Xing Yi Quan (Fist of Intention)

Source: 2017年03月09日 Views

Just as famous as the Tai Chi Quan and Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan is a fist fighting technique that imitates the forms of animals. Not only does it copy the appearance of animal movements and incorporate the attacking skills of animals, but also mimic the inner mindset of the animal movements, using the mindset to generate the intent, and transforming this intent into a fighting move. Hence, it is also known as the Xin Yi Quan (Fist of Intention).


Xing Yi Quan was created by Ji Jike (1602-1680) from Puzhou of Shanxi (current Yongji county of Shanxi Province). Ji Jike was skillful in martial arts. He studied martial arts for 10 years in Shaolin Temple, and extracted the characteristics from various schools like Shaolin and Wudang to create the Xin Yi Quan. Among the successors of Xin Yi Quan, Li Feiyu (ca. 1808-1890) from Shen county of Heibei Province conscientiously summed up the experiences of those before him, combined them with his many years of martial arts experience, and renamed Xin Yi Quan as Xing Yi Quan. The theoretical system of Xing Yi Quan was thus formed gradually.


In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Xing Yi Quan was so widely practiced in places like Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, and others that various derivative styles were formed as a result. For example, the kind of Xing Yi Quan practiced in Shanxi has its moves delivered in a compact, impulsive yet delicate way; on the other hand, the kind of Xing Yi Quan from Hebei is stretched, steady and solid in form; still, the Xing Yi Quan practiced in the vicinity of Henan is strong and fierce in an imposing way. In the last century, Xing Yi Quan has given birth to a large number of skillful martial artists and resonated within the martial art community.


Xing Yi Quan utilizes Liu He (Six Harmonies) as its laws. To practice this fist technique, the Nei San He (Inner Three Harmonies) and the Wai San He (Outer Three Harmonies) are required. The Nei San He refers to the harmonies of the mind with the intent, the intent with the Qi, and Qi with Li (strength), namely, the close integration of the several inner elements within the human body. Wai San He refers to the harmonies of the shoulder with the hip, the elbow with the knee, and the hand with the foot, namely, the coordination of various body parts in performing the technique. Therefore, Xing Yi Quan is also known as the Xin Yi Liu He Quan (The Six-Harmony Fists of the Mind’s Intent).


The unique characteristic of Xing Yi Quan lie in the use of intent to lead the move, the use of intent to lead Qi, the use of Qi to induce force, and the conversion of clumsiness to skills. Not only does it emphasize the alternate application of toughness and softness, the accompaniment of Yin and Yang, the changefulness between asthenia and asthenia, and the cultivation of internal Qi and internal strength, but it also advocates pre-emptive tactics of delivering attacks while the opponent is not yet prepared, taking him down out of surprise via direct aggression and rapid offense.


The stance of Xing Yi Quan is based upon the San Ti Shi (tripartite) static stance, which is designed in accordance with the movements of the Xing Yi Quan. Since it is the most important basic skill of Xing Yi Quan, all the fist fighting techniques and styles of Xing Yi Quan, no matter how changeable they are, are based upon this foundation of the San Ti Shi stance, hence the saying that “All styles originate from the San Ti Shi stance.”


The most fundamental fist techniques of Xing Yi Quan are the Wu Xing Quan (Five Element Fists), which includes Pi Quan (Chop Fist), Beng Quan (Burst Fist), Zuan Quan (Drill Fist), Pao Quan (Cannon Fist), and Heng Quan (Lateral Fist). All the varieties of other Xing Yi Quan techniques derive from this Wu Xing Quan. Thus, Wu Xing Quan is also known as the “Parent Quan of Xing Yi”.


The Wu Xing Quan is named after the Five Elements Theory of the ancient Chinese culture. The five fist techniques of Wu Xing Quan—Pi, Beng, Zuan, Pao and Heng—correspond respectively to the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The mutually beneficial and restrictive relationships among the five elements can serve to interpret the mutual transformation and restraint among the five fist techniques.


The Wu Xing (Five Elements) Theory also relates the Wu Xing Quan to physical fitness. The internal organs inside the human body compose a totality with organic interrelationships. Though each organ possesses different physiological properties, the relationships in the form of mutual Sheng (generation), Ke (elimination), Zhi (restriction), and Hua (transformation) exist among the five viscera and six bowels (Wu Zang Liu Fu) of human internal organs, which can be explained in the light of the Wu Xing Theory. Each internal organ corresponds to an element, such as lungs to metal, liver to wood, kidneys to water, heart to fire, and the spleen to earth. Therefore, the practice of the Wu Xing Quan will benefit the five organs, for example: The practice of Pi Quan can benefit the lungs, Beng Quan benefits the liver, Zuan Quan benefits the kidneys, Pao Quan benefits the heart, and Heng Quan benefits the spleen.


Shi Er Xing Quan (the Twelve-form Fist) is one of the fundamental fist fighting drills of the Xing Yi Quan. By imitating the twelve animals, namely the dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, rooster, hawk, swallow, snake, Chinese alligator, dove, eagle and bear, the Twelve-form Fist was created on the basis of the movements and skills of these animals. The Twelve-form Fist copies their forms and emulates their mindset to obtain distinct offensive and defensive characteristics that are vivid, lively, interesting, practical and fierce in delivery.