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  Home  ->  Classes  ->  Hsing I (Xing Yi)  ->  About Hsing I
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About Hsing I Chuan (Xing Yi Quan)

The 'Four Generals of Zhongxing' painted by Liu Songnian during the Southern Song Dynasty. Yue Fei is the second person from the left.

Hsing I Chuan (aka Xing Yi Quan) is commonly referred to as "Form and Mind" or "Form and Will" boxing. "Hsing" ("Xing") refers to "form" or "shape", and "I" ("Yi") commonly refers to "the mind" or "intent". "Chuan" or "fist" denotes a method of unarmed combat. The mind of the practitioner creates an instantaneous attack and/or defense from the mutable changes of the moment.

Yue Wu Mu, orginally called Yue Fei (1103-1141), was from the Honan province. He was a national warrior hero fighting back during the invasion of the Jin Tribe. He is one of the best known patriotic generals in China's history. General Yue Fei was credited as the founding father of Hsing I as a result of his attempts to promote Hsing I through his military endeavors during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

General Yue Fei created Hsing I Chuan for his officers to learn fighting and teach his troops. Hsing I Chuan traditionally would not be taught to those students with bad or mean dispositions. Hsing I Chuan is known for its martial effective linear movements and the explosive power of its techniques. Although considered by some to be the most simple and linear of the Chinese Styles, its power is derived through spiraling and circling movements that only appear to be linear in Hsing I Chuan's "long arm" approach.

Hsing I Chuan is believed by many to be the oldest of the orthodox, internal styles of Chinese martial arts, predating both Tai Chi Chuan and Ba Qua (Pa Kua). This art is the second of the three internal styles (Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing I Chuan, Pa Kua Chang).

There is a story about two great masters: Kuo Yun Shen of Hsing I Chuan and Tung Hai Chuan of Pa Kua. It is said that these two masters engaged in a contest to see whose martial arts were superior. After three days of fighting neither had the advantage or could beat the other. After this contest the two masters agreed that their students could freely study the other master's style. This then formed the relationship of the Hsing I and Pa Kua schools, making them sister systems.

Hsing I (Xing Yi) Chinese Characters

The art of Hsing I Chuan is divided into two main systems: the Twelve Animals and the Five Elements. The Five Element system is further divided into two main branches: the Hebei and Shan Xi styles.

The Twelve Animal style is closest to the original Xin Yi Liu He Quan in form and practice. The movements in the forms are patterned after the spirit of various animals in combat, including the Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Chicken, Sparrowhawk, Eagle, Giant Bird (Tai), Horse, Snake, Swallow, Water Lizard (Tuo), Bear.

The Five Element based systems have five basic functions: Splitting, Drilling, Crushing, Exploding, and Crossing. These Five Elements form the foundation of the art. The basic energies of the Five Elements are then expanded into Twelve Animal forms which include variations of the animal forms found in the Ten Animal styles as well as two additional animals: the Tai (a giant mythical bird) and the Tuo (a type of water lizard or large reptile).

These primary styles of Hsing I Chuan are still practiced in different regions of China. The Hsing I Styles or Families are the Shanxi, the Hebei, and the Henan. Each style of Hsing I Chuan is distinctly different in essence and in appearance. The Shanxi and Hebei methods are based upon the Five Elements and the Twelve Animal styles, although the names of the animals sometimes vary a bit from family to family. The Henan style does not emphasize the Five Elements and only uses Ten Animals.

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