What are soft martial arts?

The main categories of martial arts — the types of martial arts — can be divided into hard and soft. Another division often referenced is internal and external. As with all things, many arts combine both soft and hard/. However, more Chinese arts tend to be soft/internal while more Japanese arts are more often Hard/external.

Soft or internal arts that are commonly known are Tai Chi, Pa’Gua, or Qi Gong. Practitioners seek to move through their space softly from their center. Often these styles are based around single, long, and complex forms that contain their techniques and principles. While many individuals seek to learn these forms for gentle motion and general health, the martial arts applications of these forms result in devastating battle-field techniques. Soft martial arts incorporate many “hard” elements such as strikes and breaks. However, the effective practitioner seeks to focus internally on moving softly through their own space or softly attacking like a cracking whip.

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