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  1. #11
    lama_xy's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Mantis
    The simplest way I can put it is that the difference is in the training. When doing something internal, there is an emphasis on breathing and relaxing the joints, those are the two key aspects IMO. When fighting actually starts, the strikes are external, because you are tightening up on impact.

    As Ronin said, there are no purely internal or external ma. But there are pure internal or external exercises, as well as combination internal/external exercises.
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  2. #12

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    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.

    Tomas
    Current stage of death: denial

  3. #13
    Bang!'s Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    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.

  4. #14

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Repulsive Monkey
    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.

    This brings us to another distinction:
    Leangth of time to learn / apply .

    In General, IMA take longer to learn and even longer to apply effectively

  5. #15

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    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.

  6. #16

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    There's an adaghe or saying or laundry lable that says:

    hard starts hard and goes soft, soft starts soft then goes hard, but are best when yin and yang are balanced.

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