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Old 01-23-2013, 04:17 AM   #51
Demetrio Cereijo
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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.
Me too.

See Neuroscience of free will

What is "intent"?

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Old 01-23-2013, 06:30 AM   #52
phitruong
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
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.
this is one of the main point in the argument between external and internal. i wouldn't use the word improper technique, but the argument is that external practices have to be "unlearn" in order to do internal, because of the muscles that you used in external practices countered the muscles and others stuffs that internal uses. one of the reason where a number of folks who quit their martial arts to focus on internal practices to "rewire" their body, then after some times, they would resume their martial arts and move quite differently than other folks. the article mentioned about blending the two and the difficulties of that. based on my experience so far, it's difficult to mix the two training approaches.

one curiousity of mine about a number of your posts, do you think that folks who practiced the so-called "internal" that discussed with you here on aikiweb and elsewhere, haven't done sports or participate in atheletics training before?

Quote:
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.
no, you don't beat a youth with your own body. you need to rip the arm off the youth or someone else, and beat them with it. or you can go texas chain saw approach which would be alot more fun, especially when you got screaming co-ed, why they always scream and wear so little clothing? not that i am complaining, my you.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:52 AM   #53
phitruong
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Me too.

See Neuroscience of free will

What is "intent"?
desire driven thoughts

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:11 AM   #54
Cady Goldfield
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Michael,
My bad. There were a number of questions in your OP, including ones based on physical qualities and aspects, and the currents can carry one out to sea.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 01-23-2013 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:30 AM   #55
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

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Josh Lerner wrote: View Post

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.
Update: I got an email from Mike, who says those are not his views, so maybe it was someone else on Qijin who mentioned it.

Back to your regularly scheduled debate.

Josh
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:26 AM   #56
hughrbeyer
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Intent, by itself, isn't enough to make the distinction either. Weightlifters, for example, are advised to use visualization/intent to ensure the pecs fire in a bench press rather than relying on the anterior delts. In that case, intent is being used to create a different external movement, rather than to create IS.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:40 AM   #57
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Wouldn't it be easier to isolate a few things that one can do both externally and internally and simply discuss the differences? The distinctions, IMO, should be pretty clear to anyone who is honestly interested in the discussion and not just here to pick apart someone elses choice of words. For instance, simply receiving/resisting a push to the hand. The way someone interested in the internal would do this is significantly different than how someone with normal athletic or strength training would do it, regardless of their level.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:43 AM   #58
HL1978
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

As asking a number of rhetorical questions is not permissible, I wish to clarify the following:

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
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?
The answer to all of these is no, these are internal training features. Intent is more than just thinking im going to do this. You use intent based off sensitivity to gravity and thus loads in the body to shift what carries the weight of your body and that of the oppontent. You then have to use intent to maintain how that load is carried.Such an example is shifting a load from the arm, onto the hip, without moving the arm. This is more than a mere visualization, as you will feel the load shift, and if done for a long time in a static position, the point to which the weight has been transfered to will fatigue rather than the original point.

External uses grunting to generate power, and is how most exeternal stylists use a kiai. Conditioning based off of air (pressure) is not performed in a way which results in usuable power.

External stylists may move the waist independently of the hips. This dilutes power. Often, the waist (in conjunction with the knees) rotates to deliver power rather than opening and closing of the hips.

Quote:
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?
The answer to these questions is no. Hips may open and close, but rotations are not required. If people are curious as to what is meant by open and close, i would be happy to explain. External people can adapt to use the hips in the manner, even though its not usually taught this way, but what differs is in what initiates the movement. This initiation from the middle on out, is different from the chaining from the legs on out.

Waza practice is different, wether training in a kata format or waza format. In external practice, the focus is on the technique. In internal practice, the kata or waza is means by which to practice a movement principle.

Quote:
Which method results in unusual effects which do not rely on speed, timing or technique?
Internal. The key difference here, is something unusual which can't be explianed by superior timing speed or technique. This is one reason why practice with an older person who can perform this way seems counterintutive.

Quote:
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?
Internal. I'm probably channeling Dan Harden here, but when you feel stuff like that, it seems out of the ordinary.Though once you do feel it, some stories of 90lbs women or old men tossing around 200lbs young men seem plausable.

