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Old 08-02-2010, 01:11 PM   #1
TimB99
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What paths lead to internal power??

OK.. So I'm getting inspired by all that 'internal power' stuff.

Whatever it is, I'm open to seeking it out and experimenting with whatever I find, and that's exactly why I've made this thread.

With that said, I'm curious as to what kinds of cultivating methods are out there, what they teach, what they do, and why.
So I'd love some feedback on those things. Just to get some reference materials as to what training opportunities I should look out for, what the specific parts in my own training are that I should look out for, and just to get a broad overview of what this thing really is, what it can do, and why I should look out for it.

Also, since I do know about the IHTBF rule, you won't need to point it out to me . I'm not here to ask for the nitty-gritty details about this internal power stuff because I don't have an illusion about figuring this stuff out for myself. I will get round to feeling it.

As for the final question: what practice has benefitted you personally? What things should I look out for? What things should I experiment with and seek out, in your opinion? And, of course, why?

Now, I realize this may be a bit much to answer, so feel free to leave out whatever question you want...
...except for the 'why'-questions I'd say those are more than essential

Sincerely yours,

TB
 
Old 08-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #2
Lee Salzman
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

This topic is the stuff aikiweb flamewars are made of...

Maybe the best place to look for resources on the issue is at the Rum Soaked Fist forums, which have plenty of seminar announcements and angry discussions about all things related to Chinese martial arts. I have hooked up with people on there in the past, and it got my foot in the door with CMA.

The only universal thing I've found in my own training with respect to all this is that the internal label is a red herring. If there is a physical attribute that can be isolated and trained in the depth, that benefits movement in general and not just some technique, to the measurable benefit of one's combat abilities, then it is worth training. Such attributes do not seem to be gained by osmosis efficiently through just practicing technique or sparring, and likewise do not seem to directly translate back into combat ability without effort to make them.

My own training, though, has been focused almost exclusively on explosive power, for which the benefits seem more obvious, like move quicker, react faster, hit harder, but improvement has been damned slow most times and carry-over to anything aikido-like has been nonexistent. I still think it is cool stuff, though.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 07:15 AM   #3
dps
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

All paths lead to internal power. It is with you all the time.

Read what is the current research into the inner workings of the human body.

http://www.anatomytrains.com/ is a good place to start.

David
 
Old 08-03-2010, 08:16 AM   #4
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
All paths lead to internal power. It is with you all the time.

Read what is the current research into the inner workings of the human body.

http://www.anatomytrains.com/ is a good place to start.

David
Reading anatomy trains will not help you. I talk about A.T. all the time, but for other reasons. It is no path to power.
Dan
 
Old 08-03-2010, 09:39 AM   #5
HL1978
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Tim Bergman wrote: View Post

With that said, I'm curious as to what kinds of cultivating methods are out there, what they teach, what they do, and why.
So I'd love some feedback on those things.

As for the final question: what practice has benefitted you personally? What things should I look out for? What things should I experiment with and seek out, in your opinion? And, of course, why?

Now, I realize this may be a bit much to answer, so feel free to leave out whatever question you want...
...except for the 'why'-questions I'd say those are more than essential

Sincerely yours,

TB
As to which methods are out there, you will see seminar announcements within this forum. From my personal experience either with the people putting on the seminars, or from some of their students, there is a reasonable amount of similarity between each approach, that is to say that someone who attends one seminar will recognize elements in anothers material despite differences in exercises or focus. Its probably best to stick with one particular approach, at least initially than try them all out. That being said, after putting in some time, attending seminars by other people has filled in some things which I might have missed or heard before, but misunderstood.

What they all do is teach how to move and use the the body in a non-intuitive manner. This will make you feel different not only to yourself but to other people. This is not inherently or initially better (due to the effort required and level needed to pull some of it off), but different. As for the why, well once you are different enough, other people will have a difficult time dealing without because your movement and feeling is outside their frame of reference.

