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#407357 - 10/12/08 05:38 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I forgot to say, doubtless those whose experience with the "internal arts" involves "shocking displays of power" will be disappointed by my somewhat pedestrian reference to a type of moving/footwork as illustrative of "internal" principles. However I have said before that I don't think the internal arts involve anything kind of "magic". It was never my intention to post a video of "shocking power".

In any event, while the video I posted does involve basics (we had a class of predominantly white belts), the particular moving isn't as easy as it looks... Internal arts principles mightn't be magic, and they might be subtle, but they are significant and hard to get right.



Here is a still of one of our students, Dave, mid-move, showing very good momentum transfer. In standard karate/tkd moving the block would be separate from the flow of the body where Dave has blended them together as a coherent whole.

It was my contention that this "connectedness" (used with suri ashi) was important in any taisabaki applied in sparring.

So much of what is said about the internal arts is esoteric, inaccessible, mystical mumbo jumbo including reference to things like the "6 harmonies" or, at the least, "fajin" (one of the most unhelpful labels I've ever seen) - never mind "qi".

Frankly, the previously referred to video and article contain some of the more useful, applicable and pragmatic information I have given out on the web relating to the internal arts (and martial arts generally).
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#407358 - 10/12/08 06:03 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Cord Offline
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Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

As I've said elsewhere Ed, this footwork puts your entire bodyweight behind both a deflection and counterattack. This doesn't just mean more "pound for pound" impulse generation: it also makes deflection/evasion more effective. Simply put, moving your momentum correctly ensures you are not "wrong footed".




Can you explain how your above statements differ from the principles and goals behind queesnbury rules boxing?

Quote:

Related to this is the fact that it enables you to move into position "faster" - not because your muscles are firing faster, but because you're moving efficiently (and helped by the fact that you are not firing antagonist muscles unnecessarily - another internal principle).




You do know that it is impossible for the body to move without anatgonsitic muscle engagement right? The body requires antagonistic muscle engagement for decelarative power and joint preservation. If a muscle contracts, another must expand, and its impossible for anyone to qualify that action as completely passive- you cannot override stretch reflex, and nor should you want to- you would have joints dislocating all over the place.
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#407359 - 10/12/08 06:55 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: Cord]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
And you'll notice that I said previously "unnecessary antagonist muscle firing". I left out the "unnecessary" in the last post by accident. I meant to refer to residual tension in the muscles (common in, say, Shaolin or my own karate for example due to dynamic tension). The tension might be slight, but it is there by contrast with the internal arts of China which prize very relaxed moving.

As to the Queensbury rules - the best artists of any method employ effective dynamics. I have said this previously. What differs is the way in which you go about implementing these principles. I have said previously that the internal arts of China go about things in a particular way. I have tried to explain how they go about this with a simple example of footwork - not to challenge the effectiveness of boxing. I've said before that I agree more with your observations about the "similarities" than you might guess.
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#407360 - 10/12/08 11:00 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
Hi Dan, what I see in your movement you are showing is sortof stiff karate trying to become more fluid....so you are looking to IMAs to help you to that end. That's great, but realize there are arts and practitioners out there that have these properties which you consider distinctly 'internal', they consider bread&butter and integrated. it's not a separate principle they are trying to 'get', it's just built-in.
For example, you mentioned and demonstrated a form of tai sabaki that is no different than rudamentary karate - it's commonly taught as a tactic. whether it's 45 degrees offline stepping in or 30 degrees shifting back is a pedestrian argument. The tactic is offlining with simultaneous deflect/counter - even places that train for point sparring have this as a commonly trained concept. it's not distinctively 'internal', it's just a tactical choice that needs speed, timing and opportunity to apply using the same physics as any other art.

although, then again, I'm slow to understand people's points sometimes - so it could be I'm missing yours.

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#407361 - 10/12/08 07:03 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I've been around long enough to know about the "bread and butter" issue. Your comments are quite valid. But I can't help but feel that you don't fully appreciate the nature of the moving I've demonstrated.

It's a matter of emphasis Ed - not "proprietary rights".

