Does it mean that a martial art that uses Internal Jing is automatically classified as an internal martial art? Or that a martial art that uses External Jing is automatically an External martial art? It does not. The distinction between the two classes of martial arts has historically always been rather arbitrary but in general its classification is based on the art's approaches to combat. The earliest distinction between the two is recorded in the 'Inscription For Wang Zhen Nan" (written in the early Qing Dynasty <1644-1911>) where the Shaolin school of martial arts was called the External system because of its techniques focus on attacking the opponent. The Wudang school of martial arts founded by Chang San Feng is called the Internal school because it overcomes its opponents by neutralising his force instantaneously in a tranquil manner. Later, schools which attribute their origin to the Shaolin school were generally classified as External martial arts and those who are said to have their origins in the Wudang school were generally classified as Internal martial arts. Also, those whose characteristics matched the above description for the External system and emphasized physical exertion were also classified under the External system and those whose characteristics corresponded with the above description of the Internal system and stressed relaxed tranquillity were classified under the Internal system. These are broad classifications, it does not mean that within schools considered in general as external there are no internal elements or vice versa.
Martial arts classified under the external system sometimes also have Internal Jing training and vice versa so classifying them by their Jing usage is inappropriate.
Was this article helpful?