View Full Version : BJJ as an internal art--discussion forum

06-30-2000, 08:59 PM
I've posted this guy's link before, as I really liked his definition of Taiji. But, looking over the site more closely, I found that he also has a discussion forum, and he answers questions himself. I believe he said he teaches his own mixture of Bagua, Hsing-I, Taiji and BJJ as his school's core art, and he refers to BJJ as an "internal art". I've found some of the discussions pretty cool as he seems pretty knowledgeable about both "reality" based arts AND "traditional" Chinese internal arts.

06-30-2000, 09:07 PM
Actually, he has a Boston seminar on July 29-30th--I may look into this. Anyone have any personal experience with him?

[This message has been edited by Ky-Fi (edited 07-01-2000).]

07-01-2000, 12:51 AM
From that discussion board:

"Very good question! Ba Gua Zhang (really, all of the so called "Internal" styles (including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) share common principles (the use of whole body power, leverage over brute force, flexibility in technique...). In my opinion, Ba Gua Zhang blends together with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so well becuase they are both grappling based arts (Ba Gua Zhang specializes in throwing and controlling while Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specializes in ground work), based on the common principles outlined above."


"One other point to consider is that UFC-type events usually feature well-conditioned athletes in a toe-to-toe slugout. With the exception of the Gracies on their good days, there is little evidence of the kind of tactical thinking and skill that constitutes a strong part of the "internal" arts' arsenal. I'm thinking specifically of the evasive tactics of baguazhang, although taiji tactics aren't very apparent either, whether in the UFC events or daintier happenings like 'A Taste of China' push-hands competitions."

I understand what is being said, and from my (very limited) understanding of BJJ, I probably agree to some extent.

However, I've typically associated the use of ground-vectored strength to be the hallmark of internal arts. Correct me if I'm wrong, but BJJ has no such practices.


07-01-2000, 04:40 AM
I believe this has fallen foul of the western minsoner syndrome.

Assassin came from hash ashim (or something similar), which was a religious sect that bred some of the worlds finest (and most suicidal) assassins, the only reason it is assassin, is because people said it wrong, and it entered our language under the wrong pronunciation! LOL

In the same light, external arts are arts that have their philosophies and practicies based in Buddhism(a religion devised in a country external to China, ie India), and internal arts are arts based in China's major native philosophy/religion, Toaism. It has nothing to do with using different types of power, or using anothers power against him etc.

The factor of whether an art is external or internal belongs only in its philosophical roots, not techniques or fighting strategies.

As far as I know, BJJ doesn't relate itself to any particular religion or philosophy, therefore cannot be considered internal. (Unless there is a circle crawling technique in BJJ? /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif)


07-01-2000, 04:51 AM
Also, if you translate the original word for assassin, it means "Eater of Hashish.". As in processed oil of the Marijuana plant.

The "Old man of the mountains" would get them lit up and then he transported them to a garden filled with every pleasure known to man.

The next day, he told them if they ever died in his service that they would awaken to the garden for eternity.

Very effective.

Who ended this groups rein of terror? The Mongols of course! The "Old man" actually petitioned the Ilkhan in charge of the empire and asked him for leniency. They did not listen. Gotta' love those Mongols! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

07-01-2000, 11:47 PM
Arioch, I am impressed.

You obviously have a good knowledge base(not many knew that the leader used drugs to control his assassins, very effective it was too!), I will take this into account, and add weight to any of your future posts.


07-02-2000, 01:52 AM
Actually, the drug used as reward to his assassins was opium. The US government rewrote that story in the 20s to fuel it's crusade against marijuana.

As far as the internal/external thing goes, while I agree with Shenden in principle, you can nonetheless say that the internal arts share common principles which the external arts do not - as a function of their root in Taoist.

Thus, to ask if something else is internal would be to ask if it shares those principles. Of course it would never truly be internal because it's not based on Taoist philosophy, but it could "functionally" be internal if it nonetheless manifests the same principles in practice.

Which is why I replied as I did.

07-02-2000, 10:47 PM
Hi All,

I like matephors. You know I think the assassins still live in the world of martial sports.

BJJ is an internal art? Wow, mind botteling! I think it should be a religion of its own and it should be the gospel. Wage another Holy War again the non believers 'cause they are hold the Holy Land hostage. Amen.

Did I mention, I like sarcasim, too?

There is a fine line between cross training and assassining an tradition martial arts or even martial sports for that matter. When can we stop doing this silly justisfications of a martial sport? It is without a soul because it was not meant to have one. I was watching a movie about fictional accounts of Musashi. A monk said to him that he might just be the strongest fighter, but he would never be a samuri because he didn't understand chivaly. Please for the sake of martial arts let it be.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

07-02-2000, 11:10 PM
I think you'll find that although strength can help you in BJJ, it isn't exactly as huge a factor as in such sports as roman-greco wrestling where the stronger of two skilled opponents is normally the victor. Does that make it an internal martial art I have no idea. I do know that size just isn't as big a factor, I am sure knifefighter or ford aka Paul maybe able to give more input.-ED

"The grappling arts imply most fights end up on the ground...take them there. The striking arts imply all fights start standing up...keep them there. The mixed martial arts imply any fight can go anywhere...be ready and able to go everywhere."-a mix martial artist

07-02-2000, 11:29 PM
I am not extremely well versed in the taoist arts, could you please give me some of these principles/methods as examples, so I can further my knowledge?


PS I thought that the drug was a potent psychotropic drug, similar to LSD in effect (not being versed in pharmacology/drug culture either, it could still be an opium derivative) hence the high, and the feelings of being in a perfect garden (although this effect is somewhat dissimilar to LSD, as I have been told it is more often a "down" drug, causing bad visions and frightening flashbacks etc? Is this correct?)

07-03-2000, 01:41 AM
GSD - I've heard that about BJJ (re: being less strength/size dependant), but can't say I have enough experience in it's practice to really comment. I assume that BJJ skills come about largely from talent in strategy, leverage, coordination, etc which is why the poster at the other forum called it an internal art.

In the internal arts, that's definitely where the emphasis is. One of the posters on this board has a good quote as his sig that says something like "the strong beating the weak and the fast beating the slow is not skillfull."

Shenden - You'd probably be better off starting a thread on the internal board asking what the common traits of a Taoist art is. There are certainly people much more knowledgable than me.

I would say some of the hallmarks would be an emphasis on principle over specific techniques, emphasis on skill over speed/strength, emphasis on a circle being the quickest way in between two points (ie. to be good at one thing, be good at all things).

However, the ground-vectored strength I was referring to would be what really seems to differentiate the taoist arts.

Perhaps someone with more experience could reply - do any other styles manipulate the ground path the way xingyi, taiji, bagua, and yiquan do?

P.S. For research on the drug thing, see:

Grinspoon, L. 1971. Marihuana reconsidered. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

No one is absolutely sure what drug Hashishin-i-Sabbah gave his followers. It's pretty clear it wasn't any derivitive of marijuana though - which doesn't really induce bliss, and certainly doesn't induce homicidal rage. LSD and analogues were not around back then. A milder hallucinagen like mushrooms could have been used, but it doesn't seem likely - as they're neither psychologically nor physically addictive to any significant degree, and also are not likely to induce bliss or rage. The most likely candidate is an opium derivitive (which had been around in various parts of the world) used as a reward - which could induce both temporary bliss (well beyond the extent of the other other drugs) and significant psychological as well as moderate physical dependancy.