Xingyi tends to emphasise the front foot first action (the 45 degree forward taisabaki simply results from that action).

"Sort of stiff karate"? That's a matter of opinion. Xingyiquan is "stiffer" than bagua and taiji, like this demo - just that it uses "zhan bu" (san ti) with techniques like pi quan. The "flow" is in the individual techniques (from the start of the deflection to the end of the strike) NOT the stringing together of movements (like taiji and, to a lesser extent bagua). I've been studying taiji since 1990 and I can flow quite well enough thanks. However for the demo I chose this particular type of "xingyi-type flow" (ie. limited to individual techniques). What makes it more deceptive is the fact that I'm doing the techniques hard and fast.

If you haven't yet, I suggest you try it and see if you can do the movement with the particular "flow" illustrated. Maybe you can do it easily, but that only illustrates my comment to Cord that all martial artists can reach the same destination. Their starting point is however often different.

Eg. for a class of karate white belts (predominantly the case in this video) this kind of "xingyi flow" is challenging because karate emphasises ayumi ashi and stop/start movement, not suri ashi and flow (note that in karate there is typically a break between deflection and strike).

I guess "fusion" is easy to criticise and often fails to please. Here I have isolated just one internal (xingyi) principle and demonstrated it in a karate framework. I have posted it here in the interests of clarifying such principles and demystifying ima.

If it looks 'plain', consider that IF xingyi were to do the goju kata gekisai dai ni it would do moves similar to this (in the sanchin/hike steps) - NOT as it is done in goju (simple step & block).



Edited by dandjurdjevic (10/12/08 07:35 PM)
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#407362 - 10/12/08 08:49 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
don't mind me Dan, I just don't get it. you lost me with the important sounding jargon and cool sounding foreign terms. it's all good - we do what we enjoy... is what I always say. peace baby.

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#407363 - 10/12/08 09:12 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I'm going to try to clarify the "principle" illustrated in my previous videos:

Every fighting style has a particular dominant footwork; in boxing it is a movement with both feet "skipping" lightly so that the feet remain approximately the same distance apart (except when lunging etc.). In karate kata the dominant stepping is "legs passing" - called "ayumi ashi" with the occasional front foot lunge and back leg slide up ("yori ashi") etc.

In xingyiquan the dominant footwork is what is called "suri ashi" in Japanese - front leg initiates the movement, the back leg follows, passing the front.

Why is this significant? The concept is that if you raise the front foot your weight is automatically falling forward. You can then immediately put your momentum into your first movement. Lifting your front foot and shifting it forward (perhaps slightly to the side, as I have demonstrated) immediately exerts force on your opponent. However it does not stop there. You carry on your forward momentum by flowing the back leg through to the front in one movement. At the same time it is important to note that unlike karate your counter lands when the front foot lands not with the back foot. The back foot slides up (or, in xingyi, stamps up) a fraction later, adding an extra percussive "moment".

Other arts might use this concept - however xingyiquan uses this as its dominant footwork. In other words virtually every move is done with this footwork (cf. karate where virtually every kata move is a "natural" step).

During the course on which my video above was taken we explored how basic karate kata (such as pinan and gekisai) would be affected by this approach - hence the moving, corresponding with the simple step through in sanchin stance in that kata.

Ed, I have video of me moving more "fluidly" in this technique (connecting the moves) however I decided not to post that as it doesn't show the percussive aspect to the final blow and karateka watching it would criticise it as "dancing" or "wussy".

This footwork is, of course, just one small aspect of xingyi movement (not to mention internal arts generally). Other examples are the much talk about "lack of double weighting", pivoting principally on the heel, not the ball of the foot etc.

Then of course there are many other distinguishing technical elements.

As both an external an internal arts (ie. the Chinese ones) practitioner with an interest in pragmatism I had hoped to contribute some simple examples of internal arts mechanics to this thread to illustrate the differences in approach, not to prove the "magical power" of the latter. I wanted to move the debate away from "pushing without touching" and "I've never been hit harder" stuff and to avoid jargon like "the 6 harmonies" etc.

