Some may know I train southern praying mantis. I’ve never been a dedicated athlete or disciple type and I often feel like an embarrassment to my betters in the style. Anyway, I’ve been a fan of SPM for over a decade now and have trained a lot of that time. A couple of times I fell out of the habit for many months at a time and the last time was a year off class May 2008 through to April or May 2009. SPM is full of hay gung (that’s Cantonese for qi gong) and I happily trained it in class and between classes for several years. I got pretty strong in it, especially considering my bean-pole physique. I never believed in the internal stuff, I just did it as part of the whole, hoping the point would be made clear. As time passed, I got to know what I was good at and what I was bad (weak) at and started drifting into focussing my time on making myself strong in those areas which lacked. The effect of this was a drifting away from internal practice and finally an almost complete cessation of internal work. So, I had this last year off. In January 2009, my New Year’s Resolution was to get back into shape for class. I became the dice-man and made a training regime dictated by the rolling of various dies (dice, dices, whatever ). The training was pretty hardcore and purely external though 100% SPM focussed. (I became healthier than ever before, by the way). Feeling well prepared, I went returned to class in May. I knew I’d suffer to start with and that it’d take some time to adjust to working with live force from fellow students and fully get into the flow. To my dismay, I never got into the groove and was always prematurely tired and I felt so weak. Then I read an old article about qi gong and it suddenly made sense. I was weak because I had fallen into the trap of thinking about strength in limited terms. I'd fallen for the fallacy of muscles uber alles.. I immediately started working on the hay gung from my system. I'm a few weeks down the line now and it's all coming together for me. It's like old times but better. First I'm developing instead of being frustrated and injured. Second, I'm in accordance with my teacher and the teachings. Third, I'm not wasting effort. If you’re supposed to be training internally but you’re not, or you don’t see the point, then take it from me that you owe it to yourself to give it your attention. It’s a vague post, lacking in applicable or test-able information. I can post some details if the thread goes anywhere and demands it.