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  1. DAYoung is offline
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    Crouching Philosopher, Hidden Philosopher

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 5:49am

    supporting member
     Style: n/a (ex-Karate)

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The distinction between 'internal' and 'external' also has a rhetorical function. It gives the impression that Tai Chi, for example, is full of veiled secrets (inside, hidden, mysterious), whereas something like Judo is as it seems (outside, banal, commonplace).

    This appeals to the idea that inside the seemingly finite space of our bodies is a massive wellspring of power, energy, potency; that the cosmos itself can flow through us, and heighten our humble physicality.

    In short, it's an appealing kind of 'self help' - "Find the Inner You, and Unleash Your Potential."

    I'm not suggesting this is all Tai Chi and other IMAs are, but it sure does sell...
    Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness
    click here to order on Amazon

  2. Cullion is offline
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    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 6:39am

    supporting member
     Style: Tai Chi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yep, that's probably why the 'IMAs' have been so popular with new-agers who don't want to work up a sweat or get thrown about and hit.
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  3. Omar is offline

    Baji demigod.

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 7:12am

    Join us... or die
     Style: Chinese Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Only 2 ways to define the term that I can think of as legitimate. There may be others I missed but your own personal pet definitions based on reading a bunch of BBS boards don't count. (A "BBS" is 2/3 BS anyways *groan*)

    1. Historical

    2. Functional/descriptive.

    1. Monkey summed up the historical. "Those arts named by Sun Lutang in his famous book as being 'special'" That means Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi and nothing else. There are some other more obscure historical references to the idea of an "internal" style but basically it's all Sun Lutang and his buddies.

    2. Looking at what he wrote and what particular attrubutes he singled out as disctinctive of those 3 arts you can then apply that same standard to other arts and say they are internal as well but it's a FAR more subjective road there.

    The web has approximately 1.74 bazillion versions of what that is but they are mostly all people talking out there ass who either are allergic to the word qi, trying to take a tough guy stance and saying it's all bullshit or otherwise making stuff up. There actually IS a clear description and to understand it you have to get familiar with a little idea from Xingyiquan called "the 6 harmonies". That's another one of those terms that everybody likes to use for their own style but fortunately there's a written record of what it means with only minor variations in different peoples hand copied manuals.

    1. Feet harmonize with the hands
    2. Knees harmonize with the elbows
    3. Shoulders harmonize with the hips
    4. Intention harmonizes with the qi
    5. "spirit" harnmonizes with the intention
    6. Shen harmonizes with the something or other.

    The last 3 are the ones that vary from school to school but there is a theme that is consitant. The first 3 are clear, explicit, physical things that have to do with good structure and are essentially technical. The next 3 are always some combination of intention, qi, spirit, heart (in the abstract sense) or power. The specific combination is not that important. There 6 harmonies are divided into 3 external harmonies and 3 internal harmonies. See where I'm going here? For an art to be considered internal it's practitioners have to be training in a way that addresses those last 3. It means that in addition to training the body, you train to unify (aka harmonize) all the stuff that's not on the tale of the tape. Your fighint spirit. Your emotional commitment. Your body and soul. Every fiber of your essential being is working together in your movement.

    If you are cranking out reps untill you pass out you can't be really training internally because your mind has checked out....unless it hasn't in which case you could be. My point being, "internal" means you have emotional, intellectual, psychic and whatever else commitment and attention being paid to what you are doing. Blind reps don't count. The general idea in a so called "internal" martial art is to try and bring these things to the forefront. The take the idea that most fights are won before they start and really work with it.

    Obviously the potential is there to do this with ANY style of fighting. The tradition is there for only a few.

    All that stuff about not using force or being soft or whatever...nope. Not there in the definition. Those are just additional attributes that people have tended to notice about people doing this stuff but they are NOT specific or disctinctive about IMA. Like Kat just said, you are expected to be every bit as relaxed in a big old "hard" style like Muay Thai are you are in any so called internal art. When people are really expert at what they do, they tend to really be relaxed while doing it. "Internal" is an arrow that points to something else.
  4. Omar is offline

    Baji demigod.