The Chinese ima are just martial arts like any other. If one utilises some of their methods already, that's all well and fine and I can't see that this affects my technical analysis/description of their dominant methodology.
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#407364 - 10/12/08 09:20 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
I'm pretty sure you're referring to the "Falling Step". If you are, it's not unique to "Internal" Chinese Martial Arts. Actually, it's not unique to Chinese Martial Arts in general.

Either way, I don't get it either. If there is very little difference between "Internal" and "External" Chinese Martial Arts, then why insist differentiating them?

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#407365 - 10/12/08 10:20 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: DeadlyKnuckles]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Yes, what you call "falling step" is used in other arts - even in karate. Some shaolin schools (ie. external) use it quite a lot. However it is just one technical emphasis in the ima. A shaolin school might have "falling step" but not the other elements which, in total, differentiate ima from other schools.

And are we really back to "why differentiate"? The differentiation of xingyi, bagua and taiji (as a group) exists historically and technically. It is not something I am differentiating.

Nor is it a "value-laden" differentiation. I am trying to describe an inherent characteristics of xingyi in particular with my example. If other arts do "falling step", all well and fine.

I actually chose to post my video example because that particular moving exists in one karate kata - Anan. I am not troubled by this. I quite like to see the similarities, as Cord has mentioned. However most people don't know what the "internal arts" are all about. They hear "qi", "fajin" etc. and see demonstrations involving standing on eggs, pushing without touching and swords against the throat (all of which occur in Shaolin, btw). I'm trying to shed some light on the ima of China and their approach - not defend them or argue their "superiority" or even "complete uniqueness". That they have, on the whole, a distinctive approach, is a simple fact (just as karate is, on the whole, distinctive even if other arts do front kick, thrust punch etc.).

I've tried to contribute to this thread, not debate the same tired issue of "why differentiate 'internal' martial arts". The latter question arises only if you use "internal" as some sort of wider "supernatural" or metaphysical description - not a description of principally 3 Chinese arts namely xingyi, bagua and taiji (with some offshoots thrown in).

It actually puzzles me that no one here seems remotely interested in hearing the technical features of the internal arts of China as applied in combat (sans mystical, jargonistic and inflated descriptions). Instead I face cynicism and skepticism for offering my perspective (based on my own study) of these technical features. If I offered my opinion in relation to karate moving I doubt I would be received in the same way. Is it because of the preconceptions associated with the word "internal"?

The internal arts of China are, in my experience, a distinct group of martial arts just like karate is a distinct group of arts with common features. I have attempted to be helpful and describe some of the features of the former, based on more than 18 years specific experience. I might be wrong in my descriptions, but no one else seems to be offering any (jargon free) description of actual ima methods.

If you don't want to know about the internal arts of China and their mechanics, that's your perogative.


Edited by dandjurdjevic (10/12/08 10:21 PM)
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#407366 - 10/12/08 10:48 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
And where exactly did I state that the "Internal" Chinese Martial Arts have anything to do with the "mystical" or "supernatural"? Or did you just assume that because I'm disagreeing with you? I assure you, while I haven't trained in any "Internal" Chinese Martial Arts, I have more sense to learn more about something before disregarding it as [censored]. Believe it or not, I would be interested in learning Chen style Taijiquan or Hebei style Xingyiquan. But not because of this [censored] classification scheme, but because they are interesting Chinese Martial Arts.

I could care less about these minor technicalities that set "Internal" and "External" Chinese Martial Arts apart. Because I see them simply as Chinese Martial Arts. I don't see Taijiquan being on the opposite spectrum of Hung Gar, or Xingyiquan on the opposite spectrum of Western Boxing. Regardless of how you insist these minor technicalities actually make that much of a difference.

As far as I'm concerned, the whole "Internal/External" scheme, as shown historically, was the result of individuals wanting to be different from everyone else. Sun Lu Tang happens to be one of them and he's largely credited with the formation of the "Internal/External" scheme with the Central Guosho Academy following closely behind.

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