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How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:41 am
by artofwar
I found this on blogger. It seems to be a student of Peter Ralston inquiring about how to fight with internal arts. What do you think? How come there aren't internal artists in the UFC or MMA scene?


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Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:50 pm
by Sugelanren
Hi bud.

If i was to answer your question "How do I fight with internal arts?" Id have to say "I fight only when i have to, and with intent".

Tai chi isn't a sport, it's a martial art. If there were walls in an MMA ring, the fighting style would change. If there were bystanders, or knifes, or muggers involved then the style would differ further. If there were guns involved? UFC is a sport, and the fighters are talented. I am a Tai chi player and you'd never see me in a UFC ring, why would i ever want to go in one? That's the question.

Apparently this guy fights in MMA and does Tai Chi -

And this Guy teaches MMA style combat and does Tai Chi -

edit. I should point out that i am only talking for myself. This post in no way tries to represent the Tai chi Community's views on this.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:04 pm
by Bob Ashmore
I will also be speaking only for myself on this topic.
The original question to Peter Ralston wasn't from one of his "students", in that the person asking had never trained directly with him but had learned some of his methods from a book.
Peter Ralston answers him very well, I feel. He didn't discourage him, instead he gave him a useful exercise to use to begin to understand the concepts of TCC combat princples, "do not meet force with force, do not go against".
It's a good lesson to learn, it should keep the gentleman occupied for quite some time and it won't hurt anyone no matter how clumsy they are when they start out with it.

As to why there are not TCC fighters in hard style sport/exhibition matches...
Why would there be?
I don't know about you, but for my way of thinking there are way too many "rules" in that kind of sport fighting that make our kind of fighting next to impossible to pull off "in the ring".
Since it's a young mans game I'm never going to participate anyway but even if were 30 years younger and knew then what I know now...
I'd still not have done so.
I don't see any point to it. Not for me.
Sure, it looks like it could be fun if you're into that kind of thing.
I have never been.
Others will answer differently, but again I'm speaking strictly for myself.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:11 pm
by Audi
Greetings all,

Martial arts include skills relating to self defense, fighting, and sport; however, each of these has different goals and different constraints. Even within these areas, there are different focuses that are still easily visible in the differing development of many arts. Take, for example, the differing characteristics of Bagua, Xingyi, Chen Style Tai Chi, Yang Style Tai Chi, or Wu/Hao Style Tai Chi, each of which clearly reflects the circumstances around its origins. Who is your likely opponent? What will you and he be wearing? What do you want to do to him or her? Where will you face him or her?

If you prepare for everything, you will not be particularly good at anything. MMA is a sport that is well adapted to some martial arts, but not to others, even many external martial arts. Almost all the top MMA fighters come out of only half a dozen martial arts/sports or just generically train in the pool of techniques from those arts. In my view, this reflects poorly on neither MMA nor on those other arts. It would be like asking why Karate fighters and their techniques are not better represented among professional boxers. They are simply different things.

As for how to fight with internal arts, I would say that each traditional system has its own curriculum. Follow through diligently until the end and you will have your answer. In our case, I would summarize our path by saying:

1. Do form and drills to learn to manage your own energy.
2. Do fixed-step push hands to begin to learn to stick and manage the joint energy of you and your opponent.
3. Do moving-step push hands to learn how to move while establishing and managing your joint energy.

If you do all these things, you will learn how to control your opponent's energy. If you can do so, what can your opponent do to you? What can you not do to your opponent?

There is a great deal of content along this path, and different people focus on different aspects. Some styles or teachers promote shorter paths or shortcuts, but I do not have know of any that fit our system. We use form to arrive at no-form. We focus on thought, so that we do not need to think later. The range of techniques and how they combine is limitless. "Become familiar with the movements, then come to understand the energy in them, then you will have marvelous insight to do what you want."

There is no way to describe such a thing in a few words, but let me quote Sunzi, as one of my Tai Chi teachers often has. What applies to a clash of armies is what is to apply between you and your opponent.

Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy's own tactics - that is what the multitude cannot comprehend. All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain. The five elements (water, fire, wood, metal, earth) are not always equally predominant; the four seasons make way for each other in turn. There are short days and long; the moon has its periods of waning and waxing.

Take care,

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:59 pm
by Bob Ashmore
Once again Audi was able to more clearly convey what I was thinking than I was.
Kudos! Awesome post.


Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:15 pm
by ChiDragon
Internal art is a very serious art. It is nothing to be engaged in a combat with anyone without hesitation. One who practice such art can cause serious bodily harm to someone. That's why the practitioner always try to avoid any unnecessary encounter. It was only used for protection and self defense with mental control.

The art requires self discipline and self control with a pledge not to hurt anyone before it was taught. It was a bad start or start with the wrong foot if one's intention is to learn the art with malice. This philosophy may be known as 武德,the virtue of martial arts.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:09 pm
by windwalker
I would think the first thing would be to understand what is meant by internal, and make sure one met that criteria first.
Many seem to try to do things outside their scope with out really achieving what is meant by which ever internal style they practice.

a good basic concept relating to combat but only learned though IMA basic practices.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:29 am
by ChiDragon
Internal in "internal arts" means the inner body which include all the body parts. The art is to fine tune the internal organs to the tip-top shape, so the body can generate the inner energy continuously without being fatigue quickly.

Here is a good demo for an internal artist vs external artists. The internal artist is the pseudo Shaolin-monk, Yi Long, fighting against the regular boxers. Boxing is considered to be an external art because the boxer gets fatigue quicker by exhaustion in a short time. As oppose to the physical strength, an internal artist may last a lot longer.

Ref: Internal artist, Yi Long(一龍)

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:55 pm
by ChiDragon
Internal arts are practices heavily emphasized on slow and deep breathing which know as abdominal breathing. The internal arts will effect the functions of the internal organs greatly. The ability for the internal organs to perform their functions is based on how much oxygen that was given to them. Hence, breathing is very important to the heath of the respiratory and circulatory systems.

Firstly, the lung is the most important organ in the respiratory system. The lung must be kept in its peak performance. So, it can provide ample oxygen to the rest of the organs. Secondly, the heart is the major organ in the circulatory system but relies on the lung to provide oxygen to produce the energy for cardio-muscle contraction. In addition, the heart is the only organ which provide a circulation channel between the lung and rest of the organs.

Abdominal breathing is the most effective breathing exercise for the lung to perform its function to the peak. The heath of the circulatory system depends on the performance of the respiratory system. If the respiratory system is not in good shape; then the heart will not perform its function properly. Hence, it will effect the health of the heart and the rest of the internal organs due to the lack of oxygen or hypoxia.

In order to understand the functions of the lung and the heart, one must have a good comprehension of muscle contraction. Muscle contraction has a tremendous effect on the human body. The goal of Tai Ji Chuan is to exercise every muscle in the body in conjunction with the abdominal breathing. Tai Ji will enhance the health of the lung and heart. Indeed, If these two organs are in good health, then the rest of the organs will take care themselves and carry out their functions effectively.

BTW Since Tai Ji involves with slow and deep breathing exercise, thus it is considered to be a form of internal arts.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:40 pm
by global village idiot
This was part of the conversation which led to my "friendly sparring" with the Lieutenant from my Company a few weeks ago.

Prior to us sparring, he had no understanding of internal martial arts and even less use for them. Stands to reason, really - he's a young, strong, agile Filipino. His national martial art is extremely external, so why would he give it any thought?

His experience of internal martial arts came as a bit of a surprise to him, and opened up his mind some; but like others said above, this is not the same thing as saying his art is inferior.

In the real world, he's a policeman on an Air Force Base. It's not the same as being a cop in Oakland or Detroit, but he still has to subdue his share of drunk, combative Airmen, or respond to domestic disturbance calls in the enlisted on-post housing sections of the base.

Now, "subduing a drunk, combative Airman" is different in his case as a policeman than it would be in mine can't really call myself a "civilian" really since I'm not "not a policeman." In my case, I just want the drunk Airman to leave me the heck alone and go away; whereas his interaction will likely be preparatory to detention and arrest. The different circumstances dictate different approaches.

As to why there aren't internal arts in UFC or MMA (ugh - I hate acronyms), they don't make for good television.

This flippant answer aside, they also don't address the rules of the bouts very well. A "win" in those silly cage-matches is a knockout, the referee calling the fight or a "tapout"/submission, which invariably involves pinning the opponent. Aikido might have something that will bring these conditions about but my experience with tai chi chuan is such that it doesn't seem to.