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 7:16am

    Join us... or die
     Style: Chinese Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    p.s.

    Here's a very short clip of some push hands practice. My teacher normally doesn't let people film him and we normally don't wear the blue jammies but there was a TV crew who wanted to do an interview so he told me to dress up and we kind of did a demo but this little bit of push hands was not preplanned or rehearsed and the throw is 100% with complete resistance. The second part where he shows me a counter is obviously not "live". It's just him metaphorically rolling back the tape to show me how to react differently.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrXz6mZJQes
  5. It is Fake is offline
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    Administrator

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 10:02am

    staff
     Style: xingyi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by KungFuCowboy
    Only 2 ways to define the term that I can think of as legitimate. There may be others I missed but your own personal pet definitions based on reading a bunch of BBS boards don't count. (A "BBS" is 2/3 BS anyways *groan*)

    1. Historical

    2. Functional/descriptive.

    1. Monkey summed up the historical. "Those arts named by Sun Lutang in his famous book as being 'special'" That means Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi and nothing else. There are some other more obscure historical references to the idea of an "internal" style but basically it's all Sun Lutang and his buddies.

    2. Looking at what he wrote and what particular attrubutes he singled out as disctinctive of those 3 arts you can then apply that same standard to other arts and say they are internal as well but it's a FAR more subjective road there.

    The web has approximately 1.74 bazillion versions of what that is but they are mostly all people talking out there ass who either are allergic to the word qi, trying to take a tough guy stance and saying it's all bullshit or otherwise making stuff up. There actually IS a clear description and to understand it you have to get familiar with a little idea from Xingyiquan called "the 6 harmonies". That's another one of those terms that everybody likes to use for their own style but fortunately there's a written record of what it means with only minor variations in different peoples hand copied manuals.

    1. Feet harmonize with the hands
    2. Knees harmonize with the elbows
    3. Shoulders harmonize with the hips
    4. Intention harmonizes with the qi
    5. "spirit" harnmonizes with the intention
    6. Shen harmonizes with the something or other.

    The last 3 are the ones that vary from school to school but there is a theme that is consitant. The first 3 are clear, explicit, physical things that have to do with good structure and are essentially technical. The next 3 are always some combination of intention, qi, spirit, heart (in the abstract sense) or power. The specific combination is not that important. There 6 harmonies are divided into 3 external harmonies and 3 internal harmonies. See where I'm going here? For an art to be considered internal it's practitioners have to be training in a way that addresses those last 3. It means that in addition to training the body, you train to unify (aka harmonize) all the stuff that's not on the tale of the tape. Your fighint spirit. Your emotional commitment. Your body and soul. Every fiber of your essential being is working together in your movement.

    If you are cranking out reps untill you pass out you can't be really training internally because your mind has checked out....unless it hasn't in which case you could be. My point being, "internal" means you have emotional, intellectual, psychic and whatever else commitment and attention being paid to what you are doing. Blind reps don't count. The general idea in a so called "internal" martial art is to try and bring these things to the forefront. The take the idea that most fights are won before they start and really work with it.

    Obviously the potential is there to do this with ANY style of fighting. The tradition is there for only a few.

    All that stuff about not using force or being soft or whatever...nope. Not there in the definition. Those are just additional attributes that people have tended to notice about people doing this stuff but they are NOT specific or disctinctive about IMA. Like Kat just said, you are expected to be every bit as relaxed in a big old "hard" style like Muay Thai are you are in any so called internal art. When people are really expert at what they do, they tend to really be relaxed while doing it. "Internal" is an arrow that points to something else.
    Now this is why I hated to see you go.
  6. Phrost is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 10:44am

    Business Class Supporting Memberstaff
     Guy Who Pays the Bills and Gets the Death Threats Style: MMA (Retired)

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What I'd like to see, in discussions like this, is to have terms redefined and/or invalidated toward the end of providing a much more specific and descriptive set of words that cannot be easily manipulated in order to create opportunities for bullshido.

