Xing Yi Quan – The Art of Advancing – Part 1 The Opening Form

Xing Yi Quan: The Opening

"We do not rise to the expectations of our sport, we sink to the fundamentals of our training." quoted Willie Mays.

Willie Mays was one Baseball’s greatest natural talents and the hardest training player of his day.

When asked why he was the first to come and the last to leave practice every day, Willie said "Baseball is a simple sport. There are only throwing, catching, hitting and running. The rest is practice."

Fourteen years of practicing Xing Yi has proven this principle for me.

The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven.

No hidden dragons or couching tigers. No jumping from tree top to tree top. Although our Bagua teacher Dave said he would be my most dedicated student if I ever did. Gravity and I have an agreement… I won’t try it and it won’t hurt me!

He’s safe for now. No empty force throwing people across the room. Just the fundamentals of Xingyiquan.

These fundamentals create a direct one-to-one relationship with our ability to fight when needed. Our Forms are our Qigong. They are the "fossil record" of the skills and knowledge of the Boxers of our lineage. They physically change our body, strengthen our core/structure and temper our mind. These changes only come about by repetition.

The Art of Advancing is a series of Xing Yi articles designed to introduce you to the forms, structure and fundamentals of Xing Yi.

The Opening and Closing Form: Part 1

We have one form that opens every class and precedes each of our forms; and another that closes each form and concludes every class.

The Opening Form starts with the 無 極 势 (Wú Jí Shì / Mou4 Gik6 Sai3) — known as the "Wu Ji" or "Wu Chi" posture. Wu Chi is just like Tadasana — the Mountain Pose of Yoga — or just standing upright. It is designed for players to start from a neutral or empty position. There is much written about the Wu Chi posture in Tai Chi.

Jou Tsung Hwa’s book The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan offers one of the best descriptions available. For a personal experience of this aspect, check out Sifu Kiessling’s Tai Chi classes.

Wu Chi is our place for centering and calming the mind. It is the action of Stillness. It is of particular importance when practicing at the end of the day or after work. Standing quietly for a few minutes allows you to silence the noise and chatter of the day.

Standing upright teaches how to align our posture. The head, neck, back and tailbone are all in a straight line. It provides us with direct feedback on our progress. We can use these few moments to readjust our alignment and correct our structure. Building a strong, rooted structure is how we develop power in our beloved martial art: Xing Yi. The Opening Form also holds another important aspect for Xing Yi training… Respect.

The Opening Form is dedicated to all the Xing Yi boxers who came before us. Before each and every form we pay homage to the teachers of Our Lineage, and other boxers who helped develop Xing Yi into the art it is today. By showing our respect, we create a direct connection to the Chinese Boxers of the past and the "fossil record" within our forms. Many, if not most, martial arts schools have a Shrine honoring the teachers of their lineage. Think of the Opening Form as an Inner Shrine for acknowledging our heritage.

The Opening and Closing Form: Part 2

In Part 2 we will introduce the Opening movements of Relaxing, Coiling, Closing, Storing and Relaxing, Unwinding, Opening and Releasing.

Xing Yi is a simple art. There are only striking, kicking, grabbing and throwing. The rest is practice.


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4 replies
  1. Craig says:

    Wow – GREAT Post!
    You hit on some great lil tidbits in there that many people don’t talk about; love the bit about Respect. Thanks for sharing.
    Can’t wait to

  2. Oracle3927 says:

    Would the equivalent of wuji stance for BSL be mabu? Would/Should it be treated as a meditative, calming standing practice?

    Thanks for the Wille Mays analogy Alllen!


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