What is the difference between internal and external martial arts?

The external martial arts, such as kung fu, boxing, karate and tae kwon do, generate powerful movements from tense, muscles and use muscular strength, bursts of physical tension, growls and sometimes overt aggression that is often catalyzed by the release of adrenaline. The internal martial arts, for example tai chi, hsing-i, ba gua, and Aikido, generate movements from chi energy. Practitioners’ bodies move in a relaxed, soft, and fluid manner. The internal martial arts do not encourage overt emotional aggression and anger as a primary power source. People who have difficulty comprehending how tai chi’s slow movements can translate into fast fighting will have even more difficulty understanding how fighting that does not engage emotional aggression and anger can be as or more effective than fighting techniques that do.

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This extraordinary book, written by one of the West's greatest living masters, offers nothing less than a course in the miracle of your own energy field. Bruce Frantzis has translated ancient Taoist practices into a modern program that manages to be both highly accessible and transformational, affording us all the opportunity to experience the wonder of the Tao firsthand.

Lynne McTaggart