Re: Internal & External strength discussion
I think that simply hard physical sport behavior can lead to a stronger mind. When I first started judo everything was fast. It was hard, I used a lot of strenght to compesate for my lack of technique (something I still do more then I would want to say). You learn to pull and break the balance, you try to hop, you try to mess your partners footwork up so you can attack. These are all very physical things. Eventually you develop more physical traits that help your judo. For example, I've been told by friends i'm teaching that it feels like I have a constant pull when I grab the gi. I've been told if feels like I'm dragging them down. To me I don't even notice. But if someone mentions it, I become aware of it and then it goes quickly away. After about 6 or 7 months of training I got used to what I was doing. I was no longer afraid of the ground. I started to like getting thrown. This relaxation allowed me to 'play' on the mat durring randori. No longer did I have the fear of landing and crushing my little friends, or landing on my shoulder, or knocking knees. This ment I was no longer fighting my partner. I was feeling him and making adjustments. Rather then pull and turn with all my strenght to hope to get the throw, I would wait feel him for presure and then use my pull for the throw. Eventually this lead to feeling very slight movement that I could exaggerate by moving my body instead of using my strength. It is very much a mind of no mind. Similar to anyone doing any kind of sport activity. Your brain acts on instinct to compesate for the speed. The slightest touch gives you feed back to read your partner. Any good athelete will develop this naturally. It does not have to be cultivated or talked about.
I think 90% of judo, bjj, wrestling is being in the right place at the right time. Knowing the right moment to move by reading your partner. This can only be gained though actual experiance. Once you have this, you are in esssence blending with your attacker, moving with him instead of reacting (well it seems that way). People who look for greater meaning in this will find a spirital experiance. Just like runners do with the runners high. It is the essence of being 100% in a moment. Having no fears, worrys, or even thoughts you can put to words (although afterwards you can tell someone 'what you were thinking'.) The parts described as internal strength are really just proper body position and the proper time and then looking for a deeper meaning in what you do.
Anything can have a deeper meaning. Fishing, gardening, running, boxing. Hell the japaneese seem to find a way to give every mundane task a 'art' or deeper meaning. It is how they decided to relate to their world. As for why the book stressed so many things you see in tajiquan and aikido, it is simply because these things are really important to the body structure requried to do judo. If you are tense, you are easier to throw, your muscles work against each other (It is easier to lift an alive person then a dead one right?). If you dont' stay relaxed, you will loose control of your breathing, get tired, develop poor posture, make mistakes. Relaxation is important in every art I've ever studied. BJJ, Boxing, Judo. In fact even in TKD I was told to relax a lot. (except in forms, then I was told to be tense and scream a lot). For example, in BJJ if you do not stay relaxed you will push yourself out. You will burn up your energy in a few minutes and get dominated. If you dont relax while someone has all their weight on your chest, you will get winded, panic and start flipping out. Relaxation is the key to maximum use of strenght over a long period of time. As for the mind over matter. It is important because if you are ahead of your attacker. You will give yourself away. If you are too slow, you will be too late to have any effect. Your movements must be in harmony with the attacker to even begin to have a chance. If you are going for a collar choke and put preasure on before your second hand is locked in, he is going to defend. If you walk your hands up slowly and dont go for it, He is going to defend. If you casually grab his collar, side one hand in position while keeping in line with his motions. He might not notice the setup until the other hand is just in range, then it is too late. You have kept his mind away from that hand. You gave it no importance by trying to muscle that other hand in, or by trying to put force into that hand.
Anyways, if you have proper timing, and you understand the leverage and body mechanics required, then you should not feel like you have to muscle anything. It should require very little strength to throw someone over your head. The lack of balance and proper placement of your legs should just lift him up and then gravity should take him down. You should never be fighting to secure an arm for a keylock or an armbar. Your position and body weight should make it impossible for him to defend. You should never be scrambling and trying to pull someone up for a hip toss. It should simply be a slight lift in your legs that hoists him up on your back in a position that requires very little effort to carry. A lot of what some people call internal strenght is really what a lot of wrestlers I know can proper positioning or the right way to use your arms and legs.
Many roads leading to the same place I guess.