Xing Yi means to imitate the shape (Xing in Chinese) while fully understanding the meaning (Yi in Chinese). Xing Yi Quan is known as one of the excellent Chinese traditional internal styles. Xing Yi is a unity between the external forms and internal energy. It focuses on Mind dominating Qi, the physical movements and mind join together and Qi cooperating with strength. Through incorporating the physical forms, the concentration of mind with the combination of the internal and external practice, Xing Yi is a very effective combat technique.
Xing Yi Quan uses the Yin and Yang and the five elements theory (Wu Xing in Chinese) of Chinese traditional culture to describe the movements. The technique and theory can be summed up by the five elements) metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. The content and theory of the five elements, based on traditional Chinese philosophy, inspired the Xingyi Fist and weapon forms. The five elements correspond to the five forms of Xingyi Fist: Chopping Fist, Beng Fist, Zuan Fist, Pao fist, and Heng’s fist.
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 include three internal combinations and three external combinations. The “3 Internals” are 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. The main points are having the agile waist of a dragon, the strong shoulders of a bear, the nimble way of an eagle, and to make sound like thunder.
Xing Yi Practice
Xing Yi can improve the learner’s health, cultivate the soul and prolong one’s life. As in all systems of wushu practice, the fundamentals are most important. And in Xing Yi Quan having correct posture is paramount. In Xing Yi Quan one starts by first learning the correct posture which is maintained throughout all different aspects of the practice; as can be gleaned from the Three External Harmonies. When practicing Xing Yi Quan one must keep the neck and back straight while at the same time being sure not to tense the muscles and tendons; the hips must be relaxed and dropped while the tailbone is tucked in so that the entire spine is straight – from the base of the skull, to the tip of the tailbone. This practice allows for a natural realigning of the spine as the muscles and tendons in the back begin to relax. For this reason it also promotes a release of tension that may be built up in the neck, shoulders, hips, and waist.
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.