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Син-И-Цюан /"Бокс на Сърцето и волята"/ и Син-И-Цюан /"Бокс на Формата и волята"/

                Xinyi Quan 心意拳 and Xingyi Quan 形意拳


This article was originally written by Wang Xin Ming in an old copy of Wushu magazine from the 1980s. Wang Xin Ming is a famous martial arts historian and has written many books on Xingyi and Xin yi. Although Xinyi is now much better known in the West, the following article is still worth reading.  

Xinyi Quan (full name: Xin yi Liu He Quan) (Heart Intention Boxing) and Xingyi Quan (Form Intention Boxing) have a deep relationship, but they are not contemporaneous styles, and were created at different times. The basic stances are different and should not be conflated together. Xingyi is a branch that evolved out of Xinyi.

For many years now, people have mentioned both styles together, thinking that is one style with two names. In the “Sports Encyclopedia” there is an entry stating that “one of the names of Xingyi is Xinyi quan.” Many experts of Xingyi quan also insist on this interpretation. This is due to a number of martial arts historians working backwards from the currently popular Xingyi Quan, rather than placing an emphasis on the how Xinyi was first developed and broke off into its different branches. They have performed a vertical study of the geographical areas where Xingyi had spread, but have neglected to do a horizontal study taking into consideration the Xinyi of Henan (Ma Xueli) and Shanxi (Dai Longbang). They have narrowly focused only on the few extant historical materials, neglecting to do more research in the ancestral villages on the on the founder of Xinyi Quan and other representative individuals of the style, as well as a detailed study of other martial arts styles in those areas. Hence they reach erroneous conclusions.

This author’s opinion is that Xinyi and Xingyi should not be put together for discussion. The reasons are the following:


1)   The argument from historicity

Xinyi was founded at the end of the Ming period and the beginning of the Qing period, the founder was Yi Long Feng from Puzhou in Shanxi. (Later people have erroneously written his name). The time of founding was approximately 1645-1655.

Xingyiquan was created when Li Luoneng studied under the second son of Dai Longbang and brought the art to Taigu under a different name. The timing was after 1856 and only has about 150 years of history.


2)   The difference in name

Xinyi quan has always been called “heart intention” boxing until the present day, and has never been referred to as Xingyi Quan “form intention boxing”.  Whether it is the Xinyi Ba of Shaolin, or that of Henan or Shanxi, it has always been so.

After Xingyi Quan was founded, whether was the branch of Guo Yunshen – Liu Qi Lan, or Che Yizhai – Song Shirong, they all called it Xingyi Quang or “form intention boxing”, with very few people calling it “xinyi”. For a 150 years each was called by its own name.

From the perspective of names of stances, the Single Handle, double Handle, lifting collar, twisting hand, ground tornado are not found in Xingyi, and the forms Stable Cannon, Nine Circles are not to be found in Xinyi.


3)   The difference in the basic stances

Xin Yi’s basic stance consist of a backward body bow and arrow stance with the basic requirements being, head, shoulder, back, kua, back leg, back foot, forming a diagonal line. The front shoulder, front  knee and foot have to be in one vertical line, and this is called “the arrow shaft pierces the leaf”, forming a right angled triangle. The breath is reliant on pushing out the back leg, with the requirement that the back leg is pushed straight.

Xing Yi’s basic stance requires that the front and back knee are bent (with the weight dispersed either 30-70 or 40-60), and this is called Santishi. Guo Yunshen states that Santi is the basis of the ten thousand forms.


4)   From the perspective of fighting

From the perspective of Xinyi’s movements one can see head attack, shoulder attack, elbow attack, foot attack and hand attack applications. However one is only able to see hand applications in Xingyi (note - grappling).  From the perspective of the trunk, one is not able to see elbow attacks, shoulder attacks, knee attacks, or foot attacks. Xin Yi’s attacks are also in accordance with the ancient boxing manuals (like the “six harmonies and 10 principles” stated in the “Xinyi Liu He Boxing Manual” edited by Wang Zi Cheng in the 11th Year of the Yongzheng Emperor and the later “Song of the Seven Stars”).

Many of the Xingyi Quan experts have made reference to the ninth section of the appendix of the “Xinyi Liu He Boxing Manual”  - which is usually referred to as “Cao Ji Wu’s essence of the 10 methods” as well as the “Song of the Seven Stars” but the principles are often at odds with their actual applications.


5)   From the perspective of lineage

Shaolin’s Xinyi Ba has 12 large stances, and from the time of the Qing Dynasty until now has been passed on in secret transmission from monk to monk, for the past 300 years. (This was originally taught by Yi Long Feng)

In Henan Ma Xue Li taught Xinyi Quan, and this was separated into two branches, one was to his nephew Ma Xing (Ma San Yuan’s elder brother) and in turn was transmitted to his son Ma Mei Hu. In turn this was transmitted to the people of Luoyang Dong Guan, Beiyau, Mapo and Tawan.  The other branch was transmitted to Ma Xue Li’s disciple, Zhang Zhi Cheng and in turn transmitted to Li Zhen and eventually was transmitted to the people outside of the Luoyang area.

In Shanxi, Dai Long Bang transmitted to both his sons, Dai Wen Lian, and Dai Wen Qin. Dai Wen Qin transmitted to Dai Wen Dong, Li Luo Neng. The Dai Family then created the Five elements fist, (Pi, Beng , Zhan, Pao, Heng) but the basic stance differed from that of Li Luo Neng’s Five elements fist. (They used the bow stance and not the santi – as described above).

At present (note – 1980s when this was written)  Henan  Xinyi Ma Xing branch has been transmitted to the 8th generation. Zhang Zhi Cheng branch has been transmitted to the 12th generation. Shanxi Xinyi has been transmitted to the 7th generation. Li Luo Neng transmitted to two lines –through Guo Yunshen which was the Hebei line and through Che Yi Zhai and Song Shirong which was the Shanxi line.  (The Che line of Xingyi still retains traces of the Dai Family Xinyi). Both Xinyi and Xingyi have their own lines of transmission and geographical areas of development. For many years they have not interacted with each other.

As for the Xinyi Ba of the Shaolin temple, this was for many years treated as an “ultimate technique” and only passed on in secret. Outsiders were not allowed to see its stances, and Henan Xinyi was only transmitted to a small number of people.  In the early days Dai Xinyi was only transmitted to the Dai family, and later was expanded to those who had married into the family, but it did not leave its home area and outsiders did not see it. Hence the confusion of many historians regarding the relationships between Xinyi and Xingyi.

In recent years there has been a boom in the martial arts, but there has been little mention of Xinyi, whereas Xingyi has been actively promoted and transmitted overseas. The reputation of Xinyi has been overshadowed and confused. 


Posted 24th September 2013 by Bernard Kwan

Labels: boxing Chinese martial arts xingyi xinyi



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