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The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

The Quality of Stability Bookmark

jigaroKano-Mifune
Grab hold of any high-level Judo-Ka and try to drag them around the mat and you notice one clear attribute, stability. In the grappling arts especially, the skill of stability is a core component of the training methods and one of the main attributes that is built.

Stability can be thought of as our ability to maintain control of our posture, position, motion, and mass, either when we move ourselves or when we move in association with a partner or opponent.

Moving from the Centre Bookmark

The first topic I would like to cover is one that we see presented as central to almost all of the internal arts, and in fact, many of the external arts as well, the concept and practice of ‘Moving from the centre’. This idea has permeated the martial arts for centuries and is at the very core of some of the most famous martial styles, from old styles of KenJutsu to relatively modern arts like I Chuan, the concept, practice and methods of moving via the centre are widespread and deeply rooted.

The Crotch Arch Bookmark

Across the hundreds of different styles of martial arts, from distant parts of the globe there is often one common posture that is found. It is a posture that demonstrates control, power and security in the legs and is often likened to the posture a rider takes when straddling a horse, the famous Ma Bu or horse stance. This posture so common because it deals with a fundamental part of the body training required in the martial arts, the stable base.

 

This posture, so common to many martial traditions is the result masters from a wide range of styles identifying the importance of the interior tissues of the legs in support, mobility, stability and movement. These tissues are identified as the ‘Crotch Arch’ or in some systems the ‘Dang’.

 

Movement from stillness Bookmark

There is a concept in the internal styles that movement is inside stillness and stillness inside movement. We could say that this refers to the potential of our muscles to produce movement from a static position, which of course covers some methods. But we can also look at this phrase from a slightly different angle, one that refers to the inherent potential of the well trained body to produce motion using a different engine.

The Harmony of Opposites in the Body Bookmark

So moving on from the previous post on the action of the Ming Men, we are now going to look at a technique that allows practitioners to create movement and force within their own body. A method that utilizes the Ming Men as well as its opposite counterpart the QiHai, a method I call ‘Pairing’.

 

In this method we use the front and back of the Lower Dan Tien or Taren, in harmony with one another. It is this complimentary harmony of opposites, a pair of actions happening simultaneously but in opposition that gives this method its name. It is not a singular direction or motion but a 'Pair' of actions creating 'one' result. The Ming Men and Qi hai are the origination and termination points for the harmonized opening and closing in of the torso we will talk about in this post.

Heaven, Earth, Man Bookmark

All the Principles of Heaven and Earth are living inside you"

Ueshiba Morihei - Founder of Aikido.

‘Heaven, Earth, Man’ is a concept we find in many of the internal arts. Although the model can relate to many things, from Taoist mystical concepts to the nature of our place in reality.

I like to use the model to describe a practical part of internal power training and movement. The training of the balance of opposites within the body and how letting one win over the other can create movement or action.

Intent Training Bookmark

Intent (as we mean it in this training) is the link between the minds thought to act and the bodies resulting action. Although ever present, there are several ways we can train this link to make it stronger, faster and more direct.

One way is the exercise of - ’move before you move’. When standing in a specific position we can REALLY try to reach into the distance with our posture. That is to say our mind is telling our body that we are really going to begin moving that direction at any second.

The power of breath Bookmark

The breath is intimately linked with Internal Practices. Almost all of the internal practies i have researched or encountered have a very close relationship with the breathing system.

Obviously without breath we would not be around to practice, but why is this part of the body process so deeply focused on in the internal arts? Over the next few posts we will be examining a small section of this very large topic!

But firstly and practically, we can say that the breath is a very useful tool to lead relaxation and to remove unwanted tension. When we ask someone to relax, one of their natural responces (if they are not thinking too hard) is to let out their breath. This is the natural way for us to release tension.

 

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