Xing Yi Quan

Xing Yi Quan features aggressive shocking attacks and direct footwork. Most of the training and footwork are practiced on straight lines. The linear nature of the art hints at both the military origins and the influence of spear technique alluded to in its mythology. The goal of the Xing Yi exponent is to reach the opponent quickly and drive powerfully through them in a single burst. The analogy with spear fighting is useful here. This is achieved by coordinating one’s body as a single unit, and the intense focusing of one’s Intent (Yi 意) and coordinated power (Jin 劲) utilizing tight circles (usually in a forward direction). Issuing explosive power in Xing Yi is referred to as ‘Fa Jin’ (发劲), the same term used in many other traditional Chinese Martial Arts.

The exact origin of Xing Yi is Taoist. The earliest written records of it can be traced to the 18th century to Ma Xueli of Henan Province and Dai Long Bang of Shanxi Province (where Jie is from).

Efficiency and economy of movement are the qualities of a Xing Yi stylist, and its direct fighting philosophy advocates simultaneous attack and defense. There are few kicks except for extremely low foot kicks (which avoids the hazards of balance involved with higher kicks) and some mid-level kicks, and techniques are prized for their working within key principles rather than aesthetic value.

Despite its hard, angular appearance, cultivating “soft” internal strength is essential to achieving power in Xing Yi Quan. Also, the advanced practitioner always contains tight spirals within his movements, so even the seemingly direct and linear ones are circular on a very small scale.

Xing Yi Quan favours a fighting stance called Sān Tǐ Shì, literally “three bodies power,” referring to how the stance holds the head, torso and feet along the same vertical plane (As a Zhan Zhuang method, this stance is trained lower). Though usually held shorter and higher in actual fighting, in training San Ti is more often trained at middle-low heights.

Like other Internal Arts, much of the training in Xing Yi Quan is done in slow-motion. This is true for almost all the movements in the art, though the majority of them can and are also trained explosively.

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