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Old 09-17-2014, 01:39 PM   #1
HL1978
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Internal Strength Definitions

There have been some recent questions about various internal strength terms and what it feels like to use each of these or how to create them. The below is a number of short "accessible" definitions for various terms. Feel free to debate, expand or contrdict them. This is not meant as a definitive guide.

Terms not exclusive to internal strength:

Structure: Primarly utilizing good posture to take various loads. It tends to be strong in certain aligmentments and weak in others. Not a requirement for internal strength, but helps.
Feeling: Feels solid in a particlar direction and can take a lot of energy until it collapses when the shape can no longer be maintained. Feels weak in some directions.

Opening: Generally moving from a concave to convex shape (inwards to outwards). Various joints can open. For example, the hips can move outwards away from the groin along the x,y, and z axis.
Feeling: The person doing this will feel "stretched" in the area that has opened. A partner will feel the whole body expanding rather than just one local area pushing back.

Closing: Generally moving from a convex to concave shape. The joints close. For example, the hips can move "inwards" so that the thigh moves towards the groin along the x, y, and z axis.
Feeling: The person doing this will feel pulled downwards/inwards in the area that is closing. A partner will feel the whole body contracting/pulling inwards rather than a limb pulling inwards.

What can make opening and closing "internal" is what initates and powers the opening and closing and what conveys it. Opening and closing as a concept is found in most martial arts but not always referred to as that.

using hips/koshi: initiating movement from the hips rather than from the waist. This is mostly done with the inner thigh/psoas/glutes. Moving from the hips rather than the waist means you move from a lower point in the body and has a stabilizing effect. All martial arts appear to use the hips.

Internal strength terms

Commonality to all terms: The partner will not feel the point of contact pushing back against them. They may feel no resitancce/pushback at all.

Grounding: At the most basic level, allowing an incoming force to pass through the body so that it reaches the ground and reflects back to push back at the point of contact. You don't push against the incoming force in any way; relaxation allows those forces to be conveyed.
Feeling: At the most basic level. the person using grounding will feel pressure in the feet build and a general feeling of compression. The partner will not feel the person pushing back at the point of contact and may find themselves being pushed away. The partner will feel this outgoing force in the same direction as they were pushing.

Pushing into the ground: See grounding. Again you do not push against the incoming force. Various areas of the body may be used to push in the same direction as the incoming force which increases the "reflected" amount of force. Alernatively you can push in other directions which causes one to "get under".
Feeling: Similiar to grounding but more dramatic. The partner may feel sucked in.

Getting under: A force is generated which comes from underneath the person creating the force, this force is not along the same direction as they are being pushed, This tends of not allow a parter to use all their weight and redirects the incoming force. Various methods are possible to do this.
Feeling: The person doing this will not feel the incoming force so much but rather an upwards force. The partner will feel more off balanced the harder they push and won't feel any resistance to their push.

Ki of earth: Gravity, bodyweight. Try not to fight gravity but add to it. Relaxation increases this, tension decreases it. Closing can intesify this.
Feeling: feeling of solidity or getting sucked in.

Ki of heaven: power from breath or breath conditioned portions of the body. Sudden explosive power can use this which goes against the force of gravity via an opening motion, or it can be used to add to downwards power.
Feeling: various.

Opening and closing using ki of heaven/earth or both intensitifies the sensation.

Store and release: related to breath. Energy is stored via breath or stretches and rapidly released to generate explosive power akin to a bow string. It is not merely pushing really fast or quickly.
Feeling: Various.

--------------

Now how about someone else takes a stab at defining:

6 directions, intent, kokyu, tanden, aiki.
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Old 09-19-2014, 05:15 PM   #2
Gerardo Torres
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
using hips/koshi: initiating movement from the hips rather than from the waist. This is mostly done with the inner thigh/psoas/glutes. Moving from the hips rather than the waist means you move from a lower point in the body and has a stabilizing effect. All martial arts appear to use the hips.
As a practitioner classical Japanese weapons I would say it's quite the opposite: you move from waist, not hips. From a structural standpoint, initiating movement from the hips causes a lateral loss of power and an immediately noticeable loss of connection in the extremities. Technique-wise, it also not a good idea to move from the hips. Moving knees laterally and turning the head have similar undesirable effects.

