субота, 01. септембар 2018.

Kung Fu Taphophilia or something else

People had special appreciation for deceased and cemeteries since the earliest times of human evolution. For centuries people make pilgrimages to the gravesites of important religious figures and they honor their ancestors. Different cultures and religions have different and sometimes unique ways to honor their dead.

The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Some groups venerate their direct, familial ancestors. Certain faith communities, venerate saints as well as pray for departed souls .

In Europe, Asia, and Oceania, and in some African and Afro-Diasporic cultures, the goal of ancestor veneration is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living, and sometimes to ask for special favors or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration is to cultivate kinship values, such as filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.
While honoring the dead is important part of human civilization there is also unhealthy obsession with death and especially cemeteries. Taphophilia is described as morbid or abnormal interest in graves and cemeteries. Term “Taphophile" describes an individual who has abnormal passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries, funeral, epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, and history of deaths.
Yip Man's grave - good place for a couple to take a happy photo

Someone may wonder what all this has to do with martial arts? In the recent years, like a wild fire, in kung fu community spread a custom of visiting gravesites of kung fu teachers of the past and taking photos which are later spread over social network. Some people go so far that they try to “pay their respect” to the ancestors” who not only have no relation to them what so ever but do that in a way that is not originally part of their religion, of course all that photographed or recorded on video and again spread over a social media.
Yip Man's grave - good place for friends to hang out
While it is totally normal to honor immediate deceased relatives and your blood lineage it is completely abnormal to honor someone who is not blood related. There are of course special cases when people who had great impact on society and people’s lives become honored by majority of people in some area or country , but these are really rare cases. Of course, someone may have strong feelings towards some kung fu master of the past, although it is very strange, and someone may have the desire or urge to show appreciation to that kung fu master. Let’s go even further and say taking photo or a video of the process of honoring the dead on the gravesite is normal and someone wants to have a memory of the event but why sharing it on social media, why sharing it to large number of total strangers? Is that a form of exhibitionism?   
Two guys are copying the front side of Bruce Lee's grave by rubbung the paper with a pencil

Interestingly, people who so eagerly share photos or videos of themselves on the gravesites of kung fu masters do not share the same on the gravesites of their own deceased, parent, grandparents or other relatives! Why? Is it because they feel it is wrong? Or maybe they cannot gain anything from such action? Putting a picture of gravesite of your own relative on social media is not something considered normal, usual and socially acceptable, at least not in most places of the world. Why would be any different with a grave of some total stranger who practiced kung fu?

Words are not necessry 

Anyway, it is not a custom for students to perform ceremonies or honor their kung fu teacher or kung fu ancestors on the gravesites. That is a responsibility of the family members and no one else, so if someone wants to follow the tradition and really honor kung fu ancestors, let their blood relatives and descendants to do that.

So, is there a large number of Taphophiles involved in kung fu or is something else in question? Simple answer is, people who share their photos or videos on gravesites are worst kind of people. These people usually have abnormal fascination with graves or dead but they simply use these for the purpose of selfmarketing. “Look how humble I am” , ‘’ I do what others don’t , I honor my kung fu ancestor” , “Look I am on the final resting place of XYZ master,(while most of the others never came and never will come)” , is usual message behind these photos and videos.  And that is all about this subject. Once more it can be concluded that in a chase for money and fame people have no moral or ethical boundaries and will do anything to promote them self , they don’t even leave dead to rest in peace.

четвртак, 09. август 2018.

Traditional Chinese Medicine- science or myth

Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) refers to the theories and practices of diagnosis and healing developed historically in China before the modern scientific method was established and was and still is concerned as much with occultism or religion as with natural phenomena.

The underlying basis of TCM is that all of creation is born from the interdependence of two opposite principles, yin and yang. These two opposites are in constant motion, creating a fluctuating balance in the healthy body.  Disease results when either yin or yang is in a state of prolonged excess or deficiency. One of the body constituents is Qi , which is the energy that gives us the ability to move, think, feel, and work.  Qi circulates along a system of conduits, the principle ones being channels or meridians.  There are twelve principle bilateral channels of Qi, each intimately connected with one of the viscera of the body, and each manifesting its own characteristic Qi.  When the flow of Qi becomes unbalanced through physical, emotional, or environmental insults, illness may result. Common treatments include acupressure, acupuncture, acupuncture, bloodletting, reflexology, and herbal medicine, though treatments can also be of inorganic, animal or even mythological origin.

