I'm a bit of a dumb dumb when it comes to the whole "internal" arts. Until recently i was under the impression that the term "internal art" was related to systems dealing more with the cultivation of chi and helping you learn to use it more effectively to promote your personal health. The other day i was reading through Mike Pattersons site and found a different interpretation. I'll post a link to the page in question and a small quote. I would like to get a take on this from others here that are "ACTUALLY TRAINING" in systems like hsing-i, tai chi and so on. No DBZ theories. I've heard from a few different people that Mike Patterson knows what he is talking about and is a very effective artist and instructor, Scott being one. I would just like another take from those who KNOW. http://www.hsing-i.com/hsing-i/IntvsExt.html
"The original meanings of Internal vs. External kung fu have been largely misconstrued over the last generation due to many "oral" variations of the many different kung fu families trying to paint a picture showcasing their own individual style. So, now adays a person hears many incorrect statements regarding these differences such as External Styles are "Hard" and Internal Styles are "Soft", but in reality the original meaning of this "difference" was entirely philosophic and geographic. The original me aning of the external styles was simply that those styles were originally started by Da Mo and the ShaoLin temples (buddhist philosophy) who purportedly came from India, and was hence from outside China (External Style). And the original meaning of "Internal" was to denote those styles that were founded on the Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu and were created inside of China (Internal Styles)."