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Old 01-22-2013, 02:30 PM   #26
tanthalas
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

If you go and talk to an experienced practitioner of Chinese IMA and ask him what the goal of his practice is, I doubt he will answer that it's to move something.

Hence I shrink at any suggestion (even if it's unintended) that moving something is somehow the goal of the practice. We all have different reasons for why we train, and the various litmus tests that are aimed at teasing out how and what we train are both imperfect and incomplete. The fact that you can both produce the same externally visible results for one particular test as a result of your training does not suggest that you are both in fact training the same thing.

Correlation does not equal causation. It's crucial to keep this in mind when you frame a discussion as such.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:46 PM   #27
tanthalas
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Thanks for the link Alfonso. I find it particularly noteworthy that the article mentions the fact that external arts follow more natural body movement than internal arts, which aligns pretty well with the claim from some neijia practitioners that internal movement is anything but "natural".
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:00 PM   #28
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

I think of it terms of an axle and a wheel.
Either the axle will turn a wheel, as in a car - Internal,
or a wheel will turn an axle, as in a water wheel - External

If a person moves themselves, and as a result of that movement, another person in contact with them is affected, it's internal. If, on the other hand, a person has the goal of doing something to the other person an moves toward that end, it's external.

Last edited by morph4me : 01-22-2013 at 03:05 PM.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:51 PM   #29
Chris Knight
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

and yet still no mention of intent from anyone??
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:04 PM   #30
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Calvin On wrote: View Post
We all have different reasons for why The fact that you can both produce the same externally visible results for one particular test as a result of your training does not suggest that you are both in fact training the same thing.
I agree. But we have to share something in order to find our differences. Until we can get an "internal" and "external" person to do the same thing, we can't look at how they do that thing differently.

I assume when we talk about "internal" and "external" martial arts, we are still talking about them as relating to martial situations. Something martial is by it's nature, committed to achieving a result- martial dominance. Now, very few of us are soldiers or professional fighters, so being martially dominant isn't the number one objective for most of us, but when we are talking about using our bodies in martial situations, we are talking about better ways to achieve a result.

If we're not talking about martial effectiveness on some level, then I agree, training is purely subjective, and whatever floats your boat is what you should do. However when we want to compare two "kinds" of physical movement methods, we are indeed talking about getting a result. Only through setting a goal, and analyzing the way two different methods achieve that goal can we start to discuss if there are any real differences between those methods, and how one may be more or less advantageous in different situations.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:04 PM   #31
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Knight wrote: View Post
and yet still no mention of intent from anyone??
Just So..........
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:18 PM   #32
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Knight wrote: View Post
and yet still no mention of intent from anyone??
i was intending to mention it, but i held back my intent.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:24 PM   #33
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
The way its used here in aikiweb seems to be an oversimplification of the kind that Chris is hinting as in "good" vs "bad" or mysterious vs scientific.

This link has a pretty good description of the kind of bagagge these terms have , where they come from, and why it makes the current discussion kind of non productive.

http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/Neijia-Waijia/arti_NW.htm
Good find Alfonso. that article said pretty much what needed. i liked section 3.1 and the fighting tactic section. in many way, aikido fit into that.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:32 PM   #34
tanthalas
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I agree. But we have to share something in order to find our differences. Until we can get an "internal" and "external" person to do the same thing, we can't look at how they do that thing differently.
Yes. I completely agree that it's useful to look at this and to find differences. But it's not the be-all, end-all differentiator, nor is it the goal. I think it's important not to lose sight of the fact that these are litmus tests and/or exercises used for studying the differences between two practices, and not to treat these as if they were somehow a definitive destination for either practice.

Let's remember this was the post I was responding to originally:

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
In the end if the goal is to move something, then the goal is to move something. It really doesn't matter how it is done as long as the goal is accomplished. If we use so-called internal ways or external ways...does it really matter...no not really as long as you can do it.
Unless I'm truly misunderstanding what you're saying, your post is more or less a great argument against this. You care about the differences in the how. This quoted post states pretty clearly that the how doesn't matter.

Last edited by tanthalas : 01-22-2013 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #35
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

What this thread is about is asking what is the difference between internal and external. What Kevin is saying is that he personally doesn't care what you call it, he just wants to see what works to achieve a goal. Since the thread is about finding differences, how is the core question. But you can't find how without finding what.

All I'm saying is that you can't ignore the goal if you want to find a difference.

