu Wai: Hung Gar GGFFK (rare footage) - YouTube[/ame]

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016

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