A Key To Success in the Martial Arts…

How to succeed in Martial ArtsOne key reason Sigung Clear has been so successful in studying the arts and developing the skill he has is…

He doesn’t care what it’s called.

He started training with one goal:

– Learn how to survive a vicious street attack.

Shortly after that he added a second goal:

– Learn how to be healthy, active and able at 90 years old.

Everything He’s studied over the years and everything we train and teach today is a means to achieve one or both of those goals.

It’s easy to get caught up in the name of a thing and lose sight of the goal.

Tai Chi wasn’t created to be Tai Chi.

It was designed as a tool, a means to an end.

If you lose sight of the purpose…

…well, a hammer is meant to drive nails.

If you start making hammers that are for painting and hanging on a wall, eventually you’ll end up making something that breaks when you strike a nail with it.

Should you still call it a hammer?

So, we like to take our art off of its pedestal, throw it down the stairs and drag it through the mud.

It’s not the prettiest or the cleanest, but it does the job like nothing else.

If that sounds like your idea of fun come join us in the Internal Combat Arts Course:


Argh! I know less now than I did yesterday!

The Facts keep changing.

Everytime I turn around the things I know are wrong.

First meat is bad soy is good. Then Soy is unhealthy, use whey protein. Now protein is overhyped by the supplement industry & is possibly linked to liver issues, kidney issues & bone loss?!


(RIP Planet Pluto)

…and that’s just scientific facts. I don’t even know where to begin with all this Internal Arts mumbo jumbo.

How the hell am I Supposed to learn anything when the facts keep changing!

Ok, Take deep breath.

Relax. Flow with the changes.

Every time you’re WRONG,
…you get one step closer to being right!

We love the eclectic approach to these arts because having a wide range of teachers and influences is incredibly useful.

You can cross check, reference, verify & fill in the pieces.

…and you get a much clearer picture of where these arts begin and end, where they overlap and where they differ.

This research & study is what Sigung Clear has been working hard at for over 30 years now.

(…and I see no indication that he’ll slow down for at least another 60 years or so.)

What he’s found is that the best way to understand the full breadth and depth of a single art is to study multiple related arts.

The Internal Combat Arts Course is designed around this idea.

To give you pieces that are all too often missing so you can get a Clear picture of how these arts fit together.

…and give you a bunch of hands on, practical stuff you can start using tomorrow.

Go check it out:


HELP! I don’t have a training partner!

Can I study without a training partner?

…is a very common question.

The answer is a clear cut: Yesnosortof.

There is a lot you can do by yourself. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

But first, Having a training partner is very important. There are a lot of skills you simply cannot build without one and a lot more that are much faster and easier to build when you have someone to work with.

The key to finding a good training partner is to start looking and never stop.

Just like your kung fu practice.

Put a little time into it every day.

There are all kinds of online tools you can use. Meetup, Craigslist, etc… Don’t forget about offline tools either. Community bulletin boards and stuff.

Don’t get discouraged when no one shows up on the first day, or week.

Just make this search part of your ongoing practice.

…and don’t stop just because you have 1 or 2 or even 10 training partners. A few more is always a good thing.

While you’re working on that the Internal Iron Body DVD is an excellent way to build power and internal iron.


And you can work on it every day all by yourself.

What has all these Big Bad Martial Artists Terrified?

Want to see a Martial Artist get scared?

…and start backpedaling as fast as they can?

Go find a 15 – 30 year practitioner. Some who’s been there and done that. Trained with the right kinds of teachers. Run schools. Taught workshops.

Go up to them and just start throwing around the word “master.”

More and more I see martial artists start backpedaling as soon as that word pops up.

First they start distancing themselves from the word:

“oh I’m no master. Just a humble student.”

Then they start attacking the word itself.

You’d think master was only spelled with four letters by the way they behave.

What did that poor word ever do to them?

Did they accidentally let it slip on youtube and get a bunch of mean comments that hurt their feelings?

A master is simply an expert at something.

— A person with extensive knowledge or ability in a given subject.

— A worker or artisan qualified to teach apprentices.

Is that so bad?

Isn’t that what we look for in a teacher?

Isn’t the goal of training to master a set of skills?

If they’re just trying to be humble why do they call themselves a Martial Artist?

Is their martial skill so great we should call it art?

I’d settle for a simple expert.

