Why would it be lost ?

It 's a different approach in training and principles, how to generate power in technique, that makes the difference
IMA and EMA. But the principle of generating power through correct body alignment, collecting and dispatching internal energy through correct breathing, accompanied with correct mindset/focus that creates explosive power(fajing) in technique, is not exclusive to IMA. The sanchin kata is explained as 3 battles of body-mind-breathing.
I study Goju-ryu karate and have only minimal experience with tai chi (in a form of comparison of techniques with a tai chi instructor). As I understand it, the focus on internal energy and correct mindset (intent) in delivering is focused primarely from day one. In our system, the first years correct breathing, physical power and correct stance is focused from day one. Gradually the internal aspects come more into play as you start to "feel" them. Then you learn how to apply relaxation and tension in order to put correct focus in hard or soft technique. Use of chi, primarely obtained through correct breathing and focus(mindset, intent) is a process that is discovered indivdually, you cannot force to "feel" this by giving/getting instruction.
Historically, karate was greatly influenced by southern Chinese (Fukien) styles, mainly White Crane, Tiger, Lion, Dog, Dragon, 5 Ancestor and Monk Fist boxing. They emphesise muscular development and these training methods formed the base.
Apperently some masters also studied Hsing-I and Taichi and Ba Gua, no doubt to better understand internal aspects.
As far as I understand the difference between the internal and external principle, internal will not lock lower body when delivering an upper body technique, external approach will. For instance, in sanchin/sanseru/sesan/... opening sequence will step into sanchin dachi, locking into this stance thzn pull back arm and deliver punch(or thrust...) : this is an external approach. In seiyunchin, when stepping int shiko-dachi delivering a low hamer fist towards the testicles, technique and stance are deliverd at the same moment immediatly followed up by the next movement (stepping back in this case), the lower body is not locked in the stance. This is to me the difference internal/external approach. Karate is full of both.

Edited by CVV (07/02/05 08:24 AM)