Xing Yi Quan or Mind Form Boxing is the oldest of the internal martial arts in China and also one of its most effective fighting forms ever created.
Xingyi fuses a relaxed open body with a clear focused mind free of any gaps in its intent. This creates the ability to react to a situation with the appropriate response to overcome the situation without ever losing control of the stable balanced mind. The goal of xingyi as a fighting art is to create an aggressive focused power without relying on an emotional spike to create that power. Instead of emotion xingyi relies on the use of the 16 part (or should we say 10 hehehehe) nei gong system to generate different types of power evenly in all directions. As Bruce used to say “There is no question of aggression in xingyi, it is pure aggression. But it is aggression without emotional content.”
The core of Xingyi and “secret” of many of China’s greatest martial artists is the standing practice of Santi. The Santi posture is a powerful method of body and qi development based on the Five Element theory of Taoism. Santi is a great compliment to any form of internal or external martial art or qigong practice as it develops an incredibly strong and stable body and integrates the inside and outside of the body and awakens the sense of feeling inside the body.
Another key aspect of Xingyi which begins in the Santi practice is that of recognizing the different elements within the body and how these effect the internal organs, emotions, thoughts and health of the body. For Instance: Pi Chuan and the posture of Santi teaches the practitioner about how to strengthen the metal element within the body, including the lungs and the spine.
Santi is extremely valuable to anyone who practices or wishes to practice baguazhang as it develops many of the same internal and external components as bagua’s circle walking but without the added strain and difficulty of turning and twisting the waist and legs to such a great degree. When i was struggling with Bagua’s walking the advice I was given was to do xingyi’s santi for at least a year before returning to circle walking. I followed this advice and when I did I noticed I was able to maintain power in the walking better than many of the students who did not follow this advice.
For practitioners of Taiji the santi practice can be a good way of developing leg strength, good breathing and the natural spring of the body; all integral to quality taiji practice. Santi can also be a good antidote to the “wet noodle” tendencies of some taiji pushing hands players, allowing the body gain flexibility by opening, connecting and twisting, rather than disconnecting and bending and wiggling. Wiggling may get you away from a push but it won’t stop a solid kick or prevent you from being thrown.