What is the difference between medical science or “western medicine” what is popularly called in certain circles and “Traditional Chinese Medicine”? Conventional medicine is based on scientific knowledge of the body and uses treatments that have been proven effective through scientific research. Doctors are trained to have a thorough knowledge of the body's systems, diseases, and their treatments. All conventional treatment have to go through rigorous testing by law in order to prove that they work.
On the other hand TCM is based in religion, mythology and folk believes and has no scientific or medical evidence to show that its therapies can cure anything. Some TCM therapies are unsafe and can cause harmful side effects. Or they may interact with patient’s conventional medical treatment. This could increase the risk of harmful side effects or may stop the conventional treatment working so well. Giving up the conventional treatment could reduce patient’s  chance of curing or controlling the illness .Some alternative therapies sound promising but the claims are not supported by scientific evidence and can give some people false hope.

For the most part TCM now can be described as Pseudoscience which describes any belief system or methodology which tries to gain legitimacy by wearing the trappings of science, but fails to abide by the rigorous methodology and standards of evidence that are the marks of true science. Promoters of pseudoscience often adopt the vocabulary of science, describing conjectures as hypotheses, theories, or laws, providing "evidence" from observation and "expert" testimonies, or even developing what appear to be mathematical models of their ideas. However, in pseudoscience there is no honest attempt to follow the scientific method, provide falsifiable predictions, or develop double blind experiments. Although pseudoscience is designed to appear scientific, it lacks all of the substance of science. TCM gain much popularity in recent years, it is good source of income for many people and it is unfortunately supported by the government of PRC ( People’s Republic of China). That is the reason for aggressive marketing and constant tries to depict TCM as legitimate medical approach.

What proponents of TCM will not tell you and never admit is that TCM practice is usually harmful and if it is not harmful it is completely inefficient. In one study, 260 TCM products sold in California were analyzed for adulterants: 32% contained drugs and/or heavy metals. A problem is also the contamination of herbals with microorganisms, fungal toxins such as aflatoxin.  While some contamination comes from pure ignorance and lack of chemical , botanical and biochemical knowledge some heavy metals are used on purpose.  

For example mercury sulfide known as cinnabar has been used in Chinese medicine, where it is called zhūshā (朱砂), and was highly valued. Cinnabar has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine as a sedative for more than 2000 years In addition to being used for insomnia, cinnabar is thought to be effective for cold sores, sore throat, and some skin infections. As it is commonly known Mercury is extremely toxic.

 The other highly toxic element found in TCM medicaments is Realgar or arsenic sulphide is used to kill parasitic worms and treat sore throats, swellings, abscesses, itching, rashes, and malaria. Arsenic in extremely toxic and widely known through Agatha Cristie’s books.
Galena or lead sulphide is used in TCM to treat ringworm, skin disorders and ulcers, and is thought to "detoxify" the body. It is crushed and taken orally or used on the skin. Lead tetroxide (Qian Dan) is used to treat anxiety, itching, and malaria. It is important to note that most lead compounds are extremely toxic.

Other metals found regularly in TCM medicaments are Copper, Cadmium, Zinc and Thallium.

Not only metals but other toxic minerals are used in TCM

Powdered Sulphur as cure for diarrhea.

