Thread: Internal vs External in CMA
11/16/2005 12:40pm, #11Originally Posted by Mr_Mantis
11/16/2005 12:43pm, #12
- Join Date
- Feb 2004
Some of the lamest MA schools I have trained at have used the word "external" as a synonym to "not good enough". Paradoxically.
Like in: "He is OK, but..you know...external."
Like "special" in "special education".
I don't like to make the distinction. I think it is not helpful, nor useful, and it can easily lead to a categorical viewpoint, which is misleading.
TomasCurrent stage of death: denial
11/16/2005 2:28pm, #13
I'm not fond of the distinction either. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing relevant about internal vs. external comes down to the sequence/emphasis of the learning process. Anything worthwhile needs both. It's only a question of what comes first.
That being said, I heard an interesting anecdote last night that relates to this discussion: A concert pianist talked about how her first three weeks with a certain teacher were spent learning to relax her elbows and wrists and to simply flop her hands on a table. According to her, those three weeks went on to become the foundation for all her playing.
I think that this is a great example of an internal approach to teaching. It works wonderfully for some people, while others would get bored after a day and leave.
11/16/2005 2:31pm, #14
11/16/2005 3:09pm, #15
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
- Seattle (Ballard), WA
- FMA, Jujutsu/Judo/SAMBO
It seems to me to be an issue of soft/hard, fluid/explosive.
Internal arts seem to focus on the former initially, and try to make sure that their practitioners move with smooth fluidity. The drawback is that hard power may be lacking initially, so this must be developed over time.
External arts focus on abrupt explosion, which tends to make practitioners hard hitters who are used to dealing with power right out of the gates. But initially they may seem stiff and robotic. Over time, the edges of this hard movement will ideally smooth out so that combinations will flow more easily.
In my opinion a hard external system will prepare someone for a fight quicker. Knowing how to KTFO an opponent is probably the most important aspect of combat. Being able to deal with this type of power defensively is also vital. It seems to me that some internal stylists never seem to develop the explosion necessary to really hurt an opponent. Smooth flurries can be effective, but only if you have taken the time to actually learn to hit hard. Sometimes this just seems to get missed, and I'm not quite sure why.
Ideally a fighter should have attributes from both sides. They should be able to flow smoothly and explode decisively at any time, on both offense and defense.
11/16/2005 3:21pm, #16