There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to understanding the concept of internal and external training in Kung Fu and Tai Chi. The most commonly known Kung Fu training is classed as external (hard). The movement and forms appear very obviously as fighting skills with the kicks, punches, blocks and strikes done fast and with power.
While Tai Chi is usually done slowly and softly with little appearance of being a fighting martial art, there are occasional times when an experienced master will do Tai Chi with speed and power and immediately anyone watching would see the direct connection to Kung Fu and martial arts. Confusion comes about when the training methods are classified as hard (external) or soft (internal). In reality both art forms should encompass both hard and soft, external and internal training, and can never in truth be separated exclusively into one or the other category of hard and soft.
Kung Fu is easier to understand as a self-defence art and it is much quicker to learn and actualize directly appliable techniques. However, Kung Fu also incorporates soft and slow training, meditation and energy development. Tai Chi on the other hand is grasped much more readily when a basic understanding of self-defence applications and the importance of body postures and timing of the movements is explained and understood.
The current day focus, in most martial arts training, is on the fighting and/or sport aspect of competition. This approach leaves little time or interest in the development of Kung fu and Tai Chi as complete training systems. Both of these art forms are preserved in practice and learning at Circle Kung Fu and Tai Chi, Peterborough Ontario, 280 Perry St. (705) 775-2537, home of the exclusive Gold Dragon Fist Training System. If you are looking for complete martial arts, stop by or give us a call.
Grand Master Craig Stephens