"Dragon Body - This imaginary beast is common in Chinese fables and folklore. The dragon could fly high, riding the mists, contracting and twisting it's body like a snake through the clouds. Xingyi places high importance on this for every transitional movement in the art should embody the spirit of the dragon, expanding and contracting, striking out with mystical prowess.
Chicken Leg - This is one of
the most basic fundamentals of the art of Xingyiquan. A chicken can run
very quickly and stop suddenly, keeping it's weight on one leg, ready to
peck. Xingyi's five elements all encompass this theory by stepping
forward onto one leg before it issues it's strike much like a chicken
does. By mastering this, you can advance, retreat, turn and change forms
very quickly because the weight is always ready to transfer.
Claw - While the hands are relaxed and held in gentle curves when in
transitional movements, when striking, they must become like the
fearless bird of prey's attacking talons, digging and grasping with an
iron grip. This is especially seen in the beginning movement of Pi Quan
when the hands draw down towards the Dan Tian. This is also very
important in Xingyi, for many of the art's applications consist of
grabbing with one hand while simultaneously striking with the other.
Shoulders - Bears are large animals that can can generate a great deal
of power from their great rounded shoulders. The Xingyi practitioner
must mimic this to obtain maximum power in his art. By rounding the
shoulders and hollowing the chest, the body actually "gets behind" the
arms and hands, so when you strike, the power doesn't come from the
arms, but from the whole body.
Tiger's Head Embrace -
The tiger is a very regal beast. They are powerful and strong animals
that exude the finest and most fearsome aspects of nature. In Xingyi,
the head must be held erect and slightly back, but spiritually, it must
also capture the imposing manner of the tiger, letting it's blank
cunning show in your eyes and it's ability to pounce.
- Xonghua Xinyiquan
Xing Yi Quan (Hsing I Chuan): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, Notes. By Mike Garofalo.
Quan Xue: The Study of Form-Mind Boxing. By Sun Lu Tang.
by Albert Liu. Compiled and edited by Dan Miller. Burbank, CA, Unique
Publications, 2000. ISBN: 0865681856. 312 pages. Includes a biography of Sun Lu Tang
by Dan Miller. The work was encouraged and supported by Sun Jian Yun,
and an interview with her is included. Translations by
Gu Feng Mei, and Huang Guo Qi. This
original book was first
published in 1915. It was the first book ever published that integrated
Chinese martial arts with Chinese philosophy and Daoist Qi cultivation
theories. The book includes many photographs of
Sun Lu Tang.
"Of the three internal arts, Xing Yi is probably
the most straightforward to understand in terms of practical fighting
applications. Grandmaster Sun, however, believed that the most important reason
to practice martial arts was the improvement of one's health; developing
fighting ability was merely of secondary importance. Sun himself certainly
benefited in both respects. In 1933, at the age of 73 and shortly before his
death, Sun was examined by a physician and found to have the body of a 40-year
old. Furthermore, throughout his life he was an awesome fighter: He worked as a
professional bodyguard, taught martial arts at the Presidential Palace, and
never lost a challenge match.
Certain health benefits of Xing Yi training are
obvious. It is a low-impact exercise requiring little jumping, few low stances,
and smooth rather than ballistic movements. As Sun notes in his book, it can be
practiced by anyone, both the young and old, and the sick and infirm. Healthy
people will grow stronger, while those with a disease will recover their health.
However, in addition to the external physical benefits, Xing Yi practice offers
a sophisticated system of internal energy training that stimulates the major
energetic pathways within the body.
At the core of Sun Lu Tang's Xing Yi Quan system
is the 12 animals set. This set consists of 12 lines of movements, each
emulating the fighting techniques of the 12 animals that come from heaven and
earth. These are the Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Water Lizard, Chicken,
Sparrow Hawk, Swallow, Snake, Tai Bird, Eagle, and Bear. Regular practice of the
12 animals set benefits the practitioner both externally and internally.
Externally, one learns the physical characteristics of each animal-the explosive
power of the tiger, or the strength of the bear, for example. Internally, each
animal form stimulates the internal energy, or Qi, in a particular and
beneficial manner. The remainder of this article describes both the energetic
work and the fighting applications of four of the animal forms: the Dragon,
Tiger, Eagle, and Bear."
- Justin Liu,
and Combat: The Fighting Animals of Xing Yi Quan.