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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 4:04 pm 
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Tom

You wrote:

>> 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.

I reply:

I have seen some pretty amazing displays of power in my day. The first two individuals who I every saw "make the room shake" were: 1) a Nippon Shorin Ken karate master, and 2) a Shotokan sandan and his brown belt student. By every description from any perspective, the styles they studied were.....HARD (whatever that means).

In the literature, they say that Miyagi Chojun, a practitioner of the Goju version of sanchin - had "thunder in the belly." Goju translates as....HARD SOFT.

My personal opinion (and everyone has one) is that there are a set of skills "out there" that anyone of any style can learn. Some get better at them than others. As a scientist, I am skeptical of any claim where a person with any skill attributes it to any particular style of martial art. As the Chinese say, do not confuse the moon for the finger pointing at it. As we scientists say, do not assume causality until you have done the randomized controlled trial.

A caveat we need to mention here about the "power" demonstration is "to what end?" If the person is using good technique, good strategy, and properly targeting, then "overengineering" the power can be a waste of time. The reason why not everyone gets obsessed with mega power is that it is not needed when you know how to fight.

Any reasonably intelligent person will certainly make connections between methods and results without a need for rigorous analysis. When people try to tell you that a trick they do in a demo shows that they have something special that their method alone can teach you, well you'd better check your back pocket or look for an ego in need of worship. There's a good article this month in Black Belt (I believe) that uncovers "tricks" that people use in martial arts demos. One of them (the line of people that fall over) is very revealing given a demo I've heard done lately by a person who claims to be able to project chi. Usually claims of majic or an unusual power or of special knowledge are connected to an angle or even self dillusion.

The real stuff doesn't need the Madison Avenue schmaltz. The real secret....is a good method and good instruction and god-given potential and years of hard work. Those that want an easy path to greatness or are looking for something for nothing do not want to listen to that truth.

I can't count how many times I've seen something done in an aikido or t'ai chi demo that seemed magical at one time and much, much later on in my training I was suddenly able to do. Good training gets you there. Good teachers de-mystify the knowledge and produce good students in lieu of a "legendary" reputation.

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 03-26-99).]


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 6:37 pm 
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Quite right Bill.

Brick breaking used to be, and to a certain degree is one of those tricks (which is why I use it commonly as an example).

My second karate instructor used to say that broke concrete with his chi. In a way he is right ... depending on what you think chi is. The "internal power" that I speak of in my original post is the application of will to technique. That is what I consider chi. It encompasses many things. Courage, confidence, clarity of spirit, etc. It is the intangible aspect, but not mystical or mysterious.

You see, that instructor thought and taught chi as a mysterious life force between you and the concrete slab. If that were true why does he have to hit it? Couldn't he break with his life force alone? With my way of thinking chi (internal power) is the confidence to know it will break, the courage to hit it all the way through and the clarity of spirit to ignore "common sense" which says "People don't break concrete with thier bare hands". The same applies to knocking a person out with a single strike. Without MY chi my blows would be useless (I would lack the fire to really deliver them), but with MY chi they would not be. Does this mean I can safely tell people I can knock them out with chi? Not in my view, but chi (as I see it) plays a role in martial practice. I still do not believe in the common mysticism surrounding chi.

Osu!
Jason

P.s. - I am not labelling those who believe in chi in it various interpretations as being mystic yahoos if they don't agree with me.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 7:12 pm 
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In a comment to Joe Bellone, I thanked him for a book he sent me. Today I realized that the book was in my brief case. Here it is:

Xing Yi Nei Gong
Xing Yi Health Maintenance and Internal Strength Development

Compiled and edited by Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell
Copyright 1994 Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell
High View Publications
P.O. Box 51967
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Let me quote a piece from the book:

> Although many teachers of internal arts like to talk about internal power and qi as something fantastic and mysterious (especially in the west), this is invariably a result of misunderstanding (on the part of the teacher) or outright deceit (because it is good for business). We, as physical beings, are subject to the laws of physics; mass, energy, and gravity. Our bodies are constructed a certain way, our minds produce real energy and we are all under the influence of gravity, all the time. The internal martial arts (actually, any of the higher level martial arts) seek to work with our natural strengths, to work with our internal (mental) energies most efficiently and to produce the most effective movement relative to our environment (gravity and outside forces). The result is internal power.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

-- Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 03-26-99).]


