I have been reading 'The Power of Internal Martial Arts and Chi' by Bruce Frantzis. I am only in the beginning, but I enjoy how he differentiates (Chinese) martial arts into various categories -internal, external, compound of internal and external and has further subcategories of animal, human, and spiritual goals and practices within the martial arts.
He explains animal styles are to help one build control over the glands for glandural excretions during martial training and actual combat efficiency (adrenaline, freeze, fight, or flight) but things can go haywire if not taken under control (rise in temperament and temperature, causing stress on the glands and shortening lifespan) but are really good practice for survival instinct. Of the Three Treasures, I am guessing it is the generalization of Jing. Bujutsu (Martial Technique) in Japanese-Okinawan styles.
Next is the human way of practice which is tapping into ones maximum human potential as a fighter and/or healer, utilizing the tools of the mind-body complex (physical and energetic) to achieve greater power in life, using strategy over instinct and brutality. Qi, or the beginning of internal work would be the Second Treasure. Predominately Bujutsu, but leaning toward Budo (Martial Way).
Lastly is the spiritual way of martial arts which, at its most basic, is the internalizing of good character, ethics and morality, using martial arts as a gateway to meditation and understanding. Each fight or sparring match is percieved as practice of ones moral and energetic weak points, where upon meditation and nei gong, one clears these repressed emotions and energy blockages for a clearer path toward enlightenment, realization, Nirvana, etc. This would be Shen (Mind), the third of the Three Treasures. It is very Budo but leans heavily toward Bushin (Martial Spirit).
The aforementioned are extremely brief explanations of each, each to be broken down and expanded upon by each martial artist.
With all of that said, those of you that practice martial arts, what style of martial arts do you practice and why?
Are you internal, external, or a little bit of both?
Are you a soldier, fighter, or philosopher?
Are you animalistic, human, or spiritual? Maybe a mix of all three?
Do you believe that you need to go through systematic steps? (Example: you cannot have effective human skill without first using animal skill, and there can be no deeper understanding of spiritual skill without human skill, and external should come before internal, or does it depend on preference and ability?