What is more, there are rules in those matches which constrain the violence - tai chi chuan makes no apologies about the damage it causes.

The "victory conditions" - such as they are - in tai chi chuan seem to be twofold:
1) Putting the opponent in a condition such that he has to seriously ponder the answer to the question, "NOW have you had enough?" or
2) Putting the opponent in the hospital or morgue (e.g., "Wind Through The Ears" can kill a man).

Condition 1) above is not the same as the submission in a cage-match. And while people can get hurt in them, the injuries are usually minor - often because the fighters are in really good shape. On the other hand, if a person is so much of a knucklehead that a tai chi chuan practitioner has to go and hurt him to stop the knuckleheadedness, there's no question as to whether he's going to meet his health care deductible.

One of the things I like about tai chi chuan is the lack of emphasis on competition or showmanship.


Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:26 pm
by mls_72
how do you fight with IMA? the answer is simple. Do what fighters do:
1. build up stamina and endurance: cardio
2. Train hard, train smart, train regularly, dont make excuses for yourself.
3. spar with people outside your school (get out of your comfort zone.)
4. Train a few of the Yang techniques 1000's of times that will help you in a fight: kick with heel, step parry punch, turn around chop with fist, there are many strikes in the Yang form.
6. have a good guard: pipa, 7 star.
7. get coached by someone who has fought and done well in fighting.
8. sign up for amateur events liek Koushu Lei Tai in Baltimore or San Shou in different sport venues.
9. have a good defense and use foot work. Practice principles of leverage.
10. strength train: body conditiong, legs, arms, body. do not body build, strength build!
11. get a partner to hold focus mitts and work combos, go even harder on the heavy bag. work in timed rounds.
12. meditate, visualize your fights, build courage and bravery. dont be scared.
13. practice getting hit, condition for getting hit, get used to it, how to recover from it, this mean cover up drills, but better yet use clever footwork not to get hit.
14. Study the rules of the fight event. if you are studying just to defend in the streets, then there are no rules, you can use all kinds of nasty strikes like high pat horse to eyes or throat.
15. Practice throws, sweeps, trips, hard wrestling push hands, tie-ups, grappling, etc. again get used to being in bad positions and train how to get out of them.

just some things I can think of from my experience in fight training.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:37 pm
by ChiDragon
It seems to me that most people have too much concern over external fighting rather than the aspect of internal arts. To the best of my knowledge, internal arts is to condition oneself to generate the ultimate body strength to build up stamina and endurance. The intention is to handle adversity in a short interval and avoid long combat to prevent exhaustion. Fighting with internal arts is to disable the opponent in a short time by using the ultimate internal strength spontaneously. If two have to fight continuously without disable one or the other, then it was considered to be using external arts with brutal strength. Finally, in conclusion, none of them has any internal arts skills. That is why internal arts was considered to be deadly. If one knows, it must be used with great consideration.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:01 pm
by ChiDragon
Hi, all
Here is a good example to be fair to illustrate the point of this OP. One, Shoalin kung fu monk, Yi Long) is with internal arts training and the other, Thai boxer, is external arts with a prenatal physical built body. In my opinion, if the Shaolin monk without any internal arts training he would not have survived round one. FYI Yi Long had won many fights but he had lost this one by a small margin.

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:06 am
by fchai
Hi CD,
The Shaolin monk is an external martial arts exponent. Claiming him to be using internal martial arts is erroneous. He would never have made such a claim himself. Shaolin martial arts have always been described as external martial arts. Taiji, Bagua and XingYi are recognised as belonging to the internal martial arts camp.
Take care,

Re: How do I fight with internal arts?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:21 am
by fchai
Just a little clarification. All martial arts include yin and yang, internal and external. Even Taiji, though an internal martial arts would still include aspects of the external, especially when sudden coercive energy is applied. Probably, an internal martial arts can be identified by the manner in which the martial skills are developed and how those skills are primarily manifested. Martial skills that are primarily developed via overt strength training, force/impact training, aggression, etc., would be external martial arts. Martial skills that are primarily developed through whole body/mind integration, breathing, nurturing and developing qi, jing and shen, emphasis on the mind/intent, etc., would be internal martial arts. However, I am sure that there are other definitions.
Take care,