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#407367 - 10/12/08 11:11 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I think you may be missing the point of discussion. It's not cynicism and skepticism, it's debate.
If you can't make a case for anything distinctive of 'internal' movement, then there really is no discussion, since you haven't made a case...wouldn't you agree?

so far, you have not made that argument. now again with 'falling step' as with tai sabaki, you did not make a case of distinction. instead you are just saying it's different without describing why or how it's different.

I'm interested in hearing your perspective of how any one of the principles you mention is distictively in an 'internal' category contrasted to the 'external' version of that similar principle.

is there an external 'falling step' vs an internal one? if so, what are the physically distinguishing properties? I think thats the core of the discussion. but like I said, I'm often wrong.

btw, 'cynical' would be a comment such as: "hey, isn't it about time for someone to come into this thread to complain and ask why people are still discussing it?"

#407368 - 10/12/08 11:56 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
No - there is no "internal" falling step. You appear to have missed the point of all my posts - again.

I am familiar with the concept of debate. However I haven't tried to raise any argument contrary to what you and others appear to be saying. In other words, I'm not interested in such a "debate" (whatever it is actually about).

I have instead attempted to describe the internal martial arts of China by reference to certain characteristics, some of which exist in other arts but which collectively give the internal arts a unique character. This is much the same as the fact that the styles comprising "karate" can be considered a unique subset of the martial arts because they have common features some of which exist in other arts.

I have attempted to provide my description dispassionately and accurately as a practitioner of all 3 internal arts as well as other arts like karate. I have attempted to do so without any jargon or mystical language (which usually clouds these discussions). I have qualified any "fancy terms" like "suri ashi" with detailed descriptions of what I mean in English (contary to your previous implication).

It seems that no one on this thread appears interested in my description of the operation of the internal arts of China (xingyi, bagua, taiji). Indeed, you don't even appear to be reading my posts fully... wouldn't you agree?

Furthermore, no one wants to argue with me about whether my descriptions are accurate (eg. "No - xingyi doesn't use "falling step" it uses..."). Rather you want to argue me out of a position I haven't taken (relating to your own "definition" of what "internal" means or doesn't mean).

Accordingly, as far as I'm concerned the "debate" is now at an end.

#407369 - 10/13/08 07:51 PM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
if the debate is over for you, then feel free not to comment.

I don't think tai sabaki or dropping body weight concepts/tactics/dynamics are uniquely catagorized as either internal or external.
anyone else have any opinions on what constitues uniquely internal aspects to fighting arts?

#407370 - 10/14/08 01:31 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I've reconsidered my last posts and found them abrupt and impolite, so I must apologise. We all have bad days.

The source of my frustration is that I don't think my view is being properly understood. I have never sought to enter into a debate as to whether a particular biomechanical process is uniquely "internal". (Bear in mind my strong view that by "internal" one should be referring, principally, to 3 particular Chinese arts that are related, much like karate styles are related - and not to some other metaphysical concept).

It follows then that it is not my contention that taisabaki or dropping body weight is uniquely the province of the Chinese internal arts.

Rather it is my view that "dropping foot" type stepping, while common to many martial arts, is used in xingyi virtually to the exclusion of any other type of stepping. This technique, when used in combination with other techniques/methods (which might be found in other arts as well) gives rise to a unique approach - much like Okinawan karate has a unique approach and is therefore distinguishable from even it's Chinese mainland cousins (despite almost identical "building blocks").

In my experience the 3 internal arts have a commonality (similar to the commonality in karate) in how they combine building blocks (eg. preferred moving/taisabaki). I am not suggesting that those building blocks are themselves "internal". Clearly, as Cord has been saying, the basic building blocks of movement are always the same due to simple human mechanics.

How the internal arts of China combine/prioritise these blocks is, to me, interesting because it appears to me that they prioritise efficient momentum transfer in specific techniques (sure, often at the expense of realism and conditioning), where other similar traditional forms will have a different priority.

