What is "Internal MA"?

Discussion in 'Internal Martial Arts' started by alister, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. lostway

    lostway New Member

    There is a simpler explanation of Internal or External (right or wrong who knows).

    The original meaning of the external styles was simply that those styles were originally started by Da Mo and the ShaoLin temples (Buddhist philosophy) that purportedly came from India, and was hence from outside China (External Style). And the original meaning of "Internal" was to denote those styles that were founded on the Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu and were created inside of China (Internal Styles

  2. Fire-quan

    Fire-quan Banned Banned

    In "mapping" ideas, we're culturally programmed to think that there's only one true meaning or explanation to ideas, hence the endless arguments about what is right or wrong, and you're wrong and I'm right and yadda yadda...

    I personally subscribe to the idea that it's not only ok, but actually much more useful as a tool of research, to consider that ideas might have many interpretations, all genuine, because each person is building their own "map" to get them where they want to go. I might not feel that your interpretation is correct, but if it's actively helping you construct a training way or world view that's working for you, then that's valid for you.

    For me, "internal" means that we already know almost all of it in terms of martial arts - it's already in us as natural potential. That works as a "map" for me because I'm pre-disposed to intuitive research in my training. Someone else might not be, so the idea isn't necessarily as useful for them.
  3. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    That's cool FQ. I always dug your "map" regarding "internal" and it fits into my own ideas on internal.. I mean intuition regardless of whether it's applied to a physical result is still generally thought of as a mental process.

    Personally I don't like that interpretation much lostway. Mostly because as far as anyone knows Da Mo didn't bring any martial arts styles to China. What is recorded though are some exercises.

    On this issue my own leaning is that the terms applied in CMA more than likely were borrowed from Taoist cultivation/ alchemic traditions
    denoting the distinction between mental methods(NeiDan) and physical methods(WeiDan)..

    What is made of them beyond that is anybodies business I guess. but I like that there is a possible and logical precedent - accepting that the usage/ existence of the Wei Dan and NeiDan terms holds up to scrutiny..

    Language use is changable and fluid for the most part. So it's no big deal. Like FQ puts it, is there helpful use for you? - that's the important thing.

    For me I still find it useful, It comes down to that old yin yang thing i guess.

    . some training methods I use are distinctly and exclusively mentally practiced and driven, others very physical driven. Others fall somewhere in between that.

    That's how i like it and that is all.:hat:
  4. Fire-quan

    Fire-quan Banned Banned

    Yeah, I wonder myself as well, what with China being such a changing entity over time. Is Tibet outside of China? Which of the warring states were "in" China? China is a number of distinctly culturally diverse areas under a political banner.

    From reading the Zhao Dao Xin article, it seems clear that some people did and do see martial arts from "inside" of China as very different and requiring protection from "pollution" from "external" sources. So it may well be that people did use internal and external in that sense as well - just like I'm doing here. There might be many meanings, dependent on context.

    Like qi, if the mental construct is working for you, making you stronger, better, who's to argue? My only argument will ever be with those ideas or practices that literally degenerate skill - i.e. they acutally make people less skillful with each passing generation.
  5. Taiji_Lou

    Taiji_Lou Banned Banned

    External martial arts focus on how be a strong and effective martial artist.

    Most external martial arts have an internal element, such as meditation... the use of focus... or being aware of your inner self to figure out your opponents next move.

    Internal martial arts focus on mind development as a means to overcoming obstacles. Instead of dominating, yeild and overcome. The horse draws the cart.
  6. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Lou, I studied Wudang Tai Chi Chuan for years. I can tell you one thing, you don't know what your talking about. This is all the standard new age crap sales pitch that modern Tai Chi has become. It's nonsense, get over it.

    The Bear.
  7. Taiji_Lou

    Taiji_Lou Banned Banned

    Nah, I really don't. I started practicing a few years ago, using the taiji classics and the Chen Man Ching form. I really enjoy it.

    Yeah, there's a lot of bull out there, that's for sure. It's all about being careful and not believing everything you hear.

    New age? I thought a lot of this stuff... brebirth breathing and whatnot, was like, all ancient and stuff? Be more specific! You are exactly the kind of person I need to be talking to!
  8. Undecided

    Undecided New Member

    Can you please give a simple explanation of what exactly is qi? Is it basically just building up a large tension of blood to a specific area of the body to make that area hard and harness the energy into that area?
  9. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    It is either something that is considered an archaic reference to normal body function, or it is something people cash in on to make money off the credulous

    Your definition is WAY off
  10. aiem

    aiem Valued Member

    Thanks for sharing, everyone. I was also wondering about the same thing. In fact, I wasn't aware there were internal and external ma's until I joined this site. Sometimes having a timeout from training can have its benefits =)
  11. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Really,you're better off not thinking in terms of "external" or "internal" systems. Aside from the fact that there's no universal agreement on what "internal"means, with all the overlap in training methods,theories,etc, among the various systems it makes the term somewhat meaningless.

