Internal vs External, Part II

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jan 21, 1999 1:07 am

Lori San:

Please let me know if I can assist in any way.

Do you still practice Uechi?

Is your form the 24 movement short form?

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby Lori » Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:24 am


I haven't heard the form described as "24 movement" but the instructor does call it "short form" - I recognize the movements you described in the other thread. I will ask at tomorrow's class. Meanwhile I'm interested in any effects your study on the form has had on your practice of Uechi-ryu. I have noticed subtle differences in how I balance my stance when executing strikes amont other things. (Yes I still practice Uechi - my primary style and will remain so if I can help it!)

This may be something we can take to another thread - since this one has gotten so cluttered. Perhaps other Uechi-ka with exposure to Tai Chi can add comments as well.

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby Jason Bernard » Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:42 am

Mr. Aksteter,

You think "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" is a threat. Rather than question your judgement about this, allow me simply to apologize to you for being seemingly threatening.

Sadly for myself I recognize my younger self in you. I used to run around making all sorts of great and profound statements and defending them with "I could answer them but I won't" or "You just wouldn't understand" or my old personal favorite "You would understand Kyokushin only if you did it". Of course, I grew up... I realized that all I was passing around was my ego and a big old pile of ********. It sounds real familiar. All the same lines. All the same *******.

Fortunately for me I have read and understood my De Becker. This is my final reply to you Mr. Aksteter. I sincerely hope that I never have any contact with you again.

In an earlier letter you said "If you want to sit on this self-congratulatory "vintage wine" list go ahead. But don't complain about your real martial artists getting offended by your rudeness."

Please feel free to not answer this question, because I don't want an answer. If you are remotely the martial artist you claim to be you will be able to answer it without a post "Why are you still here on this self-congratulatory, rude list"?

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby David Elkins » Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:46 am

Folks really interested in the internal/external issue should visit Tim Cartmell's web site located at Tim is a very well respected scholar and Sifu with at least one link to the Uechi community in Joe Bellone and he has some interesting things to say about the so-called distinction - basically that it's artificial.

[This message has been edited by David Elkins (edited 01-20-99).]
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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:51 am

Lori San:

I would be happy to help if I can, limitations of the WEB notwithstanding. As you know there are many T.C. forms., many interpretations, all seem to have validity.

YMAA's longform is, for example, similar in all priciples to that of Master Wei Leung Han whose "version" I study.

The 24 movement form is based on the "Yang" system and was adopted by the Chinese Atheltic Association in the 50's. It was intended to give the "feel" of the Yang Family form.

Many instructors and tapes use the "first section" of the Yang Long form as a "short form" or primer.

Mantak Chia also has a "Chi Kung" form which he and others use as a short form. They're all pretty good. There are no doubt many others I don't know of as my knowledge is limited.

The form is very helpful in Uechi Karate. But I don't make a point of telling anyone, or my Sensei that, except through forums and such.

There are confusions to be had. I guess I just try to do "our" forms the way Sensei wishes them done and the T.C. form the way Sifu wishes it done.

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby Jason Bernard » Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:57 am


Welcome to the forums. I read your post on Decorum. And I have a couple of questions.

You say that you think "push hands would be of use to an Uechi practicioner" (this may not be an exact quote). What do you see the benefits being? For example, I find the practice of kobudo to be great not because I would defend myself with kama or sai but rather it gives me a new perspective on empty hand motion. Do you see this as being the primary benefit or something more "practical"?

I liked your input on the difference between internal & external arts. This is very similar to what I was trying to express in a similar post but was not as well phrased as yours.

Last question, what do you think about chi (qi, ji, etc)? As Tai Chist how would you define chi?

Again, welcome to the forums. I hope you enjoy your stay here.

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JohnC » Thu Jan 21, 1999 4:06 am

This is a test post.

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JohnC » Thu Jan 21, 1999 4:40 am

Internal approaches tend to focus on rootedness, sinking of the dan tien or hara, control and flexing of the dan tien in concert with the hips and back, along with more efficient alignment of the various body systems to deliver or receive energy in various forms and manifestations. These can be very difficult to explain, teach, learn and master over a shorter period of time.

External approaches focus more on linear strategies, muscle power and conditioning and usually require more delivery space and distance and tend to be a little easier to teach and learn.

It appears that many styles, such as Uechi and Goju have attempted to train both equally in order to have a self defense system that is somewhat effective in a shorter period of time(more external), but that builds and grows into the far more elegant and explosive internal mode more as time goes on(more internal).

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby Bill Aksteter » Thu Jan 21, 1999 5:09 am

I emailed Sigman yesterday morning and suggested that he catch up on your thread. He's in the middle of something businesswise but I think he's in touch with your Glasheen. I'll make a couple of comments and then I'll get out, although I admit that it is pretty interesting to read how people on this list post. Surreal.