Gypsum (Gypsum Fibrosum), hydrated calcium sulphate, is used to treat muscle spasms.
Pumice called pumicite in its powdered or dust form, is a volcanic rock that consists of highly vesicular rough textured volcanic glass, which may or may not contain crystals. It is typically light colored

Hematite, also spelled as haematite, is the mineral form of iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3), one of several iron oxides. It is the oldest known iron oxide mineral that has ever formed on earth, and is widespread in rocks and soil

Greenschists are metamorphic rocks that formed under the lowest temperatures and pressures usually produced by regional metamorphism,

Actinolite is an amphibole silicate mineral with the chemical formula Ca2(Mg4.5-2.5Fe2+0.5-2.5)Si8O22(OH)2

 Important ingredients of TCM pharmacology are Dragon bones, fossilized bones of dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. They are rich in calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate and are used to calm the Spirit (Shen), evict ghosts, sooth nerves, stop dizziness and stop sweating.
dragon bones

The causes of adverse reactions associated with TCM herbal remedies are diverse. They include variability in active/toxic ingredients due to growing conditions, use of inherent toxic herbs causing toxicity, overdose of herbs, drug-herb interactions especially with pharmaceuticals that have narrow therapeutic index, coexisting diseases, and idiosyncratic reactions like allergy, hepatitis and anaphylaxis. Other adverse reactions can be due to manufacturing and quality problems causing adulteration, misidentification, substitution of one herb with another, variability in the amount of active ingredients, use of pharmaceuticals without identifying on the labels, improper processing and preparation, and contamination.

 Toxicological studies of herbs alone used in TCM report that toxic effects due to the use of herbal medicine are associated with hepatotoxicity. Other toxic effects on the kidneys, nervous system, blood, and cardiovascular system, as well as medicinal herbs’ mutagenicity and carcinogenicity have also been published in medical journals. Therefore, numerous advance biological experimental techniques have been used as standard safety tests prior to the efficacy study. For example, often used ingredients  are  plants of the genera Ephedra and Asarum. Both can contain toxic chemicals such as aristolochic acid, a compound banned in many countries because it causes kidney disease and cancer of the upper urinary tract. Substances known to be potentially dangerous include aconite, secretions from the Asiatic toad, powdered centipede, the Chinese beetle (Mylabris phalerata, Ban mao), and certain fungi. There are health problems associated with Aristolochia. Toxic effects are also frequent with Aconitum. To avoid its toxic adverse effects Xanthium sibiricum must be processed. Hepatotoxicity has been reported with products containing Polygonum multiflorum, glycyrrhizin, Senecio and Symphytum. The evidence suggests that hepatotoxic herbs also include Dictamnus dasycarpus, Astragalus membranaceous, and Paeonia lactiflora; although there is no evidence that they cause liver damage. Contrary to popular belief, Ganoderma lucidum mushroom extract, as an adjuvant for cancer immunotherapy, appears to have the potential for toxicity. Also, adulteration of some herbal medicine preparations with conventional drugs which may cause serious adverse effects, such as corticosteroids, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, and glibenclamide, has been reported.A 2013 review suggested that although the antimalarial herb Artemisia annua may not cause hepatotoxicity, haematotoxicity, or hyperlipidemia, it should be used cautiously during pregnancy due to a potential risk of embryotoxicity at a high dose.
Cancer causing Ephedra plant

Besides herbal and mineral toxicity TCM uses some animals and animals organs that can be dangerous like various toads and insects.

Not only toxic TCM remedies require some animals parts or whole animals and causes hunting of endangered species. Here are some example of animal parts used in TCM

 Dried deer penis is popular in traditional Chinese medicine, and sold in Chinese pharmacies, believing it has important therapeutic properties and effective for athletic injuries, and remedy for impotency or male virility.

Deer antlers are believed to build up physical and spiritual powers, if antlers are mixed in tonic or tea drinks and consumed and best remedy for colds and flu.As they cut the antlers, they squeezed the blood in it and mixed on herbal preparations. The antlers are sliced thinly and boiled with ginseng herbal plants and other herbs. They also believed if the slices are closer to the antler’s roots it is more effective for health than the antler’s tip.

The feces of the flying squirrels are believed to invigorate the blood vessels if consumed raw, and if dried and fried, it can help stop bleeding. It is believed to be a remedy for amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea or menstrual pains among women, epigastric (stomach) pain, and chest pains, postpartum and abdominal pain. If ingested mixed the feces with other herbs, dry and fry if used for stopping uterine bleeding with blood clots due to stasis . But in some studies, flying squirrel feces are vector for typhus diseases

Rhinoceros horns are believed used for fever remedy and believed they are agents to cool the blood. But hunting for Rhino horns are banned, but still these horns are found sold in black markets, because Rhinoceros are considered as an endangered animals.