As for what I got out of it all, well like others have said, "My eyes were opened to budo." I understood what the various foundational exercises I had preformed over the years and thought were not particularly useful or realistic were intended to train. I had a better idea of what I thought was philosophy was actually referring to specific sensations. This in turn lead to better performance in terms of both "strength", endurance and the ability to off-balance people or pressure them from positions in which they feel strong.

For example, in BJJ I might still get submitted by a higher ranked opponent with superior technique, but they are much more winded than I am which creates opportunities for me, or I can put power back into them from places I would be considered weak or not particularly dangerous for them and regain an advantage. The same applies to kendo or karate as well.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 11:51 AM   #6
Buck
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post

Maybe the best place to look for resources on the issue is at the Rum Soaked Fist forums, which have plenty of seminar announcements and angry discussions about all things related to Chinese martial arts. I have hooked up with people on there in the past, and it got my foot in the door with CMA.

The only universal thing I've found in my own training with respect to all this is that the internal label is a red herring. If there is a physical attribute that can be isolated and trained in the depth, that benefits movement in general and not just some technique, to the measurable benefit of one's combat abilities, then it is worth training. Such attributes do not seem to be gained by osmosis efficiently through just practicing technique or sparring, and likewise do not seem to directly translate back into combat ability without effort to make them.

My own training, though, has been focused almost exclusively on explosive power, for which the benefits seem more obvious, like move quicker, react faster, hit harder, but improvement has been damned slow most times and carry-over to anything aikido-like has been nonexistent. I still think it is cool stuff, though.
Good stuff! I too see similar things in my training, as I have friends who are in CMA and I have dabbled myself in it with them. Per my reading of some of the Tai chi texts and that of concurring with Tai chi authors such as Waysun Liao, and others, for example. Point to Internal power as something that isn't seen, not noticeable, not readily detectable, and stuff. This is indicated by the Chinese Character written for Chi. Which is represents a pot with a fire beneath giving off steam. Chi then being, air/steam, according to those in CMA, is applied to the idea of breathing.

Internal power may simply be the act of breathing that results in forces. Possibly paralleling the forces that result from exhaling. We can move things with our exhaled breath. For instance, when we exhale strongly we can blow out candles, a force results. In corporate this crude example, oxygen is fuel for the fire. Or, the steam engine model.

I feel idea of internal power is layered with complex ancient mythology, specialized language, abstract cultural elements and concepts, to say the least, all resulting in an unique construct. A construct very elementary in its inception as indicated by the Chinese character for Chi which is the source, the fuel, for internal power.

As a result, no particular concrete attributes are identified. It seems to me allot goes into discussing the concepts and subjective parts of the internal power construct, and very little into anything else. For example, it is like discussing the conceptual elements behind the forces of the steam from a boiling pot of water, but very little if any on the pot, the fire, or fuel used, all relation to the graphic symbol to represent Chi of the Chinese language. How the steam is discussed is very abstract. This may be due to the limited understanding of the Chinese observing the forces of steam and the how and why of these forces at work. That is in comparison to what we understand today about such things.

This abstract concept of internal power as a result of various readings and discussions has lead me to believe internal power doesn't have a concrete identifiable definition in its application, resulting in the opportunity for a variety of explanations and open interpretations. That is we can hang any favorable result on internal power that isn't readily identifiable. For example, very much how we use the word magic and attribute things to magic. Like, explaining how cell phones send and receive transmissions, to my nephew, without a Ph.D. I say it is magic.

Internal power, as I have concluded, is an elaborate explanation for a simply physical result, like blowing out a candle or the steam from a boiling pot of water burning the skin or moving the lid, that isn't readily noticeable, or hidden. This leads me to believe the really is no road, rather a general, unspecific label, such as the word container, applied to techniques. That internal power, isn't a competent of technique or a technique itself, rather it being a concept of power or force with a desired result, that has a label, like home run.

Last edited by Buck : 08-03-2010 at 12:06 PM.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Tim Bergman wrote: View Post
With that said, I'm curious as to what kinds of cultivating methods are out there, what they teach, what they do, and why.
There are plenty of teachers of 'internal strength' out there, but definitions of 'internal strength' tend to vary. I think you should ask yourself: what do I want to learn exactly and who can teach it to me?

