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Taiji
07-22-2003, 05:10 PM
Hi all.

I was just wondering, how do you feel about the classification of martial arts in general, Aikido in particular, as either Internal/External? soft/hard?

do you think that there should be these divisions or should all martial arts just be seen as the martial arts full stop, regardless of how they use the energy within the human body?

Just looking for your opinions :)

Dave Miller
07-22-2003, 05:47 PM
I think this has less to do with the art and more to do with the individual practitioners. You can find Aikidokas, Karatekas, etc who find their art to be more useful internally and hope to never use it externally. There are also people in the same arts who go around looking for an excuse to beat someone up and never give its internal implications a second. Most people fall somewhere along that continuom.

Taiji
07-22-2003, 06:01 PM
hmm, So you think internal/externalness (for lack of a better word :) ) is down to the individual rather than the art itself? thanks for the opinion :)

I think one of the problems with some martial arts which deem themselves to be internal is that they have a tendency to look down on the external martial arts styles. If you look at an high ranked Karateka (Tatsuo Suzuki for example) then the way they execute their technique (although the physical moves are obiously different) is the same as a high ranked Aikidoka (or anyone sufficiantly advanced from any art). Both internal and external martial arts reach the same level of internal power at their higher levels, it's the old, 'different routes up the same mountain' story again.

Anyway, that's my opinion on it, tho I like the idea of the internal/external-ness coming from within an individual. Maybe over time it is the individuals nature which dictates how their art will change at it's highest levels.

what does everyone else think?

shugyosha
07-22-2003, 06:02 PM
Hello,
You can find Aikidokas, Karatekas, etc who find their art to be more useful internally and hope to never use it externally.I think you misunderstand the terms internal and external. They actually represent two different ways of generating power.

E.g. TaiJi is considered internal whereas Karate is more of an external type.

Aikido seems to be sort of hybrid. It has ki but not as much as TaiJi.

I think that differentiation is useful. Interesting at least. On the other side - it most of the times leads to confusion... ;-)

greets

Steffen

Dave Miller
07-22-2003, 06:07 PM
Hello,

I think you misunderstand the terms internal and external. They actually represent two different ways of generating power...

SteffenPerhaps. I was thinking of "internal" as more the spiritual side to the art (Ki in Aikido and such) and "external" as more the physical techniques.

In terms of generating power, I think that may in fact vary from person to person as well. Someone in Aikido who is big on Ki will tell you that the power in the techniques comes from Ki. I will tell you that power in the techniques comes from the ground, being firmly connected to both the ground and uke and simply being a willing conduit of energy between the two.

akiy
07-22-2003, 06:10 PM
E.g. TaiJi is considered internal whereas Karate is more of an external type.
Hmph. Interesting.

Ushiro sensei (7th dan, Shindo Ryu Karate) at last year's Aiki Expo talked at length about the necessity to cultivate one's kokyu (breath) in order to achieve speed and strength in one's techniques. I helped translate for him in the hallway once during the weekend so he could convey his thoughts on makiwara training being against his philosophy since, as he put it, "callous-making karate" of that type goes counter to his thoughts that a budoka doesn't show externally his "weapons."

I've also trained with many aikido teachers whose explanations for deriving "power" and such came from "simple" biomechanics and using one's physical body in efficient yet effective ways.

I, too, believe dichotomies such as "external" and "internal" to be artificial and usually too general to apply to any one art or another.

-- Jun

Taiji
07-22-2003, 06:20 PM
<quote>Ushiro sensei (7th dan, Shindo Ryu Karate) at last year's Aiki Expo talked at length about the necessity to cultivate one's kokyu (breath) in order to achieve speed and strength in one's techniques. </Quote>

This is what I was trying to say when I said that all martial arts, regardless of style eventualy come to the same level of internal power :)

Thanks for the example! it explained things much better than my words! :)

jk
07-22-2003, 10:03 PM
So is Muay Thai external, internal, or both? What about Tai Chi? Yes, you could say both for both arts. Doesn't help us, does it? I think the internal/external thing is just a way to roughly generalize how training in the art begins, not where it should be when one is relatively advanced. Just a way to describe their beginning jutsu, so to speak.