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Old 01-22-2013, 05:21 PM   #36
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
The way its used here in aikiweb seems to be an oversimplification of the kind that Chris is hinting as in "good" vs "bad" or mysterious vs scientific.

This link has a pretty good description of the kind of bagagge these terms have , where they come from, and why it makes the current discussion kind of non productive.

http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/Neijia-Waijia/arti_NW.htm
What I got from this article is not what it sounds like people here on Aikiweb talk about when they make internal and external distinctions.

If I were to make a very simplistic description of what I read in the article I would say it's something like this:

Waijia (external)- Develop the body to a high level. Make the body strong, fast, well conditioned, flexible and agile. Your body will become so powerful that little else needs to be known/practiced.

Neijia (internal) Don't worry about the physicality of the body, instead use the mind to perfect the way you use your body. You will not need powerful muscles if you use your body as efficiently as possible.

I would say this is a distinction only worth making in the beginning of training. As the article says, as time goes on you'll need both. This is the same with modern athletics, some people just make themselves stronger, some people just practice technique, but only those who excel in both become top level athletes.

Here on Aikiweb, this is not the kind of thing we are talking about when we reference "internal" as IP. IP is suppose to be a different kind of power all together, at least from my understanding.

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Old 01-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #37
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
What is the difference between internal and external? Where do you draw the line?
There are various grades of internal, so this is a very complex question in terms of where you want to draw the line. That being said, look at the following questions.

Does external use intent to drive motion?
Does external use air pressure beyond grunting to drive motion?
Does external focus on using one's own body weight (commited straight down) as a primary generator of power?
Does external focus on training from the inside out?
Does external tie the hips and waist into one unit?


Does internal rely on winding up, big circular movement, or rotating the hips to generate power?
Does internal rely on sequentially chaining muscles groups together to generate power?
Does internal rely on training from the outside in?
Does internal practice focus mostly on waza?

Which method results in unusual effects which do not rely on speed, timing or technique?

Which method results in unbalancing on contact, not being able to feel the opponents center of balance or take it? Which causes power to stay in you? Which causes you not to feel like you can let go? Which requires no windup to generate power? Which results in people swearing you weigh a lot more?

Quote:
Where do these terms come from?
China. Neijia and Waijia. Nei=inside, wai=outside.

Quote:
What specifically do they refer to?
See the previously mentioned links. Training paradaigms, effects.

Quote:
Why do you feel it is an appropriate distinction to make?
The focus of the training is considerably different so are the observed effects.

Quote:
How do you know when you feel internal? How do you know when you feel external?
For external, there is nothing unusual in terms of how the person moves. Superior applied technique is usually the result of good conventional body mechanics and timing, possibly combined with "explosive" power. Nothing feels explainable. Usually there is a force on force feeling. When one person pushes and the other pulls, the pusher is usually unbalanced. Strikes may knock someone back, but don't always stay "inside" or take their balance.

For internal, I will preface that to the person who has never felt this sort of thing, things may be "unexplainable" simply because they are outside the persons frame of reference.

The opponent can get out of positions traditionally considered weak, or from holds/pins without any apparent force on force sensation There is a distinct lack of feedback when you push or pull on someone. If they "push" and you pull, your balance is taken, conversely, if you push, you will find yourself unbalanced or you will feel like you are pushing an immovable object. Explosive power isn't required to move someone. The opponent can suddenly feel different with no overt movement. Significant weight differences become less relevant. Strikes are "penetrating".

---------
notice a trend here... off balanced, not moved, no feedback, pushing yourself away, no windup, no overt movement.

Tells for internal movement are there if you know what to look for, same for the effects once you have felt it. What you feel inside oneself is considerably different. Moving one limb may result in feeling something else move. As in if your arm moves, you may feel it tied to a leg or hip which also moves.

Last edited by HL1978 : 01-22-2013 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:00 PM   #38
phitruong
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Waijia (external)- Develop the body to a high level. Make the body strong, fast, well conditioned, flexible and agile. Your body will become so powerful that little else needs to be known/practiced.

Neijia (internal) Don't worry about the physicality of the body, instead use the mind to perfect the way you use your body. You will not need powerful muscles if you use your body as efficiently as possible.

I would say this is a distinction only worth making in the beginning of training. As the article says, as time goes on you'll need both. This is the same with modern athletics, some people just make themselves stronger, some people just practice technique, but only those who excel in both become top level athletes.
Chris, you have selective filter on.