First of all Sigman explained the difficulty that all of us have run into in trying to explain this stuff. Its not that it can't be written down its just that the words sound like something normally encountered and that's what creates the problems.

The main problem you got on this list is that your tolerant of rude behavior by your own members yet you set different standards for other people. Your own insults are just good humor and rough joking that you think everyone should tolerate. Other peoples replies in kind are insults too strong to be tolerated. I don't know anybody skilled that will tolerate that sort of BS. What you seem to expect is that everyone bow down and do your bidding. Go out on some of the public lists like Sigman suggests and see how long that stuff is tolerated.

If you want to ask Sigman a specific question you might try it in private email. The way I see it is that you don't have any idea what he's talking about so you don't have much of a common dialogue and you assume it's his misperception. ;>)

I'll give it a couple of shots but I'm not an expert so you'll have to take it to Sigman or one of the big dogs on neijia to get clearer explanations.
Some of the questions:

**Before we were so rudely interrupted I was asking what differentiates an internal
system from an external system.**

External is considered to use 'normal' strength. Internal manipulates structural alignments so that the final force is in your fist or shoulder or elbow or leg but it would take a force diagram to show you what goes on in the internal arts. If I remember right, Sigman invited people to go look. I did once and I went to one of his workshops. Before that all my ideas of what he was talking about were way off. Now what he says makes sense and what is written the classical Hsing-I , PaKua, etc. texts makes sense too. I thought I knew it before but I didn't.

**Your point regarding mind-set is well-taken. I refer you back to Van Cann's forum for
discussion of this topic.**

The movement of the force endpoints is done with the mind and sometimes very small adjustments. I wouldn't have believed it and it wouldn't have made sense until I saw it and could do it. It doesn't break the laws of physics. It's just unusual and something most people have never seen before. Remember in the early days of karate it was something pretty unusual and 'magick' to see someone break a brick?

**The connection betweeen min-dbody sounds intriguing but my problem is that this
verbiage is still vague and doesn't help me to understand just what the difference is
between Internal and External arts.**

It's not what people are guessin on this list. It's what I said above but a lot more sophisticated and extensive.

**To Mr. Askteter:

I am a Finance manager. In the business world we seek to eliminate what is generally
referred to as "non- value added activities". These are activities which add to the
cost of producing and distributing a product or a service but which don't add any
value to the form, function, fit or purpose of the product or service being sold. An
example would be movement of raw materials from one site to another site, if in fact,
the raw material should have been stored at the point at which it is consumed. The
movement would add additional cost to the production of the item but no real value.

i would argue that your post was a non-valued added item. Instead of addressing any
of the substantive issues in this thread you chose to spit invective and ridicule. Is
that how you treat other martial artists in person? If so, then you may have learned
technique in your 23 years but you certainly have not internalized the martial
principles which we all aspire to.**

Why? Your basically saying that my post was an ##### post and your saying it with some vague idea that its constructive to point it out. My post was the same way, bud. And again your complaining about 'outsiders' invective and ridicule disregarding your own. And then you moralise. Go back and read some of the posts from this group. As for how I treat other martial artists in person it's a good question. Ask around.

And notice how I spell my name too.

**I had another conversation with my erudite and articulate martial arts comprade and
he remnded me that acceleration is a derivative of velocity, time and distance. The
formula is as follows:

Where d is distance, v is velocity, a is acceleration, t is time.

For constant acceleration
d = d0 + vt + .5at^2
v = v0 + at
v^2 = 2ad

Ok, I'll admit that my calculus days are long behind me so the most I can get out of
this equation is that an increase in velocity, a shortening of distance or a shortening
of time will increase the generation of power.

The time I am referring to is the amount of time a fist or foot is in contact with a
target. It appears to me that increasing velocity over a short distance with
momentary contact with the target will generate a whole lot of force.

Am I right about this?**

That's Impulse. Your right. There's more to power than a mass being accelerated. Your pointing to one important factor. There are a couple of other factors. FORCEtotal = F1 + F2……+Fn so your questions are not just something to gets a simple answer. What you put into your dominant factors in the equation is what the internal-external equation is about. This is the sort of thing that's been hashed out on neijia a number of times but you still have to see the basics before you get a start.

Now let us turn our attention to deflection of energy. From your post I gathered that
there are four ways to neutrlaize an opponent's power.

** 1: Avoid
2: Deflect
3. Misdirect
3: Block it "dead in its tracks"

Does this sound right?

