Xing Yi Quan is one of the three classical internal martial arts. As is commonly the case with older styles, the origin of Xing Yi Quan is unknown. The oldest versions that still exist today are Xin Yi Liu He Quan (heart intent six harmonies boxing), commonly practiced among the muslim Hui minority in China and Xin Yi Ba (heart intent boxing) which has its roots in the Shaolin Temple. In the mid 1700’s Dai Long Bang learned Xin Yi Liu He and later taught it to Li Luo Neng who established a new branch of it calling it Xing Yi Quan (Form intent boxing). Sun Lu Tang who taught his daughter (my teacher) studied first with a grand student of Li Luo Neng named Li Kui Yuan and later with his grand teacher Guo Yun Shen who was one of the prominent students of Li Luo Neng.
Sun Lu Tang wrote about Xing Yi Quan in two of his books, ”A study of Xing Yi Quan” and ”True meaning of martial arts” where he puts a lot of context to the physical movements and explains a lot of things openly which was previously kept strictly for disciples. The language is classical Chinese which poses a bit of a challenge even for modern day Chinese and is extremely rich with implicit references to Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian thought in almost every sentence. Following his great example I will attempt to describe his teachings, as taught to me by his daughter Sun Jian Yun, as openly and truthfully as I can in the hope that I might shed some light to this wonderful practise that has been my life’s passion for over 30 years now.
Xing Yi has quite a reputation for being a very efficient martial art and quite a lot of body guards and caravan guards in the 18’th and 19’th century where Xing Yi practitioners.
The style is characterized by simple and direct movements but has profound depths. The majority of practise is focused on standing and single movements repeated over and over until deeper skill (gong fu) develops. Weapons are few compared to many other traditional Chinese martial arts; in the Sun Lu Tang lineage we practise straight sword (jian), sabre (dao), spear (qiang) and stick (gun).
Besides Sun style Xing Yi I have also studied Mai Style Xin Yi Liu He Quan (with Li Zun Si and my older brother Jarek Szymanski) and Yi Quan (primarily with Yao Cheng Rong). I have also done brief studies of other branches of Hebei and Shanxi Xing Yi to better understand and appreciate other interpretations of Xing Yi other than what I learned from Sun style through my teacher. My view of Xing Yi Quan is that it is really one style of martial arts and although there are specific branches and interpretations I really view Xin Yi Liu He Quan, Xin Yi Ba, Xing Yi and Yi Quan to be about essentially the same thing. Hence I do not see a problem with different versions and ways to practise but rather see that as a good thing helping us who study them to be able to go beyond form and appearance and grasp the essence.
There are those that view Xing Yi Quan as merely a way to overcome an opponent in physical combat. Although I view this perspective as important and fundamental, I think that Xing Yi Quan can be much more and be a way of life informing and guiding us on a path of transformation and growth not only in physical areas but energetically, mentally and spiritually as well.
This course will cover a lot of the material of Sun style Xing Yi Quan but is not meant to be a complete presentation. The last couple of years I have started to give seminars and workshops in Europe and is meant to complement those so that people who have attended such seminars have a chance to keep practising or for those who plan to attend to give them a good starting point to be able to go deeper into the material when the opportunity for hands on instruction arises. If you are interested in visiting me or inviting me to hold a seminar please contact me at info(at)alipsa.se.