Since the OP wanted to know differences, I would focus on those above points and explore how they result, or what it feels like to have that performed on you. For example, it is possible to "simulate" the empty jacket feeling through speed by always being ahead of the other person, however it is very tiring. If you can do it with someone who isn't using speed, and isn't fatiqued, but rather leaves you unbalanced or without feedback without sweating, then you can probably assume that something different is occuring and you might be feeling "IS".
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #59
HL1978
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Wouldn't it be easier to isolate a few things that one can do both externally and internally and simply discuss the differences? The distinctions, IMO, should be pretty clear to anyone who is honestly interested in the discussion and not just here to pick apart someone elses choice of words. For instance, simply receiving/resisting a push to the hand. The way someone interested in the internal would do this is significantly different than how someone with normal athletic or strength training would do it, regardless of their level.
Sure, I think some topics of conversation could be:

hip usage
relaxation
using ones own weight
waist usage
the role of breath
the opponents weight/mass

from there i think it would be appropriate then to move on to push tests, or simple waza.

Would anyone like to discuss some of the above?
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:51 AM   #60
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

I think one of the camps on difference between "internal" and "external" might be a camp I can understand.

External= Improving physicality, more physical power

Internal= Improving efficiency, better use of existing physical power

Is this a general idea that people hold as the difference between "internal" and "external" martial arts?

If so, then do people believe that modern athletics does not seek to train more efficient movements? Is it a generally held belief that athletes are people who only seek to become physically stronger, faster, conditioned, agile etc. but do not practice technique? Is it a belief that athletes spend most of their time lifting weights and doing drills only to improve physicality, but there is no "rewiring" done, and they do not seek to improve their movements?

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Old 01-23-2013, 11:52 AM   #61
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Sure, I think some topics of conversation could be:

hip usage
relaxation
using ones own weight
waist usage
the role of breath
the opponents weight/mass

from there i think it would be appropriate then to move on to push tests, or simple waza.

Would anyone like to discuss some of the above?
I'm game, but I think focusing on a simple task that can be done both ways and have the differences in each method described fairly easily would be less prone to going off in the weeds. Probably best to start a new thread though.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:54 AM   #62
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I think one of the camps on difference between "internal" and "external" might be a camp I can understand.

External= Improving physicality, more physical power

Internal= Improving efficiency, better use of existing physical power

Is this a general idea that people hold as the difference between "internal" and "external" martial arts?

If so, then do people believe that modern athletics does not seek to train more efficient movements? Is it a generally held belief that athletes are people who only seek to become physically stronger, faster, conditioned, agile etc. but do not practice technique? Is it a belief that athletes spend most of their time lifting weights and doing drills only to improve physicality, but there is no "rewiring" done, and they do not seek to improve their movements?
Considering all the previous history where people have tried to discuss this with you, this is about as nonsensical a post as you can get.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:02 PM   #63
ChrisHein
 
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Sure, I think some topics of conversation could be:

hip usage
relaxation
using ones own weight
waist usage
the role of breath
the opponents weight/mass

from there i think it would be appropriate then to move on to push tests, or simple waza.

Would anyone like to discuss some of the above?
Hunter, I think good athletics strongly encourage training in all of the above things listed. I don't think working with this is outside of any professional athletes knowledge.

As far as "external" martial arts go, I'm not sure I've studied any, maybe Kendo? When I studied Kendo, I would say most all of those things were discussed. In Subwrestling, BJJ, Aikido, MMA, Muay thai, Wing Chun, and any other art I've studied, I can think of people talking about these things.

As far as I know of "internal" arts I've studied- Those things are all important as well.

I have never studied any physical activity that didn't address the things on the list.

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:03 PM   #64
ChrisHein
 
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Considering all the previous history where people have tried to discuss this with you, this is about as nonsensical a post as you can get.
Well let's not then. I have no idea what you are talking about. If you'd like to reference what you are talking about, put up a link, otherwise just say what you are getting at...

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:43 PM   #65
phitruong
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I think one of the camps on difference between "internal" and "external" might be a camp I can understand.