If so, then I would argue that any and all systems have devloped a certain emphasis
on some of these options to neutralize power. So what distinguishes an internal
system's emphasis from an external system's emphasis?**

All of that's just technique and strategy within a particular martial art. The basic power of Hsing-I is the same as the basic power of Tai Chi but the techniques and strategies are different. In other words that part of the discussion has nothing to do with internal and external.

**To Lori:

Rest asssured that your honour yet remains unsullied by these deprecations and

Heh. She took the first shot right? And you guys never said a word then. She's supposed to be a martial artist right? What is this crap about her "honour yet remains unsullied". That's an insult if shes really a martial artist. Is she big enough to handle herself or what? My girlfriend would clock you if you patronized her that way.


** Hi Mike - I think Rick and I were attempting to address your question. The mind set is
an important component of "internal" arts. As mind set is an important component of
"external" styles also, I would invite you to entertain the possibility that the distinction
is artificial. Henning makes a damn good case for that possibility using copious
historical reference material.**

I had to ask around who Henning was. Terry Chan has a historic aricle on his webpage by Henning. Other than providing historic stuff, who is Henning? Do you know if someone is good before you quote him? Do you know what his rep is in the Chinese martial arts community? Same with Kumar Frantzis. Frantzis may know some stuff but how much is unsure and he lies like a rug about his background so whose to know? Take information with a grain of salt before you parrot it out to your pals as expert advice.

In terms of 'mind' your totally missing the point. Get Sigman to show you. Its really interesting.

**Ultimately the synthesis of mind ("yi"), muscular power ("li") and intrinsic energy ("qi")
must be present for any martial artist or champion athlete. I think of qi as the
neurological raw material from which conditioned response patterns are forged in the
furnace of repetitive focused training. **

Do you understand that? Sigman or one of the other big dogs on neijia can show you what it means pretty quick. And your thinking about qi is completely wrong. In the way your using it, its meant to apply to the manipulated force endpoints I was talking about.

**I've heard it said that to know the house of Chen one must quake. This refers to the
uncontrolled shaking of the extremities as one stands in low postures for long periods
of time in an "internal" style. **

Jesus. Quake means more like shake. The Chen-style (what Sigman and some of the others do) uses enormous "shaking power" which is commonly called fajing. See how distortions creep in? ;>)

**In a traditional Hung Gar school guess what the first
order of business is for the first year or got it - stand in low ma bu (horse
stance.) You tell me, what's internal and what's external? **

You tell me. Whats so interesting is how many people from the outside go by what they know and insist they're the same as something they don't know much about. Incredibubble. ;>)

** I think (from what I've seen - not the last word in anything) that if you took an
advanced practitioner of one of the Taoist internal traditions, a Wing Chun fighter, a
Uechika, a practitioner of Silat, etc, etc. and placed them in real combative situations
not sport application, no visible denotation of their style - you would have a hard time
telling who trained what.**

I think your wrong **IF** the people really knew those arts the way they were supposed to be. A good example is how many American karate, kempo, shaolin, etc., fighters all look exactly the same in the way they fight when they get into a ring. If they don't look different it's a good discussion whether they are really doing and training anything other than typical punch-kick, eh?

I gotta run. You guys want a level conversation from someone who really knows this stuff, try and get it from Sigman. Ridicule him and you get nothing you want. Maybe something you don't want. But everybody makes their own choices.

Bill Aksteter

Internal vs External, Part II

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jan 21, 1999 6:02 am

First Mr. Aksteter introduces himself by blundering into this forum with affront and invectives of his own , then finding himself between Scylla and Charybdis , resorts to the drawing of a red herring across the track of the alleged thrashing of Mr. Sigman by myself and others to justify his ongoing shrill insolence .

For some of you readers who missed the previous exchanges with Mr. Sigman , the situation resolved rather well with Mike withdrawing gracefully and even apologizing to Bill Glasheen at the start of Mr. Aksteter 's postings ! As Mr. Glasheen pointed out , Mr. Sigman can fend for himself !

Unfortunately , Mr. Aksteter is now resorting to outright threats ! But as bragging is a standard symptom of insecurity , threatening is a universal display of weakness !

Well I would like to extend him a warm invitation to our summer camp this July , where perhaps he could entertain us with a pyrotechnic manifestation of his' internal powers' !

Oh yeah ,and by all means , let's not forget the " Sicilian crap" and the cyber toilet ! My surprise lies with my friend Bill Glasheen for having allowed things to get this far without pulling the plug !

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jan 21, 1999 1:06 pm

Jason San:

Regarding the use and practice of push hands.
As I indicated, I am not an expert, so my comments are based on the experience I do have, which averages working on one form of it or another about once a week.