Elephant skin are believed to cure acne and pimples and other skin blemishes

Tiger parts -The baculum or penis bone of the Tiger are one of the most famous Chinese medicine and the tiger eyes, believed to improve virility and cure impotency. The tiger whiskers are consumed for toothache remedy and strength, the tiger eyes can cure epilepsy, seizures and convulsions, malaria, nervous breakdown and eye cataracts. The tiger nose are also remedies for epilepsy and convulsions, the tail is for skin diseases treatment. The crashed and powdered tiger bones and mixed with wine or soup, can treat rheumatism, arthritis, muscle strength and prolong life. The tiger brain, is believed to cure pimples and laziness, while the tiger skin, can cure mental diseases, the blood if consumed for strengthen will power and stamina, the flesh or meat can cure malaria, nausea and energy. The testes is believed to cure tuberculosis and upset stomach, the tiger bile is best for child’s convulsion, the gallstones is a treatment for weak and watery eyes. And Tiger feces or poops are used to treat boils, hemorrhoids, epilepsy, ulcers and malaria. No scientific evidence are shown this are all effective.
Tiger penis

Snake blood are usually prepared by slicing the belly, and allow the blood to pour and drink it fresh from the cobra’s wound. It is widely believed to ward off all kinds of illness and boost energy and an aphrodisiac. Some cannot drink it fresh, so they mix it in some drinks like wine and tea.

Dried sea horses are used to treat problems like asthma, impotence and heart disease, while snake oil is rubbed onto achy joints.

These are just some of the animals used in TCM, they use a lot more weird ingredients or whole animals like dog’s penis, bull penis, rat’s fetus, pangolins’ fetus, Macaque Monkey meat, Ground turtle shells, various insects, abalone, shark fin, clams, fish maw, lizards, Silkworm Feces ect. Besides animals TCM also uses human body parts like human feces, dried human placenta, finger nails, child's urine, hair, and urinary sediments.
Besides making remedies, potions , wines, pills TCM incudes a various types of treatments that can be dangerous and certainly are not good for halt. Here are some examples of TCM treatments

Urine therapy , It is believed that urine could cure illnesses such as hyperthyroidism. Founded in Hong Kong in 2008, the China Urine Therapy Association claims to have gathered more than 100,000 followers who’ve turned to urine therapy, even though medical experts pointed out that the practice is likely more harmful than effective.

Apitherapy, a folk therapy using bee venom, is claimed to be effective in curing rheumatism, arthritis, migraine headaches, stomach pains, high blood cholesterol and other ailments, although the state has not approved Apitherapy as a useful Chinese medical treatment. Experts say the biggest risk is allergies, which could be deadly.

Moxibustion is a therapy that involves burning moxa (mugwort root) made from dried Artimesia vulgaris (spongy herb) to facilitate healing. Burning moxa produces a great deal of smoke and a pungent odor that often is confused with that of cannabis. The purpose of moxibustion is to warm and invigorate the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi, strengthen the kidney Yang, expel wind and disperse cold, and dissolve stagnation. Inhaling any kind of smoke damages lungs.

Gua sha is a  therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy, called chi, in the body that practitioners believe may be responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing
Gua Sha massage aftermath

Cupping is a type of Chinese massage, consisting of placing several glass or plastic “cups” (open spheres) on the body. TCM practitioners warm the cups using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is then placed inside the cup to remove all the oxygen. The practitioner then removes the substance and places the cup against the skin. The air in the cup then cools, creating lower pressure inside the cup, creating a vacuum and allowing the cup to stick to the skin. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach, are the preferred sites for treatment. Scraping, or “Gua Sha,” is a folk medicine technique that uses pieces of smooth jade, bone, animal tusks, horns, or smooth stones to scrape along the skin to release obstruction and toxins that are trapped at the surface of the skin. The scraping is done until red spots then bruising cover the treatment area.
Terrible effects of cupping
Usual effect of cupping

