What is an internal martial art
Internal means - U sing the soft internal force of Qi (energy) combined with Yi (intention) and Shen (the raised spirit ) to produce what is sometimes termed Peng force (ward off power) although I prefer the term Jing (educated force).
Jing requires skill and subtlety in execution and has many forms. It is exemplified by the Tai Chi Classic advice “let the Yi lead the Qi and the Jing will follow". Jing is trained through the application of conscious movement with a relaxed mind and open body (unrestricted, free of unnecessary tension) moving fluidly through precise attitudes or postures. The mind set is one of calm alert patience, again the intention is crucial.
The mind set is one of calm alert patience, again the intention is crucial.Smoothness, and softness are used.
So let us now look at some other distinguishing features of internal martial arts;
Smoothness and softness are used to overcome hard force, which can all occur in one swift movement, or in a series of linked actions, this process can be viewed as evade control and counter. A number of differing tactics may be employed to control the opponent prior to his launching a committed attack.
The techniques tend to use diversion rather than blocking and frequently appear circular or spiraling. The variety of techniques encompasses the full range of methods available at all ranges, yet used with extraordinary skill and sensitivity as the need to be able to change technique according to circumstances is paramount, thus all techniques hold the Yin within the Yang and vice versa.
Some other aspects of Internal Chinese martial and health arts.
Internal is - Secret - knowledge is restricted to those within the family - group -clan - sect or society. For example students may need to become disciples (Ren Men or inside door students) to access the more advanced levels of a system.
Internal is – indigenous - ie Not foreign, so influenced more by the native philosophy of Daoism, not the imported philosophy/faith of Buddhism.
NB. the descriptions above may not sit quite so smoothly with Xing-Yi practitioners, please accept my apologies, this is not an in depth article.
5/14/2013 08:35:17 am
I agree with all you have written and would add a very personal view that I have developed while teaching both Tai chi and Aikido. Internal signifies that you cannot see what is involved in an application a teacher needs to explain it and a student needs to also feel it before an understanding can be reached. Internal implies that it is hidden or at least not obvious.
5/14/2013 05:57:43 pm
Thanks for the comment Dave, I agree that teaching the student to feel and understand is an art in itself. However some students really need the 1+2=3 monkey see, monkey do approach. Not my favourite type.
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Keith has studied the Chinese Internal arts for over 40 years. He lives in England and Portugal with artist, designer and writer Gloria Dean and teaches in Portugal and the UK.