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The internal Styles

The internal Styles

The Internal Styles

The Internal Styles are characterized by the use of Internal Energy in a psychophysical state of relaxation in which muscle relaxation and mental emptiness allow an attitude of compliance in the fight that neutralizes the opponent’s application of force. Training therefore aims at awareness and development of internal energy to allow for good circulation. These styles have their origin, as an “energetic” approach, in the first energetic practices of the Dao Yin dating back to the mid-third millennium BC. and in the subsequent development of Qi Gong (in particular in the third century BC). The union of these energetic practices with martial arts occurs only later, in the fifth century. A.D. thanks to the Buddhist monk Bodhidarma who applies Qi Gong to fighting styles, first using the Qi Gong of the 5 animals developed by the doctor Ha Tuo in the second century. A.D. to reinvigorate the physique of the monks after long meditations, and subsequently codifying 18 exercises (shi ba luo ha shou) from which the Shaolin style is believed to have originated. 3 Most likely already during the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) martial art styles spread that can be considered the precursors of the Internal Styles: different sources refer to Mian Quan (cotton boxing) and Rou Quan (soft boxing) , the Hsientien Quan practiced by the immortal Li Tao Tze, the San Shi Qi conceived by the hermit Xu Xuan Ping. The definitive differentiation between the two schools can be placed at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, if we consider the legendary origin of the TJQ with the figure of the immortal Taoist monk Zhang San Feng who would have created the so-called and discussed Wudang System ( from the name of Mount Wudang where the Taoist temple stands, center of the cult of the Taoist deity Xuan Di, the Black Emperor, warrior protector of the world who resides in the Polar Star). Certain information documenting the birth of the various Interior Styles dates back to the 17th century. and they report some key characters for each style: Chen Wangtin for Tai Ji Quan, Yue Fei for Xing Yi Quan and Dong Haichuan for Ba Gua Quan.

Romina Quatela, Taijiquan

Tàijíquán (Wade-Giles T’ai Chi Ch’uan – fist of the supreme polarity) A form of combat based on the control of the opponent according to the Taoist principles of alternating between Yin and Yang, the techniques of this style are applied avoiding the contrast and seeking fluidity and lines of less effort. It is mainly divided into five styles (Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu Yu-Xiang and Sun) of which the oldest (the Chen style) can be traced back to 1600. Although it is in effect a martial and combat discipline, in the West it has become popular in its form of gymnastics for health. Xíngyìquán (Wade-Giles Hsing I Ch’uan – fist of the five elements) Style based on explosive rectilinear techniques and linear control of space; its basic techniques are cataloged, following the Taoist cosmology, according to the constructive and destructive cycles of the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth) and the twelve animals (Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Crocodile, Rooster, Eagle, Bear, Tai Bird, Snake, Hawk, Swallow) so that each attack corresponds, in a more or less univocal way, to a parry and a counterattack. Bāguàzhǎng (Wade-Giles Pa Kua Chang – palm of the eight trigrams) Developed in the nineteenth century on the basis of the taosti exercises of “meditation walking in a circle”, it soon became one of the cornerstones of the internal fighting techniques of Chinese martial arts. These are mainly circular and fluid techniques, so much so that they are often seen as the natural counterpart of Hsing-Yi. The name of this style derives from the eight trigrams which form the basis of the Yijing (the book of changes) and which are the basis of Taoist cosmology.

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