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Stranger
03-08-2001, 04:57 PM
Is it necessary to study an external style of kung fu before learning an internal style?

Daniel Madar
03-08-2001, 05:12 PM
It certainly is a good idea. Too many times have I heard people whine that their teachers "don't teach combat applications". If they are teaching you the form, they are teaching you combat applications. You can go somewhere else and practice it.

More centrally to the subject, it's best to have an idea of how your body works and how you react before you try to apply fighting mechanisms to the softer arts.

In particular--as I said in a recent post--I think bagua should again be restricted to people who have already mastered another fighting art. Otherwise you get people who think that because they walk the circle in practice, that they should try to do it in a fight. The stepping you learn from the circle is important and applicable, but not the way a newbie to combat would think.

Kaitain(UK)
03-08-2001, 05:42 PM
you go through the same process anyway - you can only internalise what you have made effective externally

so you learn the big external Yang slow form for instance and then with time it becomes more internal and less external

if you are trained in something external you can appreciate a lot more without being told - you progress a lot faster through the external part of training but sometimes you get caught up when it starts to go internal because you have ingrained ideas and structures - it took me 6 months to stop punching with a clenched fist - just squeezing the thumb over the top is all that is needed for a solid structure (stacked and racked we call it :)). If you'd never been taught to punch you'd have no problem with it.

a double-edged sword in my opinion

Stranger
03-08-2001, 05:43 PM
What if the individual has trained for several years in Japanese jujutsu, but they have no kung fu training?

Kaitain(UK)
03-08-2001, 05:49 PM
it's the appreciation of martial movement that's required, not a grounding in a specific style

I came from Muay Thai background so there you go :)

Eight Immortals
03-08-2001, 07:00 PM
"In particular--as I said in a recent post--I think bagua should again be restricted to people who have already mastered another fighting art. Otherwise you get people who think that because they walk the circle in practice, that they should try to do it in a fight. The stepping you learn from the circle is important and applicable, but not the way a newbie to combat would think."

Daniel,

What makes you think that only newbies would have a hard time figuring out applications for circle walking?? I have seen many high level practitioners from other external styles have a difficult time understanding the concept and figuring out applications. As a matter of fact they seem to have a harder time trying to relax the body and seem very rigid and "hard". Many of these same people have told me that they sometimes find it hard to adjust from their previous style because of the habits they have.

Actually it seems to be pretty much common sense if you only THINK ABOUT IT; what purpose would it serve if you walk a wide circle around your opponent?? Just because I didnt have any martial arts experience didnt mean I wasnt clever enough to figure that out. One must study the different Angles and Distances in order to bridge the gap.

I think it is more important if a student is first explained the reason why we walk the circle, http://cwm.ragesofsanity.com/s/net6/walksmil.gif they need to know the principles behind the movements; also what benefits can be derived from circle walking, how it can be applied not only martially but also as a chi kung exercise.

I do agree that a person like myself that had no martial arts experience must be trained with basic FOUNDATION!!
At first I was taught basic posture holding in various low stances, basic low posture forms, jumping sets, Praying Mantis Forms, a Baji Form, and rudimentary straight line sets. I believe that beginers who have no martial arts foundation, no flexibility, no coordination, no balance, need these basics but thats it...
I dont think you have to be an expert from another style to better comprehend Pakua. Pakua ist not magical or mystical its just hard practice. I believe all you need is Pakua!!

1 http://cwm.ragesofsanity.com/s/guus/rasta.gif

"A martial art that looks good but has no real depth will provide little lasting value no matter how many years you practice."

Master Park Bok Nam

[This message was edited by Eight Immortals on 03-09-01 at 10:08 AM.]

Kune
03-08-2001, 09:26 PM
dood..just stick to one style, otherwise you end up unlearning everything from a previous style to learn a new one. Not worth the time or energy, actually it seems like a waste. Find something worth your time, and devote yourself to it 150%.

Eight Immortals
03-08-2001, 10:04 PM
:D I agree :D

Water Dragon
03-08-2001, 11:10 PM
In the beginning, Internal styles are very external. You have to create a "Kung Fu Body" Internal is built from external basics. Of course, that's a major oversimplification, but it should answer your question.

Although there are many styles, they all depend on the strong beating the weak and the slow falling to the quick. These are not related to the power that must be learned -- Taiji Classics

neijiachuan
03-08-2001, 11:13 PM
It's okay if some of us done agree with each other on the given topic (or for anything else discusseds on this forum for that matter). That's why were here right, or at least part of the reason.

I don't agree with the statement made declaring one should master a style before attempting the practice of bagua. Likewise, I don't agree you need to learn a external style before beginning your practices in an interal system. I will list my reasons why below.

As we all know and have been told repeatedly, it can take a lifetime to master one particular style. So if we are restricted to our practices in Bagua with the required criteria that we must master any given art first; IMHO- that is a lot of wasted time in which one could be spending learning the art of Baguazhang.

In my experience, people who learn several arts are never at the top of any of them. I found personally that trying to mix styles was very hard. Each had different body mechanics and practices. That is why I only practice Chen Taijiquan now.

One teacher I had said something close to the following to me: Trying to learn Shaolin and Taijiquan at the same time is like trying to climb two mountains at the same time. He then told me to stop practicing Shaolin.

Another teacher compared learning two styles at the same time like trying to build two buildings at the same time by hand. Maybe you could only build them three stories high working on both. But working on only one you could maybe build it say five stories high.

So, IMO, you have to evaluate your goals to decide what you want out of what your practice.

Another teacher told the story of the bear in the corn field. (He said Americans remind him of the bear, btw.) The bear is picking up corn and stuffing them under his arm without eating them. After a time, he has so many that he begins to drop some of them. But he continues to pick up new ears of corn, and continues to drop more.

My teacher suggested a better way is to eat each ear of corn, digest it and then when you are ready, pick up another ear of corn eat it and so on. He warned us against being the bear.

I think learning an external and internal system at the same time or i this case seperately is very similar. It takes time to "reprogram" your body to a particular type of body mechanics.

If you are practicing two very different things, such as an internal system and an external system, it is very hard to keep them separate and not have a "bleeding" of one into the other.

Some people compare that to taking a bottle of good Rum, taking out a cup, adding some Beer to the Rum and then still trying to call it good Rum. It really isn't good Rum anymore. I hope you can see the analogy.

With that in mind, I know a well known Chinese martial arts teacher that was made to stop his Shaolin, Preying Mantis, and Bajiquan training when he began Bagua. His teacher felt that they would interfere with the "flavor" of Bagua and that he could not keep the art pure.

Just my 2 cents,

neijiachuan

neijiachuan
03-08-2001, 11:14 PM
It's okay if some of us done agree with each other on the given topic (or for anything else discussed within this forum for that matter). That's why were here right, or at least part of the reason.

I don't agree with the statement made declaring one should master a style before attempting the practice of bagua. Likewise, I don't agree you need to learn a external style before beginning your practices in an interal system. I will list my reasons why below.

As we all know and have been told repeatedly, it can take a lifetime to master one particular style. So if we are restricted to our practices in Bagua with the required criteria that we must master any given art first; IMHO- that is a lot of wasted time in which one could be spending learning the art of Baguazhang.

In my experience, people who learn several arts are never at the top of any of them. I found personally that trying to mix styles was very hard. Each had different body mechanics and practices. That is why I only practice Chen Taijiquan now.

One teacher I had said something close to the following to me: Trying to learn Shaolin and Taijiquan at the same time is like trying to climb two mountains at the same time. He then told me to stop practicing Shaolin.

Another teacher compared learning two styles at the same time like trying to build two buildings at the same time by hand. Maybe you could only build them three stories high working on both. But working on only one you could maybe build it say five stories high.

So, IMO, you have to evaluate your goals to decide what you want out of what your practice.

Another teacher told the story of the bear in the corn field. (He said Americans remind him of the bear, btw.) The bear is picking up corn and stuffing them under his arm without eating them. After a time, he has so many that he begins to drop some of them. But he continues to pick up new ears of corn, and continues to drop more.

My teacher suggested a better way is to eat each ear of corn, digest it and then when you are ready, pick up another ear of corn eat it and so on. He warned us against being the bear.

I think learning an external and internal system at the same time or in this case seperately is very similar. It takes time to "reprogram" your body to a particular type of body mechanics.

If you are practicing two very different things, such as an internal system and an external system, it is very hard to keep them separate and not have a "bleeding" of one into the other.

Some people compare that to taking a bottle of good Rum, taking out a cup, adding some Beer to the Rum and then still trying to call it good Rum. It really isn't good Rum anymore. I hope you can see the analogy.

With that in mind, I know a well known Chinese martial arts teacher that was made to stop his Shaolin, Preying Mantis, and Bajiquan training when he began Bagua. His teacher felt that they would interfere with the "flavor" of Bagua and that he could not keep the art pure.

Just my 2 cents,

neijiachuan
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Esteban
03-08-2001, 11:41 PM
Hi Neijiachuan,

I think I understand what you're trying to say. But, I also think we tend to get lots of things mixed up. Imho, there's a difference between "mastering" something and becoming a "master." In the West, I think we tend to think of a master as someone who has refined his skill to (near) perfection, almost to a supernatural degree. It's a kind of god-like status. Well, if one is practicing to attain that level of masterhood in any discipline, then one has to maintain a very narrow focus. There are loads of stories about people who practiced one thing --not even an entire system-- over and over again. OK, but there's a difference between practicing "beng quan" and being a student of Xingyi. Though I understand your example, it would seem to follow that it would be a waste of time to learn "beng quan" before becoming a master of "pi quan." I don't think this happens. And, I don't think that the special kind of almost magical mastery that some people have developed has a great deal to do with practitioners of bagua, xingyi, taiji. How many pepole box? And how many get to be nationally ranked? and how many of those win the Olympics, and of those how many become the best of just there generation? OTOH, I'd argue that there are a lot of boxing "masters." Well, their speech might be a little slurred, but that's not what I'm talking about. I mean that we all "master" lots of things: eating, driving, walking, running, etc. Yet, we usually don't consider ourselves "masters" of these things. We know that we can do any of them more skillfully, but we get along. The same thing with the martial arts, imo. Maybe a few will get to the 99+%, but I think many people are more concerned with keeping the bullies respectful, and feeling comfortable in the real world. I agree with the teacher who gave the "one corn at a time" story. But, he didn't say you had to just eat one.

Best,
Esteban

thething
03-09-2001, 12:51 AM
Any kind, as long as done properly, internal training is good with or without external training. Internal helps your external training in many different ways.


As far as my system goes, bakfu, its implied that certain levels of forms/techniques require certain level of interal skills, training.

PlasticSquirrel
03-09-2001, 01:04 AM
i agree with esteban. of course, the person needs to have the adequate flexibility and speed to do these arts, but they will develop, albeit a bit slower than usual.

there was this story about a man who practiced only the shaolin shao hong chuan (an introductory form) all his life, and was unbeatable. as esteban said, you have to be narrow-minded and objective.