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Internal vs External Duality of Kung Fu
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Internal vs External Duality of Kung Fu
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For years I thought about internal and external as independent systems; merely another choice in the plethora of styles. Of course there was the saying that with time internal becomes external and external becomes internal. But how often does that happen?

The Yin Yang symbol represents opposites and how they relate to each other. Which basically means you can’t have one without the other. It’s similar to the dumb jock, or the scrawny nerd; both are out of balance. Internal systems are truly internal. The work is done inside the body and the mind has to be fully engaged. This is why smaller, weaker and sometimes frail looking Tai Chi players can easily toss someone across the room. Moving them is like trying to push a wall. But, how much functional strength do they have? In every day life we need to move furniture, carry groceries, bend, climb, jump. Not to mention it takes many years or decades to reach that kind of level. External arts develop the body quickly and can be used in a relatively short time. But we’ve all seen the pure external guys suffering from the effects of overwork. Like pumping too much electricity in an appliance their bodies burn out. They suffer arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure etc.

So if you’re only doing an external, or internal system, you’re missing out on a world of benefits. But don’t believe me. Find a good teacher and try it out for a while.

E. Tomaine

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