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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.

Softness from Extension Bookmark

The internal arts are often referred to as the ‘Soft’ Martial Arts. It is an interesting term because anyone who has been on the receiving end of a high level internal adepts power would certainly not describe it as soft, so what is it about these arts that gained them this distinction?

 

Many of the mechanics of the internal arts are predicated on our ability to release or address tension. As we have discussed in previous articles on speed, connection, and heaviness, without the correct levels of relaxation, much of what makes these efficient will not be there. The tense practitioner will constantly be ‘breaking’ their expression of power as it travels through sports of tension or tight tissue.

The skill of being heavy Bookmark

One defining attribute of almost all high level martial artists is their ability to feel ‘Heavy’.  Certainly, if you have ever interacted with high level grapplers you will have felt this attribute and boxers will often talk about a fighter ‘heavy hands’. But far from being a natural gift, this quality of ‘weight’ is a skill that can be trained and has implications for both the practitioners health as well as their combative potential.

 

In this article, we will explore some of the ways in which Internal Arts practitioners can create what I call the ‘Heavy Body’ attribute and how this translates into martial practices and health.

Moving Slowly to be Fast Bookmark

When we think of the Internal Arts we often think of the slow motion practice or people standing in static postures but there is an interesting phenomena related to these practices. One which we see in combative exchange but is not immediately apparent in these fundamental training methods. This is the ability for some internal artists to move at blindingly fast speeds even though much of their training can be focused moving slowly.


How does static posture training or slow movement practice actually increase the speed of the practitioner? The two ideas seem to be at odds!

There are several factors at play here but first we can say that moving slowly or holding a static position makes us better able to recognize precisely how much effort is needed to perform a given action.


There is a physical law known as the Weber Fenscher Law which states:


’The higher the speed of a given movement, the less able we become to recognise the power required to perform it.’

Thoracic Mobilty Exercise Bookmark

As we discussed in the previous post the thoracic spine can be an area of tension and 'stuck' tissue for some people. Especially those who work at desks all day.

This video is a demonstration and explination of a very nice Thoracic mobility method I use to help people reverse the effect of a bound spine in this area.

It is a relatively simple method but you have to maintain some of the Key components to make it as effective as possible.


  1. Limit flexion at the Elbow so as to fix the shoulder position.
  2. Avoid 'waving the head'
  3. Attempt to maintain a 90 degree angle between the floor and the arm/femur.

If you, or some of your students suffer from thoracic spine and scapular binding, give this simple method a try!

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    The lower crossed syndrome is something that we see to a lesser or greater degree in new students. The lower cross is a term used to describe a specific pattern of muscular imbalance in the lower body which results in pelvic tilting and curvature of the lower back. If left unchecked, internal strength training where we are specifically working on the connective tissues and muscles in this area can actually compound postural problems, as well as increase the likelihood of injury under load. The lower Cross is characterized by a combination of both weakness and tightness in the lower torso. Specifically, tightness in the Thoraco lumbar extensors which is reflected in the hip flexors and weakness in the abdominals reflected in the Gluteals. This specific pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction at specific points along the lower spine and will cause the pelvis to tilt forward. Internal arts have specific training methodologies to address this issue. The corrections are achieved through 'releasing' the tightness in the thoracolumbar and hip flexors. We are aiming to bring the lower cross into a relaxed ...