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The Non-Martial Aspects of Xing Yi Quan by IAI Xing Yi Instructor Matt Tomkiel

IAI   Instructor Matt Tomkiel – Xing Yi Quan

Xing Yi Quan

Xing Yi Quan is described as a process Daoist Inner Alchemy, which cultivates direct, spontaneous, and appropriate responses to the situation at hand. It is not limited to martial techniques.

Xing Yi will refine your nature, reform your temperament, and return you to your original self,” Keng Chi-Shan (disciple of Liu Qi Lan). [1]

In an interview Wang Xiang Zhai gave in the 1940’s, he notes that the wuxing represent five forms of force, “not methods or routines of shadow boxing.”

Xing Yi Quan often looks different in application from the postures used to practice it.

All the Xing Yi postures are very simple: in use they may be changed and combined differently. Thus a limited number of postures becomes numberless,” –Sung Shih-Jung [2]

Application of Xing Yi Quan to Skiing:

Like any sport, skiing has its own set of techniques that must be learned. However, a skier must have structural integrity, whole body coordination, and a quality like Song Jin (松) (to absorb resistance from the terrain and carve through it non-coercively).

A skier must change sides; rotate the upper and lower body simultaneously yet independently; extend and contract the legs to meet the terrain, and maintain a balanced center of gravity that moves steadily forward in the direction of travel.

“In Xing Yi boxing, the joints of the whole body move with different axes of rotation, and the contraction of the muscles and tendons are neither tense nor loose, so as to guarantee simultaneous contraction of the muscles on every side without slackening, a comprehensive result. Then in advancing one can attack, and in retreating one can defend, without any gaps that can be exploited.”- Liu Wen Hua

Despite the obvious differences between skiing and martial arts, the basic athletic stance in most sports, including skiing, has much in common with the alignment of the spine and the engagement of the hips in San Ti Shi. The wuxing can be utilized to improve technique. There are many different types of turns in telemark skiing. Some are highly technical for specific situations. When informed by the wuxing, they begin to look like some of the animal forms. For example, 3-dimensional skiing in powder may look and feel similar to the dragon form. Short step turns may feel similar to alligator form. However, in the basic telemark turn the transverse energy of heng quan is obvious, and can be quite pronounced depending on the circumstances.

Below is video demonstration to emphasize the obvious transverse energy of Heng Quan in a basic telemark skiing turn.