Last edited by Gerardo Torres : 09-19-2014 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:12 PM   #3
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Geraldo,
In internal arts, it's largely the winding tension from the feet, legs and hip joints that move the waist. It is more powerful and connected than using the torso muscles to turn the waist.
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:08 AM   #4
Rennis Buchner
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
As a practitioner classical Japanese weapons I would say it's quite the opposite: you move from waist, not hips. From a structural standpoint, initiating movement from the hips causes a lateral loss of power and an immediately noticeable loss of connection in the extremities. Technique-wise, it also not a good idea to move from the hips. Moving knees laterally and turning the head have similar undesirable effects.
I do not know what classic art you practice, but I think you'll find that different ryu approach things in different ways. The ryu I am a member of generates much of its power through the use of the hips and in particular the opening, closing and general manipulation of them. I can think of a number of ryu that work in seemingly similar ways, while there are other ryu that tend to prefer a more square forward approach where there is little movement that seemingly doesn't make much of that area of the body in general. As is usual with koryu your mileage will vary, but I tend to agree with the OP as a general observation.

For what it is worth,
Rennis Buchner
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:00 AM   #5
phitruong
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

don't know if this is definition or just plain info/discussion.

balance of opposite, in-yo/yin-yang, where the balance of opposite exists in every movement. open the front/close the back. open the back/close the front. this sort of things can be seen with the store and release. open the left/close the right, open right/close left, allows one to rotate (winding/unwinding), but not shifting your body center left and right, you can see this in certain type of suburi. the balance of opposite also turns your body structure into a pre-stressed structure that can deal with alot more load. the balance of opposite also allows the transition in movements without losing power and/or structure; maximum of open flows into close; max of close, open; max of yin, yang; max of yang, yin; and so on.

hmmm did i just give away the goose with the high-cholesterol eggs?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:31 PM   #6
Cliff Judge
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Really interesting post, Hunter, thanks for taking the time.

Further input from the koryu weapons camp: it's both a floor polish and a dessert topping. In the system I study, there is a central kata that involves hip-driven movement in the standard form, then later you practice a more advanced form where it is all about the waist.

There is a big difference in the way the ma'ai between you and your opponent is affected when rotating the hips versus the waist, and this is a big deal when you've got weapons in your hands and you want to touch the other guy without letting him touch you.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:17 AM   #7
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Cliff,
Besides the great, yet obscure, reference to the classic '70s SNL skit...
I'm wondering about how the waist is driven in the art you practice. That is, where is the power coming from that drives the waist?
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:29 AM   #8
Cliff Judge
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Cliff,
Besides the great, yet obscure, reference to the classic '70s SNL skit...
I'm wondering about how the waist is driven in the art you practice. That is, where is the power coming from that drives the waist?
In the kata set I was practicing this weekend, shidachi turns at the waist. The power comes from the ground, thought the back heel, up through the hips, which remain stable. The sword crosses your center line.

This is to defeat an attack that uchidachi initiates, which is hip-driven. uchi approaches with square hips, and the cut is made by bringing the right hip forward and opening. Once the hips have opened, the cut is powered by the heel of the left foot. But per the kata, shidachi has struck before the rear heel has engaged to power the cut through.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:33 AM   #9
HL1978
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

I'm not quite sure what is meant by moving from the waist. I see no problem with bending the spine to create a store and release. Generally speaking you want to stack your weight onto your hips and its pretty good body mechanics to move the waist and hips as a single unit.

That being said its better to bend over from the hip to pick something up rather than the spine. You don't really load the lower back that way.

I can't speak for the koryu world, so I would be curious to hear an explanation for it. I know that some people twist the waist independently from the hips instead of opening up one hip and closing the other and keeping the hips and waist as a single unit (I show my iaido students this way rather than twisting from the waist when making cross body cuts). This opening and closing of the hips twists the entire torso as a single unit rather than the upper torso moving seperately from the lower.

Last edited by HL1978 : 09-22-2014 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:35 AM   #10
Howard Popkin
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

I don't move the waist and hips as a single unit. My hips hang neutral, my waist turns. Why ?

Connect them and I am locked to the floor through my heels. Keep the hips neutral and I can rotate the waist to generate torque/force/movement/direction while maintaining stability.

Hope that helps.

Howard

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Old 09-23-2014, 07:05 AM   #11
Timothy WK
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

I still think there's some miscommunication happening.

IME, in C(I)MA, "hips" = inguinal crease.
In Japanese arts, "hips" = pelvis.

There are times when one will open or close the inguinal crease without rotating or turning the pelvis.

--Timothy Kleinert

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Old 09-23-2014, 07:30 AM   #12
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I still think there's some miscommunication happening.

IME, in C(I)MA, "hips" = inguinal crease.
In Japanese arts, "hips" = pelvis.

There are times when one will open or close the inguinal crease without rotating or turning the pelvis.
Timothy,
IME, the "hips" in CIMA are not the inguinal creases themselves, but the actual femoral ("hip") joint. The crease is just what one sees folding and unfolding, opening and closing as a result of dynamic tensions employed in the muscle and connective tissues around the hip joint.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 09-23-2014 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:54 AM   #13
Timothy WK
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
IME, the "hips" in CIMA are not the inguinal creases themselves, but the actual femoral ("hip") joint. The crease is just what one sees folding and unfolding, opening and closing as a result of dynamic tensions employed in the muscle and connective tissues around the hip joint.
Yes you're right, thank you for the more accurate description. Maybe I should have said that, but personally I'm just more used to referring to the inguinal crease than the femor heads. The main thing I was trying to get at was the idea that opening/closing the "hips" means activating the joint itself rather than moving the pelvis, per se.

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Old 09-23-2014, 09:41 AM   #14
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
(snip)The main thing I was trying to get at was the idea that opening/closing the "hips" means activating the joint itself rather than moving the pelvis, per se.
Agreed. That action can move the entire torso with the pelvis. It can also be used to move the torso above the pelvis, while intentionally holding the pelvis still/in-place. In either case, the upper body and lower body are connected.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:12 PM   #15
Howard Popkin
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

femoral joints, yes...
giant boney pieces that usually hold up pants, that are next to my ever increasing love handles....
no..

creases, yep....just not the waist and the giant boney peices together.

better?

Howard Popkin
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:12 AM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

From an anatomical/medical point of view the traditional Chinese view is correct: hip = femoral/inguinal.
A person who falls and "breaks a hip"generally has fractured the upper part of the femur.

The common aikido use of "hips" really only corresponds to clothing measurement definition of hips as the wide area 5-8" below your waist; break that and you have fractured your pelvis.

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Old 09-26-2014, 08:53 AM   #17
Cliff Judge
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Next thing you know, Hunter, you are going to find out that your certified organic peas and carrots were actually raised next to a farm that uses Roundoff.
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:00 AM   #18
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

The kua most certainly is a transmitter and transferring process that moves with and responds to energy activated by dynamic tensions pf complementary (opposing) forces that come to the kuas via ground contact, It is not in itself the sole activator or mover.

Kua is part of the equation, not the "key" or sole equation in and of itself. That anyone would take this discussion that way shows a failure to consider context. We were talking about the kua, and not the other actions and processes, and that is where my description began and ended, as an aside to my original point about what constitutes that kua -- which is the femoral joint, also secondarily inclusive of the inguinal crease or fold which is more of a physical-visual cue.

So much water under the bridge. I have been working and experimenting with kua for 16 years now, and my comments come from personal experience, the results of which I can demonstrate with power.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 09-26-2014 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 09-26-2014, 05:16 PM   #19
HL1978
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Next thing you know, Hunter, you are going to find out that your certified organic peas and carrots were actually raised next to a farm that uses Roundoff.
Well, I don't recall ever saying that usage of the hips was internal nor that opening and closing was internal. I think Dan's comments seem to agree with my points about that. I pretty explicitily say that what initiates and conveys the movement is what is internal, but left out how to actually do that.

The fact that people are so interested in the hips is kind of telling (ignoring the internal parts), but I guess it is a point of commonality.

All I did was give some very basic internal definitions that people from various traditions should be able to talk about (there are varying levels of internal "purity"). This wasn't meant as a how to (I don't mind moving in that direction though), nor was any tanden driven movement mentioned. I think what differed a bit from prior discussions is that I provided some short info of what it feels like within yourself or what it feels like to a partner.

I can address the specific points raised in a bit.

Last edited by HL1978 : 09-26-2014 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:33 PM   #20
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

"Open and close" most definitely can refer to an internal mechanism depending on who is using the terms.
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:51 PM   #21
HL1978
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
"Open and close" most definitely can refer to an internal mechanism depending on who is using the terms.
I would agree, but I really want to emphasize that simply opening and closing does not inherently make something internal. Using the middle to make the open or close happen would make it internal.

We don't want people clinging on to buzzwords and setting themselves up as grand poohbahs.

The open and closing action for internal movement looks different than external. For example if i turn/twist/roll (however you want to explain it) the daniten towards one hip it causes that hip to close and the opposite side hip to open. If I merely use one hip to open, it doesn't force the opposite side to open (in fact it can be pulled along and the knee/ankle rotates rather than the hip opening). You would have to tell that opposite hip to open to try and copy the opening and closing motion. Thus the movement looks different.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:07 PM   #22
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Terminology that allows an art or method to have a common ground of language for its students, is not "buzzwords." Rather, it is a uniform vocabulary that allows concepts to be taught and discussed with less confusion by people who are undergoing the same type of training. It is very useful within that context.