"If one practices Waijia, in the beginning one's good personal physical condition will bring more
obvious advantage than if from practicing Neijia. This is because Waijia follow natural ability or
the body's natural way of moving. But for Neijia practice, sometimes natural ability can just be a
disadvantage or hindrance to acquiring Neijia skill. This is why for beginners Waijia is much
easier than Neijia. When people attempt to advance from middle level to high level skill, even for
Waijia, the most important thing is internal training. For most people who have trained for a long
time in Waijia it will be difficult to catch up in the internal training. But for most middle level Neijia
people, it will be not too difficult. This is why many Waijia practitioners learn Neijia when they get
older. They know what they want but they feel their Waijia training is too difficult to achieve higher
level skill due to the decline in physical ability when one gets older. They want to use Neijia to help
themselves in this way. Also this is why many Neijia practitioner want to mix some Waijia skill in
the beginning of their training. They are worried that their beginning level Neijia skill is not good
enough for fighting."

why aged is a major factor in atheletes? why most atheletes retired in their 30s or earlier, if not then doping heavily? i mentioned one of the above post that old warriors don't intent to roll over and die when facing with younger, faster, and stronger. they liked to level the playing field a bit. i mentioned that i got bounced by Saotome sensei. He was 70s at the time and no he didn't get out of the way or using timing. read from the above quote on what happens to waijia folks when they get old. then look at Ueshiba, he handled all them young bucks when he was old, and one of them happened to be Saotome sensei.

question here is when most of your muscle are gone or when you passed by and into your 40s and not into doping, what will you do?

me, i am investing in old age.... and treachery!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:12 PM   #39
Cady Goldfield
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Knight wrote: View Post
and yet still no mention of intent from anyone??
Sure. I did.

Quote:
In other words, an "internal" process is non-linear/non-sequential, constant cycle of manipulations; does not rely on outwardly visible centripedal, forward and/or downward-drop momentum movements and doesn't involve the use of the waist-torso-upper body musculature to generate "strength" and power. It employs unconventional groups of muscle and connective tissues not typically associated with body movement or power generation, and refined use of these is not outwardly visible, or is barely so. And, mental intent is used to generate and hold all of these processes together.
I intentionally didn't pursue that in detail, though, because it would beg a whole new topic of discussion, and this thread is complicated enough as is.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:26 PM   #40
Josh Lerner
 
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post

China. Neijia and Waijia. Nei=inside, wai=outside.
To add another data point or two to the discussion . . .

Something that I'd never picked up on until Mike Sigman brought it up years ago was the general connection, in the martial arts, between the internal/external classification and the Daoist/Buddhist classification, and the related sociopolitical impact of those terms. Simply put, the Big Three internal arts in China (taijiquan, xingyiquan, baguazhang) are basically Daoist in nature, while the external arts are generally derived from Shaolin gongfu, and therefore basically come from a Buddhist background. Given that basic distinction, one of the implications of the terminology is that -

Internal = Daoist = native Chinese, and
External = Buddhist = foreign in origin (Buddhism having come from India).

Add to that the fact that the Chinese word for China is "Central Kingdom", and foreigners are literally "outsiders" (waiguoren), and you can start to get a sense that there can be at least a subtly implied value judgement when using those terms in Chinese. Not all the time, but it does occur.

Having said all that, MIke is the only person I've read who talks about that definition of the term in relation to martial arts, but I think it is a useful aspect of the discussion to keep in mind, even if that aspect doesn't come into play as much in modern training.

Nei, "internal" is also used in the sense of "inner", with "inner" meaning "more important" or sometimes "secret", kind of like "inner circle" in English. One example would be the most important classic medical text in Chinese, the Huangdi Neijing - "The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic", occasionally mistranslated as "The Yellow Emperor's Classic on Internal Medicine." The implication of the name is that because it is the "inner" classic, the really important information is in there, as opposed to the "outer" classic, the Huangdi Waijing (a text which is mentioned by name but which is probably lost).

My general impression following these discussions over the last few years is that "external" is now used more derogatorily than "wai" was probably used historically in China to describe these things. Although practicing "nei" arts is usually seen as being healthier for you and more conducive to longevity, which may come from the association with Daoism (which can be obsessed with longevity). Note that I'm talking about how people who practice "internal" arts talk about their own arts, not about the actual effect on longevity. I don't know if practicing internal arts actually is more or less healthy for you than gongfu or karate.

