4/28/2014 2:20am, #1
Better explanation of internal/external
In addition to CMA, I practice an eclectic approach to physical
culture that includes bits from yoga, dao yin, gymnastics, pilates,
and so on. Among my favorites is Olympic weightlifting:
(My horse stance with 90kg/~198lbs overhead)
... and the best coach with whom I've trained is Diane Fu. She recently had an opportunity to chat with a coach from the (very, very good) Chinese oly lifting team, about which she relates:
The Chinese are flexible in their thinking when it comes to
individual expressions of movement. Largely, what they are looking for is how well the athlete is able to express and apply their strength. The aim of Chinese methodology is to help each athlete develop an awareness and a feeling for moving with the bar. By employing different strategies to help the athlete find their center the athlete is able to move more with less effort[/B].
I often get questions from people regarding shoulder
rigidity/inflexibility/stiffness. My response is that sometimes, our
shoulder inflexibility isn't true inflexibility. Rather, it is the way
in which we move that creates a feeling of stiffness. How can one
fully express 100% of one's strength/power through incomplete
movements? Utilization of strength is a sensory experience. In other words, there is a mental aspect to the physical movement. Only through mastering this aspect of the mind can one truly express one's power. I never considered myself to be very strong, yet I am able to skillfully maximize my body's strength. Remember, in Oly, the amount of weight you can lift does not solely rely on your strength. This is the art of power.
"This is the art of power."
Last edited by Jack Rusher; 4/28/2014 2:24am at . Reason: formatting“Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
4/28/2014 9:40am, #2
Great post Jack thanks, made me think.
When I complete the Iron Thread I'll know a little more about how to discuss internal power. The 4th pillar of Hung ga is devoted to the concept. But it's a neat subject and like many, poorly understand but conceptually simple.
Right now with the basic nei jia that I understand, internal power is about training to move power through you to develop explosive force but in a compact way, to contrast to purely "external" physical elements (e.g. the power of individual muscles), and longer range boxing techniques.
Movement is I think critical to proper internal development, it is what links the various components together. You can see this in the footwork of the classic "internal" styles. In "hybrid" styles like Hung Kuen the movement in internal training is far more subtle, because the "longer" movements themselves are taught in earlier, less advanced forms.
By the time a student reaches the Iron Thread, they should have absorbed the footwork and movements of the earlier forms and now have a foundation to refine the internal aspects. So, the movements in Iron Thread are powerful, but short and "to the point".
"To the point" is a mantra I try to keep in mind when it comes to "internal" power. Application wise, it's like the polar opposite of the long range "external" techniques of Hung ga like the hooks, overhands etc. How would someone produce the same explosiveness but in a tighter, more compact space (phonebooth thread comes to mind lol)...internal power.
So, looking at your example, what I think I see is a methodology that doesn't focus on the WEIGHT of the bar, but learning stable MOVEMENT of the weight, from start to peak to finish. Focusing on how to move that weight is hitting on something that simply lifting or holding it can only partially address. In internal Hung ga training this is when the weighted brass rings become important (esp in Iron Thread and other internal qi gong), adding to the body weight you've already grown accustomed to moving in the earlier forms, to avoid plateau...just like with modern weights.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 4/28/2014 9:45am at .
4/29/2014 1:36am, #3
For example, there are many big, strong men who could not under any circumstances throw 204 kg/450 lbs into the air and catch it like this 77 kg/170 lbs one does:
(Lu Xiaojun is the best Oly lifter my size in history)
He generates the power from his kua (hip crease) and maintains a stable torso that leaks none of that power while moving his arms with the perfect coordination and timing to serve as a conduit for it. When I punch or throw someone using internal (what Tim Cartmell less ambiguously calls "whole body") power, it operates in exactly the same way.“Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
4/29/2014 10:37am, #4
My yoga teacher was very big on the balance of strength and flexibility between opposing muscle groups (hamstrings/quads, etc.). That was huge eye-opener for me when she explained and then trained us with that in mind. Painful, too, but well worth the effort and time.Falling for Judo since 1980
5/02/2014 10:54am, #5
Also, so long as we're talking about body mechanics, here's Jack Dempsey showing the correct application of the transition between horse and bow-and-arrow stance while punching:
“Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
5/02/2014 1:07pm, #6
6/17/2014 10:59pm, #7
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
- Santa Monica, CA
No, no, no, internal is all about "Qi" magic :)
But seriously, great post. It's really about leveraging proper/more efficient bio-mechanics into a fluid fighting system.