Quote:
what the specific parts in my own training are that I should look out for
What does your training consist of?

Quote:
As for the final question: what practice has benefitted you personally?
Any practice I know how to do somewhat properly. Zhan Zhuang comes to mind, although that's not a very helpful answer. It's like saying that running did great wonders for my health. What kind of running, what technique, how often do you train, how did it improve my health exactly, etc.?

Quote:
What things should I look out for? What things should I experiment with and seek out, in your opinion? And, of course, why?
Meet as much people as you can that claim to have internal strength. Mike Sigman, Akuzawa and Dan Harden are know here as 'having the goods'. Go meet them. Go to seminars of big names of martial arts that are known for internal strength. Process all the information acquired as critically as possible and determine your next step.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Internal Chinese martial arts are very popular, with millions of people practicing and teaching them all over the world. With that said, even among them and the known experts internal power who have written books there is a variety opinions and interpretations. There are many feats that catch attention that are attributed to internal power.

Again, say a home run, or a cross court shoot that is all net. Or someone in football seemingly making an incredible touch down by escaping the tackle attempts, or braking though a bunch of linemen. Or the redirection of a thrown baseball in mid-air. When such things are not really seen on how the results came about they are attributed to and termed as internal power when associated with MA.

Not all roads lead to Rome, or any road for that matter leads to Rome. Internal power something build like a road or a object like Rome. That is Internal power, i.e. blowing expelled air forcefully, etc.,process isn't readily observed, yet the observable result of power is noted. For instance, the explanation of the candles going out without touching them is because I used my internal power. I inhaled and forceful blew out the candles. Though all the observers only noticed my exhale and distracting ornate body movements of building up Chi that accompanied the feat. Internal power than has no roads. Rather, possibly a matter of foot prints.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 01:15 PM   #9
C. David Henderson
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Reading anatomy trains will not help you. I talk about A.T. all the time, but for other reasons. It is no path to power.
Dan
Hi Dan,

What do you talk about when you talk about AT?

Regards,

David Henderson
 
Old 08-03-2010, 03:57 PM   #10
Buck
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

My closing thoughts are since not all roads lead to Rome when it comes to internal power then how is it acquired. The ancient texts that I have read and other readings indicate to me, internal power is already existent in us. That is pretty clear because we are breathing, and Chi is air. In terms of internal power in its cultivation requires breathing exercises. Then to apply internal power (well that is when it gets fuzzy), in various methods, and ways.

One way many express internal power is through principles -applying physics. For example, Aikido uses internal power when a waza results in a throw. That is based the fact Aikido wazas don't grab someone, pick 'em up and heave them through the air. As, in those Link's Beef Jerky "Don't Mess with Sasquatch" commercials. That has no relation to the CM term of external. Here is where the balance is taken way, gravity comes into play, etc. instead of brute force strength to do the job.

Another way is via process, like what a baseball pitcher does to throw a curve ball or other types of pitches. That is what isn't seen is how he grabs the ball. A picture grabs the ball usually inside his mit or behind his back, and does so in a fashion that will dictate they type of pitch, how the ball will travel in space, and the direction.

Cultivation isn't really what I feel the right perspective to take as much as it is practice with a goal in mind. Cultivation is not as specific and can mean many things that can complicate what the correct meaning and application is. Therefore, I prefer the term and perspective of practice. That falls in line with every thing we do.

Internal power, to throw like Aikido and not like a Sasquatch. Since most people can't throw like a Sasquatch they will tend to figure out a way that will work for them.Just as pitcher have develop different pitches. What limits them I think is that they are confined to paradigms set by perceptions, constructs, culture, instruction and interpretation and special language.

Paradigms in this sense limits the understanding of internal power to be something, rather than a concept not readily seen when applied. In relation to a paradigm it is thought of as a specific thing. Such as salt, only enhancing the flavor of food. When looking into different internal power applications paradigms are restricting to that.

