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: