Schools: Canada | Finland | France | Hawaii | USA

12 Animal Poems of Xing Yi Quan

The poems relating to the Twelve Animals of Xing Yi Quan give the practitioner insight into the internal dynamic and Jin (energy, strength and spirit) of each animal. These insights ai correct performance and application.

The poems are presented here in translation, with the original Chinese characters, plus commentary by Tom Bisio.

Long Xing: Dragon 龙形

To search the bones for extension and contraction is its ability.
搜骨伸缩是其能,

The nature of its rising and falling form belongs to Yin.
升降之形性属阴。

Smooth execution of this fist is able to make heart fire descend.[1]
拳顺能使心火降,

Strength (Jin) [2] is balanced when Kidney Water ascends.[3]
肾水上升劲平衡。

[1] Making heart fire descend. This refers both to helping to make pathological Yin fire descend, as well as to Daoist internal alchemy, in which both the kidney-water and heart-fire are harmonized by the hidden water within fire and the hidden fire within water interchanging their positions. This is represented by the interchange of the middle lines of the Kan and Li trigrams. Yin fire occurs when Mingmen fire (the ministerial fire) flares upward to disturb the Heart fire (imperial fire).

[2] Jin can mean force, energy and even spirit. In internal martial the arts Fa (发) Jin – literally “emitting force” refers to a sudden shocking emission of power.

[3] This again makes reference to balancing fire and water, the heart and kidneys.

Hu Xing: Tiger 虎形

The power is ferocious when fierce tiger pounces its prey.
猛虎扑食势凶勇,

Its nature belongs to Yang and there is firmness in crouching in its lair.[4]
性属阳刚坐窝能。

The clear Qi can ascend [5] if the fist is executed smoothly.

The force reaches the two palms with power and prestige.
力达两掌显威风。

[4] The Tiger is a Yang animal, but it draws its power from the earth (Yin) by crouching, in order to spring forward.

[5] The Tiger uses its back to generate power in crouching or springing. Thus if practiced correctly, the Tiger is said to open the Du (Governing) Vessel, which runs up the center of the spine. If the Governing Vessel is opened, the clear Yang-Qi can ascend to the head and brain. The rising and falling movement of the Dragon balances fire and water (see above), by opening the Ren (Conception) Channel and the Chong (Thrusting) Channel. Ren, Du and Chong are thought to be one meridian and must circulate freely for the other meridians to also circulate freely. If they open, the ”hundred meridians” can open, and power and force will emanate without obstruction.

Hou Xing: Monkey 猴形

Names of Movements in the Monkey Form

  1. Hanging Seal Form of the Monkey
    猿猴挂印式
  2. Dragging Rope Form of the Monkey
    猿猴叼绳式
  3. Climbing Pole Form of the Monkey
    猿猴爬杆式
  4. Turning Back Form of the Monkey
    猿猴回头式

In extending the arms and jumping, the posture is light and agile.
舒臂纵跳势轻灵,

Its nature belongs to Yang and it is firm with precise contracting power.
性属阳刚缩力精。

Smooth execution of this fist can enable the heart to be peaceful and still, [6]
拳顺能使心宁静,

The nails are sharp when the force reaches the fingertips.
力达指端爪为锋。

Ma Xing: Horse 马形

Swift galloping relies upon quick hooves.
奔腾迅疾在疾蹄,

Strong and violent, dropping the reins allows one to harness its potential.[6]
性烈垂缰重取义。

Intention and Qi unite to promote the strength (Jin).
意气合一须催劲,

Twisting, turning, dashing, and colliding are rarely combined.
拧转冲撞世间稀。

[6] The character 义 (yi) can mean righteous, so some scholars interpret this to mean that the horse represents loyalty and trust because if the horses reins are released it will return home (Xing Yi Quan Xue by Sun Lu Tang. Translated by Albert Liu (p. 174)). In terms of Xing Yi Quan, the action of drpoping the reins gives freedom to the horse’s natural potential, and in the Horse form the lowering hand/body movement generates the power and energy to move forward and strike.

Tuo Xing: Water Lizard (Alligator) 鼍形

Reverse the river and upend the sea more powerfully than a flood dragon,
翻江倒海胜蛟龙,

The two arms rotate and turn aside, all depends on the energy (Jin) of the waist.
两臂拨转在腰劲。

Floating and swimming in the water, winding as it advances,
浮水漫游曲折进,

Two hands are linked and hip must charge forwards.
两手连环胯须冲。

Ji Xing: Chicken/Cock 鸡形

Names of Movements in the Cock Form

  1. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg
    金鸡独立式
  2. Golden Cock Pecks Rice
    金鸡食米式
  3. Golden Cock Shakes Feathers (Plume)
    金鸡抖翎式
  4. Golden Cock Climbs Frame
    金鸡上架式
  5. Golden Cock Heralds Daybreak
    金鸡报晓式
  6. Splitting Fist Form of Chicken

