Developing Internal Power

The arts Tai Chi, XingYi, XinYi and BaGua are called internal martial arts skill.  These styles rely on internal power.  But what is internal power and how does one get it?

It is not some mystical secret power one gets by the mere performance of countless repetitions of forms and techniques. It is also not developed by merely read a book and imagining you have it.

However, there is no secret to it, we all are able to attain it and utilize it.  This the same power animals possess.  Look at tigers or your household cat, or very top athletes.  Look at the smooth easy grace of legendary basketball and baseball players.  We often say they are in the zone.

Internal power can be developed systematically by anyone, willing to put in the time and effort.  Here are some of the things to be developed.  Not listed below are martial art techniques, such as striking, footwork, sweeps etc.  One can use internal power to improve what one already knows.

Physical Development

1. Good posture.  Not the military kind of posture and not the slouching kind either, but natural relaxed and upright.  Many of us have bad posture due to bad habits of sitting all day, or just not being aware of it.  Look in the mirror, how do you look, upright and relaxed, natural?  That is what we want.

2. The whole body must be relaxed and ready.

3. Being able to move your whole body, there should be no difference between your hand and your core, foot, legs, etc.  Watch an animal in motion, the big cats are good examples, but any animal will do, you will see that every muscle is used in their movements.  Chinese martial books say: whole body one family.

Mental Development

3. Develop your mental focus.  You must have you attention on your body and be aware of how  the body feels when it is in motion.  Are you aware of all the muscles being involved and aware of the muscles not being involved.

4. Learn to explore the body, the sensations it feels within with your mind.

5. Focus your intent.  What is your intent when engaging an opponent.  Is it just to strike,  is it defeat him, or to escape, or any combination of the above.  The highest level practitioner of XinYi LiuHe Quan, the mind and intent are united so one can do with the opponent as one pleases.

6. Meditate.  This strengthens the mind and aids in ability analyze situations objectively.

Test your Power

See if your techniques become faster, more powerful and more relaxed.  You will find an effortlessness in your techniques.

How to be a master — daily practice!

Daily practice is an important aspect of learning any new skill.  Just 10 minutes a day to start. 20 minutes is better.  One doesn’t need to spend 2 – 3 hours a day drilling to get the health and fitness benefits of XinYi LiuHe Quan.  Of course if one’s goal is to be an expert and to fight than such time is required.

This is the standard advice one should follow when learning any new skill.  For example, I am also learning to play the classical guitar and my teacher gives me the same advice and suggestions that I tell my students: go slow, break down each individual bar of music, watch your movements, have good form.  

Daily practice, practicing slowly  and being mindful, of what you are doing is the secret to mastering any skill.