Ear candling is an alternative medicine practice that ,medical research has clearly shown that this process may be both ineffective and dangerous! Ear candling involves placing one end of a hollow candle into the ear canal and lighting the other end to create negative pressure. The goal of this technique is to clean the ear by drawing ear wax and debris out of the canal. Studies have shown that not only is it ineffective at getting ear wax out, but it can also be dangerous as the hot wax can drip into the ear and burn. Unfortunately, this may not be the best method to treat allergies, headaches, and colds, which are all symptoms that ear candling was believed to be a cure for

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body. It is the best known part of TCM and certainly the most popular one. While, like in all other cases there are no scientific evidence that this method actually have any positive effects some negative effects are pretty common and usually no one talks about them.
1.   Soreness, Body parts where acupuncture needles get inserted can feel sore after needles are removed.
2.    Bruising  can occur at the needling site as a result of hematoma caused by needle insertion
3.    Muscle twitching as a result of needle agitate nerves, sometimes muscle spasm can occure.
4.    Skin Infections
5.    Skin irritation
6.    Possibility of infection with HIV or hepatitis
Also a study conducted by National Patient Safety Agency, part of the UK’s government-funded National Health Service found that many kids of adverse effects occur during acupuncture treatments and some of them are life threating. More than 50 % of the patients experiencing dizziness and fainting when the needle was inserted. There were 5 cases of lung collapsing, caused by the needle puncturing the pleural membranes around the lung. Studies of acupuncture in other countries and in the UK outside the NHS have revealed 86 deaths after acupuncture between 1965 and 2009, most of them from lung collapse. Another risk, he says, is to the 6 per cent of people who naturally have a hole in their breastbone, near an acupuncture point. The hole is covered with ligaments, so a doctor cannot feel it. “Acupuncture needles go right through and penetrate the membranes around the heart,” with lethal effect.

As we can see, there is nothing scientific in TCM , even more, it is dangerous and harmful practice. The only proven beneficial practice that came from TCM is manual massage which is pretty much the same as massage anywhere else on the world. In this article only the most common practices are described, every local enviornment has its own specific, odd, dangerous and harmful practices. 



недеља, 05. август 2018.

Why is San Jin so important

San Jin is the first pattern in the white crane fighting  system. It is the form that Fujianese martial arts basically are built upon. The actual time when the San Jin set was created is now impossible to determine. What can be determined is that the San JIn is the core of southern close fighting, especially in Fujian province all fighting styles have the San Jin set and training method, and see it as the most central and introductory training routine. From ancient times, southern China has always had its own unique culture. From the time of the Han Dynasty, Fujian inherited the ancient culture of the Chinese central plains, and also retained an indigenous culture that was very different from the North. Southern martial arts are  the same, they had their own unique ways of expressing power and fighting applications. San Jin and forms created upon this form are trade mark of Southern martial styles. Not only all styles of White Crane but also Luohan boxing, Taizu Boxing, Five Ancestors, Dog Boxing, Fujian Tiger style have San Jian, as well as almost all Hakka styles that have their own version of San Jin under different name.

The Mandarin "San jin" translates as "Three Wars” and mean the conflicts of "mind, body, and spirit". In ancient Chinese culture there was not a distinction between the mind and the spirit, which is a more modern, western concept. In the traditional way the wars of the form are between "mind, body and breath”, or "mind, body, and qi (internal energy.) San Jin is the answer to these conflicts, or better said, the form is a path to unification.

San Jin is a deceptively simple multi-level exercise which gives the student the basic platform needed to be able to do Kung Fu. Although composed from just a few basic hand techniques and steps the form itself is everything but that, it requires intense concentration, physical and mental awareness and great control.

While all versions of San Jin have same underlining concepts each version has its own characteristics which significantly differ from style to style. In Zong He quan San Jin at very beginning teaches how to “sit” in the stance and assume proper skeletal alignment today popularly known as “body structure”. Basic stance along with proper execution of the hands movements and footwork will over time transform joints and make them elastic but strong. Proper structure is fundamental basis for stability (balance), power is generated through proper structure and incoming force is dealt with through proper structure. Hand movements in the form are not just simple techniques, these movements embody the basic principles and strategies of the style and teach how to apply force, how deal with incoming force, proper angles of engagement, changing angles and sides, covering and controlling the space, recovering strategies if control is lost ect. It also teaches how to concentrate power in one point and deliver it.  San Jin teaches only step forward and step back. It looks very simple and easy but the truth is just the opposite. These steps are not just simple everyday steps but something completely different in every possible sense .