The cock fights marvelously and shakes its wings powerfully.
鸡有奇斗振翼威,

Fist and chicken leg can never be separated.
拳中鸡腿总不离。

Heralding the daybreak promotes diligence,
司晨报晓催人勤,

Standing on one leg and pecking rice are two marvelous skills.
独立食米两功奇。

Yao Xing: Hawk 鹞形

Names of Movements in the Hawk Form

  1. Hawk Shrinking Body Form
    鹞子束身式
  2. Hawk Enters The Forest
    鹞子入林式
  3. Hawk Drills Into The Sky
    鹞子钻天式
  4. Hawk Turns Over Its Body
    鹞子翻身式

Turning over the body and shrinking the wings [7] demonstrates power and authority.
翻身束翎显威风,

Its ability is to enter the forest and drill into the sky.
入林钻天是其能。

Smooth execution of the fist depends on the connection of form and intention,
拳顺贵在形连意,

Energy (Jin) and force (Li) are round and full [8] and the body is in balance.
劲力圆整体平衡。

[7] The Hawk, or Sparrow Hawk, has the ability to shrink its body by folding in its wings. This allows it to shoot upward into the sky and to “penetrate the forest” – fly between the branches of the trees to catch its prey. Hawks also wheel and turn in the sky nimbly and agily, thus in Xing Yi and  Ba Gua refrences are made to their ability to turn over, or overturn (Fan Shen 翻身 ).

[8] The characters 圆整 can also mean entire or whole.

Yan Xing: Swallow 燕形

Names of Movements in the Swallow Form

  1. Swallow Drawing [9] Water Form
    燕子抄水式
  2. Swallow Spreading Wings
    燕子展翅式
  3. Rt. Bursting Fist (Golden Cock Pecks Rice)
    右崩拳(金鸡食米)
  4. Turning Form – Embrace Binding Fist

Agile and quick in drawing water, and skillful in turning and revolving.
抄水敏捷回旋灵,

Its nature belongs to Yin and Yang, the energy (Jin) is firm and gentle.
性属阴阳刚柔劲。

If the fist is executed smoothly, the heart and kidney are harmonized.
拳顺心肾能相交,

When Dan Tian Qi is full, The whole body is light.[10]
丹田气充周身轻。

[9] The character 抄 (chao) can mean to take up or to grab. To drink, swallow skim low over the surface of a body of water scooping up water with open mouths.

[10] 轻 (qing) This character can mean light, agile or soft and relaxed – without stress.

She Xing:  Snake 蛇形

In moving through the grass, extension and flexion [11] are precious skills.
拨草之精贵屈伸,

Coiling, inhalation, and exhalation belongs to yin.
盘旋吞吐性属阴。

Contraction, expansion, withdrawal and release must be pliable but tenacious,
束展收放须柔韧,

Constant [12] energy [Jin] and intention depend upon the waist skill.
劲意连绵在腰功。

[11] 屈Qu – bent contracted;  屈 Shen – stretch, extend.

[12] 连绵 means continuous, unbroken, uninterrupted

Tai Xing: Tai Bird [13]

The wings spread to ascend the sky and fly upwards and downwards.
展翅升空上下飞,

Two fists strike directly, the steps jump to pursue.
双拳直捣纵步追。

Smooth performance of this fist depends on whole body power (Jin).[14]
拳顺贵在整体劲,

In order to promote the three sections, the tail must stand erect.
三节相催须竖尾。

[13] The Tai bird is an ancient and perhaps extinct bird. Liu Wen Hua tells us that it is a species of the eagle with the ability to erect its tail and wrap its prey with its two wings as it strikes with its claws.

[14] strength, energy, power

Ying Xing: Eagle 鹰形

Wheeling in the air and searching for prey, the eyes are like arrows,
盘旋觅食目似箭,

Claws are like hooks, when diving down to catch animals.
堕落抓物爪如钩。

Essence, Qi, spirit and marvelous force are foremost,
精气神力功居首,

Qi is predominant in training the eagle claw skillfully.
巧练鹰爪气为先。

Xiong Xing: Bear 熊形

Regardless of the hungry eagle flying in circles,
任凭饥鹰盘旋飞,

Erecting the neck to resist and defend displays spirit and might.
竖项御守显神威。

To move the shoulder transversely and smash with the elbow is fatal,
横膀撞肘能致命,

Turn over the back and beat to pursue the wind and catch up with the moon.
追风赶月反背捶。

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Authentic Ba Gua Zhang Distance Learning Program

Sign up for our Free Newsletter

Song Zhi Yong Tu Na Si Ba Videos

Member’s area

Last Tweets

Follow @NYInternalArts on twitter.

ipsum Aliquam consectetur porta. dolor ipsum justo risus. venenatis eget non