Xing Yi

Xingyiquan (Chinese: 形意拳; pinyin: Xíng yì quán; Wade-Giles: Hsing I Ch'üan; ) also known as Xingyi Liuhe quan (心意拳六合, Heart Intention and six combinations), Yi Chuan (意拳; Intention boxing), Da Cheng Quan (大成拳; Great achievement fist), Sum Yi Quan (Heart Intention) is one of the major "internal" (nèijiā) Chinese martial arts. The words “形意” translates approximately to "Form/Intention Boxing", or "Shape/Will Boxing", and is characterized by aggressive, seemingly linear movements and explosive power.

This martial art was developed in Henan Province among Chinese Moslems (Hui). This style, along with Cha Quan and Qi Shi Quan (Boxing of Seven Postures), is sometimes known as "Jiao Men Quan" ("righteous or religious boxing"). In the past, religious leaders have used their training in this martial art to protect those of the Islamic faith. As a precaution, this style was seldom publicized. For more than two centuries, its practice was limited to within the Moslem communities in Northern China. Overtime, because of its effectiveness, the style spread to the native Chinese (Han nationality). At the turn of this century, Hsing Yi fighters such as Che Yonghong and Guo Yunshen ("The Divine Crushing Fist") acquired considerable reputation due to their success in many national open martial art contests. As a result, Hsing Yi now takes its place besides Bagua, Tai Chi and Lu Hop Bai Fai - as one of the four great Internal martial arts of China. Now, the practice of Hsing Yi can be found all over the world.

 1.  Training in Ottawa
 2.  Styles
 3.  Inspiration

Xingyi Training in Ottawa

The Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts Association uses Xing Yi as an introduction to the Internal Martial Arts. This training differs from conventional martial arts training because of the inherent characteristics of the style.  Xingyi training in the Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts association focuses on the following main ideas:

  • In practise, the student trains the mind (Xing) to control the body (Yi). This connects the inner, internal power (Nei Gong) with the outer, external shape (Wai Xing). The form or "shape" of the movements is the outward, physical manifestation of the "shape" of one's intent :
  • heart and mind act act as one
  • mind and chi combine
  • chi and strength are together 
The three outer harmonies state :
  • shoulder turns with the hip
  • elbow and knee act in unison
  • hand moves with the foot
  • In application, the practitioner strives to be aggressive and to develop an active and explosive offense. The direction of the movement forms is direct and linear. According to the principles of this style, attacking with clear intent serves as the best defense, and attack and defense occur simultaneously. Action and movement are tight and compact, limiting any openings for counterattack.
Training in all styles of Xing Yi focuses on the repetitive practice of single movements that are later combined into more complicated, linked forms. A familiar adage of Xing Yi is that "the hands do not leave the (area of the) heart, and the elbows do not leave the ribs." There are kicks in the style, but the kicks are low and direct. Great emphasis is placed upon the ability to generate power with the whole body and focus it into one pulse, which is released in a sudden burst.  


Three primary styles of Xinyi Quan are practiced in different regions of China. The styles (or families) are the Shanxi, the Hebei, and the Henan. Each style of Xinyi Quan 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 ten animals. Usually the style is defined by either the teacher's name or the region, 

One major branch of martial arts arising from Xingyi is Yi Quan and Dacheng Quan. Both styles were founded by Wang Xiangzhai in the 1930's. The training and emphasis of both Yi Quan and Dacheng Quan are different enough for them to be considered distinct, but related systems.



Here are images of Xing Yi practice to provide the students with a flavor of the Xing Yi Style.