Internal Martial Arts as Inner Alchemy and Taoist Yoga
The puzzle of how a martial art can be SOFT, yet EFFECTIVE. It is a mystery that can be understood through the examination of three attributes: 1) Internal alchemy applied to the martial arts, 2) the attainment of a special Mind-Body state, and 3) the ability to synchronize body rhythms.
However, first, some basic information. There are three "classic" internal martial arts, t'ai-chi ch’üan (taijiquan), hsing-i ch’üan (xingyiquan), and ba gua zhang (pa-kua chang). Their study and application are different from most martial arts. When mastered, they are "soft," yet effective. They are yogic, yet combative. Their secrets emerge from inner calmness in the midst of the chaos. Their practice can help awaken and transform the individual.
These pages will describe how the internal arts become simultaneously the practice of Taoist yoga, internal alchemy, and the highest level of effective personal protection. However, when a practitioner does not search deep enough for their essence, they are only a showpiece with little practicality. “Energy,” Intent, and specific bio-mechanical principles are essential.
However, “energy,” as described here is different from the way Qi (ch’i) is usually described. Intent is also different.
These pages introduce the mystery of how those arts can not only be powerful and effective as close-combat skills, but simultaneously spiritually and mentally transformative. At the heart of that mystery is the meaning of “softness.”