7/05/2014 9:23am, #8
Comrade Jack, excellent writeup as always.
Here to lend some strength to the thread are immortal words from Tim Carmtell, who in my opinion should be bronzed or kept alive in a jar to dispel much of the bullshit present in CMA for future generations.
(For those who are not familiar, Mr. Cartmell is a practitioner of Sun style Taijiquan and Bjj. He has a way of putting CMA terminology in manner simplified to an extent that the concepts will make great sense to BJJ/Judo practitioners.)
The most basic and important difference between internal and external martial arts is the method of generating power or "jing" (manifest energy). At the root fundamental level, the most important factor which qualifies an art as internal is the use of what the Chinese call "complete," "unified" or "whole body" power (jengjing). This means the entire body is used as a singular unit with the muscles of the body in proper tone according to their function (relaxed, meaning neither too tense nor too slack). Power is generated with the body as a singular unit, and the various types of energies (jing) used are all generated from this unified power source.
The external martial arts, although engaging the body as a whole in generating power sequentially, do not use the body in a complete unit as do the internal martial arts. The external styles primarily use "sectional power" (ju bu li), which is a primary reason they are classified apart from the internal arts. A variation of this sectional power in the external arts is the special development of one part of the body as a weapon (iron palm, iron broom, etc.). The internal tends to forego these methods in favor of even development of the whole body, which m turn is used as a coherent unit.
Xing Yi Quan, Tai Ji Quan and Ba Gua Zhang all have unified body motion as their root; hence, they are internal styles. However, since each of these styles emphasizes different expressions of this unified power, they are not the same style.The basic postural requirements for Tai Ji Quan practice (head floating up, shoulders sunk, chest lifted) are the physical prerequisites of unified body power. As in the other internal styles, the student begins by standing in static postures for a considerable length of time to cultivate the body's peng jing body before singular postures are practiced and mastered one at a time. Single technique practice (dan ba lian) and issuing power (fa Jing) are practiced until all the various postures of Tai Ji Quan can be executed with whole body power. Finally, the student is taught to link the postures into a continuous sequence that trains sensitivity to postural changes (listening energy or tingjing) and the ability to flow from one technique to the next without disconnecting the body. One of the fundamental reasons most Tai Ji Quan forms are practiced slowly is 'so the student can constantly adjust and monitor the body to make sure it is always moving in a unit. This is much easier to feel moving slowly than quickly.The third major difference between the internal and external martial arts is in how they are applied to a live opponent, as well as the various methods of training martial application. The students of both schools first develop their power, balance, feeling and body mechanics from solo training. The next step is to bridge the gap between form and function. This type of training will be determined mainly by a particular school's theories of combat. The internal schools stress sticking to, following and going with the opponent's power, borrowing energy, the avoidance of force against force directly, and the issuing of power only after one has "the right opportunity and advantageous position." External styles vary greatly in theory (some following principles almost identical to the internal), but in general, whereas an external stylist may punch through his opponent's defenses, the internal stylist never fully issues his power until he has the opponent in an unbalanced position either physically or spatially.
Most internal styles also have some variation of "push hands" practice. The primary purpose of pushing bands is to develop "listening energy" (ting jing) or become sensitive to outside pressure from the opponent in relation to one's own balance. Finally, both internal and external martial artists practice footwork drills, repeated single-technique practice, issuing power on a live opponent, and eventually free sparring to develop practical fighting skill.
7/05/2014 3:34pm, #9
Getting towards the internal (iron thread) aspects of Hung ga has been a neat eye opening experience, because you come to realize that Hung ga uses both the "external" and "internal" ways in a sort of interlocking flow. Fast, powerful movements become really fluid, no better word I can think of to describe it.
Early on, you learn basic whole body power, later on you learn "sections" like Tim describes, and near the end (new beginning, whatever) the two sort of meld together, your ability move mass from point A to B is really quickened.
But in Hung ga, the footwork is the primary way this is done. Even though it's known for "southern fists", the Southern Fist is useless without the strong footwork.
For a modern Western treatise on strong boxing footwork, see Jack Dempsey.
For the traditional Chinese, see Wong Fei Hung :-D
7/05/2014 4:32pm, #10
DEATH TO THE QING AND THE FOREIGN BARBARIANS!!! PRACTICE INTERNAL ARTS.