Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Defining the Internal

Internal is such a buzzword. Everyone uses it to describe their Tai Chi Chuan. However, on closer examination many are basically based on normal understanding of what biomechanics is about. In fact, when you compare these Tai Chi styles with the approach of a number of external arts you won’t find much that is different. So the question that is begging is whether the claim of being internal is due to marketing or is there really something behind it.

Do note that being internal is not just about having fajing ability. This is simplistic thinking. Having the means to issue force does not an internal art make. It is but one of many components in a typical art that is set up for the purpose of combat. However, for some funny reasons even the rationale person can’t help but be obsessed with fajing. To use an analogy a nuclear missile is useless if you don’t have the means to launch it to your intended target.

So what exactly is an internal approach about? Why don’t I consider the typical approach as internal?

To address the latter first – using a biomechanical approach is at best part internal because to be internal means to be on the inside, to be hidden in plain view. If I can see and understand how it’s being done then it’s not really internal. I mean what’s sophisticated, high level about something that outsiders can easily understand. I know most of us will never dare to ask the emperor about his new clothes but if you are interested in the truth you should. In Zen you would not have the chance to breakthrough to enlightenment until you have great doubts. Since most of us tend to trust rather than doubt you should not be surprised that so many will never get it.

So that is the situation today and likely to be into the near future. We will next move on to tackle the question of what being internal is about.


Author: ZenMindSword

Mushin is a practitioner, researcher and trainer for Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. He is also author of The Ip Man Koans, The Ip Man Questions and TaijiKinesis series of eBooks, as well as co-author of Complete Wing Chun.

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