Xing Yi Quan (形意拳-Form & Intention Fist) is one the three famous Chinese internal martial arts, along with Taiji Quan, and Bagua Zhang. It is also called Xing Yi Quan (行意拳-Path & Intention Fist), Xin Yi Quan (心意拳- Heart & Intention Fist), or Xin Yi Liu He Quan (心意六合拳-Heart, Intention, & Six Harmonies Fist). The roots of the style can be traced back to the early Qing Dynasty Shanxi Province and a man named Ji Ji Ke (姬际可). According to legend, Ji Ji Ke was very skilled in the Six Harmony Spear Style (Liu He Qiang Fa 六合枪法-), when he came upon Yue Fei’s “Manual of Wu Mu Fist” (武穆拳谱). Based upon the theories he studied within this book, Ji Ji Ke adapted his spear style into a fist style which was also heavily influenced by Bodhidharma’s philosophy that any change must come from the heart, and the Daoist influences of Yin/Yang, Five Elements, and the Dao Yin Qi Gong (导引气功) health preservation theories of Daoist priest Zhang San Feng(张三丰). This combination is considered to be the basis of Ji Ji Ke‘ Heart, Intention, & Six Harmonies Fist (Xin Yi Liu He Quan 心意六合拳-). Over time, Xing Yi Quan evolved out of Xin Yi Liu He Quan.

Xing Yi Quan uses the 5 elements (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth) to represent 5 different striking methods:

劈 (Pi = Chopping)

The movement of Pi resembles that of an ax; it represents the Metal element, Lung organ, the nose, skin, and hair; it counters Pounding/Crushing and leads into Drilling.

崩 (Beng = Pounding/Crushing)

The movement of Beng resembles that of an arrow; it represents the Wood element, Liver organ, the eyes, and the sinews; it counters Crossing and leads into Cannon.

钻 (Zuan = Drilling)

The movement of Zuan resembles that of lightning; it represents the Water element, Kidney organ, the ears, and the bones; it counters Cannon and leads into Pounding/Crushing.

炮 (Pao = Cannon)

The movement of Pao resembles that of a cannonball; it represents the Fire element, Heart organ, the tongue, and the blood vessels; it counters Chopping and leads into Crossing.

横 (Heng = Crossing)

The movement of Heng resembles that of a spring; it represents the Earth element, Spleen organ, the mouth, and the muscles; it counters Drilling and leads into Chopping.

Ten-Animal Form

Xing Yi Quan also contains forms that mimic the fighting techniques of animals.

The original Ten-Animal Form included:

龙 (Long = Dragon)
虎 (Hu = Tiger)
猴 (Hou = Monkey)
马 (Ma = Horse)
鸡 (Ji = Chicken)
鹞 (Yao = Goshawk)
燕 (Yan = Swallow)
蛇 (She = Snake)
鹰 (Ying = Eagle)
熊 (Xiong = Bear)

Later a martial artist named Li Luo Neng(李洛能) added the Water Strider (鮀 Tuo) and Ostrich (鸵 Tuo) to the Ten-Animal Form, making a total of 12 animals. With this addition, Xing Yi Quan differentiated itself from the styles that preceded it. Although most of their theories and applications remain the same, the addition of the later two animal styles made Xing Yi Quan more comprehensive.

Wudang Xing Yi Quan, although based upon the theories of Xing Yi Quan, has a greater focus on health preservation and the inter-relationships of the Five Elements. This increases its adaptability and makes the practice and application of Wudang Xing Yi Quan more dynamic. Body movements. The movements include : Dodging (闪 Shan), Turning (转juan), Pouncing (腾teng), and Shifting (挪nuo). Since Xing Yi Quan is simple and practical, strength can be developed quickly. In application, the attacks are well coordinated with the footwork; such that each step can manifest as an attack, and each attack corresponds to a step. Within a defense, there is an attack; and within an attack, there is a defense. Attacks can be singular and direct, or continuous and unrelenting, like lightning.

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