Author Topic: Internal Power Anyone?  (Read 1371 times)

Blue Magpie

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Internal Power Anyone?
« on: January 11, 2017, 08:52:04 PM »
Internal Power

    This short article is the first in a series of posts I plan to write about internal power, as it is taught and explained by Liu Kangyi, my teacher.

Who? Liu Kangyi.  Where? Taipei, Lion Books bookstore.

   Internal power exists. There is such a thing, and I am speaking from experience.  It is a singular ability, an imposing skill which can be used to devastating effect in a combat situation (On the other hand, it won’t make you an immortal; you might possess internal power but it won’t make white cranes carry you around. Nor are golden Buddhas going to visit you). 
I am not misleading you. And I am not going to qualify my statement in any way (as in “yes, sure, there is internal power, but you can only witness it once a year, in full moon, if my teacher is able exactly at that moment to channel into himself the God of War”). This power is taught publicly and you can come and experience it too. At each and every class.
    I don’t blame you for being skeptical. You should be. Common sense is something you must never give up. And common sense has taught us that internal power makes no sense. It’s nonsense.
I would like to tell you that I was exactly like you, I would like to tell you that I was skeptical too. But that would not be true. I was way beyond skeptical. I did not give internal power any thought at all. As far as I was concerned internal power was a mumbo jumbo of the most ludicrous kind. Something taken out of a cheap gongfu “novel”; a “story” told by swindlers and sold to the gullible. In other words, I did not think that such a thing as internal power ever existed. And for this reason I wasn’t even looking to find such a thing. Why look for something which you know does not exist? And why look for something which does not exist when there are so much wonderful knowledge out there just waiting for you to “find it”?
But I was wrong. Internal power does exist. And although I wasn’t looking for it, not specifically anyway, I did find it (or maybe it found me. I cannot tell yet). 

Liu Kangyi

    Liu Kangyi is now the No.1 authority on the history and culture of Chinese martial arts. No less. He is a researcher, an author, a book collector, and a publisher. His Lion Books Publishing company is well known among practitioners of Chinese martial arts.
    I originally approached him because he was a scholar. I had some question to ask him about the Yijinjing, or Tendon Transformation Classic, a late Ming body-cultivation manual which he wrote about. Over time we became close, but as far as I knew he was not a martial arts practitioner, “only” a martial arts researcher-collector-publisher.
Now, it did seem seemed unusual, to say the least, that a person so passionate about martial arts to devote his life to their research does not practice any martial art himself. It was strange. But I kind of assumed that some people are simply interested in scholarship but not in actual practice. So I was very surprised when he told me that he was teaching internal power (I was not the only one: one of our class members, a man in his fifties, and with 40 years’ experience in Crane Fist, could not tell that the man he was buying books from was also an internal power expert. He told me ‘I was buying books from him. I thought he was just a publisher. Little did I know he mastered internal power’).         
    As far as I was concerned then Liu Kangyi was a scholar. He even looks like a scholar—quite lean, with glasses, by no means muscular, nor even especially athletic. The masters I trained with, on the other hand, looked like gongfu masters—they were muscular, athletic, fast and powerful. Yet none of them had internal power, nor did any of them claim possess such a power. So when he told me he was teaching internal power I simply shut him off. I simply ignored what he said (We were close, so out of politeness I said nothing and changed the subject of our conversation). “What does he, a non-practitioner, know about internal power?” I thought. The whole thing was just very odd.   
    I think that it also bothered me (though I was not completely aware of it at the time) that it was just thrown in front of me, so to speak. Internal power, were such a thing to really exist, should have been a secret. You were supposed to intentionally look for it, and find it (if you find it at all), after a long and arduous journey (as when, after crossing all the rivers and lakes, and climbing most of China’s mountains, you encounter a true immortal at some remote mountain pass. At night.). Internal power, so I taught, was not something presented you, just like that, even while being taught in straightforward manner, and in the midst of a busy city.
I was not only surprised that Liu was teaching internal power openly but also disappointed (There is something captivating, something intriguing, about the word “secret”. It’s enchanting. How many styles of gongfu are known to have been “secretly transmitted”, or “taught in secret”? And how much of our own most cherished expectations and hopes we project onto those arts?).
And if internal power was not a secret, so was my line of thought, than it should at least be associated with a certain style—it should be the result of practicing a certain style of gongfu. It requires, at the least, a long and careful initiation, it demands the guidance and supervision of an established master. Yet Liu Kangyi does not teach any style. He did not even learn a specific style (not in its entirety anyway). So how come he has internal power while so many (if not all) established masters don’t?   
There is an answer to this question, and I will try and address it in future posts. But for now I’ll settle by telling you of what happened during my subsequent meeting with Liu. Well, we were chatting and drinking tea when Liu suddenly stood up and gently invited me to cross hands with him. And that was it! It was unmistakable. I have never felt anything like that before. I practiced Taijiquan, Shaking Crane and Baguazhang (with the masters of both Shaking Crane and Baguazhang very fast and powerful), and I crossed hands with masters from China, Hong-Kong and Taiwan, yet Liu’s ability was distinct. It was just something else. 