Whether you prefer the term Master or Artist the first step is to start working hard and building a foundation.

Not a foundation of forms & choreography but a solid one based on skill you can use.

Students who complete the Internal Combat Arts Course have that foundation.

…and they’ve built it on a solid understand of how to fight with the internal arts.

You can become one of them if you’re willing to do the work:


What & Where is The Center in Martial Arts?

Many martial arts talk about The Center.

  • They protect the center
  • They attack the center
  • They move the center
  • They control the center
  • They fortify it, they seize it
  • Some even dissolve the center

So what exactly is the center? and where is it?

It’s a good question.

The Center is the place where someone can be pushed, moved or thrown with almost no effort.

…and if you hit them there it’s a serious problem.

In an external art this is often the physical center of someone’s body. Their center of gravity or leverage point.

…and it’s mostly in the same place every time.

The Internal Arts aren’t so simple.

Now, we’re talking about the center of someone’s intention and energy.

It can move, change and even disappear.

So what’s with this fortifying, moving and dissolving the center?

This is one of the clearer distinctions between the internal arts.

  • Xing Yi fortifies the center.
  • Bagua moves the center.
  • Tai Chi dissolves the center.

If you put your hands on a Xing Yi guy his center is solid. In fact it’s so solid that when you try to push it you’ll just get run over.

When you put hands on a Bagua guy you can try to push his center.

But every time you do it ends up being somewhere else. It keeps moving and twisting and is always just out of reach.

When you put hands on a Tai Chi guy there’s simply nothing there. Like trying to push a cloud.

Why does this matter?

If you only study one style or lineage, it doesn’t.

You don’t need to distinguish between the different influences on your style.

You simply focus on becoming the best imitation of your teacher that you can.

But, if you study more than one art or you want to understand the an art as a whole.

(Instead of just one flavor of it.)

Then it is absolutely critical to understand the underlying principles that every flavor of the art is based on.

And you must know where that art begins and ends. What it has in common with other arts and what is unique.

This type of understanding takes time.

Especially with all the convoluted information out there about the internal arts.

Our Internal Combat Arts course is very helpful in this way.

Not only do you learn how to fight with Kuntao Silat, Xing Yi, Bagua and Tai Chi…

…You start learning core internal principles like fortifying the center, moving the center and how to find someones center.

You learn different ways each of these arts generate power.

(and you learn how to combine several of them for some very devastating strikes.)

…and you get a clear look at many of the things these arts share as well as what sets them apart.

So, go join the Internal Combat Arts course:


What is Indoor Teaching? & why Kung Fu sucks

I’ve been asked a couple times recently about what exactly the term “Indoor Training” means.

Basically “indoor” is a term for information in a system that is only taught to a privileged few.

In other words it’s stuff that is only taught ‘behind closed doors’ instead of in public.

There are different names for this practice.

Sometimes you have to be a family member or become a disciple to get this info. Some systems are only passed on to one person.

Everyone else is kept in the dark.

No matter how dedicated or how long they study.

Now, this practice makes sense if you go back before modern firearms and you have to worry about war with a nearby city, family or tribe.

But in the modern world this doesn’t protect you from unpleasant folks. They’ll just stock up on firearms, try to run you over with a car or send their lawyers after you.

A lot of things have been lost because of this practice.

And it’s the primary reason there is so much poor quality kung fu and Internal martial arts out there.

There are two reasons this practice continues…


Ignorance comes in a few different forms.

Some people never learn they’ve been held out on. They simply teach what they learned without ever realizing they’re doing themselves, their students and their art a disservice.

Others perpetuate this practice because it’s what they were taught . They were handed this tradition and they never questioned it or considered the damage they’re doing to their students and the art they’re trying to preserve.

And then there’s FEAR…

Fear that the competition will steal their ‘secrets.’

Fear that their students will learn everything they know and then leave. (and maybe become the competition.)

These fears, and those like them, are a fear of losing power and control over others.

(If your goal is power over others I suggest you dream big and go into politics or start a career in our financial industry.)

These fears are destructive.

If a teacher only teaches the good stuff to a few people then a lot of their time is spent teaching not so good stuff.

Their skill level will suffer because of all this time spent working with poor quality training. (which leads to an increase in fear.)

If they only have one or two disciples then they have a huge problem if one goes rogue or is killed in a car wreck.

