There are people that actually think there is a huge difference between the external martial arts and the internal martial art. They think that there is some kind of battle going on between Shaolin and Wudan, that Shaolin students lay in wait for Tai Chi Chuan students. This, of course, is rather silly. Check out the video and then I’ll tell you about it.
There is a development from internal to external. This development can easily be understood, and in both time and geometry. Understanding this growth of art will make you a better and much more knowledgeable martial artist.
Shaolin was the first of the martial arts. Before then it was probably just practice killing people mindlessly. Shaolin, however, elevated the fact of killing to an art form, and exposed the truth of the human spirit in its teachings.
Both Wing Chun Kung Fu and Preying Mantis developed at about the same time, and probably from Shaolin. Though there are differences in these arts, they worked on the notion of shifting the arms in the same direction as the attack. They brought about the idea of guiding the attack, thus initiating the pathway towards the softer arts.
Interestingly, the truly soft arts, the internal methods such as Tai Chi Chuan and Pa Kua Chang, evolved at different rates and in different fashions. Tai Chi, if you believe certain histories, was grown over a thousand years, eventually making its way to the Wudan temple. Pa Kua Chang, on the other hand, whether you believe the histories or not, was probably the joining of Shaolin and a rare religion which espoused walking in a circle and chanting.
Pa Kua Chang advocates circle walking, or evading, and thus the body is moved away from the attacker. There is a common thread between moving the body away, and manifesting the characteristics of energy in the soft arts. The progression of Pa Kua Chang leads one directly to this link.
Tai Chi Chuan, on the other hand teaches one to maintain a specific position in space, and makes the body go away from the attack. This seems to be an even more direct and stronger link, though this statement in no way reflects on which art is superior. When viewing the various eastern disciplines, and putting them in a more logical sequence, one should never raise one art over another, but rather view them as parts of the same puzzle.
In conclusion, there is a definite progression from ’emptying the body’ to ’emptying the mind,’ and to the abilities manifested by a soft martial artist. This is the progression from hard to soft, or from internal martial arts to external martial art of which I speak. And, one should study all arts, compiling and categorizing them into one art, and this would be the true and complete fighting discipline.
To fully understand this progression from Shaolin to internal martial art head to Monster Martial Arts.