Normal walking is basically a sequence of interrupted falls. When we stand still the central axis of the body along with the center of gravity is perpendicular to the ground. When we start walking the central axis is moving forward along with center of gravity in way that lowest point is still at the same place and highest point is moving toward the ground, which is basically falling. We put leg in front of the body and stop the fall establishing new point of balance and then repeat the sequence for the next step. In order to make a step we have loose balance every single time. San Jin steps are totally opposite, the purpose of these steps is to maintain balance and structure with all its qualities during changing position in space. One of the old Chinese terms is to “move like a cloud”. There no excessive movement, just appear forward or back. Once mastered this principle of moving can be applied on any kind of footwork.

San Jin teaches practitioner focus and awareness, how follow many things at the same time. Focus practice stars with attention payed on inside and later as the training progress and the form becomes better it slowly goes to the outside. This is essential to fighting because even the best fighter will be defeated if he is not aware that he is under attack and what the attacker is doing.

The last but not the least is Qigong part of the form. Proper breathing sequence is not only essential for fighting but also activate and cultivate internal energy. Zong He San Jin is specific in a way that even if practitioner does not pay too much attention on Qi gong part of the form , Qi will be developed and after a while practitioner will become aware of a great change in his way of executing the form. At the beginning ,practitioner will have to put great mental effort to execute every movement correctly. After a while this will become effortless automatic process without paying attention to the details.  At the end the Qi will guide the movements without even have a full awareness of the movement, this is a deep meditative state of San Jin form. The movements will come from inside and the whole body will feel a constant flow of energy which will guide every movement throughout the form , awareness of the environment will increase while thought process will stop, mind will be free of thinking.
While composed only from a few movements and two basic steps San Jin form is the hardest to master, it is a long and never ending road of exploration and self development. Few simple moves can lead the practitioner in some unexpected directions and reveal many astonishing secrets of himself and the world around him.

уторак, 31. јул 2018.

What is "Internal" power

“Internal” martial arts today are more popular than ever, if it is not “internal” it is not worth practicing, at least that is what large number of people who follow and practice these arts say. But what internal martial arts really are? What “internal” really means? Is it really so much better than “external”? There is a myriad of definitions and seems not that every teacher but every single practitioner has its own explanation of the matter. To make things even worse, people include mysticism, religion, obscure theories about nature and human body and in some cases even magic. Sadly, many practitioners of “internal” arts believe in them but not actually understand or even seriously practice their arts.

So, let’s bust few myths and explain what internal arts really are
1.    Internal arts have nothing to do with Qigong ! Qi does not exist, period. How do we know it doesn’t exist? Simply, science is not able to prove its existence! Someone may say that science is not advanced enough and it is not able to detect Qi. While that may be true the main problem is that scientific research  requires a solid definition of what Qi is. From the people who insist on its existence and profess it, science need an in depth dissertation on its workings from these people. From these we can then search for testable statements and draw a scientific prediction . The hypothesis must also have alternative explanations that have to be tested for as well. So, basically, science is unable to test and research something that has no clear definition, that no one knows what it is, but know it exist !?!?!?! On the other hand, science did a researched Qi in domain that actually can be measured and validated. Although Qi cannot be detected the effects of Qi can be measured. All test conducted in an effort to measure the effects of Qi failed miserably just as it was the case with magic, “prana”, “bioenergy” ect. It is impossible to see any effect of Qi, not immediate one for which whenever scientifically examined, it turns out to be a parlor trick, nor long term supposed health benefits. Simply, Qi comes from a carefully controlled and disciplined mind and body under typical psychological and bio-physical conditions. It is a form of self deception or when we talk about students who got knocked out with “no touch” attack, their compliance comes from due to unconscious social pressure, simply they are brainwashed. Qi is a remnant of the ancient people believes who did not understand how physics, biology, and medicine really work, so they invented a poetic, shamanistic, religious story to give the some sense to their world view.

