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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 1999 9:04 pm 
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I would like to start this thread with a recent post on rec.martial-arts. I have removed names to minimize the risk of inflaming where it is not necessary, and to avoid giving attention where it is not due.

Bill

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(name removed) wrote in message ....

>> Is internal strength, in your opinion, a purely physical phenomenon, just different somehow from normal strength? (I.e. more efficient body mechanics, training the muscles so that different sets of muscles are used or different sets of muscles are strengthened, perhaps visualization techniques, etc.)

Sure. But it's even cleverer than I originally thought. I would have given an unequivocal "yes" a few years back, but now I realize that there is an interesting caveat. Essentially, yes.

>> Are you saying, in regards to the silat discussion, that silat does not have "real" internal strength? Or are you saying it's simply not real taiji, or hsingi, or pakua, but may have bona fide internal strength?

Think of the Boogum strength. It's different and I can show how and someone experienced can spot it right away. It takes a lot of training to learn how to do it... bear that in mind; it's not something you fall into. Once you learn it, it would be absurd to switch back to normal mode. I have never seen any Silat with that sort of movement mode; and that's a big point. I got into an argument with some rather smug Uechi Ryu guys who bristled at the very idea that Uechi didn't have everything in it already. Yet I did some Uechi, too. I know that it is impossible to train Sanchin, etc., and learn this form of strength. The Sanchin training is one form of training and internal strength is another. So when I see someone moving with a way that precludes internal training, I can extrapolate that "assuming this person's training is sort of representative of his style's, then the chances of seeing real internal strength (given how difficult it is to learn) in this style is almost non-existent". Do you see the reasoning? Of course, when I make an assertion that broad I have to make the caveat that I could remotely be wrong, and I'm willing to look.

>> If taiji has many people who can't produce internal strength, but a few who can, isn't it possible that a few silat or kuntao people can do it as well also, even if most can't?

No, because in Taiji everyone is trying to do this thing and most can't. In Silat no one is really trying to do this thing, so probability goes toward zero. Same caveat as above.

>> Just because it's unlikely in your opinion that authentic neijia arts got transmitted correctly to Indonesia, does that mean that you also think that Indonesians (ethnic Chinese or no) could not have independently developed exercises for training "real" internal strength? Or do you think that training in neijia arts under good teachers is the only way to develop it?

Even in China, the number of people, even with good teachers, who are good is astonishingly small. While the scenario you mention is remotely possible, it's almost a rhetorical consideration. Remember that I said in a previous post that there are some overlaps with extensively trained martial artists, sometimes.

(name removed from signature)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 1999 9:11 pm 
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In the words of Ronald Reagan, "There you go again."

QUESTION: Why are a very few people in the taiji community so obsessed with what the Uechi folks are doing?

Good question. Out of nowhere, we get this article from a taiji no-name published in Tai Chi magazine where someone who knows nothing about Uechiryu "proves" that Uechiryu cannot be an internal system. He was really upset with the "half soft" description of the system, and felt it necessary to comment to the Tai Chi community about it. In the next issue, Tai Chi published a rebuttal from a person who likely has more years of practice than the original author in either taiji or Uechiryu. End of story? Unfortunately not.

Next thing we know, we get sidebar commentary from a "bread and butter" taiji practitioner minimizing the good that a Uechi practitioner would get out of attending a taiji push hands seminar. Somehow it was OK for him to briefly study Uechi and then study taiji and receive Knowledge, but that cannot be productive for anyone else. Hmmmm....

The very first description of the artform we call Uechi/Shohei is "Pangainoon", which translates roughly as half hard and half soft. This implies that the Boxer-Rebellion-era gung fu from which it originated delved into the "internal" side of the yin/yang coin. Certainly the Bubishi that Kanbun brought from China contained references to the healing arts that come from a different paradigm. Call it chi, qi, internal energy, whatever….Kanbun felt it necessary to bring a message back that was more than the external appearance of physical movement. And this artform is most definitely an anomaly on the Ryukyu Islands.

Could it be….that a few (definitely not all) in the taiji/bagua/xingi community want to believe that they have cornered the market on something? What is the risk if their beliefs are not true?

QUESTION: So what is the definition of "internal" anyhow?

