In Chinese Martial Art, there is a distinction between Internal Martial Art and External Martial Art.
One of the major differences between them lies in the way as to how a learner is trained to acquire the requisite power to apply the application techniques.
In Internal Martial Art, a practitioner builds up his power through revival of his body and mind condition. The way to achieve this is to call up the "sleeping parts" of his body through some specifically designed exercises.
In External Martial Art, a practitioner obtained the power by strengthening his muscles. The way to achieve this is usually by sand bag hitting, weight lifting and various tool trainings.
It is not to say that the External Martial Artists do not need to call up the sleeping parts of their bodies. The external martial artists have their way of calling up their sleeping parts at the advanced training. It is just that sand bag hitting and weight lifting provide a junior learner the quickest way to acquire the initial power that is necessary to learn and apply the offensive / defensive skills.
Likewise, the Internal Martial Artists will use training tools, like the long pole and wooden/ stone ball, to strengthen their physical bodies at the advanced stage of training.
That's why many senior martial artists said that, at the end of the day, there is no distinction between Internal Martial Art and External Martial Art.
Whilst it looks as if the Internal Martial Artists start their lessons at high level training, such training method is not attractive for the new comers. Many junior practitioners soon abandon the seemingly "useless" slow motion training / standing. The more "practical" external way would appear to be their "cup of tea".
No matter you start from the internal way or the external way, the fundamental issue is whether you can make use of the same to coordinate your body and mind effectively such that you can utilize your body potential to its greatest possible extent. If your martial art practice is not leading you to this goal, you may probably be walking along a wrong path.
I believe that a further question a martial art learner should ask oneself is for what purpose(s) you are learning an art of martial? - For health? For fighting? For art appreciation? Or for earning a livelihood? These loop us back to the first post of this blog.
[P.S. The above was part of an abandoned draft in Live Water Blog. It was not published for a long forgotten reason. I have not updated this blog for quite some time and have no intention to write further on this subject. Upon discovering the draft, I modified it a bit and published it here as a small, though not satisfactory, conclusion.]