And all those students who studied for years without developing the skill they should have…

..their skill level will form the basis of the arts reputation in the years to come.

If you are constantly learning and you teach everybody openly…

– then a rogue student will quickly be surpassed by his peers and the loss of a senior student won’t be the end of the system.

– You will never run out of things to teach.

– and with more skilled students your skill will grow faster as well.

There is also an almost legitimate fear that someone they teach will use their knowledge to hurt someone.

Thing is, indoor training is NOT any easier.

It still takes HARDWORK over TIME.

(It’s just much much more effective.)

In today’s world the bad eggs have access to much easier ways to hurt somebody…

And the good eggs…

…The hardworking students who will carry these arts forward…

The don’t need any extra obstacles in their path.

These arts are hard enough already.

The solution is simple.


LEARN the best stuff you can find anywhere you can find it.

Become a shining example of what is possible with these arts.

and TEACH.

Share what you know.

Make sure your students become high quality examples to carry these arts forward.

It’s Simple…

learn, teach and never ever stop.

Sigung Clear was lucky. In the early years of his training he got access to the indoor teaching of some highly skilled teachers.

But instead of trying to coast on that tiny bit of luck, like many folks do,

He added a whole bunch of Hard Work.

Constantly training and seeking out the best teachers and learning the best stuff he could.

Over and over. Again and again.

…for over 30 years now.

To this day he still makes sure to get around 6 weeks of full time (40 hours or more) instruction per year.

(That’s about 240 hrs per year. To put it in perspective if you attend a 2hr class twice a week that’s 208 hrs per year if you never ever miss class.)

That’s why our programs are able to deliver the results that they do.

…because we skip all the BS and start with the good stuff right away.

Our hope is that if we keep doing this often enough and loudly enough more folks will follow our example.

If you’d like try the good stuff approach then go check this out:


Grab them by the insides! (Internal ‘Na’)

The ability to Na (hold or control) is important in all martial arts.

But it’s application is profoundly different between Internal and External systems.

(This is the same ‘na’ in ‘Chin Na’)

The external version is simple.

Just grab the opponent and you’ve done it.

You can then use that grab to break something or pull them into a strike or whatever.

INTERNALLY this gets a little more interesting.

We’re now talking about holding or controlling something INSIDE the other person.

A simple example would be to grab someone’s wrist and yet be able to control their shoulder.

If the person you grab is tense this will be easy. The more they relax the more skill you’ll need to do this.

With training there are many things you can ‘na.’

– Tension (one of the easiest)
– their root
– their balance point
– their breath

In the Internal Combat Arts course you’ll learn how to find and ‘na’ someones center.

(Tai Chi Chuan Lesson 16. http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts)

Have you ever heard Xing Yi and Bagua folks talk about touching the opponents spine anytime you make contact?

This is another example.

Any time you make contact (anywhere) you make sure that contact effects the opponents spine.


The key is to build the ability to feel inside your opponent.

You need to be able to put your hand on their wrist and feel the tension in their lower back, or their spine, or their kidney.

That’s why we do so many hands on, tactile games.

Like this one:

And each of the 4 sections in the Internal Combat Arts course includes various games that will continue to build this skill (and many others).


(and they must not know you.)

Being able to see where their head is so you can throw your fist at it is a start…

…but it you want to practice an INTERNAL art you need to go a little deeper than that.


Internal VS External: Application

What’s the difference between Internal & External?

This is a common question and there are a bunch of confusing and misleading answers online.

So here’s a simple answer:

– Internal = Inside the body.
– External = Outside the body.

So to help make things clearer lets talk about application of technique.

So the External is where you put your hands and feet.

1. Smack their arm to turn them, then punch them in the kidney.


2. As they punch, trap their wrist and drive you fore arm through their elbow to break the arm.

So if we want to make these applications Internal then we need to start looking at what’s happening inside the body.

We’ll start with inside the opponent.

When you punch them in the kidney…

– Is the force going into the kidney you’re striking?

– Or maybe you direct it across to damage the kidney on the other side.

– Or down into their lower intestine.

– Or up into the lung, heart or head.

In the 2nd application when you drive your forearm through their elbow…

– Instead you could direct the force to their shoulder to dislocate it instead of breaking the elbow.

– Or you could target their point of balance and turn into a throw instead of a break.

You can also look at what’s happening inside you.

– Are you using a heavy body state?
– A light one?
– Do you have Chan Si Jing (spiralling energy) turned on?
– Are you using compression?
– Are you expanding or contracting?
– Are you using Peng, Lu, Ji or An?

Each one of these body states will change the power of an application and how it affects the opponent.

Ok, here’s the cool part:

Say I’m doing the second app. I’m using a heavy body state, a little bit of An Jing (push) and I’m trying to break their elbow.

What if they counter?

They put enough strength and intent in their elbow that there’s no way I could break it.

Well, an External Martial Artist will need to change his technique. He’ll need to move his hands and feet into a different position so he can apply a different technique.

This takes time.

The Internal Martial Artist only has to change his mind.

– Heavy becomes light.
– An becomes Ji.
– and the target becomes his shoulder.

With a little training, this change can happen almost as fast as you can think.

Much faster than moving your hands and feet.

…and if the opponent doesn’t have the sensitivity to pick up the change and the internal skill to counter you fast enough then they don’t have much of chance.

And you can keep changing. Again and again in an instant.

Or you can strike (issue power) multiple times to multiple targets without changing your position or point of contact.

This is ONE of the key differences between internal and external.

We’ll talk about a few others over the next couple days.

When you’re ready to start learning how to fight at the speed of thought,

Go check this out:


Am I too old to start training?

Here’s another FAQ we get:
“Am I too old to start training? I’m well aware that there are many masters in their 60s, 70s 80s & older that are capable of tremendous feats…but I’m fairly certain that most, if not all, started their training at an age earlier than mine.”
There is a myth that Tai Chi & the Internal Arts take a lifetime to master.
This is a MYTH.
Teachers who don’t teach spread this myth so that in 5, 10 or 20 years you won’t question the fact that you are still at a beginner level in these arts.
There is a grain of truth hidden in the myth.
(this makes it believable.)
These arts ARE deep enough that you can continue to gain skill and knowledge throughout your entire life.
Don’t confuse “can be studied for a lifetime” with “takes a lifetime to learn.”
Mastery = Comprehensive knowledge and skill in a subject.
20 years is plenty of time to become highly skilled.
(for Tai Chi. Simpler arts will take a lot less time.)
Learning to fight effectively doesn’t take nearly as long.
When you look at masters that started young they were often considered masters in their late 20’s / early 30’s. 
Yang Chen fu for example began teaching publicly at 31 (so probably about 20 – 25 years of experience.) He was one of the first Tai Chi folks to teach publicly so there’s no way he started doing that without already being a master of the art at the top of his game.
There are also stories of masters who started in later in life. I’ll go look one of them up to share with you later.
So, what’s the best place to get started?
That would be our Internal Combat Arts Course.
This is a 16 week online training program that guides you through the fighting fundamentals of Xing Yi, Bagua, Tai Chi & Kuntao Silat.
In addition to all the combat stuff this program will also help you build a strong Qigong practice. Both for health and for more advanced fighting stuff later on.
You can start training right now:

Can you really learn Internal Arts from video?

I’ve been asked this several times in the last few days.

So, can people LEARN complex and difficult skills by video?

Yes, it happens all the time in many different fields. 

(even surgical techniques are taught by video.)

Can people learn from OUR videos?

Yes. We have many students who successfully study from dvd.

(in fact one of the more common comments from students with 15- 20 years of previous experience is that they learned more from one of our videos than from the last 10 or so years of live instruction.)

Can YOU learn from our videos?

I don’t know, Can you?

  ** Do you have the patience to pause the DVD every couple of minutes so you can practice what you’ve seen?

  ** Do you have the discipline to work that skill until you get it instead of skipping ahead on the video?

  ** Are you willing to do the work it takes to build these skills?

  ** Are you willing to do the work it takes to find 1 or 2 or 5 training partners to work with regularly?

In a dojo the training partners are supplied for you, the training times are scheduled for you and you have someone standing over your shoulder telling you to work harder and spoon feeding you new info as they deem you are ready.

In the beginning this makes things easier.

More convenient.

But the internal arts are not easy.

They are not convenient.

Ultimately, even with live training, you will need to step up and take charge of your education.

When you’re ready to progress at your own pace, on your own terms, we are here:

Why 90 year old masters look half their age.

The other day I made a quick comment about the old internal masters looking
half their age.

And, some of you have been asking me to talk more about that.

What’s their secret?

And, how can YOU do the same — so in old age you’re still flexible,
tough and looking like you’re in your 40’s when you’re pushing 60, 70
or even 80.

The answer:

Build Internal Skill. The same things we talked about last time.

But here’s the secret:

It’s gotta be real.

Doing some Qi Gong set over and over doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to be
able to FEEL what’s going on inside your body.

“Feel the Energy” is NOT some random slogan we dreamed up ‘cause it
looked good on our t-shirts.

We didn’t stick it on there to try to appeal to the ‘new age’ modern
hippy who’s scared of us because we can fight with our Tai Chi.

No, It’s on there because you have GOT to be able to feel it.

Not in some wishy washy abstract kinda way.

It’s gotta be real.

As real as that sick to your stomach, almost gonna puke, feeling you
get when you take a punch to the gut.

Now that’s real.

You know it because you can feel it.

To gain the health benefits of Internal training it’s got to be just as
real. (only in a good way.)

That’s where the Internal Power video comes in:


It’s got a bunch of carefully designed games & drills that teach you
how to really feel what’s happening inside your body.

Sigung Clear spent a long time developing this program so you could
actually learn it by video.

All you need is a training partner.

Sigung Clear has been researching this stuff for over 30 years now.

So far this is the fastest, most effective, method he’s found for
building Internal Skill.

Oh, and there’s one other secret:

You’ve got to do the work.

It’s powerful and effective training but you’ve got to put in the
effort, the Kung Fu, to make it happen.

This isn’t some magic pill.

If you’re looking for the easy path just go back to doing empty forms
and you’ll get the same health benefits as a walk in the park.

But if you’ll put in the extra effort, the rewards are profound.

 – Increased bone and muscle density.
 – Better boyd oxygen levels.
 – Lower blood pressure & heart rate.
 – Better balance, posture and alignment.

 – Learn to feel & manipulate Chi
 – Strengthen your mind intent
 – Build an immense reservoir of Chi

…and that’s just for starters.

As you build skill the benefits increase.

And the method is deep. So you can continue to add to it as you learn


It is work, BUT it’s also all two person games and drills. So it’s
a lot of fun  as well.

Much better than something like standing practice, which is not only
less effective but also incredibly boring.

If you think that a kiss…

“If you think that a kiss is all in the lips c’mon,
you got it all wrong, man.” – Jack White.

And if you think that a punch is all in the hips,

…Oh Well…

then do the twist.

Most martial artists just do the twist over and over.

Dancing to same old song.

Only it looks a little different now,

With those creaking knees and aching hips, it
just ain’t what it used to be.

Didn’t their momma ever tell them that it’s
what’s on the inside that counts?

 – The alignments,
 – the body states,
 – the yi and the chi.

I don’t see too many of the old Internal masters

They just keep getting better and better, while
looking about half their age.

Because ultimately a kiss…

 …a dance…  ..your ‘age’..

even a punch..

..is all in your head.

Your ability to direct your intention, and the
internal skill to make that intent a reality.

That’s what counts.

So, don’t do the twist anymore.

Develop your intention & your internal skill with
our Internal Power training:


…and then go use it to impress your friends.

Because friends don’t let friends do the twist.

I know why you’re here…

I know what you’ve been doing.

Why you live alone and why night after night you practice Kata & Form.

You’re looking for it.

I know because I was once looking for the same thing…

[I just watched The Matrix for the first time since I began studying Xing Yi. I now think everybody should learn a little Xing Yi just so they can watch The Matrix again with new eyes.

Neo at the beginning of the movie reminds me of myself and all those external martial artists out there trapped in a matrix of rote technique and kata.

…and then one day you begin to wonder, to question…]

It’s the question that drives us.

It’s the question that brought you here.

You know the question just as I did.

“What is the Internal? How do I use it?”

The answer is out there,

It’s looking for you…

…And it will find you if you want it to.


S01E01 – Why I Lie About These Internal Iron Palm Questions

In this episode:

  1. How Many Tai Chi Players…
  2. The Iron Palm Questions I Never Answer Honestly
  3. Don’t Ever Stop Your External Training …Or ELSE
  4. The Advanced Internal Strikes Checklist
  5. The Secret Weapon for Lack of Sleep… Better Than Caffeine 

Links from the show: