What is Internal Strength ?
The function of the Ayrshire Internal Strength Study Group is to explore and develop a form of moving called 6 Harmonies movement. This is best known from the Chinese internal martial arts (such as Taijiquan or Bagua), but there has been a rise in interest amongst practitioners of a range of other martial styles looking to incorporate these movement principles into their martial systems.
Rather than rely solely on muscle power to drive movements and dissipate incoming forces, study of 6 Harmonies principles allows a number of changes to be made in the way we move. Improved posture allows the body’s supporting tissues to be aligned more efficiently to distribute forces of movement. This can allow more efficient co-ordination of whole body movements (known collectively as the 3 External Harmonies), assisted by developing one’s mental focus and use of intention (known collectively as the 3 Internal Harmonies, thus explaining the term 6 Harmonies). The lower abdomen has an important role in the co-ordinating of this process. Correct use of breathing is necessary for best effect.
Ayrshire Internal Strength Study Group is not a martial arts class, however. We use individual and partner exercises to develop each area above. These include: an exercise called silk reeling for improved movement co-ordination; breathing and postural exercises; exercises with the use of intention for best movement effectiveness and dealing with incoming forces acting on the body; and exercises for power generation.
There is no attacking or defending, and no striking, throwing or joint locking. We don’t wear martial arts uniforms during internal strength practice, and no memberships of any martial arts organisations are required to participate in the study group. It will be of interest to martial artists from a wide range of styles, but also to those interested in studying this fascinating topic for its own sake outside a martial setting.
Here is an archived blog article from 2012 by Mike Sigman giving some further background information on 6 Harmonies movement: