Home > Concepts & Principles > Thoughts on the differences between internal and external Arts

Thoughts on the differences between internal and external Arts

I often argue with my friends on if there is a difference or not. As a general rule my friends that claim there is or not have primarily studied one or the other and dabbled in the opposite.

One of the challenges to getting a clear answer is the fact that there are pure internal, pure external, but more commonly arts that are a combination aka/half internal half external.

While there is much in common between the two there are traits I consider different. For example both talk about being extremely relaxed as they move.

However an external stylist will tell you that they do extreme muscular contraction as they hit then relax (before and after). They exert power as they hit a pose/stance. An internal stylist will only talk about stretching instead of contracting.

One of the big issues I misunderstood when I tired to make the transition was that internal arts are always relaxed. This was a misunderstanding of what happens because I let energy leak out with misalignment’s. Maintaining alignments builds up a pressure empowering your alignments.

What I would suggest to those trying to transition is that external arts use alignments and posture with muscular contraction to generate force.

Internal practitioners use posture, alignments, that include stretching, relaxation and by keeping alignments to create a hydrodynamic pressure internally to generate force. Of course this is a far more in-depth topic, but I thought a good place to start.

Let me know your thoughts?


Mike Murphy


Categories: Concepts & Principles
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