Josh
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:21 PM   #41
hughrbeyer
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

I'll tee off Kevin's post since it covers most of the points.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think Chris and I are arguing that the dicussion is alot more complex than simply using two words. and I agree with his assessment that on the paradigm that it is most often discussed by people who really don't understand the complexity of different types of movement it is done so in the context of "good" "bad" movement vice different physcialities
Disagree here. Maybe in your general discussions, the internal = good, external = bad equivalency holds. Here on AikiWeb, the discussion has mostly been more sophisticated than that.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
In the end if the goal is to move something, then the goal is to move something. It really doesn't matter how it is done as long as the goal is accomplished. If we use so-called internal ways or external ways...does it really matter...no not really as long as you can do it.
Depends on how you define the goal. If the goal is, "get this friggin oaf off me" and you can do it by throwing said oaf into the nearest wall using muscle power, good for you, do it.

If you're in a martial situation and want to move oafs who may be too large and strong for your muscle power, and who may not be so oafish after all and have the ability to strike back if they can tell what you're doing, the problem becomes more complicated. IS becomes more interesting.

MOST PARTICULARLY... in the context of Aikido training it becomes very interesting indeed. O-Sensei designed his art as a container for what he called aiki. Putting IS and aiki (by this definition) back into Aikido transforms every Aikido technique, giving it the stability and irresistability that it was always intended to have.

It is true that bodies being bodies, and good movement being good movement, there are very interesting correlations between IS and other athletic movement. Boxing coaches teach that a punch starts in the leg, power is delivered by the hips, and the punch is delivered through a relaxed arm. Hmmm, shades of spirals and relaxed power. A pitcher snaps his whole body like a whip, the power traveling up a body that moves in synchronized, not simultaneous fashion. Hmm, sorta like spiraling. Classical ballet offers imagery for how to move the limbs that sounds a lot like some of the imagery IS folks use. Weightlifters have different imagery to trigger recruitment of different muscle groups, interesting for the same reason.

But none of that is IS and none of it is aiki.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:39 PM   #42
Cady Goldfield
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

IMO, discussion of :Buddhist vs. Taoist" philosophical, ideological, political and/or religious aspects or meanings of "internal" and "external" takes us away from the bottom-line issue that the OP seemed to be asking, which is, what are the physical qualities of "internal" and "external" body methods that distinguish them from each other.

There are numerous instances where taoist and Buddhist concepts freely intermingle. They are not always black-and-white separate; there is cultural overlap that extends into the martial arts. Taoist and Buddhist thought are utilized as a tool to describe general ideas that can be interpreted on many different levels, both in "internal" and "external" body method arts. For example, Taekwondo talks about Um and Yang (In/Yo, Yin/Yang), but how the concept is manifested and expressed in that (external) art is very, very different than how it is manifested and expressed in (internal) I Liq Chuan.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:45 PM   #43
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

So it is complicated; the concepts are political / religious / regional , but in any case; modern athletics are not in the spectrum at all.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:35 PM   #44
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
Chris, you have selective filter on.

"If one practices Waijia, in the beginning one's good personal physical condition will bring more
obvious advantage than if from practicing Neijia. This is because Waijia follow natural ability or
the body's natural way of moving.
Again, I believe words like "natural" are confusing us. But I read this to say "at first physical condition will bring obvious advantage" the reason this is, is simply because you move the way you are already moving, so you don't have to learn anything new. But the improved physical condition will improve your movement. This is why I said that in that article Waijia is basically described as improving physicality.

Quote:
But for Neijia practice, sometimes natural ability can just be a
disadvantage or hindrance to acquiring Neijia skill. This is why for beginners Waijia is much
easier than Neijia. When people attempt to advance from middle level to high level skill, even for
Waijia, the most important thing is internal training. For most people who have trained for a long
time in Waijia it will be difficult to catch up in the internal training. But for most middle level Neijia
people, it will be not too difficult. This is why many Waijia practitioners learn Neijia when they get
older. They know what they want but they feel their Waijia training is too difficult to achieve higher
level skill due to the decline in physical ability when one gets older. They want to use Neijia to help
themselves in this way. Also this is why many Neijia practitioner want to mix some Waijia skill in
the beginning of their training. They are worried that their beginning level Neijia skill is not good
enough for fighting."
This describes my over simplification, that Neijia is about learning the most efficient way to do something. These ways may not be "natural" to the way you already move, but they are more efficient, so you don't need as much physicality to move powerfully. This can be hard as time goes on because you've practices improper technique for so long.

