Other internal martial arts of Yizong school:
Xingyiquan honors Yuefei as the founder of its school, its origin can be traced to Ji Jike of Shanxi in the early Qing dynansty. It is said that Ji Jike created Xinyiba and was also proficient in the Liuhe Spear method. Later, he also obtained the posthumous martial-arts chronicle of Yuefei, wherein he employed the execution of the Big Spear, as fist methods and united it with his original study of Xinyiba to create this martial art. The descendants of Ji Jike are divided into various systems of Henan, Shanxi, Hebei etc, and are differentiated under various different lineages and names, including Xinyiliuhe, Xinyiquan, Xingyiquan etc. The current, popular style of Xingyiquan is developed from Shanxi, Dai clan Xinyiquan, as modified by Li Luoneng of Shenzou, Hebei.
Li Luoneng considered the essence of Xinyiquan to manifest in the mutual interchange of "External Structure" and "Internal Awareness". Having "form" and "manifestation of awareness", it was initially named, "Shape Awareness Boxing".
Xingyiquan employs the Five Element Fist (Pi chopping, Zuan drilling, Beng crushing, Pao cannon pounding, Heng crossing) and Twelve Shape Fist as its basic fist methods. In standing, it utilizes the Three Bodies Posture, santishi as its basis.
Single and repetitive drill practice, as well as standing cultivation practices were transmitted by Li Luoneng to both Hebei Xingyiquan and Shanxi Xingyiquan.Xingyiquan's special characteristics:
- Xingyiquan’s movements are concise, straight in and straight out. It utilizes calm and steady power, whereby awareness and qi are obtained.
- Emphasis is upon employing a foundation of single drills as fundamental fist methods and as a means of execution.
- Explosive strength is employed as the core of issuing power.
- Hard first and then soft is employed, the mutual interchange of hard and soft is thus its refinement process.
In regard to "whole body", it refers to proper structure, its movement is round and full, it has a distinct rhythm. Practice until there is coordination of awareness and power and coordination of the hands and feet.
Use the cultivation of the internal jing, qi, shen, yi and jin (essence, qi, spirit, awareness and power) as the principle of developing fighting skill. As there is mutual interchange between hard and soft, internal and external are mutually cultivated. Let the internal awareness, internal qi and internal power mutually unite with external shape, external qi and external strength, for cultivation and function.
In usage, one should at all times maintain the image of Chicken leg, Dragon body, Bear shoulders, Monkey spirit, Eagle seizing and Tiger springing.There are three kinds of practice methods which belong to the execution and process of Xingyiquan:
- Obvious Power (ming jin), transforming bone is the first step of developing skill
- Hidden Power (an jin), transforming tendon is the second step of developing skill
- Transforming Power (huajin), transforming marrow is the third step of developing skill
Principles of pratical application
Take the initiative, when crossing hands with the opponent, be the first to take control.
Guard the center and use the center, strengthen the center and break the center, enter and dodge, dodge and enter, there is no need for distance.
Head, Shoulder, Elbow, Hand, Hips, Knee and Foot all seven methods are employed, they can issue at any location, "in distance increase the use of hands, up close increase the use of elbows, at a distance use the foot to kick, up close increase the use of knees."
Empty and full unite, hard and soft mutually interchange, hand and feet arrive together.Xingyiquan Forms:
- Five Element Mother Fist
- Five Element Mutual Creation Fist
- Entering and Retreating Linking Fist
- Twelve Shape Fist
- Eight Stance Fist
- Twelve Phoenix Fist
- Miscellaneous Fist
Two Person practice includes: Five Pattern Cannon, Mutual Creation and Destruction, Secure Body Striking.
Chopping Fist, belongs to Five Element’s metal and cultivates the lung, its qi rises and falls, its force is smooth, then the lung qi is harmonized, its priority is qi, when the qi is harmonized the body is strong and healthy.
Drilling Fist belongs to the Five Element’s water and can tonify the kidneys. The movement of its qi is curvaceous and flowing, there is no place it is not present. When the qi is harmonized, the clear qi rises and the turbid qi sinks.
Crushing Fist belongs to the Five Element’s Wood and can soothe the Liver. Its qi extends and contracts. (When) Its fist is smooth then the liver is balanced and long spirit, it strengthens the bones and tendons and boosts the brain power.
Cannon Pounding Fist belongs to the Five Element’s Fire, it cultivates the heart, its qi opens and closes, like the cracking of an explosion, when its qi is harmonized, then the ethereal spirit courses freely through the body.