External= Improving physicality, more physical power

Internal= Improving efficiency, better use of existing physical power

Is this a general idea that people hold as the difference between "internal" and "external" martial arts?

If so, then do people believe that modern athletics does not seek to train more efficient movements? Is it a generally held belief that athletes are people who only seek to become physically stronger, faster, conditioned, agile etc. but do not practice technique? Is it a belief that athletes spend most of their time lifting weights and doing drills only to improve physicality, but there is no "rewiring" done, and they do not seek to improve their movements?
all the questions can be answer with both yes and no. let me give you an example, then you can tell me if whether it falls into improving physicality or improving efficiency. i have a spoon rested on top of the table. i can pick it up with two fingers, my hand+fingers, my forearm + hand + fingers, my whole arm, my upper body+my arm + fingers, my entire body from toes to the fingers. which of those falls under improving physicality and which improve efficiency? and asking the same question from atheletics point of view.

for internal stuffs, the last item is what i am doing. why? because it's interesting to do so. and because it relates to another of those old saying in internal training.

btw, there is no spoon!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:07 PM   #66
HL1978
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I think one of the camps on difference between "internal" and "external" might be a camp I can understand.

External= Improving physicality, more physical power

Internal= Improving efficiency, better use of existing physical power

Is this a general idea that people hold as the difference between "internal" and "external" martial arts?

If so, then do people believe that modern athletics does not seek to train more efficient movements? Is it a generally held belief that athletes are people who only seek to become physically stronger, faster, conditioned, agile etc. but do not practice technique? Is it a belief that athletes spend most of their time lifting weights and doing drills only to improve physicality, but there is no "rewiring" done, and they do not seek to improve their movements?
I think you could characterize it that way if you assume that the there is only one way to efficiently move and neither internal nor external movement is inherently different. The problem I see with that is that what is considered efficent for external movement, is not always considered efficent for internal movement because they move fundamentally differently. That is to say, there can be at least two ways of efficent movement, both of which have their tradeoffs.

I think you have to differentiate technique from principle. Technique generally refers to one specific movement for a particular situation, such as a particular waza. Principle is generally how you power any particular waza. This is why I tend to state that a throw is the same as a kick, as a cut as a punch. It is a different focus in terms of how you practice.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:16 PM   #67
ChrisHein
 
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
all the questions can be answer with both yes and no. let me give you an example, then you can tell me if whether it falls into improving physicality or improving efficiency. i have a spoon rested on top of the table. i can pick it up with two fingers, my hand+fingers, my forearm + hand + fingers, my whole arm, my upper body+my arm + fingers, my entire body from toes to the fingers. which of those falls under improving physicality and which improve efficiency? and asking the same question from atheletics point of view.
It doesn't fall into improving physicality. I would say the better/more of your body you can recruit to do a given task, the more efficient it is, although in this case, efficient might not be the right word. Spoons are light objects, lifting it taxes the system very little.

Quote:
for internal stuffs, the last item is what i am doing. why? because it's interesting to do so. and because it relates to another of those old saying in internal training.

btw, there is no spoon!
I think I understand where you are going:

Internal= better organization and use of the body.

External= making the body bigger, stronger etc.

Is that a fair assessment?

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:30 PM   #68
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
I think you could characterize it that way if you assume that the there is only one way to efficiently move and neither internal nor external movement is inherently different. The problem I see with that is that what is considered efficent for external movement, is not always considered efficent for internal movement because they move fundamentally differently. That is to say, there can be at least two ways of efficent movement, both of which have their tradeoffs.
Ok, we're getting at the heart of it with this post I believe.
So, if there was only one "best" way to move the body, then we could say, Internal is the study of efficient movement, and External is the study of making a more powerful body.
We can agree on this, correct?

But then you are adding the caveat, that some believe there are other ways to move the body. And that there is likely a better way to move the body then professional athletes have found. So one must study efficient movement within this "better" way of moving the body to truly study internal. Am I understanding you correctly?

Quote:
I think you have to differentiate technique from principle. Technique generally refers to one specific movement for a particular situation, such as a particular waza. Principle is generally how you power any particular waza. This is why I tend to state that a throw is the same as a kick, as a cut as a punch. It is a different focus in terms of how you practice.
I think this is a good distinction to make.

