A Frank Conversation About Internal Power in Martial Arts

Chi Chi Wu Wu

Internal power training merits every martial artist’s attention because it is seldom presented in the current traditional understanding of Karate, Kung fu or Tae Kwon Do technique, yet speaks to the heart of true martial art practice.

So allow me to jump into the dialog about internal power and offer my observation on what it is, isn’t, and that oft-winding path to develop it.

As a lifelong, career martial artist, I’ve gnawed on the concept of chi, internal power, and its relevancy to the martial arts community, until my teeth ached, and then some.

My conclusion: Internal power art is a real phenomenon with duplicable affect. It dramatically amplifies power across the complete action spectrum for all martial strikes, locks, grip escapes, pushing, pulling, rooting, and uprooting actions. If likened to a mountain, it’s a prodigious one. And there are many methods to ascend. No one holds the exclusive rights. But I must give sound warning. Without a clear grasp on the subject, pirating portions from one methodology to attach to another, partial path will only hamper your ability to cover significant ground and confuse you further.

My take on the subject has been keenly influenced by my forty-seven years of Okinawan karatedo kata study. The essential Okinawan forms reveal a hidden, art-within-an-art, power matrix overlooked by mainstream, form-oriented practitioners, despite their many years of training. To maintain my own objectivity and relevancy, I engaged the subject with a sophisticated group of seasoned yudansha in multiple disciplines covering a twenty-five year long testing period.

Sadly, mainstream American Karate and Tae Kwon Do practitioners lead the world’s community of being mostly in the dark about internal power concepts. Nevertheless, it’s important that we professionals awaken others to this richly stimulating subject to keep its principles alive, and to teach students how to duplicate our skills, whether in strength, clarity of mind, or simply in capturing the vitality and full meaning potential).

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