    I was having a conversation with someone recently about Karate's "one punch one kill" concept wherein they stated it wasn't that you were supposed to only throw one punch and then stand there like an idiot, you were just trained to throw strikes with power and precision.

    If that's the case, then why not just say "Precision with Power" instead of framing it in words that leave the concepts you're trying to communicate, open to misunderstanding, delusion, or BS?

    This forum is an opportunity for people studying the respective styles, to build a new consensus within their community in order to take that out to the rest of the world and wash away all the garbage out there previously associated with a specific style or set of styles. Redefining productive terms, and deprecating unproductive ones, is the first step in cleaning up one's image.
  7. Bang! is offline
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    Light Heavyweight

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 11:02am

    supporting memberBullshido Newbie
     Style: Wu Style TCC + BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I believe that anything that's really worth doing can practically have a book written about it. Changing the primary description only works insofar as it helps to counter the details skimmed over by the last primary description. However, I'm with you in terms of developing consensus.

    One of the problems that we face is beyond simple translation; there's a whole culture that comes with some of this stuff. And while good English is characterized by brevity and clarity, good Chinese has traditionally been characterized by a sort-of poetic vagueness that leaves room for myriad interpretations.

    I don't think it's so much a problem of cleaning up the language, as being consistent in the way we prevent people from hiding behind it.
  8. Cullion is offline
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    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 11:04am

    supporting member
     Style: Tai Chi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Phrost
    What I'd like to see, in discussions like this, is to have terms redefined and/or invalidated toward the end of providing a much more specific and descriptive set of words that cannot be easily manipulated in order to create opportunities for bullshido.

    I was having a conversation with someone recently about Karate's "one punch one kill" concept wherein they stated it wasn't that you were supposed to only throw one punch and then stand there like an idiot, you were just trained to throw strikes with power and precision.

    If that's the case, then why not just say "Precision with Power" instead of framing it in words that leave the concepts you're trying to communicate, open to misunderstanding, delusion, or BS?

    This forum is an opportunity for people studying the respective styles, to build a new consensus within their community in order to take that out to the rest of the world and wash away all the garbage out there previously associated with a specific style or set of styles. Redefining productive terms, and deprecating unproductive ones, is the first step in cleaning up one's image.
    I see your point and terms from chinese medicine or folklore are rarely, rarely used where I train. However, sometimes the chinese term for doesn't have a concise english cognate, so they get used as shorthand between practitioners.

    Example 'peng'.

    It is sometimes described as one of the 8 'energies' of Tai Chi. This of course leaves the term open to interpretation as 'h3y Man it's like you kind of summ0n up a glowing ball of chi from inside yourself and knock the dood over, just like in 'Big trouble in little China''.

    Of course in reality, that's not what it is. It could be translated as 'uprooting force that sort of comes up and over in a curve rather than straight into the person you are trying to uproot'.

    In short, when BJJ practitioners stop using technique names like 'omoplata' and 'Kimura' which refer to god-knows-what portuguese breakfast dish and the name of some guy who beat the GrandMaster back in yon mystic ancient days of BJJ, then we'll do the same. Until then, no.

    If you ask _nicely_ we might put together a glossary of some sort.
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  9. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 11:05am

    staff
     Style: xingyi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Phrost

    I was having a conversation with someone recently about Karate's "one punch one kill" concept wherein they stated it wasn't that you were supposed to only throw one punch and then stand there like an idiot, you were just trained to throw strikes with power and precision.

    If that's the case, then why not just say "Precision with Power" instead of framing it in words that leave the concepts you're trying to communicate, open to misunderstanding, delusion, or BS?
    You can't sell logic IMO. Don't think I agree with every thing KFC posted but, at least he isn't as angry and there are points we can discuss.
  10. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/06/2007 11:15am

    staff
     Style: xingyi

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

    I don't think it's so much a problem of cleaning up the language, as being consistent in the way we prevent people from hiding behind it.
    There you go.
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