2.   Muscle power is not needed to create force in internal martial art, muscle are not used in training of application. Some people go even further and claim that too much muscle are actually bad for practicing nei gong but on the other hand developing a “pot belly” is beneficial. Again, this is a nonsense. First of all it is physically impossible to move without muscles, that is their purpose. Complete relaxation means no movement at all, in order to make any kind of movement muscles must be involved. “The more relax you are the more power you can generate” this is often repeated sentence by internal arts teachers but is it actually true? Different activities engage muscles (and complete body) in a different way. Repeated activity will condition muscles in certain way which will develop according to type of conditioning.  For example power lifters have different muscle development from bodybuilders who again have different muscle development form gymnasts who have different muscle development from boxers and so on. Same goes for internal martial arts, muscles are conditioned to for specific kind of movements for specific outcome. In internal arts muscles are trained to make fast and short contractions to release energy. More muscles you have, more power you have, of course if muscles are conditioned for that kind of activity. Human body does not escape laws of physics and biology and chemistry no matter what someone may believe, there is no esoteric practice nor religion that will change this fact. No muscles no movement. What people call “relaxation” is actually specific way of muscle conditioning which make contraction in order to generate energy.

3.    Next claim is actually a second part of the previous one it says that connecting tissue is actually the most important in internal arts, tendons and ligaments are actually where the power is generated and they are pathway for force flow throughout the body. People believe that somehow connecting tissue can be used as a form of spring and release the energy just like the real spring and that is why the muscles are not important and not used. Again, total nonsense. Ligaments serve as connectors, linking the ends of bones together at a joint. The joints allow for the performance of simple and complex motions throughout the body, and ligaments come in a variety of sizes and shapes to support, strengthen and stabilize the joints. A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches muscle to bone. Tendons may also attach muscles to structures such as the eyeball tendons aid in the movement of bones by transmitting force from the muscle to the bone. Tendons aid in a wide range of motion and act to resist pressures; hence, it is important that they vary in shape and size. Tendons also help absorb some of the impact muscles take as they spring into action. Ligaments and tendons are made of dense layered collagen fibers, called fibrous connective tissue. They also have some elastic fibers that allow them to move, but not so much that it moves beyond its capacity. As we can see , connective tissue has very specific purpose and while it is essential in body parts movement as much as bones and muscles their purpose is not to generate power nor to transmit it power from part of the body to another . While connecting tissue has some elasticity, that property is far beyond what internal practitioners believe and it is physiologically impossible for connecting tissue to generate power, that is a job of a muscle. While conditioning of connecting tissue helps the “force flow” it is not as important as it is believed simply because tissue tolerance for stretching is pretty limited.

So what is actually going on and what actually internal power is? To understand that we have to understand a basic processes in human body, especially muscles.
There are three types of muscules:
1.    Cardiac muscle (myocardium), found only in the heart, is a striated muscle similar in structure to skeletal muscle but not subject to voluntary control.

2.    Smooth muscle, neither striated in structure nor under voluntary control, is found within the walls of organs and structures such as the esophagus, stomach, intestines, bronchi, uterus, urethra, bladder, blood vessels, and the arrector pili in the skin (in which it controls erection of body hair).

3.    Skeletal muscle, which is out area of interest in this article striated in structure and under voluntary control, is anchored by tendons (or by aponeuroses at a few places) to bone and is used to effect skeletal movement such as locomotion and to maintain posture. (Though postural control is generally maintained as an unconscious reflex the muscles responsible also react to conscious control like non-postural muscles.) An average adult male is made up of 42% of skeletal muscle and an average adult female is made up of 36% (as a percentage of body mass). It also has striations unlike smooth muscle. These muscle are formed of long multinucleate, cylindrical cells called muscle fibers. Skeletal muscle fibers are grossly divided into two type; slow twitch (type I) and fast twitch (type II). Type II fibers are further divided into type IIa and type IIb fibers. Type IIa fibers are intermediate fast twitch fibers and can utilize both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism for ATP production. Type IIb fibers are the classic fast twitch fibers. Slow twitch muscle fibers primarily utilize fatty acid oxidation and contain a high concentration of mitochondria and store appreciable amounts of oxygen as oxymyoglobin. These two facts are the reason that slow twitch fibers are red in color. Fast twitch fibers primarily utilize glucose oxidation to pyruvate for ATP production, contain less mitochondria and myoglobin than slow twitch fibers, and thus, are white muscle fibers. Because slow twitch fibers prefer to oxidize fatty acids they are also referred to as oxidative fibers, whereas fast twitch fibers that utilize glucose are referred to as glycolytic fibers. Slow twitch fibers are capable of continuous extended contractions and therefore, do not fatigue quickly. Fast twitch fibers are used for short rapid bursts of energy and as such fatigue more quickly than slow twitch fibers.