When you brake the paradigm, it allows you to see internal power as a concept, thus having an universal application vs. limited in scope as mentioned above. There are the a wide scope of different applications of internal power. Such as a pitcher gripping the ball in various ways and getting results of the ball traveling in different directions and speeds. Or the various ways to achieve kazushi.

Basically, practice is important without paradigms see the full scope of internal power applications. Which again is like choosing not to picking up a person and heaving them through the room. But instead applying body movements that alter and effect the opponent's body which includes achieving kazushi. All of which is very subtle and hard to detect visually. Much like how a boiling pot of water moves it's lid.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 04:25 PM   #11
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
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Cultivation isn't really what I feel the right perspective to take as much as it is practice with a goal in mind. Cultivation is not as specific and can mean many things that can complicate what the correct meaning and application is. Therefore, I prefer the term and perspective of practice. That falls in line with every thing we do.
Just in aikido alone, you have Ueshiba point blank demonstrating Funakogi Undo with Terry Dobson and talking about how you need to cultivate the body. That's only one nod to many, many Asian texts where people "in the know" gave a nod by relating the root strength of martial arts to one's internal conditioning and prowess via the idea of "cultivation" and adhering to the laws/connections between heaven and earth.

The notion that internal strength just "happens" because it's in nature is only espoused by those that don't actually have any abilities in this area. Internal power in the martial arts landscape references very specific things around manners in which the body is conditioned through physical training of the bones, connective tissues, etc. through poses, postures, gravity drills, breath drills, etc. .. different styles have (or had) different means and emphasis on aspects of this but they all related towards the same fundamental weird and different types of strength that martial arts training was supposed to confer.

Last edited by Budd : 08-03-2010 at 04:30 PM.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 06:24 PM   #12
Buck
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Just in aikido alone, you have Ueshiba point blank demonstrating Funakogi Undo with Terry Dobson and talking about how you need to cultivate the body. That's only one nod to many, many Asian texts where people "in the know" gave a nod by relating the root strength of martial arts to one's internal conditioning and prowess via the idea of "cultivation" and adhering to the laws/connections between heaven and earth.

The notion that internal strength just "happens" because it's in nature is only espoused by those that don't actually have any abilities in this area. Internal power in the martial arts landscape references very specific things around manners in which the body is conditioned through physical training of the bones, connective tissues, etc. through poses, postures, gravity drills, breath drills, etc. .. different styles have (or had) different means and emphasis on aspects of this but they all related towards the same fundamental weird and different types of strength that martial arts training was supposed to confer.
Internal strength is a term I am not familiar within the renown texts and CMA I have spoke to, though I have talked about it in the context by which others have defined, and that was in error. Strength and power are not the same or interchangeable as I thought In my correction, power is he ability to do something or act in a particular way, esp. as a faculty or quality : the power of concentration. I am referring to the term of internal power within the documented definitions by texts of masters both past and present. Again the analogy of the steam of a boiling water pot moving the pot lid, and not like the strength used to lift the lid. I understand how I might be confusing and offering this delineation to avoid any confusion.

Also, my opinions and views as I stated are the result of my research and contacts in understanding in relation to CMA. My career is not in teaching CMA or Aikido. I am not a professional teacher nor do I wish to gain recognition of any sort or have an vested interest in such recognition in either CMA or Aikido. It is my hobby, it is my past time. I enjoy sharing ideas and information.

With that said, I hope that provides readers with where I am coming from and my purpose for posting as a means of sharing information I have found and understand with others.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 09:20 PM   #13
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

I'm a complete beginner in Chinese, but I was under the impression that 內勁 or neijin(g) translates to internal strength? That term might be more familiar to CMA practitioners. 内力 is literally internal power, but I have no clue how common it is to say it that way.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 10:05 PM   #14
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Reading anatomy trains will not help you. I talk about A.T. all the time, but for other reasons. It is no path to power.
Dan
Understanding how the body works is a path to understanding power and internal strength. Ignorance is not.

