External / Internal Energy - Two sides of the same coin
External / Internal Energy - Two sides of the same coinSensei Benny and I have spent a great deal of time together recently, practicing techniques related to Internal training and energy to balance External training. External martial arts training is the product of technique training, and physical exercise and is what most of us practice in dojos and gyms.
While there are certainly overlaps with external training, internal training is very different and much harder to define or quantitate. It is based on ones inner power or energy, largely derived from ones breathing practices and meditation, which are moderated by ones mental focus - and this takes some time to develop and even more to apply. Since it is harder to prove, internal energy / training is often mistakenly dismissed as myth or needleless martial arts philosophy but this is unfortunate since it offers a deeper power and focus not only to ones martial techniques but more importantly to ones life in general.
Internal training, creates a deeper body/mind unity than external training, and can be used for betterment of ones self, improved power and focus in ones martial arts technique, and importantly an entirely different way to interact with another person by utilizing this energy to heal.
The ability to either hurt or heal is a Yin/ Yang concept two sides of the same coin. To validate the medical aspects of this latter concept, you might know, that besides being a Sensei in Ukidokan Karate my qualifications include: Medical Doctor, Department Chairman, and Clinical Professor of a Medical School. There is a great deal of scientific evidence based data driven research proving the validity of internal energy application (variously through meditation, breathing, Chi gung, Tai Chi etc.) in creating improvement in pain, decreased inflammation, improved blood pressure, increased energy and greater mental focus. The full scope and techniques of internal training are beyond a short recitation in a martial arts blog but there are several salient points. First its real and a balance to but not a substitute for ones external training. Second it takes a great deal of time, effort, and mental focus to achieve and is based on meditation and breath techniques. Third its application in real world fighting is also real, just ask Sensei Benny! Fourth the healing aspect is an extension of this energy, first occurring internally within the practitioner and ultimately shared with those with whom he interacts.
So, as Sensei Benny and I suggest - focus your thoughts, take a deep breath (and breath again and again and meditate) and open yourself up to the Internal side of Martial Arts your journey has just begun.