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 1999 2:39 am 
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Anthony said:

> Just a note, Email addresses are not made > public in our current setup (except for > Moderators and Admins). For a user to
> propogate his/her email address, using the > signature feature is reccomended.

D'oh. I feel sheepish. Sorry but I'm inexperienced and it shows. I think I've changed it but if it doesn't work my email address is Hambledon@worldnet.att.net

I was asking for people to suggest practical differences or similarities in the discussion about internal and external arts. So far I haven't seen anything really specific that I can use in my project that is based around Aikido and its relationship to the other arts.

I guess what I am gnawing at is that there are stated differences in ways of training and I am getting at how that plays with the idea of internal and external. For instance Sanchin as I learned it is certainly a remarkably different way of training than the training in Aikido. Yet a lot of people seem to feel that different ways of training don't really exist. Its like Judo is really the same as t'ai chi is really the same as Karate is really the same as Escrima which is the same as Aikido. If that were really so then there would be no need to do Sanchin. We could practice like they do in t'ai chi and get the same results, couldn't we?

So what I was asking for was more specific clarity in differences particularly as they relate to internal and external nomenclature.

Thanks for any assistance and if this is a waste of bandwidth I'll certainly take it offline.

Tom Hambledon



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 1999 9:52 pm 
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Tom San:

Bill Sensei and J.D. SAn have covered a sort of consensus (maybe) that a lot of the distinction between "Internal" and "External" Atrs depends on "Presentation, perception and approach".

Different training methods absolutely exist. Sometimes the different methods may be shooting towards a similat goal.

T'aiji "deemphasizes" less than subtle techniques such as reverse punches, but there are punches in the form, yet only on kick. It "emphasizes" connection to the ground, flow and a particular method of learning.

Generally, karate or Kung Fu training may initially emphasize certain basic punches, kick and blocks that are somewhat less than subtle. Making "it" an excellent place for children to learn self defense. As discussed on the forum, it may be that some of the various forms taught kids and beginners have been deliberately "detoxified" so that there for flat out safety reasons. Yet connection to the earth, body structure integration and flow are also by products of the Karate forms
, I suspect that the "T'aiji" powers that be decry this in karate for honest as well as disingenuos reason.

Wah Lum Kung Fu, which I occassionly get to watch, is generally more "acrobatically challenging" in it forms than Karate. But this is far from a complete comparison, based on limited class and tournament viewing.


Both "systems" mentioned emphasize form practice. As discussed on the forum a few times, these"forms" are probably best looked at as "programs" or "textbooks" for self defense techniques.

Taiji folk generally, for reasons of their own, consider
T'aiji not suitable for children.

I've only taken one Aikido class-so I am no help to you there.

T'aiji, Ba Fa and Uechi "forms" have a decent amount of "imbedded" grappling techniques and quite a bit of "Kyusho" (pressure point applications) imbedded as well. See Evan Pantazi's forum.

T'aiji, like Wing Chun appears to have only one kick and one basic punch in "its form" there are more, depending on the form involved.

If this doesn't help let me know. I think the question you asked is a deep one and I only undertook it because I love T'aiji and Uechi and study them both.

Hopefully I will never have to quit one for the other, but that does happen.

JOHN T

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 1999 6:19 am 
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Tom

John and others (like Dave Mott) are better resources for talking about similarities and differences in Uechi vs taiji. At one time I practiced both, but I found that aikido had more practical use for me as a soft (internal, whatever) art. I'm a little better qualified to talk about the aikido/uechi link.