Techniques are specific methods used to achieve a specific goal.

Principles are inherent limitations and advantages within the human body.

If you think that is about what you are going for, I agree that this is a good and useful distinction.

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Old 01-23-2013, 02:07 PM   #69
phitruong
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
It doesn't fall into improving physicality. I would say the better/more of your body you can recruit to do a given task, the more efficient it is, although in this case, efficient might not be the right word. Spoons are light objects, lifting it taxes the system very little.
the reason i used the spoon is because it's a light object. for internal folks (i am safe from speak for the internal folks since none of them near me which won't allow them to kill me), we don't differentiate light objects or heavy objects. the old saying "one moves, all move." so to pick up the spoon, i used the fingers which connected to the rest of the body which then also move, i.e. i powered the spoon lifting with my whole body. i bring the ground to the spoon. not only that, i also focus on breathing to aid the lifting, and focus on be able to handle forces applied (imaginary) to me in various directions at the same time as i am lifting the spoon. this allows me to be "on" all the time (except for when i am intimate moments...maybe), so that i don't have a different response for a different thing. terms like efficiency or better or good and so on, just doesn't make much sense here. it's down right a strange way of doing things. heck, most folks just reach out and pick up the spoon without a second thought, regardless they are athletics or not. internal folks are really a bunch of nut jobs.

Quote:
Internal= better organization and use of the body.

External= making the body bigger, stronger etc.

Is that a fair assessment?
see my respond above.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:16 PM   #70
Lee Salzman
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
the reason i used the spoon is because it's a light object. for internal folks (i am safe from speak for the internal folks since none of them near me which won't allow them to kill me), we don't differentiate light objects or heavy objects. the old saying "one moves, all move." so to pick up the spoon, i used the fingers which connected to the rest of the body which then also move, i.e. i powered the spoon lifting with my whole body. i bring the ground to the spoon. not only that, i also focus on breathing to aid the lifting, and focus on be able to handle forces applied (imaginary) to me in various directions at the same time as i am lifting the spoon. this allows me to be "on" all the time (except for when i am intimate moments...maybe), so that i don't have a different response for a different thing. terms like efficiency or better or good and so on, just doesn't make much sense here. it's down right a strange way of doing things. heck, most folks just reach out and pick up the spoon without a second thought, regardless they are athletics or not. internal folks are really a bunch of nut jobs.

see my respond above.
That's the core of it, phi! When one eats with a spoon, they are not worried about being attacked by other spoons from all directions at any time. If one weight lifts a spoon, or throws a spoon, or, I don't even know why people are doing that all to this poor little spoon, but regardless, their focus is uni-directional and fixated on that one action - they have lost awareness and integration of all the other directions of potential and actual spoon defense. We are not at the mercy of any incidental spoon because we are using all possible spoons in all possible directions, real or imagined, all the time. That sounds crazy. Where are my meds?
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:27 PM   #71
Basia Halliop
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
It doesn't fall into improving physicality. I would say the better/more of your body you can recruit to do a given task, the more efficient it is, although in this case, efficient might not be the right word. Spoons are light objects, lifting it taxes the system very little.

I think I understand where you are going:

Internal= better organization and use of the body.

External= making the body bigger, stronger etc.

Is that a fair assessment?
Hmm, something seems wrong to me about this division, because in my experience a lot of athletics, and certainly the majority of aikido that people appear to be calling 'external', is about using the body more efficiently such that less force is needed. E.g., using momentum, gravity, leverage, relative positioning are all often called 'external' in the discussions I've seen, yet the whole point of them is efficiency and efficacy so that the body doesn't have to be bigger or stronger.

So that makes it seem to me that this definition isn't quite on the mark yet.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:32 PM   #72
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
So one must study efficient movement within this "better" way of moving the body to truly study internal. Am I understanding you correctly?
I'm way out of my league here since I don't really understand any of this stuff, but that's not what I'm reading from the others' posts (or from the article Alfonso posted).

I think the term "efficient movement" is confounding because it lacks a proper definition when we are using it -- it depends on how you measure it, doesn't it?

One might consider efficient to be using the least amount of energy (I'm talking physical/caloric energy here) used in order to perform a task. In that sense, simply lifting a finger without using anything else in your body may actually be the most efficient way. After all, it does seem like recruiting your entire body to lift a single spoon is kind of silly and overdoing it, isn't it?

Actually, I just thought of a better example. There was a period of time when I was obsessed with how I walked and thought about why people walk/run the way they naturally do as opposed to the way a TaiChi person might walk, or how a soldier might march... since the way people normally walk involves constantly losing and regaining our balance. And the answer was, well, the way we naturally walk is actually the most efficient way to walk and burns the least amount of energy. But it's certainly not the way an internal guy might tell you to walk.

Again, to fall back to that article -- just a thought: efficiency may not actually be a requirement for internal movement... efficiency in movement may result from high-level training in internal movement, but it's hardly the goal nor is it the defining measure (hey, the cause and effect thing I mentioned earlier again!). Things like whole-body movement and maintaining balance/equilibrium/groundpath at all times may be more important concepts to an internal artist than efficient movement. It might even be that... just like a neophyte in external movement needs to undergo a lot of training to move efficiently in an external fashion, a neophyte in internal movement also needs to move efficiently in an internal fashion. That is, a beginner of internal movement may actually be incredibly inefficient (especially compared to an intermediate external guy) and burning a ton of energy, but as they get better, they become more efficient at internal movement. Drawing from this, you might even have a case for saying that an expert in external movement may be moving equally efficiently as an expert in internal movement... but they're moving efficiently in different ways.

Again, I don't claim for any of this to be remotely true -- just a thought.

Last edited by tanthalas : 01-23-2013 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:46 PM   #73
Alfonso
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

Chris, "internal" vs "external" in martial arts is about martial arts from china; Buddhist vs Daoist , Qing vs Ming. Both types are interested in developing and using Qi as the engine behind it, both have conditioning of the body through breath as important aspects to it, both are related to lineage; both are based on a worldview that is not the one used in scientific descriptions; but an empirical knowledge non the less.

Modern sport training could be using elements found in both, or none, but as a full description it is not about external vs internal anymore.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:49 PM   #74
ChrisHein
 
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
the reason i used the spoon is because it's a light object. for internal folks (i am safe from speak for the internal folks since none of them near me which won't allow them to kill me), we don't differentiate light objects or heavy objects. the old saying "one moves, all move." so to pick up the spoon, i used the fingers which connected to the rest of the body which then also move, i.e. i powered the spoon lifting with my whole body. i bring the ground to the spoon. not only that, i also focus on breathing to aid the lifting, and focus on be able to handle forces applied (imaginary) to me in various directions at the same time as i am lifting the spoon. this allows me to be "on" all the time (except for when i am intimate moments...maybe), so that i don't have a different response for a different thing. terms like efficiency or better or good and so on, just doesn't make much sense here. it's down right a strange way of doing things. heck, most folks just reach out and pick up the spoon without a second thought, regardless they are athletics or not. internal folks are really a bunch of nut jobs.
This is a tough one for me to wrap my head around, so if I go off in a weird direction please tell me.

The more of your body you recruit to do a specific task, the more it taxes the system. So for example, If I lift a spoon off the table with only the muscles of my hand, I am taxing very little of my body. If I use my forearm muscles in addition to my hand muscles I tax more of my body. The more of my body I use, the more taxing it is. Larger muscle groups require more energy from the body.

This is why I said it's not efficient to use the whole body to move a light object. I think we kind of might agree on that, but there is a sticking point here somewhere.

I personally believe that only muscles move the physical body. I know that sounds like a really obvious thing to say, but I want to make sure we're all on the same page. So, if you want to move the body, you'll have to use muscle. The more muscle you use to move the body, the more you will tax the system. The less muscle you use to move the body the less you tax the system.

Now there is a type of training, where we learn to only fire the useful muscles, in only the correct firing order to do the job we need them to do. This kind of training requires all non essential muscles to relax, and all essential muscles to fire in their most efficient order. This gives us maximum muscle recruitment, for only the duration needed, and keeps all muscles that don't need to work in a relaxed state. This type of training makes the smallest tax on the body possible, to achieve the best results possible.

