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Thread: Train inner power first, or train technique first...which is better?

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Train inner power first, or train technique first...which is better?

    To become an elite level martial artist in wulin, it's best to become a master of both inner power and external fighting techniques. Which one is better to train first, however?

    Wuxia fiction features a number of examples of elite level martial artists who first accumulated a vast amount of inner power before learning any fighting techniques: Deun Yu, Hui Juk, Yau Tan Tze, and Cheung Mo Gei are a few examples of such individuals.

    On the other hand, there are also a number of elite martial artists who first acquired a variety of fighting techniques before truly training in high-level inner power techniques. Gwok Jing, Yeung Gor, and Ling Wu Chung would fall into this category.

    Since wuxia characters have been demonstrably successful with either approach, does it matter at all whether one masters inner power accumulation or technique first?

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    Isn't this the same discussion that split HuaShan school in half with Technique vs. Inner Strength? For me, I believe that technique comes first. I play tennis and the first thing we learn is how to swing the racquet (technique) and after we learn how to control the among of strength we put into each strokes.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmndMlkT View Post
    Isn't this the same discussion that split HuaShan school in half with Technique vs. Inner Strength?
    Not really. *That* debate was which one was more important overall. In this discussion, it's acknowledged that *both* are important, but which one do you start with?

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    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    Depends on the inner power and technique.

    Most of JY's advanced techniques require deep internal energy.

    But not Dugu 9 Jian. To learn that, it makes more sense to train "technique" (or lack thereof) first.
    忽见柳荫下两个小孩子在哀哀痛哭,瞧模样正是武敦儒、武修文兄弟。郭芙大声叫道:「喂,你们在干甚麽?」武 修文回头见是郭芙,哭道:「我们在哭,你不见麽?」

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    If you're intelligent and have a high level technique like Dog Beating or D9GJ, I'd probably go with technique. You'll get pretty good in a short period of time, then devote time to inner strength.

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    Tony Leung broke his left hand sparring with Wing Chun master in real life after training for months on the technique as he lacks proper inner strength.

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    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tape View Post
    If you're intelligent and have a high level technique like Dog Beating or D9GJ, I'd probably go with technique. You'll get pretty good in a short period of time, then devote time to inner strength.
    Agree. And if one is not very smart or just wants to get the best result with the least amount of work, their best option may be learning some unorthodox trick-based techniques like HR's crash course in 9 Yin and the Persian messengers' mix of QKDNY and Holy Fire Scepter, that allows you to defeat stronger opponents.
    忽见柳荫下两个小孩子在哀哀痛哭,瞧模样正是武敦儒、武修文兄弟。郭芙大声叫道:「喂,你们在干甚麽?」武 修文回头见是郭芙,哭道:「我们在哭,你不见麽?」

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tape View Post
    If you're intelligent and have a high level technique like Dog Beating or D9GJ, I'd probably go with technique. You'll get pretty good in a short period of time, then devote time to inner strength.
    If a combatant's technique is excellent, but his/her inner power is inadequate, his/her blows might be ineffective against the opponent. The technique will enable the combatant to hit the enemy, but the blows might not be strong enough to injure the enemy.

    Wong Yung, for example, could whack Hui Juk with a stick all day and night, but would she be able to inflict any damage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    If a combatant's technique is excellent, but his/her inner power is inadequate, his/her blows might be ineffective against the opponent. The technique will enable the combatant to hit the enemy, but the blows might not be strong enough to injure the enemy.

    Wong Yung, for example, could whack Hui Juk with a stick all day and night, but would she be able to inflict any damage?
    I mainly mentioned weapon based techniques because they can cause damage to pretty much anybody if they hit. I believe Guo Xiang used a sword to perform Dog Beating Stick in HSDS, so that's always available at least. But yeah, once you're up against a Great or better, there really isn't much you can do regardless of what you've been training in. Against the vast majority of wulin though, it seems high level techniques will at least give you a good chance whereas less than a year or two of inner power won't get you anywhere.

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    Both Guo Jing and Yang guo did both. They studied external techniques during the day. Guo Jing practiced sleeping kung fu at night and Yang Guo slept on the Ice Bed.

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    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Wong Yung, for example, could whack Hui Juk with a stick all day and night, but would she be able to inflict any damage?
    It's unfair to use XZ to represent the internal energy side of the argument, because his IE was not at all cultivated on his own.

    A more fair match would be between post-9 Yang, pre-QKDNY Zhang Wuji, vs nearly-internal energy-less LHC.
    Last edited by PJ; 01-10-12 at 12:47 PM.
    忽见柳荫下两个小孩子在哀哀痛哭,瞧模样正是武敦儒、武修文兄弟。郭芙大声叫道:「喂,你们在干甚麽?」武 修文回头见是郭芙,哭道:「我们在哭,你不见麽?」

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    Senior Member ChronoReverse's Avatar
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    This isn't really a question of whether internal energy is more important or if technique is more important. Semantically, you're not even learning to fight until you have at least a modicum of technique.

    Therefore technique first. If you were getting ready to learn a sport from scratch, do you start with fitness training or do you learn the basic rules of the sport first?


    Nonetheless, just as you won't get far in just learning the rules of a sport without fitness training, likewise, you need to build up the physical basis to fight well. The examples of the extremes are just ingenuous; these are extreme rarities that aren't an available path for people to just go and choose.
    Last edited by ChronoReverse; 01-10-12 at 01:31 PM.

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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    My guess is that you'd work on inner power first - perfecting the stroke without inner power will not be the same as using it with inner power. It's like in cricket, when training how to bowl, some bowlers prefer to focus on getting their line and length correct, and then once they settle, try to bowl faster. The result is that the bowling goes awry again, and the bowlers have to work on getting the line and length back at the faster pace. Some of us advocate bowling as fast as you can first, never mind if you spray it all over the place, and once you settle into a comfortable pace, work on tuning your direction, line and length.

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