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Xing Yi

Uses the Yin and Yang and the five elements (WuXing) theory

Xing Yi (or Xing Yi Quan)

Xing Yi Quan is one of the three most famous styles of internal kung fu. It is believed to have been developed by Song Dynasty wushu hero and general, Yue Fei and gained wide spread popularity during the Qing Dynasty. In Xing Yi Quan great emphasis is placed on the intention leading the power through the body – the body then must work as one cohesive unit to allow for full expression of the explosive power. The intention, internal power, and external movement must coordinate and be synchronized – requiring total focus.

Xing Yi Quan uses the Yin and Yang and the five elements theory (Wuxing in Chinese) of Chinese traditional culture to describe the movement regulations. The technique and theory can be summed up by the 5 elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth). In addition, these are 12 shapes of technique: Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Crocodile, Bear, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Eagle, Snake, Cat and Crane. The movements emphasize six combinations, which includes three internal combinations and three external combinations. The ‘three Internals’ are namely the combination between ‘right effort” and consciousness (mind), between the consciousness and the “Internal Qi” and between the “Internal Qi” and Internal strength. The “3 Externals” are the combinations between the hands and the feet, between the elbows and knees and between the shoulders and arms.

When beginning to learn Xing Yi Quan, one must first learn the correct posture and alignment – focusing first on the three external combinations and then gradually moving into the three internal combinations. When beginning, the correct posture is taught. After the posture is correct, familiar, and strong, foundation in the leg-work is then learned. One must build up the muscle and tendon strength in the legs and be able to perform large, low stepping that is also quick. Once a practitioner is familiar with these fundamentals, they can then go on to learn the next step which is the five basic fists that comprise the Xing Yi System. Each of these different fists has its individual practice. Once one is familiar with the five different fists, they can then move on to learning the Five Elements Linking Form and later to the 12 Animals of Xing Yi Quan.

The practice of Xing Yi Quan is also helpful in building up the strength of the leg muscles, particularly the thigh muscles. It is also helpful in strengthening the tendons and ligaments of the knees and ankles. As Xing Yi Quan focuses on the synchronization of the intention and body, and requires focus, one can certainly improve their focus as well as mental organization. In the standing posture and moving practices, deep dantian breathing is important to maintain which is helpful in lowering stress and bringing clarity of mind.