What Is Xingyiquan
Xingyiquan is considered to be one of the most powerful forms of internal martial arts that originated in China. The main characteristic of this form of fighting that makes it different from the rest of the techniques is the aggression involved in it, which aims at going through the opponent’s defense and draining him out with powerful blows. The actual meaning of the term, Xingyiquan, is ‘mind or will boxing’. In comparison to the other two orthodox forms of internal boxing, this form is considered to be the most complicated and difficult to master. The exact origin of Xingyiquan is not known, but many people believe that Bodhidharman has a close connection with this form of internal martial arts.
The main feature that distinguishes Xingyiquan from the rest is the use of linear force unlike the other forms of martial arts. Here, one can fight either with certain weapons like spear, staff, sword and sabre, or make use the bare hand fighting form. Yue Fei from the Song Dynasty that ruled China in the 10th and 11th Century has been considered to be the person who learnt this form of martial arts and popularized it. There are a few written records that point to this fact. However, there is a difference of opinion among the experts with regard to terming him as the founder of this form of martial arts.
The practitioner of Xingyiquan needs to aim at perfection in whatever move he practices and it is sheer hardwork with self control that leads to success in this form of martial arts. It is believed that the use of Xingyiquan played a major role in the militaries of China in the medieval era. In general, though this form of martial arts has evolved into different forms, the two main systems that form the basis of Xingyiquan are ‘The Twelve Animal system’ and ‘Five Element system’.
The basic ten animal forms comprises of moves named as Bear, Eagle, Snake, Tiger, Dragon, Chicken, Horse, Swallow, Goshawk and Monkey. Though each of the above mentioned forms are the basic moves, there are various moves that cross link the forms and only experts of this form of fighting can master these forms. The five elements of Xingyiquan are Chopping, Drilling, Crushing, Exploding and Crossing. In addition to the use of powerful moves with the help of bare hand, light footwork also comes into play in more intense forms of fighting. The three main developmental forms of this form of martial arts are Shanxi, Hebei and Henan. In the recent times, the importance of Xingyiquan as a form of martial arts has increased immensely and it is evident from the fact that soldiers are provided basic training in it.