At times this begins to remind me of the Saturday Night Live skit with Gilda Radner playing the elderly woman commentator. "What's all this fuss about…." Inevitably the character Gilda played would go on a verbal rampage before Chevy Chase would finally stop her long enough to tell her she misunderstood the issue.

"Never mind!"

This - to me - is part of the problem. When confronted with the challenge of actually defining "internal", many (including the person above) will respond that it cannot be described. Our Western minds are too feeble or corrupted or narrow to appreciate something that is fundamentally Eastern. Our science closes our eyes to something that is obvious to them. Or perhaps we never were taught the right way or had the right method.

Or "you need to check it out." If you pay your $$ and tell everyone you believe, then you understand it. If you go back and tell everyone the king has no clothes, then you digressed or you are stupid or otherwise not capable of achieving what they Know. Yes, this is a cynical point of view. Some (including myself) believe there is truth in the cynicism. This may be the source of much of the hostility.

But until these (very few) critics can properly define what it is that they have that other do not, then discussion is fruitless. And…we frankly shouldn't give a damn. The problem is theirs and not ours. The issue is only that they run their mouths in public and unnecessarily bring other names (and styles) into a pointless sermon to their believers.

QUESTION: Who is qualified to speak on this?

Good question. The gentleman above once told me in private e-mail that HE would be there to discredit any Uechi person that he found teaching taiji after only a few years of practice. Funny....I've never seen a dan certificate number in Uechiryu registered to his name. So is HE or the gentleman who published in Tai Chi qualified to comment on what is and is not in Sanchin and Uechi Ryu? Particularly when he implies that most instructors (presumably including taiji) aren't smart enough to know and teach this "internal" knowledge? Right now I can think of at least 3 people who are dans in Uechiryu who have more years practicing and teaching taiji than these armchair "experts" have in Uechiryu.

Meanwhile, those of us who have 25 years and more experience in practicing sanchin often feel like we are just beginning to figure it out.

One more point. The problem with the big three internal systems is that there are no standards and certification. It is a playground ripe for charlatans. Too bad. It is the public's loss when they cannot properly evaluate the qualifications of a teacher of ANY worthy subject or discipline.

Many will be fooled by the snake-oil salesman with the velvet tongue.

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 1999 9:48 pm 
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I hereby admit fully and unconditionally that I as a practicioner of Kyokushin that I have no "internal power" what-so-ever.

This means I can still defend myself rather well, but I still have no "internal power".

Osu!

It means I am still proud of my training, and I enjoy my training, but I still have no "internal power".

Osu!

It means that I can still shatter multiple layers of bricks with an empty hand (and according to some witness apparently without effort), but I still lack "internal power".

Osu!

It means I still gain the internal spiritual fire of Osu as based down from Sosai that has had such a positive influence of every aspect of my life, but I still lack "internal power".

Osu!

So I lack "internal power". Big deal. As far as I can tell this internal power doesn't offer anything that I have ever wanted or needed from the martial arts. Having this "internal power" doesn't allow me to give back to the martial arts in any meaningful way. So, if I don't want it and I don't need it, my reply is to anybody who says "You aren't a superior internal martial artist like me!" ... "So?".

=========================================
And now for the truth. Since what I posted above does not represent how I truly see this external/internal debate.

Kyokushin can be an internal art. It isn't the art, it is the training.

Taiji (Tai Chi, etc) can be an external art. It is all in the practicioner.

My Kyokushin training gives me internal power , but it really isn't that big a deal since I just call it good training.

OSU!
Jason

P.s. - Sorry I have been away. Looking for a house, trying to get a software product to production, and we have a baby on the way (3 weeks left and counting down!)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 1999 10:23 pm 
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Jason

Good to hear from you, and good luck with the new one to be. Been there and done that, and now my second is 5 months old. As a matter of fact, have to leave to go pick him up now. One of the great joys of life. I'm glad to hear you too will soon experience this taxing but fulfilling joy.

Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 12:10 am 
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Sensei Glasheen,

I see that the old argument of "internal/external" power bothers you to some extent. I have to ask why? I'm sure those of us who have been on the forum for a while know for sure who the above author is. Who cares what he thinks? Besides, look at his arena, (rec-martial.arts) that speaks for itself.

He says, "Yet I did some Uechi, too." DUH! SOME!?!? I did plenty of first aid training in the army, does that qualify me to comment on brain surgery? Cancer surgery?, Tooth Surgery?, medical advice?