    Historically such a distinction was not made until the 1900s. Were all the practitioners prior to then too stupid to realize there were "internal" and "external" systems?

    Pretty much an artificial distinction. Where does one draw the line on what's internal and what ain't? And who draws it?
  12. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    I would say in the old days they did not need the distinction , now with every tom dick and harry that learned something, thinks they are masters and open schools and pass on incomplete arts like hamburgers to make a buck, MA in general don't have the internal any more. You need both for a complete MA in the end anyway.

    Most of the so called internal arts have lost that part now anyway, so not to worry about it, when you are ready your training will find the path.
  13. JRRodriguezIV

    JRRodriguezIV Valued Member

    Qi means air, life force, energy, among others. Practicing meditation to nurture Qi will help you learn to guide your Intention to any part of your body. Intention includes blood, bones, skin, tendons, muscles, etc.

    I've always believed that when westerners witness Qi Power, they ask the master "What was that?", and the master would say something like "Oh that was just my super strength, or Qi." Later on, many sayings and writings after, the word Qi turned into a mysterious thing akin to fables and myths.

    Among ourselves we use the terms "Intelligent Strength", "Bio Mechanics", or "Physical Intelligence", which are all closer to the truth, but to outsiders we use the term "Qi Power."

    Knowing all that does not mean that you can do it, it may take a month to learn how to nurture, but at least 3 to 5 years of guidance from a master who can teach you to let it out, or emit it. :cool:
  14. Prodigal Gil

    Prodigal Gil Valued Member

    I have not read every single thread, but most that I have browsed quickly states the Internal Martial Arts family, traditions, how it his normally referred by and the applications and use against the body that classes it as an internal MA. Thus, I think most have cover all the areas pretty thoroughly.

    The only thing I would like to add is the use of the breath using the chi/qi focusing on the what defines the art to be internal. The Internal Arts family focuses their movements and power generation (PG) mainly on the 'Ying' breath, though the Dan Tian, for example Arn Jin, Peng Jin.

    However, for actual fighting applications, during the point of contact, one would still need to utilise the 'Yang' breath.

    Thus, if one practices TaiChi all the time, and improves their Yin breathing, it would be useless for application. Good for health. Similarly, training external arts and practising the Yang breath, i.e., fa jin, will not enable the practitioner to maximise power generation to the capability of their body. I.e., when their physical body deteriorate (due to age lets say rather than lack of training), the use of their power (yang breath) will also be lost.
  15. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

  16. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Interesting read on the subject:


    An exert from the link:

    Lots of other interesting CMA stuff on this site too.
  17. crshieh

    crshieh Valued Member

    Traditionally, "internal first" should be thought of as a "name" instead of a "category/system." Then a lot of philosophical/lost in translation eventually led to internal being a "system" that trains qi/chi.

    ANGELSGYMSINGH Valued Member

    I think a knowledge of applying alchemy (Breathing and Herbal) to external regimen could also be considered a method or description in the disciplines of internal martial arts...
  19. rhunter25911

    rhunter25911 Valued Member

    Internal Martial Arts if for real!

    Hello to all that made post ,all of these post are great, I have received understanding and clarity through your definitions’ of internal martial arts. I have trained Wu Dan and various other soft styles and internal martial arts styles, for over the span of thirty years.

    The training I received taught me to seal the lower and upper gates, bridge the energy channels in the body, fuse my organs using the golden water and align myself with cosmic and planetary energies to create Grand Circulation. Then I use Internal martial arts styles in the Wu Dang family like; Taiji, Bagua. Shaolin, etc.

    Learning about the eight immortal holes and the three brains, and sexual energy kung fu, has enhanced the training , of these styles for me. Internal martial art takes more focus and concentration as apposed to physical movement. It has also enhanced my Iron Palm and Fist training and Golden Bell’s Cover.

    I am thankful for may teachers because ,they though so much of me, to share this type of understanding and knowledge. If this type of knowledge is not taught and pass on that it may become lost for ever. I has taken some time to learn such things.
  20. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    You used the Golden Water? :eek:

    Thank you for that. Funniest post I've seen for ages. :D

Share This Page