Xingyiquan (Chinese: 形意拳; pinyin: Xíng yì quán; Wade-Giles: Hsing I Ch'üan) is one of the major "internal" (nèijiā) Chinese martial arts. A practitioner of xingyiquan uses coordinated movements to generate bursts of power intended to overwhelm the opponent, simultaneously attacking and defending. Forms vary from school to school, but include barehanded sequences and versions of the same sequences with a variety of weapons. These sequences are based upon the movements and fighting behavior of a variety of animals. The training methods allow the student to progress through increasing difficulty in form sequences, timing and fighting strategy. The internal aspects of Xingyiquan are similar to, yet distinct from, those of Baguazhang and Tai chi chuan.

Xin Yi Quan ("Form-Intention Fist") is a traditional style originally developed from the Spear techniques in the ancient chinese army.

The Five Elements[edit | edit source]

See also: The Five Fists

Xingyiquan uses the Five-Element phases to develop it's basic combat/stepping approach, there are five "Fists":

Chinese language Pinyin
Chopping Metal Like an axe chopping down and over.
Drilling Zuān Water Drilling forward diagonally.
Crushing Bēng Wood Like an arrow shot directly forward.
Exploding Pào Fire Exploding outward like a cannonball, while blocking at the same time.
Crossing Héng Earth Crossing across the line of attack while turning over.

Twelve Animals[edit | edit source]

This style has a further posture/stances training system to improve it's combat/stepping approach, these are:

Chinese Pinyin
Bear Xióng In Xing Yi, "the Bear and Eagle combine", meaning that the Bear and Eagle techniques are often used in conjunction with each other. There is a bird called the "bear eagle", which covers the characteristics of both forms. The Eagle is a Pi Quan variation. It mimics the downward clawing action of this bird.
Eagle Yīng
Snake Shé Includes both Constrictor and Viper movements.
Tiger Features lunging with open-handed clawing attacks mimicking the pounce of a tiger.
Dragon Lóng The only "mythical" animal taught (except in those family systems where the phoenix is one of the 12 animals). In some lineages it is practiced separately from tiger because they are said to clash (this is a minority opinion).
Chicken Mimics the pecking movement of a chicken and the flapping of its wings. This form also mimics the quick and aggressive combat style of the rooster.
Horse Combination of Pi and Heng movements that mimics the action of a rearing a horse.
Swallow Yàn Follows the swift and random movements of the swallow by rotating position and circling the enemy with strong but quick foot movement. May refer to the purple swamphen.
Goshawk Yào This can mean 'Sparrowhawk,' though the more common word for "Sparrowhawk" used to be Zhān (鸇), which has fallen from use over the years. The Chinese word for "goshawk" covers both the goshawk and the sparrowhawk. Note - in some lineages this animal is translated to mean the grouse or small pheasant, as well as the phoenix. Among other things, trains the ability to penetrate between the opponent's limbs and body with strikes or takedowns.
Monkey Hóu Performed with light, agile and simple striking combined with parrying and deception of distance.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

As any Chinese Martial Art, Xingyiquan uses traditional weapons, with it's techniques based on it's empty hand movements. In this case the most prefered weapons are:

  • Spear (Qiang)
  • Straight Sword (Jian)
  • Sabre (Dao)
  • Large Sable (Pudao)
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