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What is Internal Martial Arts?

Submitted byseosami onFri, 08/04/2023 - 03:42
Internal Martial Arts

Chinese internal martial arts have developed over thousands of years.  They went from crude forms of training to more sophisticated and refined methods which develop the mind, body and spirit.  The term “kung fu” means going beyond the surface and involves a high level of skill.  

Initially, martial arts were based on speed and brute force.  As they evolved, they made use of whole body coordination and developed different types of forces, such as pulse force, spring power, spiralling and centrifugal force, neutralizing and absorbing skills, etc.  These forces and skills are essential to internal martial arts, such as, xingyi, tai chi, bagua and yiquan.  Without these ingredients, these arts would not be considered internal kung fu.

Although internal martial arts (such as xingyi, tai chi, bagua and yiquan) were developed for self preservation, practitioners gradually discovered that the skills honed for the battlefield could also be applied in daily life.  The act of self defence now became a metaphor for life in general. Instead of the narrow focus of beating an opponent, the internal martial arts principles and philosophy became a way of living.  The more skills the practitioner has developed in integrating the body, mind and spirit, the more prepared he is for danger, and the less likely he is to be involved in violent conflict.  

The skilled internal martial artist seeks harmony within himself and the world. His skills enable him to be more confident when facing difficulties and less fearful when facing challenges.  The internal martial arts (xingyi, tai chi, bagua and yiquan) are more than fighting although fighting is used as a way of assessing one’s progress in kung fu.  To see and hear internal martial power, visit