Crossing fist belongs to the Five element’s Earth, and can nourish the spleen and stomach. Its qi gathers together. Its shape is round. Its character is full, its qi is smooth. When the Five Phases are harmonious then hundreds of variations will be generated.
Xingyiquan Twelve Shape Fist
From Xingyi’s mother fist, “Five Element Fist” evolves. Five Element Fist requires the Six harmonies to become one. From six yin and six yang it originates, borrow its form then one can employ every skill upon heaven and earth.
That is, mimic the special characteristics of the movements of the twelve kinds of animals, Creating attacking methods, composing fist forms, to extrapolate the special characteristics possessed by the twelve animals in self defense and as predators. Resemble it shape, take its consciousness, form follows consciousness, consciousness creates form, to take the special skills and turn them into human ability.Intent of the Twelve Shapes:
- Dragon possesses the ability to contract the skeleton.
- Tiger possesses the ability to spring upon its prey.
- Monkey possesses the ability to climb mountains.
- Horse possesses (churning) fast hooves.
- Alligator can (float) swim skillfully in the water.
- Rooster is born with a competitive fighting nature.
- Sparrow hawk possesses the form for piercing through heaven.
- Swallow possesses the ability to skim over the water.
- Snake possesses the skill to move grass aside.
- Eagle possesses the skill of seizing.
- Bear possesses the skill of shaking and pulling out.
- Vulture (Tai Bird) contains striking and ramming movements.
UNDERSTANDING QI GONG
What is Qi Gong?
Practitioners of Qi Gong refer to Qi as “Internal Qi” (Nei Qi), “Innate Qi” (Yuan Qi), or “True Qi” (Zhen Qi). All these names already differ from the simple meaning “Breathing”.
Chinese people believe, that the Qi inside a human’s body, is the driving force for life. Therefore, the work with “Qi” as in “Qi Gong”, means to work with the "Nei Qi", "Yuan Qi", or "Zhen Qi".
“Gong” means “work” or “effort”. Chinese people often use the expression: “Xia Gongfu” (Put in time and energy). In Qi Gong practice, one uses his awareness in combination with physical movements and mental exercises. This kind of practice is not only of practical help for refining ones personality, self awareness and self control, but also helps get rid of ails and to maintain good health. Qi Gong is a science of health and long life. It is the work with “Innate Energy”, putting in time and effort to strengthen ones physical qualities.
To practice Qi Gong means to nourish your Innate Qi (YuanQi), and to use your intent to move it. The intent leads the Qi and helps it circulate within the meridians. This will stimulate and strengthen the rise and purification of the mind as well as of the internal organs. Through the proper circulation of Qi, one will nourish ones innate Qi, with the goal to heal the body from its ails and to maintain a vital state of mind.
Qi Gong is the work with human body’s Innate Qi (Yuan Qi). The Qi of the human body expresses itself in many different manifestations, but the most fundamental/primal Qi, is the so called Yuan Qi (Innate Qi) or Jing Qi (Essential Qi).
The Zhen Qi consists of two different kinds of Qi: The Qi that was given to us before we were born (Pre-natal Qi), and the Qi that we accumulate after birth and throughout our life (Post-natal Qi).
Xiantian Qi: Is the indicator of life’s starting point. It strengthens its functional power. It is the fundamental energy for all human activity (Preheaven’s original spirit).
Houtian Qi: the breath of inhalation and exhalation, Qi accumulated through food and through breathing. It is constantly accumulated and consumed in order to preserve life.
When practicing Qi Gong one must harmonize body, mind, and breath, in order to enter a certain condition. This condition is called Qi Gong Tai (Qi Gong Spirit). In our school we call it Ru Jing (enter stillness). After entering this level, the aim of practicing Qi Gong (Lian Gong), to supply the Zhen Qi (True Qi) or to support the Yuan Qi (Innate Qi) can be achieved.
- Entering a state of harmonizing the body
- Entering a state of harmonizing the breath
- Entering a state of harmonizing the mind
In actual practice it is most important to adjust spirit and breathing. Especially the adjustment of the spirit is from utmost importance, since both (adjusting the body and adjusting the Breath) depend on the spirit to manifest. At the same time, all three of them are interrelated and dependent on each other.
The Principles of the Three Adjustments:
- a. The Principle of Adjusting the Body --- Relaxation
No matter which kind of exercise, all have their set requests concerning their physical posture. “Relaxation” of the body describes a natural way of relaxation. The idea is to be relaxed without loosing your internal structure, to let go without being lax, and to be solid without getting stiff.
