With the term internal styles (Nei Chia) one typically makes reference to those systems that gives more importance, at least initially, to the development of concentration and respiration; and only afterwards focus on the martial aspects. We ascribe to the category of internal styles the following kung fu styles:
Both the systems (external and internal) aim at achieving the same objective: to achieve a correct balance betwen the External (Wai) and the Internal (Nei). The conceptual difference becomes purely theoretical and ‘self-aiming’. This difference is used to allow everyone to choose among the two ways but with the same arrival point.
Note: to avoid speculations of imaginary masters and fanatical practitioners, it is important to know that traditional kung fu, the authentic one from the point of view of broadcast and intent, contains a great number of styles and variations of them. In fact, every master has elaborated a system of techniques, movements and ideas about fighting and different and substantial perception of life. After many years of study and improvement on himself and on the style, it was impossible to create a complex and long system to use and hand down to students. Who really knows oriental culture perceives a Taoist/Buddhist air also into the more complex gestures. Everything is reduced to something simple and practical, life itself is defined by an ideogram “De” or “ Life’s Art”, life has not to be invent, but simply to be “practiced”. Just starting from this concept, it appears illogical thinking today of school or courses about a specific “style” in which there are specific programs of 40, 80, 100 forms (or Taolu) of the same style. All this actually reflects another ancient mentality of some parts of China, the mentality of clans, where it is essential to maintain close the members, in the illusion of a deep study of the style, to prevent them from escaping elsewhere. While in other martial systems there are degrees and belts, in the kung fu of today there are hundred forms (Taolu). Actually every kung fu system contains at the most 5/8 ancient forms, that has been created for fundamentals and their evolution. The adding of more forms is next to modern times with the aim mentioned above. Essentially, the real work in the real kung fu occurs in the basis of the system and not in the elusive 80th or 120th form that should give the “knowledge”. This mentality only reflects the illusion that oriental pseudo-masters have perpetuated for years (we can say that they continue!) to the detriment of western students unaware and sometimes complacent. You don’t have to forget that the interior or martial fighting doesn’t need special techniques, but a correct training (训练). Practicing more styles is not then a matter of quantity, but a matter of honest quality.