However, that terminology becomes "buzzwords" when a person attempts to use it to explain or describe concepts to others outside of that system.That is one reason why so many discussions here on "internal" topics tend to be confusing and not fruitful.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 09-26-2014 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:42 PM   #23
HL1978
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
I had this discussion pointed out to me. There is so many things I disagree with in the O.P. about his definitions of internal movement.
I'm assuming these comments are merely just self-promotion. I'm not a paid teacher on the seminar circuit, just someone trying to figure this stuff out. I certainly don't mind giving some more detailed information, but when it shows up at various people's seminars, I would prefer the information provided being attributed to me (Hunter Lonsberry) rather than the seminar giver.

Quote:
He is for the most part only discussing the external movement harmonies and calling it internal because...well...because..no one knows how to call him on it and it is what his teacher said. I don't want to feed the machine. Sadly the the most valuable, the most important part that is internal, isn't even there for discussion.
It is abundantly clear that I provided some very basic definitions, not a how too.

The above comments are somewhat confusing given that the poster recently said how he wants to be friendly and open with all sorts of people, so I don't really care to speculate on his motives for being an instigator. Nor, do I have any real reason to go defend the honor of my grandmaster/guru ala some kung fu wish fulfillment fantasy. I will clarify that these are my own words and not someone elses; its probably worth to note that Ark has said this stuff is kind of too low level and that presumably everyone should know it already.

Further, I'm not sure if this statement is just someone trying to fish for information or not, but it would be more helpful to provide his own introductory definitions to words commonly seen on the subject.

I left out using the middle/center/tanden/dantien for a pretty good reason: I believe you need to understand the quick definitions I provided before you can move on to that topic (or more complicated topics like winding/spirals/whatever) because they are much easier to comprehend and establish a common language. I did pretty clearly state that what can change an external movement to an internal one is what initiates it and what conveys it. I never stated that is the only way to create internal movement

I think this post might be a bit helpful while remaining at a 10,000 ft discussion level.

This the most basic of the basic information here, not the magic key to "Real Ultimate Power!(tm)" in 5 ez steps. I was intentionally vague as to how to create these various internal things because the topic is rife with confusion. :P

Quote:
Hips
As far as external movement goes...
I find it fascinating that everyone said the hip was one thing, and then when Cady brought in information which is different from what everyone was talking about, how quickly people changed and said... "Oh when I was describing the hips moving (wrongly) what I really meant was the opposite of what I said!!!!!!!!! So yes, it is your way that we are talking about.
WHAT???
I don't think anything Cady said contradicts anything I said and appears to agree with it. Cady has also twice stated that you can use something else to open and close the hips and convey forces if you want to do internal movement. My position as stated in post #1 is the same.

Quote:
What I find the most interesting is (except for one private printed source )...nowhere, no one in print that I have ever seen (including Cady's new teacher) has ever, not even once, not anywhere…EVER, mentioned the teaching on kua that Cady just quoted. So… where did THAT information come from if it never appeared in public print?
And when did Kua become internal?????
FWIW, Kua is not the key.
Rotation is not the key.
It is how to move it that is key.
Rotation means nothing and can be challenged and proved to be dead...on the spot.
So..HOW is it internal?
No one has said the kua is the key or that its internal. Its just something readily accessible. Funny thing is how many people say to use the hips, but never really what that entails.

In the grand scheme of things, hip usage is really pre-school level in martial arts. Like I said earlier, the focus on the hips as a point of discussion is kind of telling.

Quote:
This sort of brings me back to the old cross body movement arguments with certain internal coaches going on about three axis movement and all I ever talked about was dual opposing spirals, and cross body movement. Then both coaches appeared in video, with one swinging the hips in lateral loss (while claiming cross body movement that never appeared before) and the other moving with his knees swinging out of line and pulling his feet off-line in lateral loss. Both are mechanically indefensible.
In fact, if your goal is stability and soft power, then the common way of moving from the hips in the majority of the Japanese arts is comparatively and mechanically indefensible to the other way of moving. Many have tried and failed. It is routinely demonstrated on the spot, around the world, in open rooms….to the failing of all who tried a comparison. Why? Because it is both a lateral loss and a net force that can be redirected and handled. That is why the other way of moving is in the higher level body arts.
Dan
I have no horse in those previous arguments, but this appears to be more self promotion and some apparent misunderstanding of the subject matter presented in that video.

I would agree that if you use the hips in the manner taught by most external stylists you probably won't develop any understanding of internal strength.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:44 PM   #24
HL1978
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Re: Internal Strength Definitions

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Terminology that allows an art or method to have a common ground of language for its students, is not "buzzwords." Rather, it is a uniform vocabulary that allows concepts to be taught and discussed with less confusion by people who are undergoing the same type of training. It is very useful within that context.

However, that terminology becomes "buzzwords" when a person attempts to use it to explain or describe concepts to others outside of that system.That is one reason why so many discussions here on "internal" topics tend to be confusing and not fruitful.
I would agree, that was the intent of my original post.
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