I suppose some people with their own "smugness" to their prefered art require an audience of ignorants (not stupid - there is a difference) to support their own egos and boost there own self worth while climbing up on their self created pedestals. Those truly seeking "A" truth will find it. Fools follow fools.

Who cares what it is called, internal, external, sideways, upside down, so what? It perpetuates silly arguments. When we (us plankton) need to find the answers about what we do (or try to do) we seek out those like yourself who have the years of practice, knowledge, and dedication.

Would any real martial artist listen to those who have nothing better to do than attempt to belittle or discredit another system?

Sorry if I spoke out of place but I felt like I had to let that out. It's bad enough there are "internal" problems. Why should we concern ourselves with the drivel from the peanut gallery.

Scott




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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 1:30 am 
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Internal versus External part quatre I think.

Oh well. I think Sanchin is a Chi Kung, and at least one respondent answered by saying that is was a "Wai Dai" hard system type chi kung. Check Sensei Bob Campbells form.

If you JUST TAKE Sanchin, do it slow, don't "bounce" really work the breathing, really allow the chi to circle around the Hara as you set (instead of just lifting and dropping your hips) then you will be doing Sanchin in Chi Kung fashion.

Forget about convincing other "internal artists" that this is so. Buy try it this way and YOU will KNOW so. As I have said for possible the eight thousandth time, this may be why Sanchin breathing conflict with the breathing used in Kiai's in the other forms:

it was developed as a chi kung to develop internal strength. Yes absolutely the QIQONG instructor up the street will show you his Chi KUng, BUT he is also helping you to understand how to use Sanchin in a similar fashion.

PS-when you set in Sanchin doing it slowly, allow the perineum to be the focus of your attention. Make it make you feel as though you are one hundred pounds heavier as you use it to connect to the ground.

Oops---sorry, you will never do it slowly enough is "class" do develop that feeling maybe, and no Chinese Martial artist will ever admit (at least not around here) that it is a real chi kung.

JOHN T


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 4:50 am 
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J.D., Scott

I believe that plankton is a few dojo ranks above photons.

Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 3:08 pm 
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Hello Bill,

I'd like to comment briefly on this topic. Internal strength is based upon many scientific principles. These concepts are quite common and well known to many people. What I see as the underlying problem in a discussion with what is "internal vs. external" is that most people are extremely lazy and are looking for some magical "internal" pill to give them super-duper power.

In Chinese internal arts, there was no such thing as "internal" until a guy named Sun Lu Tang grouped Hsing-I, BaGua and Tai Chi together as a "family." Basically, he had a couple of buddies that were good at their respective arts and when they got together to workout they recognized that they shared common principles. This is where the term "internal" comes from. The three styles don't look like each other. They are different looking but still internal. Check www.shenwu.com for some really good information about this subject.

I've been on both sides of this external and internal fence. My Yondan certification # is 417 and yes I am in the big Blue book of Shohei-ryu. I also have have studied with a lot of internal "masters." Let me state for the record you have a lot more qualified people in the Uechi/Shohei organizations. YES, BOTH ORGANIZATIONS. (THIS POLITICAL CRAP IS FOR THE BIRDS) Most internal guys are lazy and looking for an easy way out. That's why they jump on this easy Chi stuff. Real internal is really hard work. It requires a lot of effort. But hard work doesn't sell well to the masses. That's why people sell this easy Chi stuff, it's a way to get more students. The problem becomes that a lot of people really believe that internal power will come after a number of years if they do a slow set of movements. After years of training, they might question themselves that they've been fooled, but they don't want to change because of their ego, so they help promote the myth. It's pretty sad.

I have one comment on making Sanchin a Chi Kung exercise. Just do Sanchin, don't try to make it anything. If you want to stand and do Chi Kung, just stand and do Chi Kung. The merits that Sanchin Kata has to offer can stand by itself. Don't try to make it anything because then you make it nothing.

Sorry I wasn't so brief. I need to get a cup of coffee...

Joe


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 4:06 pm 
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Joe

I really appreciate it when you can stop by and make a post. The breadth of your experience in martial arts combined with the sanity and clarity of your perspective is always refreshing. I'm looking forward to touching base with you in the very near future.

