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General Yue Fei (1103 - 1142) 

of the Song Dynasty

Xing-Yi Quan

Xingyi Quan Shape Intention Fist --Historical Origins 简体中文

Historical Origins of Xingyi Quan Tradition has it that Xingyiquan

originated with General Yue Fei (1103 - 1142) of the Song Dynasty.

Recent research has questioned the truth of this tradition. General

Yue Fei is a national hero in China due to his spirit, character, and

nationalism, so it is possible that practitioners of Xinyiquan borrowed

his name to gain more recognition for the style. General Yue Fei In

recent years scholars have published much research into the origins

of Xingyiquan. There are some differences of opinion, but the general

consensus is that the Xingyiquan system grew out of Xinyi

Liuhequan. That is, that Xingyiquan originated with Li Luoneng (c.

1808 - 1890) of Hebei province, on the foundation of Xinyi Liuhequan

that originated with Ji Longfeng (1602 - 1680 also known as Ji Jike). Ji

Longfeng taught Cao Jiwu (1662 - 1722), who taught Dai Longbang (c.

1713 - 1802), who taught Li Luoneng. This has been cnfirmed by the

research of many scholars, most notably Huang Xin who spent

many years on the topic and methodologically examined a huge

amount of historical documents. It seems quite certain that Ji

Longfeng created Xinyi Liuhequan and Li Luoneng in turn created

Xingyiquan. The three main branches of Xingyiquan - three streams

from the same sources are commonly categorized by region: Shanxi,

Hebei, and Henan provinces. The source of the stream is Xinyi

Liuhequan. At present, Henan province still refers to the style as Xinyi

Liuhequan, and has essentially kept the original characteristics of

Xinyi Liuhequan, most notably the chicken step and the ten animals.

Shanxi and Hebei provinces refer to the style as Xingyiquan and really

represent one branch with only regional and stylistic differences, both

coming from Li Luoneng. 

By the Qianlong reign period of the Qing Dynasty (1736 - 1796), Xinyi Liuhequan was already an established style with its own techniques and theory in Shanxi and Henanprovinces. Li Luoneng studied Xinyi Liuhequan with Dai Longbang forteen years. Li Luoneng had trained in other styles and had a strong

foundation in martial arts before studying with Dai, so after ten years

of diligent analysis and practical experience he achieved a high level

of skill in Xinyi Liuhequan. Li accumulated a great depth of theoretical

and practical knowledge over several decades of training, and this

gave him a lvel of mastery that allowed him to refine the style and

germinate the idea of creating a new style from Xinyi Liuhequan - that

is, to create Xingyiquan. By 1856 his style was spreading by this new

name. In classic Chinese there is only a small distinction between the

meaning of the characters xin (心 heart, the emotional mind) and yi (意

will, the intentional mind). So the name Xinyi was repetitive, heart also

partiall means will, and will contains heart in its meaning. Li Luoneng

changed only one character xin (心 heart) to xing (形 form, shape,

structure)to make the name (form and intent) more meaningful.

Although there is a difference of only one character in the names

xinyi and xingyi, this was a milestone of reform in martial arts history,

and a beautiful new martial flower was created n the martial arts

garden. Li Luoneng bravely undertook a systematic reorganization of

Xinyi Liuhequan. 

He established a systematic training method with

the santishi post standing as the basic training, the five element fists

as the foundation, and the twelve animals as the advanced

techniques. He based his system on a combination of of the ancient

Chinese traditional theories of yin yang, and five elements (metal,

water, wood, fire and earth); the Daoist life enhancing training, and

refining methods and theories,; and martial arts internal refinement

training. In this way he developed a three-level martial training

(obvious, hidden, and transformed to train essence to transform

energy train energy to transform spirit and train spirit to transform

to emptiness. These aspects were new, and Xingyi towered in the

martial world with its systematic approach to training and scientific

(for its time) theory. Although the theoretical kernel did not depart

from Xinyi Liuhequan, it made a qualitative leap to a higher level.

Similarly, the later development of Yiquan on the foundation of

Xingyiquan created a new style with its own training methods that

emphasized will and spirit. Of course, the establishment and spread

of any style, the improvement of theory and enrichment of the

technical system take several generations of work. The Xingyiquan

now popular throughout China has evolved in theory and technique

as a result of the continued innovation of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and

6th generations. With further social advances and developments in

scientific understanding, future generations continue to make

Xingyiquan theory and techniques even more logical and modern

and enrich all of mankind.