There are other well known models for how real IP can cross over and inform and feel like spiritual concepts and how it feels in the body and the way it is trained was indeed tied to religious practices.
However, to say it is religious simply shows ignorance of the subject.
Chanting is a good example. Some may deeply believe that chanting certain mudras gave them power, when in reality it was using certain vowel sounds to merely change pressure. Next? What to do with that pressure.
Then you can add certain feelings that come when projecting-particularly with long weapons, and how it can form a heady rush.
We can then add Moving energy work in the body, which is a whole other ball game.
But we then go back to "talking about it" And thinking you "got it" in relation to IP, when in reality there is so much more. There are lots of Japanese and Western Shihan running around with pieces of the puzzle who would be devestated by someone more fully developed by doing it, rather than talking about it.
The truly wonderful aspect about this work is that you cannot B.S. your way out of it (well except on the internet). In person, you either got it or you don't, and you will be found out in all but an instant. Hence, why most will avoid those who either do have it...or know what it is supposed to feel like in someone who does.
I appreciate your position Dan. I do have a question that may or may not be related to your use of the words internal power. Are mantras solely for sound and relaxation? Can intent and tantric yoga bind and release energies bigger than your understanding of IS/IP (TM) as you have publically expressed it so far?
I am not saying just anyone on this web practices such things, but there may be some that do. I have friends that do and I, too, am a beginner at it. And I will call them shamans/windwalkers. They are an interesting group of folks.
One of the basic martial weapons systems in ancient India were those weapons that were initiated by incantations. In an earlier thread, I quipped with someone regarding "well treated wood" and using light coming from its tip. I used the double entendre of a specific tantric practice used by Little Monk Nupchen Sangye Yeshe whose practice included his personal wood as well as his wooden phurba (light coming out fo them both)..
In the text "The Great Beard of Nup" he writes that when he was 61, the bon armies had surrounded him (904 AD). He pulls out his phurba and "spun a disruptive whirlwind, destroying 37towns around Drak.
See: Taming of the Deamons by Jacob Dalton (Yale University Press, 2011), p. 50. It appears that during this era of fragmentation in Tibet, phurba wars were common according to modern scholarship.
"So, pulling a teak ritual dagger from the hem of his robes, Nupchen pronounced the life mantras of those vow-bound ones, stabbing and rolling the dagger, he recited, ri pha gi maraya phat (Mountain, over there, kill them!). Thereby, fire erupted from the mountain, incinerating and destroying all the armies." (p.51)
Does your sense of the IS/IP art explore these possbilities?
And to tie this thread with the earlier one, I conclude with this piece of info from Dalton, "To create the merit for purifying that sin, he (Nupchen) composed his "Lamp for the Eye in Contemplation" synthesizing union and liberation through violence.....
(incidently, is a term I am using in the context of Comanche "internal power". They were not very supersticious people, but they sure had a word for power that could be enhanced with internal practice. Quannah Parker had it and never lost a battle against the U.S. Army.)