Quote:
why aged is a major factor in atheletes? why most atheletes retired in their 30s or earlier, if not then doping heavily?
I assume here you are talking about top level athletes. Professional athletes have to master both efficient movement technique (neijia) and have powerful bodies (weijia). At their level you can't just be good at one or the other. So as their bodies age, even though they have great "neijia" they can't compete with younger athletes who have close to the same "neijia" but have way better "weijia" (because of youth). There are of course some athletes who have such phenomenal technique that they can compete much later in life. But these athletes still need decent physical bodies- everyone retires at some point.

Quote:
question here is when most of your muscle are gone or when you passed by and into your 40s and not into doping, what will you do?
Nothing is going to change the fact that I will get old. That also doesn't mean I plan to roll over and die. I'll probably start being even better armed when I leave the house- that improves my "weijia" as my physicality gets big bonus points from the weapons advantage.

Quote:
me, i am investing in old age.... and treachery!
Me too, I'm just not planning on physically beating a youth with my body alone(see above)- that's much more treacherous, if you ask me.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:36 PM   #45
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
So it is complicated; the concepts are political / religious / regional , but in any case; modern athletics are not in the spectrum at all.
From that article you posted, I would say athletics are the spectrum that is being described.

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:52 AM   #46
grondahl
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

If most of your muscle mass is gone in your 40s, your doing something very wrong in your training.

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post

question here is when most of your muscle are gone or when you passed by and into your 40s and not into doping, what will you do?

me, i am investing in old age.... and treachery!
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:09 AM   #47
Michael Varin
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
IMO, discussion of :Buddhist vs. Taoist" philosophical, ideological, political and/or religious aspects or meanings of "internal" and "external" takes us away from the bottom-line issue that the OP seemed to be asking, which is, what are the physical qualities of "internal" and "external" body methods that distinguish them from each other.
Well. . . IMO, no. It doesn't, and I was the OP.

Cady, I suggest that you re-read my initial post with a more open mind.

This is a complicated topic, and I would really appreciate if everyone took the additional time and effort to lay out their positions brick by brick. There is a strong tendency to offer conclusions as explanations and analysis. This does a disservice to us all.

I was aware of the probable origins of these terms long before I started this thread. Dismissing the fact that the terms were meant to describe geopolitical and religious-philosophical differences and not the quality of movement of these arts is precisely the type of carelessness that I am alluding to.

-Michael
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:12 AM   #48
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 567
United_States
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

I am very glad the topic of intent came up. I haven't seen this fleshed out much on the forums.

Does anyone believe that "external" movement can be accomplished without intent?

Again, where, specifically, are you making the distinctions?

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:25 AM   #49
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 399
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I am very glad the topic of intent came up. I haven't seen this fleshed out much on the forums.

Does anyone believe that "external" movement can be accomplished without intent?

Again, where, specifically, are you making the distinctions?
All movements, whether you would want to or not, is done with intent - you intend to do something - at the low-level of movement planning in the brain, however you wanna dissect that - and then you, umm, do. The actual what is less important than the things that need to be done to work on the quality of it - only a superficial familiarity with it is needed to intuitively work the quality. The question is just: is it the intent we actually want, and, again, what is the quality of it? The difference in certain training paradigms is you now put the emphasis on exactly that - making sure intent is actually going where you want it to, and moreover, the quality of that intent - that is aspects like the continuity of it (does it break/have gaps/bleed away at some point or some direction?) or, say, the resilience of it (does it fall apart if you also try to do X, Y, or Z?).

The anecdotal empirical results say, well, to be blunt, our intent for the most part is crap and we need to work on it - there really aren't any people who start up on "internal" training with good intent on day one, at least from the couple hundred people I have seen by now. It takes work, lots of work.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:06 AM   #50
Chris Knight
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 138
England
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
The anecdotal empirical results say, well, to be blunt, our intent for the most part is crap and we need to work on it - there really aren't any people who start up on "internal" training with good intent on day one, at least from the couple hundred people I have seen by now. It takes work, lots of work
Damn straight Lee, my initial thought was "of course i move with intent!"

then you meet someone who does

it's the hardest thing I've probably done with my body, using intent to create palpible movement and changes within my body, without moving...

Try this, have someone push on you and move them with intent alone,with no external movement

It's incredibly hard? And more so without a trained body in the 1st place

As one internal guy said, you can't create in-yo without intent, it's just a waste of time
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