A Note to gongfu practitioners:

I don’t think that internal power can be learned very quickly. I still cannot generate this power. However, don’t think that you have to stay in Taipei for a long period either. It would probably help, but it is not necessary. For two reasons: first, the main thing is not to master this skill but to feel what internal power is and to learn the (simple) internal power exercises Liu teaches.
You need to “feel” internal power so as to know what to look for in your own practice. You can feel it the minute you attend class. True, you need to feel it several times, so attend several classes. But that is enough. And you need to learn the exercises so that you can practice on your own. Since these exercises are quite simple you’ll be able to learn them quickly.
Second, in some of the exercises Liu teaches you’d have to “push out” your lumbar spine (the purpose of which is the “creation” a bow-shaped spine). This is not something you can do intensely, over and over, in the same way you learn a gongfu form. Pushing the lumbar spine is dangerous (This is something you should really consider) and you should neither force it “out” nor engage in this exercise intensely.
So a short visit is best: you come, experience internal power, learn the (internal power) exercises, and do not overuse your lumbar spine.

Here is Liu Kangyi, at his bookstore, demonstrating some of his internal power exercises.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHg2qRPM7bk&feature=youtu.be

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Internal Power Anyone?
« on: January 11, 2017, 08:52:04 PM »
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sophisticus

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 09:21:41 PM »
Nice to meet you here Blue Magpie  #UC37

I am a Tai Chi practitioner, i'm agree with you about your point of view.  At beginning it's difficult for me to find a real sense about the Qi, i can hardly understand it, so i just learn the movement form my master, and little by little he let me feel the internal energy and also let me touch his body during the movement, now i also do Zhan Zhuang training about 30min every time, i try to feel and know more about my body, i can not describe very well, but glad to see your post and your experience with your teacher Mr Liu, i get some good points from it.
It is always much more interesting to read real experiences than theories in book.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 09:26:52 PM by sophisticus »

Blue Magpie

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 04:20:30 AM »
Nice to meet you too, Sophisticus.

And thank you for your kind words! I am happy you found my post useful.

Can you come and train in Taipei?

I apologize for not being able to speak French. We have a lot of material about Chinese gongfu, I hope to translate them into French in the future.

Happy to talk to you!

Blue Magpie

sophisticus

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 10:49:18 AM »
 #UC19 I've met a Tai Chi master from Taipei during my trip in Wu dang Mountain, his name is XU YiZhong, the practitioner of Tai Chi Style Yang, you know him? He is 95 years old and very healthy and in good shape for his age, may be one day i'll get the opportunity to come to Tai Pei, hope to get more information from your side.  #UC46

Blue Magpie

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 07:52:10 PM »
Hi Sophisticus

I will be happy to look for information on Xu Yizong. Do you know how to write his name in Chinese? Without Chinese characters it would very difficult to find information on him.

How was your trip to Wudang? How long did you stay there?

sophisticus

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 09:52:33 PM »
徐憶中 is his name in chinese, i found a video on youtube :       #UC41

sophisticus

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 10:33:56 PM »
I also watched the video of you teacher Mr. Liu, i like what he said, " chinese martial arts is not only an art of the body, using your brain make the change of yourself from inside, cognition changes inertia, inertia changes power, power changes our body. The inside changes can touch our inside feeling, the brain and "real us" become calm, wisdom.