 Now let’s see how muscle actually works. Generating power is called muscle contraction and it is not just a muscle shortening as it generates force. There are many different ways that a muscle can generate force.

1.    Concentric Contractions—Muscle Actively Shortening. When a muscle is activated and required to lift a load which is less than the maximum tetanic tension it can generate, the muscle begins to shorten. Contractions that permit the muscle to shorten are referred to as concentric contractions. An example of a concentric contraction in the raising of a weight during a bicep curl.

2.    Eccentric Contractions—Muscle Actively Lengthening. During normal activity, muscles are often active while they are lengthening. Classic examples of this are walking, when the quadriceps (knee extensors) are active just after heel strike while the knee flexes, or setting an object down gently

3.    Isometric Contraction—Muscle Actively Held at a Fixed Length. A third type of muscle contraction, isometric contraction, is one in which the muscle is activated, but instead of being allowed to lengthen or shorten, it is held at a constant length. An example of an isometric contraction would be carrying an object in front of you. The weight of the object would be pulling downward, but your hands and arms would be opposing the motion with equal force going upwards. Since your arms are neither raising or lowering, your biceps will be isometrically contracting.

4.    Passive Stretch—Muscle Passively Lengthening. There is a fourth type of muscle "contraction" known as passive stretch. As the name implies, the muscle is being lengthened while in a passive state (i.e. not being stimulated to contract). An example of this would be the pull one feels in their hamstrings while touching their toes.

To fully understand the mechanics of the movement we also have to understand the purpose of the skeletal system which is the framework of the body, consisting of bones and other connective tissues, which protects and supports the body tissues and internal organs. The skeleton can be divided into two components, the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is formed around the central axis of the body and thus includes the skull, spine, and ribcage. It protects the brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, esophagus and major sense organs like the eyes, ears, nose and tongue. The appendicular skeleton is related to the limbs and consists of the bones of the arms and legs, as well as the shoulder and hip girdles. Bones serve a variety of functions, primary among them being movement. Two bones or cartilages are held together at a joint through tough connective tissues called ligaments. Muscles are securely attached to bones through flexible but inelastic connective tissue called tendons. Muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments are part of the intricate machinery that allows the movement of different bones.

Human movement is achieved by a complex and highly coordinated mechanical interaction between bones, muscles, ligaments and joints within the musculoskeletal system under the control of the nervous system. Muscles generate tensile forces and apply moments at joints with short lever arms in order to provide static and dynamic stability of the body under gravitational and other loads while regularly performing precise limb control.

This is basic frame of every human movement.  How to define “internal” and “external” movement? Basic biomechanical processes for both, ”external “ and “internal” movements are the same so how to separate them? The difference is in level of biomechanical efficiency for same type of work. ‘External” can be defined as a usage of local group of muscles to generate , receive and transform force , it is a movement  without competence or in a segmented way, that will leave certain areas of the body uninvolved in the movement.

On the other hand  “internal” can be defined as an abilities to move every part of the body in harmony. Using a specific skeletal alignment with a proper sequence of muscle contraction , “internal” power have significantly higher level of movement efficiency whit significantly lower energy consumption.  There are many different ways in which the body is used in this regard but all these methods share certain common traits explained above.
As we can see, difference between “internal” and “external” is not in the nature of the movement and certainly it has nothing to do with esoteric or mythical powers and energies, but it is a difference in quality of utilized movement or more precise in the level of energy consumption vs. desired output,