Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power
Cool Benjamin, thanks. Well personally, I think it is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. While I agree that there is a lot of "bathwater" being bandied about (always was and always will be), I sure don't think it is coming from the likes of Hugh and Janet. If there is a baby, making judgements about "circlejerk" and "pseudoscience" may very well end up throwing it out.
I think there is truth to all the things you are arguing against, but of course I am arguing only that there is a core truth, which can become distorted in discussion, not that everything that gets posted is true. The fact that you don't disagree with my above points is a case in point regarding this.
Another example, regarding the warnings against doing traditional exercise:
Strength of muscular tissue is not what is bad. It is the way muscles are coordinated that is an issue. If you use the "regular" way that we humans do, you are basically talking about a huge set of pieces all working together, each doing little things (articulating individual joints). Any practice (ie exercise) that reinforces this organizational principle automatically distances you from learning to do IS. (So OTOH if you already use IS, then by all means you can work out. That wouldn't be a problem and all IS adepts spend a lot of time working out. They just call it "tanren," "jibenggong," "suburi," "zhan zhuang," etc)
In other words a critical goal for a beginner is to learn to use the tanden and a body-wide netowrk of load-bearing connective tissue to move (see my post #7). This is a fundamentally different way of moving than the "local muscle" method you and I discussed here. Achieving this change-over is an important goal, more important than building power, internal or external (although you can't do the change-over at all if there is no body-wide netowrk and no tanden musculature). So, the point is learning to do a different thing, and doing regular exercise will simply inhibit that learning (by reinforcing the old thing).
[ps if the idea of a unique, specialized, dantian-and-qi-based motor coordination sounds like BS, I would like to point out 2 things in my defense: 1) The connective tissue of the body has plasticity that allows it to adapt to load per my post #14, so the idea of "growing" a new system is in that sense not weird. 2) There are physiological precedents for having 2 systems in place that articulate the same joints, where these 2 systems are overlayed in the body. In these precedents, one of the systems consists of muscles local to the series of joints, and the other consists of muscles distant from those chains of joints. The latter, the non-local system, works by employing long connective tissue structures spanning the whole series of joints-- these connective tissues structures are controlled "off-site" by the distant ball of muscle. I am of course talking about the hand (a design we share with the other mammals I think). So the only thing really revolutionary that I am proposing in my description of IS vs conventional motor behavior is that unlike the hand, we don't in general use both systems together in default motor behavior. One (the long-connective tissue system) is atrophied in favor of the other (the local joint control system). The goal in IS is to trade one in favor of learning to use the other.]
Last edited by JW : 04-12-2013 at 08:58 PM.