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Xing Yi Master Shang Ji on Heng Quan – Crossing Fist (Part 2)

In this excerpt from his book Xing Yi Quan Fighting Skills, Master Shang Ji discusses the attacking and defending methods and the life nourishing (Yang Shen) aspects of Crossing Fist.

Application – Attacking and Defending Methods

Heng Quan has many uses in fighting. Once the hands connect (with the opponent’s hands), there is horizontal Jin. The Xing Boxing Manual says: The hand issues Heng Quan; Heng Quan belongs to Earth and Earth generates all living things. This is similar to a statement in the Xing Yi Quan Nei Gong Jing, which says: Transverse Jin and perpendicular Jin, the changes are divided. Perpendicular uses horizontal and horizontal uses perpendicular.

By now it should be clear that in combat, Heng Quan must be in harmony with the other five fists in order to defeat the enemy. Upon contact with the opponent’s hand, Heng Quan leads and draws the opponent’s attacking force in order to change its direction and orientation achieving “accomplishing a great task with little effort through clever maneuvers.”[1] In order for small Jin to defeat a large force, it is impossible to do without horizontal/transverse Jin (Heng Jin)

When you desire to strike, you must open the opponent’s gate. The foot presses into the middle gate and close (bundle) the body to advance. If the opponent strikes, go straight to the center with Heng Jin. Senior masters of Xing Yi Quan often say: When leading and changing, the body is like a ball, the adversary cannot find a place to apply force; when attacking the Jin is like a rotating screw striking outward, making it difficult for the opponent to move it aside. Using this principle, a single strike achieves victory.

These sentences appropriately sum up the marvelous uses of Heng Jin. Let’s examine two simple examples. First, the opponent attacks our chest with Beng Quan. We use our right hand on the inside to hook his right wrist, while the left arm goes outward transversely to wrap and bind his arm .

Use Heng Jin to lock him up, and then the two arms go forward to send him out as the left foot advances.

Second, when our left hand follows the step to attack the opponent and seal him, our left hand can turn over and hook his wrist downward, returning and rolling up his arm to carry, while our left foot makes an inch step, Twist the Yao, loosen the shoulder, and close the Kua so the right and left arm can use Heng Quan, towards the opponent’s chest, twisting and drilling while advancing to attack (can also drill upward with the left elbow to attack). There are many usages; it is impossible to recount all of them.

Dispelling Illness and Nourishing Life (Yang Sheng) Method

The root of the boxing method is the twisted step, oblique body. Its form is like a bullet. In striking, One Qi gathers and unites. Its Qi goes out from the spleen. The spleen is the digestive system. It function is to transform and transport digested food. This includes assimilating, breaking down and transforming and absorbing nutrients. Moreover it is an important protective screen that guards against the invasion of outside disease agents. Traditional Chinese medicine calls the spleen the Post-Heaven Origin. Martial arts movements can help move and massage the stomach and intestines assisting their digestive functions of absorbing, circulating and draining. When the foot presses down, the big toe knocks the earth so that Qi rises up the spleen channel so the Qi of the San Jiao moves freely and smoothly (The large intestine, small intestine and San Jiao channels are on the backs of the arms). Earth-Center transports and transforms food so that one is healthy and vigorous. If spleen and kidney yang are empty can lead to gastritis, colitis, etc. and there is no obvious treatment. At first when training one often feels the large intestine rumbling and making noise. This is a sign that the intestinal Qi is moving freely. After training for a long time, one’s appetite improves and the body weight can increase. This is because the spleen rules the flesh.

The Five Fists are the fundamental training. Martial arts training prevents disease and nourishes life (Yang Sheng). There are many facets and details of this that cannot be communicated in words. Each of the Five Fists has its specific aspects that benefit health. In general the primary the important thing is to cultivate Qi, with Dantian as the root. Dantian is the basis of the strength of Kidney Qi. When Jing Shen is flourishing the mind intention and brain function is good and spirit and consciousness are perceptive. Lung Qi must be ample, Liver Qi must be strong and fierce. If Spleen Qi is plentiful and full then the body will be strong and healthy. Therefore, training the Five Fists nourishes the five Zang organs, mends the brain and protects Dantian, makes the bones and tendons strong, and the body quick and agile, and the eyes and ears perceptive. Older generations of boxers recite the following poem:

The heart moves like a burning flame,

The four tips have power and spirit,

The liver moves like releasing an arrow,

The spleen moves and masters attacking force,

The kidney moves like lightening,

The Lung moves like a thundering battle array.

The Five Elements (Wu Xing) unite and merge into one.

Act boldly and achieve victory.

[1]四两拨千斤 Si Lang Bo Qian Jin