I have attempted to describe just one way in which this process is played out (the dominant footwork in xingyi). I might be wrong as to whether xingyi's approach in this regard is remotely efficient for momentum transfer as I have surmised, but this is my sincere and considered view.


#407371 - 10/14/08 01:49 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia

I have attempted to describe just one way in which this process is played out (the dominant footwork in xingyi). I might be wrong as to whether xingyi's approach in this regard is remotely efficient for momentum transfer as I have surmised, but this is my sincere and considered view.

That sounds about right. The foot stomp/drop acts like a kind of "brake", which causes your momentum to transfer forward, somewhat abruptly, like a car running into a kerb - only you'd want your body (middle/dantien) behind your fist when that occurs.

#407372 - 11/07/08 11:55 AM Re: A reasonable discussion of "internal" physics [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ames Offline

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Wow. Alot has been said in this thread. I'd like to offer my opinion, for what it's worth, on few issues.

I think that the 'ima' can be seen as seperate from ema based on a non-reliance of hip torque. Although, this might not be true for all styles of ima, as I have not done them all before. Yet, from what I have seen and experianced so far, I will say that this seems accurate. Of course, 'external arts' also can generate power with recourse to hip torque, but not as often.

As an example, one of the main differences between Koryu Jujutsu and Judo, is this very reliance (on the part of Judo) on the torqueing power of the hips.

This, of course, brings the question of where exactly is the power comeing from? I think Dan is right when he introduces the concept of the 'falling step'. Indeed, from my experiance, the bulk of training in ima is geared toward learning the kind of power that comes from this type of movement.

I should also say that I don't argee with Dan when he states that this type of power is not found in

Japanese [...] martial arts [...] have a technical base that is analogous to the Shaolin school (certainly nothing like the Chinese internal arts)"

Actually, if you go back to many of the older schools of Japan, you will indeed find just this sort of thing being trained explicitly. Tetsuzan Kuroda, for example, has stated that he did not call his style of Jujutsu 'Aiki', because his grandfather believed that ALL jujutsu should be performed in this 'soft' (internal) manner. Daito Ryu is another obvious example of an internal Japanese tradition, as are most early schools of Kenjutsu, from what I have heard and seen demonstrated by practioners of these styles.

I know I have not defined this kind of movement very well. I think Dan made an excellent attempt in that article he linked to earlier in this thread. All I can add if my more personal explanation.

Think of this kind of steping almost like you are literally falling and just before you hit the ground your steping leg saves you. This is a poor metaphor in many ways, I know. For instance, it seems to imply that during the step, one would be very off balance. This is not so.

Honestly, I think it is completely fair to say that certain arts generally emphasize this aspect of training. Although many styles do have facets of it, I've noticed that usually they only have a forward falling step. They usually cannot perform this type of movement in all directions. In order to make up for this arts such as Aikido (which does not use internal body skills very often in my opinion) make up for it by the use of the pivot, something which relies on hip torque to generate power.

Aikido does not really manifest these body skills, although Ueshiba certainly was an internal martial artist. However, none of his students were able, at least to the same degree, to demonstrate these skills, and today in Aikido I see nothing that speaks to Aikido being anymore of an internal martial art, at least in physical sense, than Okinawan Karate.

That being said, Aikido does spend more time than most arts on the psychological aspect of movement than most other arts, and some may say that this is an 'internal' facet. However, I really don't think this is so. External arts, including many 'sportive' arts, such as Boxing or BJJ, emphasize this aspect of combat as much as Aikido does. It is my belief that in order to call Aikido 'internal' one would also have to call these arts 'internal'.

The main criteria for catagorizing an art as 'internal' is its emphasis on this falling (or 'void') stepping and movement. Also it's important to say that, like any catagory, the split between ima and ema is somewhat provisional. Catagories only exist as tools to differentiate, they are all somewhat arbitrary. Actually all arts exist in a spectrum. It's just that some arts occupy one side more than another.

My two cents.


Edited by Ames (11/07/08 12:10 PM)
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."

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