I would call a kind of training like this very efficient, and so with the definitions I was asking about, I would then call this kind of training "internal".

What I get from your post is one of these things:

You believe taxing the whole system, no matter the requirement of force, is a good idea?

Or are you saying that more muscular recruitment doesn't tax the body more?

Or, are you saying that there are ways to move the body that doesn't require muscle?

I'm sure these are all at least kind of wrong, but I'm asking for clarification.

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Old 01-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #75
Lee Salzman
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Re: "Internal" and "External"

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Calvin On wrote: View Post
I'm way out of my league here since I don't really understand any of this stuff, but that's not what I'm reading from the others' posts (or from the article Alfonso posted).

I think the term "efficient movement" is confounding because it lacks a proper definition when we are using it -- it depends on how you measure it, doesn't it?

One might consider efficient to be using the least amount of energy (I'm talking physical/caloric energy here) used in order to perform a task. In that sense, simply lifting a finger without using anything else in your body may actually be the most efficient way. After all, it does seem like recruiting your entire body to lift a single spoon is kind of silly and overdoing it, isn't it?

Actually, I just thought of a better example. There was a period of time when I was obsessed with how I walked and thought about why people walk/run the way they naturally do as opposed to the way a TaiChi person might walk, or how a soldier might march... since the way people normally walk involves constantly losing and regaining our balance. And the answer was, well, the way we naturally walk is actually the most efficient way to walk and burns the least amount of energy. But it's certainly not the way an internal guy might tell you to walk.

Again, to fall back to that article -- just a thought: efficiency may not actually be a requirement for internal movement... efficiency in movement may result from high-level training in internal movement, but it's hardly the goal nor is it the defining measure (hey, the cause and effect thing I mentioned earlier again!). Things like whole-body movement and maintaining balance/equilibrium/groundpath at all times may be more important concepts to an internal artist than efficient movement. It might even be that... just like a neophyte in external movement needs to undergo a lot of training to move efficiently in an external fashion, a neophyte in internal movement also needs to move efficiently in an internal fashion. That is, a beginner of internal movement may actually be incredibly inefficient (especially compared to an intermediate external guy) and burning a ton of energy, but as they get better, they become more efficient at internal movement. Drawing from this, you might even have a case for saying that an expert in external movement may be moving equally efficiently as an expert in internal movement... but they're moving efficiently in different ways.

Again, I don't claim for any of this to be remotely true -- just a thought.
Efficiency is not even the half of it! The onion has layers.

At a lower layer of refinement, you have structure and linear "jin" - learning to efficiently coordinate the body to lift things, as one unified action, so that at least you are efficiently conveying force end to end (where one end could say be the ground and another your hand holding the spoon) - to borrow terminology, you could call this a jin pathway or ground path, IIRC, in Mike's lingo. If you stop there, well, you're missing out on just about, well, everything. It just gets only more interesting from there.

Higher up in the onion, there are no more paths, your body is expressing all paths at all times, all meeting somewhere... guess where? And, in a sense, stuff no longer even travels through, it just rides on the surface. Nothing gets into you any more, no attacker nor spoon.

Then even higher up, you realize you can make all kinds of interesting things happen by manipulating the activity of stuff going on along the surface and all the crazy stuff that happens when conscious beings come in contact with it.

And hell, these are just the layers on the onion that I and others are learning about. There are probably lots of coolers layers we are just too dumb to comprehend at the moment.

I think in the end it is more about cool martial applications, particularly for aikido, than it is about efficiency. You become incidentally more efficient, but I was more efficient just by working linear jin. If all I wanted was efficiency, why would I be chasing aiki, when I could just perfect linear jin to get that? We are trying to become martial artists, I hope, and it is fair to say that the demands of martial art, compared to many other sports are just a bit different, like tennis is different than football is different than cycling. You can't quite lump all the training in with each other and say even they're all chasing after their own sorts of efficiency. Qualitative, they're all quite different, and, aside from some broad areas of overlap, there are vast areas of non-overlap and context-specific skills.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 01-23-2013 at 02:57 PM.
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