Actually I started studying taiji about 17 years ago as an attempt to understand the softer aspect of the karate art I was doing. Again, I delved into aikido and decided - at the time - that it had more immediate application and better integration (for me) than the Uechi/taiji link. But we have lots of combinations of Uechi vs typically soft and/or internal arts among our practitioners.

To me, aikido seems to expand on an aspect of Uechi (grappling) that - I believe - the Okinawans have overlooked or maybe just don't care about. First of all, the open hand aspect of Uechi makes it a great introduction for setting up aikido holds and manipulations. Sometimes when I am working with a partner, I find myself starting a combination with typical Uechi techniques, only to discover I am grappling with my opponent in a typically aikido fashion. Others - like Jack summers - do the exact same thing except he is trained at a quite advanced level in jiujitsu (the antecedent to aikido).

As far as the energy side of things, my take is that all three sets of arts (Uechi vs. taiji/bagua/xingyi vs. aikido/jiujitsu) CAN generate energy the exact same way. What I find is that they DELIVER the energy a bit differently. The reason why I am able to go back and forth between Uechi and aikido technique in my fighting is precisely because of that. But I can usually know when a technique is typically Uechi or typically aikido. There is some overlap though.

And yes, now and then I find myself doing a leg throw....and realize the technique is EXACTLY the same as a ward off technique learned in taiji. Once again, if I generate energy a certain way then I find I can switch modes fairly easily.

There is a "hard" mode that I can be in during "typical" Uechi practice that does NOT lend itself to transition into softer techniques. And of course the original Chinese name (or description) of the Uechi system (pangainoon) does indeed imply that. I personally like that freedom. Being able to switch modes gives you the advantage of playing rock-paper-scissors with an opponent who may only be able to play one of the above modes (so to write).

I hope my rambling message helps. Perhaps this is worth switching to a new thread if you feel the topic is worth further discussion.

Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 1999 1:49 pm 
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Bill Sensei and Tom San:

I wish I could find a way to cross train in Aikido. I am most envious of Bill Sensei.

My best friend of younger years teaches in Chelmsford Ma., and I tried two classes, but my shoulder gave out.

Sensei Lou Periello is his name. I believe the school has a website. The schools name is Northeast Aikikai.

Bill Sensei:

Jack still works on the Jiu Jistsu waza, and in small doses I can manage the breakfalls better than the shoulder rolls.

As I said I am envious of you here. However, cross training costs time, and T'aiji and Uechi go well toghether.

You just can't tell everyone that.

JOHN T

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 1999 2:28 pm 
Here's a simple answer to the question of similarities or differences between internal and external. The physical characteristics of the arts mentioned look different. Wait, but you can't use that as a criteria. Although, most people do. If you are very "soft" and hold your arms out like they're limp noodles you are doing it "internally." If you tense up so much that you give yourself hypertension, you're an external stylist. This is what the general perception is. Hardness or Softness have nothing to do with whether a style is internal or external.

I've seen some Hsing-I done externally. I've seen some Uechi-ryu done internally. Both arts are very percussive in nature. In both instances, the physical gestures remained unchanged in the constructs of the styles. I've seen Judo and Aikido done very "externally." I've also seen it done very "internally" also. Here's an important point, just because you practice an art with a particular name, doesn't make it internal or external.

The question really becomes what did Sun Lu Tang and his buddies recognize as these "internal" principles when they were working out together? These gentleman were doing totally different physical gestures because of their respective styles and yet they could say they way they were doing Bagua Zhang was very internal or Hsing-I, Tai Chi Chuan was very internal.
What were the concepts? That is the essence of your question. Because once that question is answered, the names of the respective styles become meaningless.

I'll give you a big clue, look at concepts like use of momentum, waves of force, gravity etc. To most Uechi-ryu guys, this kind of thinking should be very familiar.

