Friday, June 29, 2012
Internal/External, Fraternal Affiliations
Identifying the differences between the (supposed) Internal and External martial arts/systems has always been a subject of curiosity for me. When I was in my teens, I had several acquaintances who were involved with/studied several of the Internal martial art systems.
To be fair, my opinion may have been influenced by the fact that (each of) these individual's were colossal douche-bags. Beyond that fact, what they were doing (technique wise), was often woefully inadequate to accomplish the desired goals.
At that time, I was in my teens, and fairly limited in my own ability's as well (when viewed in hind-site, LOL). Most of these individual's had been practicing/learning their pursuits for far longer than I had, yet they never seemed to improve? They could do far more kata, and knew numerous “cool” looking hand motions, but never seemed to improve in (physical) ability.
I'm sure there are numerous individual's can/will be able to inform those who may be curious about (more) specific details (of those differences), but for the average person, I believe I can sum-up the (popular) differences.
The “short” version, is that the (so-called) external systems, tend to emphasize performing strikes of the bludgeoning variety. This type of system is commonly associated to/with the Japanese style of martial arts. The presumably internal systems, will tend to emphasize the mental aspects and applications that benefit the student with their use. These also tend to be (mainly) Chinese.
From my own perspective, I've witnessed very few actual differences between the two (in either practice, or application). I've found that both will usually emphasize the physical techniques, in conjunction with the mental development of the student.
RyuTe, is (somewhat) unique, in that one of Taika's instructor's was Okinawan, and his other instructor was of Chinese decent (but was from Okinawa). Maybe the bigger differences, are between Chinese and Okinawan systems (Japanese systems are only re-hashes of Okinawan systems).
Taika used to talk about how the Chinese systems wanted to emulate animal's. Taika (as well as his instructor's) felt this was (somewhat) stupid. People are not animals, we don't/can't move the way an animal does, nor do we have fangs and claws, so to what purpose is attempting to emulate their ways?
In a single breath, he (Taika) would praise the degree to which the Chinese would study the motions/habits of a particular animal (to learn their motions). And in following, he would ridicule them for not having devoted that time to studying the same in humans.
I believe the only thing that Taika consistently criticized (and always spoke in total disrespect of), was the pursuit of the TCM/Ki “crap” (or at least it's relation to anything to do with martial arts). He often used his own analogy's, but never in any kind of mystical way.
From everything I've read, both of these concepts (internal, and external) are inherent in every systems teachings. It does appear though, that some systems make the attempt, to claim that they (only) do the correct, (internal or external) methodology.
For myself (and I may be over-simplifying the subject, LOL), Internal (study) is both the mental and habitual tendency's of people. External, is the recognition/understanding of the physical motions/actions that will effect the action's of another.
Personally, I don't see how you could emphasize one, without the other?