By the way, I really enjoyed the Chi Gung book you sent. The guys who wrote it sound like they really understood the language and culture. No magic! Imagine that.

Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 6:35 pm 
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p.s.--

Anthony-Scott's points were very well taken.

To all:

My Uechi is almost OK. My Tai Chi, despite a few years, is just climbing out of the primordial ooze maybe. Apologies for over opinionizing.


Bill Sensei:

To answer your question on another post (again just an opinion)as to whether the students or seniors would appreciate or benefit from diversification. My handful of students seem to like it, I don't, honestly, think I know enough to diversify too far. Some basic principles seem to crossover well.

Do we "need" other forms, well---I dunno. Would other forms hurt? Well-----don't think so-maybe if the basic 8 suffered from a diminution in class time.

Not teaching Kyu and Dan now is already just because a. I need work on "Yakusoku" b. There are enough similarities between the points in Dan, Kyu and Yakusoku to be confusing in terms of memorization and c. Lack of time.

I don't think Seniors should mind diversification, as long as everything else gets taught firstest and rightest. However, who knows what they might actually say if they visit a class?

Mike Murphy teaches Uechi and Jiu Jitsu, and has rank in both. His opinion would doubtless be of some worth.

Self effacingly yours:

JOHN T

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 8:09 pm 
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I second that about Scott's comments. Well stated and well taken.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 1999 5:33 am 
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To all with the greastest respect:

Point taken, Sanchin is Sanchin. As a matter of opinion it is a generic sort of "Chi Kung" to me regardless of how I might suggest "alternative" ways to explore it.

Sometimes the fit hits the shan when just trying to offer alternative explanations. That's OK. Sanchin is what it is as pointed out. I beleive it is an "Internal" form. Just because I have thoughts on where "people might focus their attention sometimes" when practicing it ON THEIR OWN (preferably).

My Uechi studies began in 1976 and my Tai Chi Studies in 1987. Not that I feel this means that my opinion is worht a snot's more than anyone else's.

You can't even, for example, walk into a different Yang System Kwan and see the form done in the same sequence or with the same number of steps. The priciples and components remain similar.

Keep that in mind, I think, as a reminder of how lucky we are.

Apologies are extended if required.

JOHN T

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 4:04 am 
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Hi All:

I have been reading this forum for off and on about 6 months so I have missed some of the context about the above thread. However it does interest me about internal and Sanchin and so on.

Leaving alone what appears to be some battle about personalities could I ask the names of some of the long time karate practitioners that are also expert in T'ai Chi? I am trying to help a fellow Aikidoka write a book which involves the subject of the internal arts and the comparison across the spectrum. It would be helpful if I could email a recognized expert and maybe get some opinions.

I would appreciate any replies and private is fine. Sorry to take up the bandwidth.

Tom Hambledon


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 2:35 pm 
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'Dr. X' said:

One can approach Sanchin from many different directions. There is no "true perfect" Sanchin. Sometimes a hard "external" feel is helpful; sometimes a soft "internal." If all depends upon what you wish to do. As I said in a previous post, musicians change the feel of music they play all of the time.

To think otherwise lacks imagination.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thank you. Then are you saying that 'external' equates to "hard" and 'internal' equates to "soft"? In other words it is the "feel" of the approach that makes the difference?

Although I still do some karate and I've done some t'ai chi most of what I do nowadays is Aikido and a lot of the internal aspects of Aikido as applied to karate and t'ai chi intrigue me. Even though I don't do the 'Ki Aikido' schooling I do read the books and the the tests for the mind-body development in Aikido are intriguing. These are the same things that I saw in a t'ai chi workshop along with some power stuff that was pretty interestingly different from anything I ever saw in Aikido or karate. The power you have to see (the whole room shook) but you can find a lot of the mind-body tests in some books by Koichi Tohei Sensei.

Would you say that you can develop these things by being soft while doing Sanchin over a long period of time?


Thanks again for your help.

Tom Hambledon


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 2:36 pm 
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Hi, Tom

That could be arranged. However....you didn't register your e-mail address. Whoops!

I'm interested in reading anything you produce. Getting taiji and karate to reconcile as disciplines with a single set of principles is a challenge that many have faced and few have mastered. Most choose to abandon one or the other discipline.

Drop me a note or post.

Bill
glasheen@uechi-ryu.com


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