David
 
Old 08-03-2010, 10:15 PM   #15
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Tim,

I say ignore most of what is being said here (especially the posts by Philipp Burgess and David Skaggs) and see some of the guys known for this. You can privately message them about this.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 10:35 PM   #16
Buck
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
I'm a complete beginner in Chinese, but I was under the impression that 內勁 or neijin(g) translates to internal strength? That term might be more familiar to CMA practitioners. 内力 is literally internal power, but I have no clue how common it is to say it that way.
Good point, I use 'internal energy" as Chi and "internal power" as Jing and Fah Jing as "transfer" or "projection." These terms and definitions are the most commonly used when I speak with those who I know that practice CMA. Per neijin my understanding and usage is along the lines of Wikipedia's explanation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nei_Jing Also include the term Neijia, as well http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neijia

I use these term in this fashion, and no longer use "internal strength" as it is not used with those I know in the CMA and is not as commonly used in my readings.

I also do this to be more accurate and inline with the above reasons, and so that there is no confusion with previous posts on internal arts that was discussed on this forum sometime ago. I am using these terms, as stated above, as a demarcation from my previous conversations on internal strength.

Well that is how I use those terms.

Last edited by Buck : 08-03-2010 at 10:38 PM.
 
Old 08-03-2010, 11:28 PM   #17
Lee Salzman
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Understanding how the body works is a path to understanding power and internal strength. Ignorance is not.

David
I think the case goes very much in the opposite direction, with the the analytic aspects helping you to reason why a training methodology works and to cut away unproductive training, but not very helpful in coming up with one in the first place which is more just dumb luck plus trial and error.

The training methodologies are the valuable part, and in what I've seen so far the ideas they are based on are extremely simple. What distinguishes the end result is how much work has been poured into that attribute and in what way.

It can be hard to believe that a given training method can even result in what it claims to do till you see an example of someone who, using the method, got to an awe inspiring level of bodily skill. Even after seeing examples, lots of the stuff can seem a bit silly. Were it not for getting out, seeing, and training with people who've actually achieved via whatever methods, I would have thought almost all the training I currently do is just stupid, and it still feels that way half the time anyway. And even nicer, the people don't agree at face value on what is an effective method either. So it can take a bit of ignorant stubbornness to stick with what I am doing in spite of any self-doubt, with written materials and opinions having almost no bearing on that.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 08-03-2010 at 11:30 PM.
 
Old 08-04-2010, 08:54 AM   #18
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Chi is the gas created by the food we eat
Internal power is the control of orifices as it comes out of our bodies.
Fajing is how far it can project and clear a room.
Just to clarify, this is according to my readings and discussions with those in CMA I know.

Maybe I need to make new friends.
 
Old 08-04-2010, 10:04 AM   #19
Keith Larman
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Chi is the gas created by the food we eat
Internal power is the control of orifices as it comes out of our bodies.
Fajing is how far it can project and clear a room.
Just to clarify, this is according to my readings and discussions with those in CMA I know.

Maybe I need to make new friends.
Ahhhhh... So my wife was trying to help me develop more internal strength when she gave me two "wraps" done up with these newfangled "high fiber/whole grain/freakishly modified" tortilla like things. Those suckers had a ton of fiber, apparently, most from inulin or something like that. Good, lord, I felt like the Hindenburg. "No, don't light that!!!! AIIIIEIEEEEIEIEIEIEIE!!!! PHWOOM!"

I'm assuming a prolific poster is pontificating on the topic (ah, the joys of the ignore feature). Now to find those tortilla like things and sneak them into the trash. That can't be real food no matter how much "internal power" they create. Even my dogs are offended...

 
Old 08-04-2010, 10:05 AM   #20
DH
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

That's it Keith.......bingo....you have internal power!!
I tried the ignore feature myself, but you miss out on so much really entertaining humor.