Free style push hands is T.C.'s free sparring for "players". (I suppose their is a lesson in the fact that T.C. players call themselves that.)

Free Style is a lot like what we used to call "Indian Wrestling". In the 'push hands' tournaments they wear full gear, but I have not attended one in person. In any event, one stands in a "T" type stance opposite that of your partner (sort of like how you start arm rubbing)and you Push and/or press to uproot your partner. If you move your feet-game over. All deflection and neutralizing is done by weight shift, "bob and weave" of your center.

One is supposed to protect the head by maintining the contact lightly with both of your partners hands. In informal practice I get "slapped" gently to remind me of this point.

I guess my traing in Uechi initially did not address the movement of the Tan Tien/Hara in this manner. The "center" point can be moved about quite a bit and I suppose should be constantly in motion in Push hands.

The point being that the understanding of how to move center without stepping and/or to manipulate it is of benefit to any Martial Artist. I won't really presume to say more.

Does This Help?
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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jan 21, 1999 1:13 pm

As to a definition of Chi, the orthodx answer is an electrical type force that runs in all living things. Perhaps it refers to the slight electrical charge that powers the nerve synapses.

On a martial level it is connection to the earth and control of the structure of your body to pass force (push press punch-whatever) to your opponent optimally .

I can feel something "charged" moving when deep in the form or one of the drills.

Eventually it is said (sic) that the feeling of an electric type flow will increase. I am only starting to get close to this.

John T

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jan 21, 1999 1:23 pm

Mr. Morendi San:

Tahnk you for your positive comments.

Please undertand that I am new to the forum biz.

I agree with one thing, I do not beleive that my present Sifu considers himself a Master, nor does my present Sensei (who doesn't even like to be called Sensei).

I don't know what Master Han considers himself as I have only attended a few seminars.

T.C. is nice in that it is process oriented and there are no "ranks". However, if there is a level one thru ten, I would still be just tickling 2, hence what I hope is reality not false modesty infecting my responses.

Thank you.

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby Jason Bernard » Thu Jan 21, 1999 1:37 pm

Osu John!

I appreciate your reply and it is definitely helpful to my understanding. It sounds like a helpful exercise all-around for any marial artist. Out of curiousity, I assume that in general the idea is not to use raw force but rather knowledge of tan tein ("body center" or "center of gravity" for those who haven't heard this expression ... or the "place from when your chi floweth") to disbalance the person. Sounds like something we used to do in jujutsu when we used to pretend to be judo people. Image The idea still being to unbalance and in this case throw the opponent (and then a guy with some actual judo experience came in one day ... and well, we got to practice breakfalls alot).

Just so that I can give it a beginners try ... there are no Tai Chi places here so I cannot see it actually done. How do you keep each others hands to "stick"? or is that just a practice thing? If you could explain the basics I am sure I can find somebody around here to try it with me and experiment with it.

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Internal vs External, Part II

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:31 pm



I have to say that it is dangerous to practice free style pushing hands alone.
Sort of like sparring with a new Kyu ranker.

I confess that in a ego thing I tried to show it to my friend and partner and accidently uprooted him and continued the push on his ribs, cracking one. I could have cried. One of the mistakes in the "Arts" that you have to live with. Similarly I once tested a Kyu rank too hard and he quit. That was decade .5 ago, but those things you remember.

I any event for starters:

Take opposing T stances (I can't make Sanchin work)and place your forward had lightly on your partners forward hand.

Your partner pushes gently toward you with his forward hand (lets say right).

As he pushes towards your center you first shift by transfering your wieght to you rear foot. Just at the point where you will either "get pushed" and/or start leaning back, you allow your hips to turn to the right and let the "push" flow off you.

Then repeat towards your parner.

No Force. Develop touch. Sink into rear foot on retreat. Aloow the hand to feel and tell the rest of the body when to move. The hips and feet control the hands.

Please don not attempt freestyle at this point. It can be a bit dangerous.

For single hand pushing see T'ai Chi-Chen Man Ching-Page 83-84.

I also note that JohnC's comments on internal vs. external on point as far as I can determine, especially re: use of skeletal and tendon structure vs. mux\scular Pushes.

Hope this helps.

See: The Inner Structure of Tai Chi-Mantak Chia (I can't even come close to understanding this yet)
Yang Style Tai Chi Quan
Yang Zhendue Morning Glory Publishers

T'ai Chi Classics -Wayson Liao

In the latter the author says "First Find a Competent Instructor, then read the Tai Chi Classics" In answer to "how do I find a competent instructor?" the reply is read the Classics.

Sort sort of Zen thing.

Hope this helps. Be careful.


If you go gently-gently-gently with someone you should be OK.rn
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