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Thread: Who Switched from External to Internal Martial Arts and Why?

  1. #1

    Who Switched from External to Internal Martial Arts and Why?

    Greetings! I am a new member from New Jersey.

    I used to study Shaolin, Qin-Na, Sanda, and Jeet Kune Do when I was young, but I switched to internal arts eventually. Currently I am learning Chen Style Hunyuan Tai Chi under Master Wang Feng Ming, a disciple of late Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang. He teaches in NJ, NY, and CT. Here is his website: http://www.worldtaiji.com/

    Switching to internal martial arts is a big commitment for me, as the payoff does not come immediately. I am curious to see how many of you have made similar switches after you learned the external styles, and what prompted you to make that switch.

    Also, I'd like to hear your comments on the pros and cons of different Kung Fu styles, as you have seen more than one style already and probably have more knowledge than a single-style practitioner.

    I look forward to your insights!
    Studying Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji under Master Wang Feng Ming
    http://www.worldtaiji.com/

    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
    --- Bruce Lee

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by taiji24 View Post
    Greetings! I am a new member from New Jersey.

    I used to study Shaolin, Qin-Na, Sanda, and Jeet Kune Do when I was young, but I switched to internal arts eventually. Currently I am learning Chen Style Hunyuan Tai Chi under Master Wang Feng Ming, a disciple of late Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang. He teaches in NJ, NY, and CT. Here is his website: http://www.worldtaiji.com/

    Switching to internal martial arts is a big commitment for me, as the payoff does not come immediately. I am curious to see how many of you have made similar switches after you learned the external styles, and what prompted you to make that switch.

    Also, I'd like to hear your comments on the pros and cons of different Kung Fu styles, as you have seen more than one style already and probably have more knowledge than a single-style practitioner.

    I look forward to your insights!
    Despite my many years in CMA, when people talk about switching from external to internal, I am extremely clueless on what they are talking about and I guess I will never get it.
    They share the same attributes. My reference is that it pertains to levels of training and not external or internal. Just saying..........

  3. #3
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    When you assume that people have switched from "external" to "internal", you have assumed that "internal" is superior than "external". Should you also ask how many people have switched from "internal" to "external"?
    http://johnswang.com

    More opinion -> more argument
    Less opinion -> less argument
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  4. #4
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    Whether someone is "internal" or "external" is wholly dependent on the level they have achieved, and has little to do with the "style". And where does one stop and the other start? I've met some long-time practitioners of so-called internal systems who were far less internal than many long-time practitioners of so-called external systems, including some karate experts.

    There has been a belief that 'internal' stylists age more gracefully and retain more ability and good health as they become older, but there are many instances where that is just not the case.

    Whatever art(s) one chooses to pursue, the most important thing is that it feels right for you, rather than if it's labeled as an internal or external art.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 02-12-2014 at 10:24 PM.

  5. #5
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    Almost two years ago I had open heart surgery. I tried getting back into training Northern Mantis right away, but my power and mobility were gone. So I began training Yang style Taijiquan (Liu Yunchaio abstract). It helped me get my power and mobility back. Now I am back to training and teaching Mantis. Taijiquan was a great filler art for getting my health back!

    Though I prefer Mantis as a means of self-defense, I believe that Taijiquan improved my overall shenfa and was a more appropriate low intensity workout for my recovery.
    Richard A. Tolson
    https://www.patreon.com/mantismastersacademy

    There are two types of Chinese martial artists. Those who can fight and those who should be teaching dance or yoga!

    53 years of training, 43 years of teaching and still aiming for perfection!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mooyingmantis View Post
    Almost two years ago I had open heart surgery. I tried getting back into training Northern Mantis right away, but my power and mobility were gone. So I began training Yang style Taijiquan (Liu Yunchaio abstract). It helped me get my power and mobility back. Now I am back to training and teaching Mantis. Taijiquan was a great filler art for getting my health back!

    Though I prefer Mantis as a means of self-defense, I believe that Taijiquan improved my overall shenfa and was a more appropriate low intensity workout for my recovery.
    mooyingmantis, thank you so much. This is the kind of insights I am looking for.
    Studying Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji under Master Wang Feng Ming
    http://www.worldtaiji.com/

    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
    --- Bruce Lee

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    When you assume that people have switched from "external" to "internal", you have assumed that "internal" is superior than "external". Should you also ask how many people have switched from "internal" to "external"?
    Sorry if I left the wrong impression - I am not looking to validate an assumption that "internal" is superior or vice versa. I have practiced other styles myself (Sanda, Qin Na, JKD) and will definitely use them when appropriate.

    Actually I really don't mind if the original question is framed as "who have switched from internal to external styles and why". I am trying to understand how people are making these decisions and the context of it, not a religious debate on which one is superior. Fundamentally, I think every martial art that survives thus far has its deserved place.

    Again, I am looking to understand the journey of others and see how that can relate to mine. I hope this clarifies.
    Studying Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji under Master Wang Feng Ming
    http://www.worldtaiji.com/

    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
    --- Bruce Lee

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by taiji24 View Post
    who have switched from internal to external styles and why?
    Taiji was my 1st CMA style that I learned when I was 7. I tried to use my Taiji to fight without much luck. When I was 11, my brother in law taught me the 2nd CMA style Lohan. He asked me to train "1 step 3 punches" for 3 years. Since I could use what he taught me in fighting, I always have more faith in those "external" styles than in those "internal" styles. Today I don't care "external" or 'internal". All I care is still "head meets fist/ground".
    Last edited by YouKnowWho; 02-14-2014 at 12:53 PM.
    http://johnswang.com

    More opinion -> more argument
    Less opinion -> less argument
    No opinion -> no argument

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mooyingmantis View Post
    Almost two years ago I had open heart surgery. I tried getting back into training Northern Mantis right away, but my power and mobility were gone. So I began training Yang style Taijiquan (Liu Yunchaio abstract). It helped me get my power and mobility back. Now I am back to training and teaching Mantis. Taijiquan was a great filler art for getting my health back!

    Though I prefer Mantis as a means of self-defense, I believe that Taijiquan improved my overall shenfa and was a more appropriate low intensity workout for my recovery.
    Just curious - Have you looked at Taiji Mantis after learning Yang Style Taiji? (I don't know anything about Taiji Mantis.)
    Studying Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji under Master Wang Feng Ming
    http://www.worldtaiji.com/

    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
    --- Bruce Lee

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miqi View Post
    That was funny. You know you're out of shape and balance when you have to walk over to a wall to hold yourself up just to show your students the bottom of your foot.


    From the beginning of my martial arts training I have practice both the so called internal and external at the same time. I've been studying over 30 years and still can't tell you what the difference is. Maybe it's doing forms slow…who knows. I practice all my forms, internal and external slow and fast. Tai Chi and other forms should be practiced at all speeds, both left and right, and on different terrain and elevations. When I practice the external forms I breathe. When I practice the internal forms I breathe. When I practice chi kung I breathe. They all cultivate energy, power and teach applications, so again, what's the difference? The most important thing in martial arts, as you acquire skills and develop your body, is to pressure test yourself against opponents so you can actually learn to fight. Otherwise it's just dance and exercise, which is also okay, but it's not martial.

    I agree with YouKnowWho here…

    Today I don't care "external" or 'internal". All I care is still "head meets fist/ground".

  12. #12
    The problem is that most internal martial arts nowadays are degraded and are not genuine.

    I practice Southern Shaolin kung fu, and the internal aspect has been kept intact due to the directness of the lineage. All in our school experience the benefits of genuine internal training. Radiant health and vitality, mental clarity, internal force, and spiritual joys. The payoff actually comes quite quickly, in less than a year I was experiencing these benefits to some degree and it only gets better the longer I train.

    "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
    - Sun Tzu

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBrain View Post
    That was funny. You know you're out of shape and balance when you have to walk over to a wall to hold yourself up just to show your students the bottom of your foot.
    Lol. Out of shape martial arts instructors talking about 'training' are always funny - I always think "when's the last time you even did any"? It's a bit like my son's business studies teacher - somehow I can't quite take him seriously, seeing as how he's teaching the subject and not running a successful business.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neeros View Post
    The problem is that most internal martial arts nowadays are degraded and are not genuine.
    There are few better examples of this degradation and lack of genuineness than 'Shaolin' Wah Nam.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Miqi View Post
    There are few better examples of this degradation and lack of genuineness than 'Shaolin' Wah Nam.
    Have you trained with us at some point?

    "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
    - Sun Tzu

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