Could i think it's a balance of the inside and outside of a human? Sth. like the balance of the Yin and Yang?

Blue Magpie

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 09:31:25 PM »
Hi Sophisticus

I found Mr. Xu Yizhong. He is the head teacher of Zheng-style Taijiquan. How can I help? Do you want to know anything specific about him? Do you want to train with him?  This is their website  :  http://www.37taichi.org.tw/totalFrameset-44.html

As for balance, I think you are right, but, as I know, Liu is speaking of a different kind balance. Before balance there must be imbalance. But that imbalance is not physical but mental.  He mentally "loses balance", he mentally "allows his body to fall". When that happens a new kind of balance is created. What balances him at that point is not muscle power, but internal pressure. That pressure is (what the Chinese call) internal power.

Nice talking to you!

Blue Magpie.

sophisticus

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 09:27:57 PM »
Thank you for your information. I'd like to know more about martial arts culture. Many of the people learn movements but a few of them know the deep sense, do you organize the martial arts conference in Taiwan? What kind of the opportunities the practitioner can get these kind of the information? It's really important and difficult to find a qualified master to follow.

Blue Magpie

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2017, 07:14:15 PM »
Hi Sophisticus

No, I do not arrange martial conferences. However, if you are interested I could recommend teachers to study with.
You are right, it is very difficult to find good and reliable teachers, and it is hard to know who to follow. As I said, with this I can help. The problem is that teachers here teach once or twice a week, and usually not more than that. So learning a gongfu system here would take time. Can you move here for 1-2 years?
    If you come for 1-2 weeks and you want intensive training, well, some teachers might be able to teach you intensively, but many teachers are busy working and taking care of their families and therefore won’t be able to teach you daily.
    A solution would be to study with two teachers, and maybe even take some qigong classes.

   If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to ask them.

Blue Magpie

Nanji

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2017, 06:00:51 AM »
As for balance, I think you are right, but, as I know, Liu is speaking of a different kind balance. Before balance there must be imbalance. But that imbalance is not physical but mental.  He mentally "loses balance", he mentally "allows his body to fall". When that happens a new kind of balance is created. What balances him at that point is not muscle power, but internal pressure. That pressure is (what the Chinese call) internal power.

Hi Blue Magpie,

I am a newbie about Tai Chi, I am interested to start to learn Tai Chi. But it is difficult for me to understand the principle of "Qi" and "internal power". What is this internal pressure that Chinese call internal power ?

sophisticus

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2017, 06:05:11 AM »
Hi Sophisticus

No, I do not arrange martial conferences. However, if you are interested I could recommend teachers to study with.
You are right, it is very difficult to find good and reliable teachers, and it is hard to know who to follow. As I said, with this I can help. The problem is that teachers here teach once or twice a week, and usually not more than that. So learning a gongfu system here would take time. Can you move here for 1-2 years?
    If you come for 1-2 weeks and you want intensive training, well, some teachers might be able to teach you intensively, but many teachers are busy working and taking care of their families and therefore won’t be able to teach you daily.
    A solution would be to study with two teachers, and maybe even take some qigong classes.

   If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to ask them.

Blue Magpie

Happy Chinese new year!   Mab be i can spend my vacation 1-2 weeks in Taiwan, 1-2 years not possible for now may be one day in my retirement plan.  #UC41

Blue Magpie

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Re: Internal Power Anyone?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2017, 09:07:19 PM »
Hi Sophisticus

I spoke to Master Wang Mingzhong from Jiayi, Taiwan. He has got great system, and he is willing to teach intensively. If you come for several days, a week maybe, he will teach you both empty-hands and weapon forms. I recommend it.

In the time you have left I recommend training with Master Liu Kangyi in Taipei. He sometimes teaches one-on-one classes.

If you study with both of these masters during your 1-2 weeks' vacation it will pay off. They are both good men and have extraordinary ability.

Best

Blue Magpie

 


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