Xing Yi is one of the three internal martial arts from china. The other two are Tai Chi and Bagua. Xing Yi has ancient roots, and its true origin may go back as far as the 13th century. Its predecessor was an art created within the ethnic Muslim community of China.
As an unarmed fighting art, Xing Yi is derived from spear fighting, and focusses largely on linear footwork and powerful straight line attacks, which do include some measure of spiralling motion. In some applications this spiralling action is so subtle that it is hard to see, but can definitely be felt.
As an internal art, Xing YI focusses on increasing and harnessing the “Chi” and releasing this Chi in explosive penetrating strikes which combine attack and defense in one motion, incorporating the momentum of the whole body into an overwhelming force.
In terms of power generation, Xing Yi Quan relies heavily on the use of the mind and intent (yi). The mind is used to direct the qi, or energy, of the body to the desired area. The intent is used to focus that qi and direct it with precision. This is why Xing Yi Quan is often referred to as the “mind-intent boxing” or the “psychological boxing”. The use of the mind and intent is what sets Xing Yi Quan apart from other martial arts.
Training Methods of Xing Yi
There are two unique training methods used. The first is called the Standing Stake, where the practitioner holds a motionless stnding position for long periods of time . This is intended to increase the flow and accumulation of Chi.
The second training method is using the spear as a way of developing explosive power in the hand strikes. The chinese spear is a very long flexible staff with a metal point and also colorful tassels at the tip which are used to distract the opponent. In Xing Yi a small bell is often attached to the tip as another training aid. The training exercise is to hold the spear with both extended arms, and using only the waisit, cause the spear to vibrate violently.
While this exercise can be extremely arduous and tiring, the Xing YI expert will use internal energy and can perform the exercise forquite a long time without becoming tired.
After a lot of practice, if the opponent is able to block one of tXing Yi fighter’s strikes, the Xing Yi figher will then immediately grab the opponent’s blocking arm in the same way he would grab a spear and use the arm hrow the opponent violently back. In fact the Xing Yi expert can disrupt the opponent’s balance the moment his arm touches the oponent’s arm.
In addition to the Standing Stake, and training with the spear, Xing Yi practitioners practice the so called ” 5 elements” which are methods of striking, all of which are incorporated into a linear footwork pattern that is designed to focus the entire momentum of the body, along with intense mental concentration, into each strike.
The Five Elements of Xing Yi
The five elements of Xing Yi Quan are earth, water, fire, wind, and void. Each element has a different set of techniques and principles that are used in order to defeat an opponent.
Earth is the most basic element and represents stability. The techniques associated with earth are focused on rooting oneself to the ground in order to be immovable.
Water is the second element and is associated with flexibility. The water element is focused on using an opponent‘s momentum against them in order to take them down.
Fire is the third element and is associated with aggression. Fire techniques are focused on quick, decisive strikes in order to overwhelm an opponent.
Wind is the fourth element and is associated with speed. Wind techniques are focused on being faster than an opponent and attacking before they can defend themselves.
Void is the fifth and final element and is associated with calmness. Void techniques are focused on being aware of one‘s surroundings and being able to react to an opponent‘s movements.
Grappling Techniques And Throws of Xing YI
Xing Yi also has a repertoire of grappling techniques and throws, as seen in the second video, above. Notice how this master enters while checking both of the opponent’s arms, and then executes throws with lightning speed. If these throws were execuited on someone who has not learned how to land whe violently thrown to the ground, he would almost certainly be knocked out.
Xing Yi can be combined with Wing Chun in order to increase power as well as variety of attacks.
The third video, above, shows a portion of a sparring session between Jerry Yeung, and Philip Ng against some Xing Yi senior students. Both Jerry and Philip by the way, are legitimate Wing Chun instructors in the Wong Shun Leung lineage.