David Scaggs wrote:
Quote:
All paths lead to internal power. It is with you all the time.
So the above was an example to illustrate that understanding the gastro/intestinal system must-of course- also be key to understanding the body and a path to understanding true power and internal strength.
So according to David, flatulence is internal power because....well...because I wrote it on the internet.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 08-04-2010 at 10:10 AM.
 
Old 08-04-2010, 10:25 AM   #21
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
That's it Keith.......bingo....you have internal power!!
I have the power!

You know it's bad when dogs who think rolling on a dead animal is the closest thing to Nirvana get up in disgust and leave the room...

 
Old 08-04-2010, 11:19 AM   #22
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Hey Keith,
Did you ever make it to Bosco Baek's classes? I'm gonna get my motorcycle license soon so I can afford the trip to LA and start classes I think.
 
Old 08-04-2010, 12:09 PM   #23
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

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As for the final question: what practice has benefitted you personally? What things should I look out for? What things should I experiment with and seek out, in your opinion? And, of course, why?

Sincerely yours,

TB
My 2 cents is find yourself a good teacher, which isn't easy. You may first encounter poor teachers. People who are not properly trained completely, understand and/or apply well these constructs, I spoke of. After sometime with one or two such poor teachers you may find a good one. Most of the time good teachers are not adverting or making themselves a high profile item. That is different then a community, like the Chinese community, recommending or not recommending a teacher. Chinese community centers are often good places to start. You probably don't want to learn from someone who is a student of a teacher overseas running a class. You want an instructor that is conducting classes on the spot and not remotely though a student. It is like any other art. A good instructor, can tell you what to experiment with and seek out.

What has benefitted me by having some exposure to CMA and the CMA community is all of what I have been posting. It provides me a good model in understanding CMA and the similarities they have to Japanese Martial Arts. There are allot of good books and bad books out there, but with a little research you can find good books and stuff on the net that provide you information that will help you learn. That is background, history, models of a good teacher, and help you bridge the communication barrier often existing when information is translated from one language and culture to another.

Oh, and the old rules apply, buyer beware, and if it sounds too good to be true it usually is, and hard sells ( or any selling ) are often signs of cultish martial arts behavior. There are snake oils salesmen out there in all martial arts, and people who talk a good talk or mavericks, rebels, etc, usually don't know much, do, much, or understand much; all applies to CMA, which are no different then any other.

The only thing am aware of that I hear the guys in CMA- Tai Chi, is an exercise called "reeling silk." I noticed some competitor at a CMA competition doing it in a hall way as a warm up I guess. I was told that it is important to breath purposefully and rhythmically while doing it. That's all I got, and thought to share it.

Last edited by Buck : 08-04-2010 at 12:14 PM.
 
Old 08-04-2010, 12:23 PM   #24
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

This thread is already something of a trainwreck . . if you're a genuine seeker, you're going to have to go out and see what people are doing. It's actually quite useful to use the search function here and see who's actually gone out and felt whom.
 
Old 08-04-2010, 12:59 PM   #25
Patrick Hutchinson
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 94
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Re: What paths lead to internal power??

Actually Reeling Silk is a mistranslation: it should be Stealing Rilke, as everything you need to know about internal strength can be found in the Duino Elegies (at least, according to my friend Hans, who knows some people, can use a keyboard, and has read some books):

Weißt du's noch nicht? Wirf aus den Armen die Leere
zu den Räumen hinzu, die wir atmen

(Do you not know yet? Throw the emptiness out of your arms to add to the spaces we breathe)

Wie der Pfeil die Sehne besteht, um gesammelt im Absprung
mehr zu sein als er selbst. Denn Bleiben ist nirgends.

(As the arrow endures the bow, so as to be, in its flight, something more than itself? For staying is nowhere.)

Die ewige Strömung
reißt durch beide Bereiche alle Alter
immer mit sich und übertönt sie in beiden.

(The eternal current
sweeps all the ages, within it, through both the spheres,
forever, and resounds above them in both.)

Last edited by Patrick Hutchinson : 08-04-2010 at 01:11 PM.
 

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