shugyosha
07-23-2003, 02:07 AM
Right. The categories 'internal' and 'external' roughly divide the martial arts. The transition seems to be seamless, though, both leading to some same goal.
I've also trained with many aikido teachers whose explanations for deriving "power" and such came from "simple" biomechanics and using one's physical body in efficient yet effective ways.That would roughly fit the idea I got of Ki. So I'd consider that kind of aikido to be internal. It's something like brute force against a more sophisticated approach using force in a quite effective manner.

greets

bob_stra
07-23-2003, 07:14 AM
Hi all.

I was just wondering, how do you feel about the classification of martial arts in general, Aikido in particular, as either Internal/External? soft/hard?

I feel pretty much the same way I do towards all 'mental shortcuts' - they're a useful, time saving (read: though saving) devices that occasionally bite you in the ass - either thru unconcious bias (re: Aikido's namby pampy rep) or by intentional misrepresentation by those involved.

So, kinda ambivalent to be honest. Though its fun to tweak people's perceptions now and again.

Dave Miller
07-23-2003, 09:08 AM
So I'd consider that kind of aikido to be internal. It's something like brute force against a more sophisticated approach using force in a quite effective manner.

greetsI can assure you that the notion of generating power from the ground and projecting it into uke is about as polar-opposite from "brute force" as one can get. It comes, rather, from being well grounded and dropping your weight into uke rather than "wrestling" or "forcing" them into the technique.

This same principle is what gives the karateka his strength as well as many other martial artists. IMHO, when a person speaks of training their kokyu, I suspect that they are (in a biomechanical sense) simply training in this technique, perhaps without even intending to or realizing it.

[ducks behind computer as flames fly from ki-folks]

;)

Lyle Bogin
07-23-2003, 09:58 AM
"I, too, believe dichotomies such as "external" and "internal" to be artificial and usually too general to apply to any one art or another."

-Jun

Yes, agreed. Also, I feel uncomfortable using these terms because "internal" feels like it implies "superior". I would not want to imply that any martial art is inferior.

C. Emerson
07-23-2003, 10:39 AM
I do feel that it will give the beginning practitioner a general idea of where the general focus in going to be in the class.

I feel that there is a big difference between hard -karate/taekwondo and tai chi/aikido.

I'm not debating the point of where you end up. The two road theory. But I do know that the scenery on those two roads are different.

-Chad

Dave Miller
07-23-2003, 10:47 AM
I feel that there is a big difference between hard -karate/taekwondo and tai chi/aikido.

-ChadAlthough they look quite different and have different philosophies, etc (perhaps), the point of my above post is that they all generat power (that is biomechanical power) in basically the same ways.

C. Emerson
07-23-2003, 12:21 PM
I agree. I would suggest that maybe internal arts philosophy would be close to intraverted people. And extraverted people would be hard arts. Not always like this but two different ways of going about it. Yes I agree that regardless of your style, generating power is generating power. The same principles apply.

-Chad

Alfonso
07-23-2003, 03:57 PM
When I was a kid I read a book about MA that proposed that the different arts could be classified as

soft / hard soft / hard

I can't remember if Aikido was put in the hard soft or soft categories.

the book also proposed that the gral wisdom was that there was a paper/scissor/stone situation

i.e. "soft" worked well against "hard" ,

"hard soft" worked well against "soft"

"hard" worked well against "hard soft"

anyone heard this one before?

since we're bringing up arbitrarty classifications...

Qatana
07-23-2003, 05:32 PM
"generating power from the ground" isn't Using Ki?

Dave Miller
07-23-2003, 06:18 PM
"generating power from the ground" isn't Using Ki?I think that this is part of what is referred to as Ki. However, when I say "generating power from the ground" I am speaking in terms of biomechanics and physics, "dropping forward" as opposed to stepping, and such. In truth, it is quite possibly the exact same thing as "projecting Ki," simply explained in physical terms rather than mystical terms.

Qatana
07-23-2003, 07:21 PM
Works for me