- b. The Principle of Adjusting the Breath --- Balance
“Breath” describes the process of breathing in and out. While practicing breathing we seek for balance. Out of this natural balance, the breath should become deep, long, gentle (fine), and even.
- c. Adjusting the Spirit
Adjusting the “spirit” (Tiao Shen), or “Adjusting the mind”, describes methods to nourish and purify spirit, consciousness, and thought. The adjustment of body and breath both rely on the foundation of the spirit. To “focus” is an important method. It describes the process of moderating one”s attention. Attention is used to “enter stillness”. When the spirit is pure, the breath balanced, and the mind tranquil and peaceful, all internal organs become settled and work together in harmony.
The process of adjusting the spirit has to major procedures. First, one must focus. Second, one must “enter stillness”.
From within one’s practice, when one’s mental state is adjusted and one’s physiological state is adjusted, then the state of the vital spirit will adjust.
Entering Stillness means to minimize mental activity, to reduce the respond of the mind to outside stimulations. Getting rid of disturbing influences and distracting thoughts.
The level of “Stillness”, depends on the “depth” of ones gongfu.
In the beginning level one starts with soothing ones mind and regulating the breath. When the emotions become settled, and the spirit gets more and more focused, distracting thoughts can eventually be eliminated.
On a more advanced level, a purification of thought can be achieved. Mind and breath will be harmonized and the intent properly aligned.
On the deeper levels of “entering stillness” one will become aware of true stillness and emptiness. It will be as if entering into a state of emptiness, with oneself floating through a selfless realm.
The term “intent” in QiGong practice describes the human subjective consciousness. In the process of practicing Gongfu, one will focus ones intent on certain things, or on certain parts of the body as well as on pressure points.
Through the continuous elimination of distracting thought, one will deepen the level of “stillness”. Through a more quiet level of practice, one will experience different physical sensations. Like the effect of the “Qi Gan” (the awareness of energy in ones body), or the reactions of the body to internal Qi movement. Resulting from that, and through further adjustment, one will deepen the level of quietness, and gather and nourish ones True Qi (Zhen Qi). (“Entering stillness” and “focus of intent” are interdependent processes. One is required in order to bring out the other.)
Depending on the intensity of physical movement, Qi Gong practice can be separated into JingGong (Motionless Practice), and DongGong (Practice in Motion).
Depending on the method of practice, the exercises can be done walking, sitting, lying or standing.
During the practice we need to gather and use human body’s internal elements Jing (Essence), Qi (Internal Energy) and Shen (Spirit).
What is “Jing”?
“Jing” is the basis in the creation of human life and activity. It is the most essential and important factor in the growth and development of the human body.
In a broader meaning, "Jing" consists of "pre-natal jing" (the essence that was given us from our parents), and of "post-natal jing" (the energy that we gain from nutrition). The "jing" of the internal organs (hormons) and the "jing" of the kidneys (breeding system), having the use of reproduction.
Therefore it is a factor that was there before the creation of the human body, wish is nourished later by food and nutritional factors. Through the process of physical life, the amount of “jing” inside ones body will continuously be consumed and therefore needs continuous supplement and nourishment.
What is Qi?
In China, the term “Qi” is used in many variations. For example in the meaning of “weather” (TianQi). Or in the meaning of factors that cause illness (XieQi). Also the human body’s innate energy, with the ability create life and to resist diseases (Yuan Qi). The Energy that is derived from digested food is called (ShiQi)
In general, we can divide Qi into “Pre- natal Qi” and “Post- natal Qi”. As said before, this is called Yuan Qi (Innate Qi). It is given us through our parents, and describes the driving force for development and growth of the human body, as well as the fundamental energy for all internal processes.
The so called “Post- natal Qi” is the Qi that is gathered through breathing and the digestion of food. “YingQi” is the energy gained by nutrition, it follows the circle of blood and liquids through the body. Its function is to stimulate the blood flow and to nourish the whole body.
The so called “WeiQi” helps to nourish and warm inner and outer body parts, and not only protects muscle and skin, but also has the function of resisting bad outer influences.
In practice we say “through the harmonization of yin and yang, is the manifestation of Qi”. So what is the meaning of yin and yang? There are two different meanings:
- 1. (Qi is) The resonance that is created through a certain state of balance between sympathetic nerve system (yang) and parasympathetic nerve system (yin).
