What is “internal martial arts”?

12 Jan

Chances are you might have seen older people doing Tai Chi in the park. It probably looked like good exercise to you, but probably didn’t strike you as training for combat. In most urban centers, people have taken a yoga class or two. It’s a nice stretch and gets you to sweat, but did you ever consider it the preliminary training for warfare?

In Chinese martial arts circles, these days you see people who, quite frankly, are yahoos (and I don’t mean the search engine) trying to tell you there are “secret techniques” but more importantly that “chi” or mythical energy will make you a fighter. I’ll cut to the chase, it’s all cattle dung.

Until recent history, no one who did the so called “internal martial arts” talked about Taoist monks, health, chi or such nonsense. Hsing-Yi for example was commonly utilized by caravan escorts and bodyguards. There is a whole history, several actually, to explain why battlefield methods were suddenly wrapped in mythic cloth but never forget that is what happened.

Internal is about structure, but any successful fighter (or athlete) knows that proper structure is the key to execution.

Internal is about the proper, efficient use of all the body parts in coordination and harmony. Does anyone think that Olympic power lifters don’t engage in this to lift those insane amounts of weight? Or wrestlers when the shoot a double leg takedown?

Internal is often linked to proper breathing. Again, high level athletes all know the important of controlled and regulated breath.

People seek “secrets” because they want the magic bullet or the magic pill that will take the place of hours of hard work, sweat, pain and some blood. The secret is there are no secrets. The secret is that only long hours, sweat, pain and blood are the way to skill.

Be well and train hard…..



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