Joe Bellone
p.s. I'm in NY getting my butt kicked by Renzo Gracie (yes even Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu done correctly can be internal. The Chinese don't have a lock on it.) that's why I couldn't use my normal sign in.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 1999 4:19 pm 
Bill,
I forgot to mention, Tim Cartmell's books have been picked up by Unique Publications. Look in Inside Kung Fu and all his books will be there. I bring Tim up about 5 times a year to Boston. Next time he comes (Probably early May) I'll let you know. People might find him refreshing.

Tom,
You might want to give Tim a call. Tell him that Joe Bellone sent you. He might be able to help you out. His school's phone number is on the shenwu.com home page.

p.s. Renzo Gracie really didn't kick my butt this weekend. But my experience in New York has been humbling.

Joe


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 1999 9:04 pm 
The fundamental problem with the Internal/External debate is a confusion of definitions. Some people mean "spiritual" when they say "internal"; some people mean "soft" when they say internal; some people mean "having to do with Ch'u' when they say "internal", some people, like the notorious Mr. Sigman, refer to a very specific way of training and using the body when the say "internal".

Whenever these discussions get going (not necessarily on this forum, by the way) you end up with a number of different people who are arguing about completely different things. It's as if you have a bunch of Brits and Americans sitting around the table talking about "corn", some mean maize and some mean grain in general, but nobady knows for sure what the other is talking about.

What we need is a common language between practitioners of Chinese arts, Japanese arts, and Okinawan arts. Not to mention Phillipine, Korean, and all the rest.

Hell, just get a Uechi-Ryu and Shotokan practioners together talking about " horse stance" Image.

This is, I've found, a real problem in MA forums all over the net.



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maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 1999 5:29 am 
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Joe, Bill Tom et al:

Words fail me on internal vs. external at this point.

Maybe the people who really know the difference aren't posting.

This is only intended as a knock, if at all, directed at myself.

I hope if I keep training I may learn.

JOHN T

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 1999 3:16 pm 
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JD,

I agree with you when you state this topic of internal vs. external "becomes rather circular and rather wasteful of time."

I also agree with you when you state, "I think that any martial art worth its salt, so to write, share common principles."

I believe that those old Chinese guys that used the term "neijia" (internal) for their loose fitting group of different martial arts had done so because those arts, those three arts, were the ones they were most familiar with. They shared common principles. These guys cross-trained with one another in the different arts. It didn't matter what name they called it because they used the same principles.

I asked this question on David Elkins forum and only Bill answered. I respect Bill for answering. But this is a really important question. It seems to me that a lot of people hide behind all this touchy-feely crap. Why is it that a smaller person can thump a bigger person? Is it this ill defined thing everyone calls Chi? NO! Why could Ueyshiba throw a really strong and big guy with what appeared to be effortlessness? Why? I can certainly tell you it wasn't because of his mystical chi. What are the principles?

Joe Bellone


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 1999 3:41 pm 
JD and Joe et al,

Rather than simpy train hard and explore the potential of his style--and the similarites to others--the elitist convinces himself he has stumbled upon to magical wisdom

There are two kinds of Martial Artists: those who look at other styles and see the differences and those who look at ather styles and see the simularities. The former, as JD implies, gets mentally circumscribed, is generally convinced of the majick of his practice, is often self-deluded and distains what others do, the latter learns and improves and grows every time he looks at other martial artists.

Joe, I wrote a long answer to your post on David's forum, but I deleted it because I thought it sounded pretty lame; sorry. It's actually a topic I'm quite interested in. It's often said , (although not by neijia people Image ), that at the highest levels, all martial arts are the same. That's because when you render the fat, the bones are the same. Part of it is that when you're young you can rely on brute strength (local strength) to carry you through. When you get old, you'll eventually have to rely on pure technique when your muscle is gone (or, at least, so I'm told I wouldn't know from personal experience, being quite youthful myself (You wish! ed.)

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maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw

[This message has been edited by maurice richard libby (edited 03-29-99).]


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