- 2. Qi is created trough a certain balance between nerve system and blood system. Most of the times, Qi Gong is confused with Breathing, or the state of mind reaching a certain level where it can stimulate a certain kind of physiological potential. This state is called “Ru Jing”. But just through a further deepening and preservation one will enter the state of Jing Ding (maintaining stillness) and receive the full benefits of practice.
What is “shen”?
All aspects of human life can be grouped under the name “shen”. It includes spirit, thought, feelings, attention and awareness. “Shen” is created by Pre- natal Jing. With the creation of the embryo, “shen” develops.
“Shen” is created before birth, but it relies on nourishment and supplementation in life. Only if the internal organs work properly, a lively “shen” can be achieved.
“Shen” in QiGong Practice means a humans spiritual awareness, and the manifestation of internal “jing” on the outside.
Some important factors for the practice of Qi Gong:
- One should prepare himself for practice
- One should stay focused during practice
- One should end the practice properly, collecting and gathering Qi inside ones body.
TO UNDERSTAND TAIJIQUAN
The movement style of Taiji is relaxed soft smooth and harmonious.The actions are round and full, while the mind is stable. It requires that you nourish your spirit and energy (shen qi) internally, while externally to use every joint in the body to create spiral silk reeling movement. The result is elegant, natural beauty.
The context for learning Taiji is different now compared to the context in which it originated. People's motivations are no longer always martial, these days you can also practise for health, sport or simply as a leisure activity.
Before it became widely known as Taijiquan, it used to be called soft fist, long fist, thirteen postures and soft hand.
There are a lot of rumours and stories about the origin of Taiji. Most of them come from the Tang dynasty Shi Shuenping, Song dynasty Chang Sanfeng, Ming Dynasty Chang Sanfeng (same pronunciation different words), Ching Dynasty Chen Wangting and Wang Tsungyueh.
Everyone agrees that the the Ming Dynasty CSF, and WTY wrote classic discourses on Taiji. However most Taiji practitioners believe that all Taiji derives from Chen style Taiji. Chenjiagou martial arts originated with Chen Wangting towards the end of the Ming dynasty and the beginning of the Ching (16C-1680) in Wen county, Henan province. Within the Chen family it was passed down from father to son, but not to daughters, so it was difficult for outsiders to see the art and even harder to grasp its essence. This was so until Chen Chang Hsin 1771-1853 taught a man called Hebei Yang Luchan 1799-1872, and it was from this time that Taiji could begin to spread.
Taiji comes from the boxing of General Chi Chi Guan, combined with Daoyin, breathing exercises, Chinese medical theory while Bagua and five element theory became Taiji's philosophical foundation.
Taijiquan uses peng, lu, ji, an, tzai, li, jou, kao to match the bagua idea of four directions and four corners. It uses forwards backwards, left, right and central equilibrium to match five element theory. Combined these make thirteen postures which are an important practise method.
When you practise Taiji you need to calm your thinking and use your intention to guide your movement, to let your breath and movement combine, so that mind, breath and movement are all in harmony.
The movement needs to be soft, smooth, continuous centred and upright,. The whole thing needs to be harmonised so that it is natural. At the same time the breath needs to be smooth, stable, deep, soft and light.
Taiji movement uses circles in a sophisticated way. The circles are smooth, alive and originate from the waist so that the upper and lower body act as a unified system.
The outside looks soft, but the inside has power. When you use techniques hard and soft support/complement each other. Fajing must concentrate the entire body’s power.
The function of push hands practise to increase and update skill in the application of techniques.
When you practise use stillness to control the opponents movement. Avoid solid and hit empty. Use their power, combine it with your own to send it back on them.
The entire body, mind and hands must be sensitive to gage the strength direction and origin of opponents power, to follow their movement in time and to react appropriately.
Taijiquan has spread to become many systems; In China these are separated into 5 big groups, Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu and Sun. Every school has a unique approach to training but also common content.
Good Taiji fighters have all studied:
- Zhan zhuang
- Form exercise (big, middle, small size fast and slow), sometimes stick, saber, sword, spear as well.
- Push hands, single hand vertical, horizontal, diagonal. 2 hand fixed and stepping, Ta lu and zhannien sanshou.
- Single posture practise (basically 13 postures) to be familiar with the smooth use of the technique, timing and power. The body needs to learn to dodge, leap, gallop and wiggle/adjust. This allows to grasp, hold, strike and throw.