October 13, 2014
Normally, Tiger (most Xingyi people limit themselves to Upper Tiger alone, though there are over five variations of Xingyi Tiger strike) is done as a kind of double-palm Pi Quan, which often devolves into a macho, muscle-powered shove. That’s natural because there is something about Tiger (maybe the tough guy image of the animal itself?) that brings out a lot of over-aggression. Maybe part of that roughness is a misreading of Guo Yunshen, who apparently trained this technique hard under tough prison conditions when his wrist shackles allowed him little other freedom of movement.
But Tiger is a pure energy workout exactly like everything else in Xingyi. Well, not exactly like – it’s actually one of the very best if done correctly. If you’re not careful though, Tiger will devolve into a type of physical road-rage or barroom shove even more easily than all the rest of Xingyi.
I have said (in my book Animal Strike Power: Advanced Xingyi Energetics) that every animal style has two sub-phases: Load and Fire. For Tiger, these are further articulated. Here there are three energetic phases: the Load phase is broken down into Clawback and Setup, and the Fire phrase is a kind of Shoot where you extend your claws as you strike.
SHOOT: The Shoot and the subsequent Clawback are the two primary gestures of the Upper Tiger and they are not independent. The Upper Tiger strike is a total release of all tension and energy in an "extension" gesture, the release of outgoing, free shooting energy from the hands and fingers blasting out, like a tiger suddenly extending his claws. The Shoot must be absolutely free, dynamic, and relaxed. Although your arms are moving forward, the energy of the shoot is happening from wrist to fingers. It’s like shaking water off your hands or flicking water onto somebody. It’s not a rough, heavy palm bash as most practitioners make it out to be. Or at least it better not be that, if you ever want to feel the real Xingyi energy. Rather than thinking of the Tiger attacking with the full weight and physical power of his forelegs, shoulders, and body, think of him just suddenly shooting out his claws alone, fully and sharply. That will help your mind.
The quality of the Shoot will affect the quality of the immediately subsequent Clawback, which is actually the key energy dynamic of Upper Tiger – more so than the strike itself. The more your Shoot was fully extended, fully relaxed, and sharply flicking, and the more it was rooted in the wrist, the more sharply you can instantly re-engage the energy with the following Clawback, as described below. Try to feel the mutually complementary nature, of the alternating Shoot and Clawback, back and forth, as a pure energy deployment.
In the Tiger technique, people love to focus on the main “hit” gesture. But look at the traditional sequence: it begins with the Clawback (from Santishi). That’s a clue that, energetically speaking, the real key and goal of the technique is actually the Clawback, more so than the strike itself.
Master Guo Yunshen said the following about the Load phase in general, and it certainly applies to the Clawback of Tiger:
Both hands retract with power, as though pulling something in toward you. This is internal compressive power, not muscle. It’s as though you are pulling in a wire thread from a spool with both hands powerfully drawing inward, from front to rear.
The Clawback is a re-gripping of the energy. You focus with serious mental intent on creating a perfect clawing gesture which ends with soft fists - but incorporates no tension in hands, arms, shoulders. As you begin the Clawback, you mind and energy to the first knuckle of each finger. You begin the Clawback from the fingertips. Shoot your ‘claws’ fully, but then immediately catch the energy and flow it backwards again. Include your thumb in the curling Clawback motion. The trick here is to mentally create that perfect Clawback hand shape yet with no excess physical tension.
You need the feeling of a tiger, having sunk his claws into something, trying to both grip his claws in deeper, and also simultaneously drag the prey back towards himself. These big prey animals, at least tiger, are not really trying to “hit” their prey like the GnP (Ground and Pound) of a UFC fighter. They aren’t punching the prey away. Rather, they are trying to drag the prey in, toward themselves.
If you do that, eventually you’ll notice that at the instant you engage those first finger joints to begin the Clawback motion, your energy immediately and very palpably “compresses” or “engages” all along your forearm, between those first finger joints and your elbows. It’s a very specific and amazing feeling. Your whole CAU region will instantly light up at the moment you re-engage your fingers into the Clawback immediately following the Shoot phase.
Later on, you will work on spatial extension of that instant of engagement. By that I mean getting it beyond the CAU/elbow zone. At first it will be limited to the CAU area. Then, you feel exactly that same energetic lock-in from fingertips to lower abdomen – immediately, just as you initiate the Clawback. Then still later on, especially if you begin with thin-soled slippers on a hard floor, you’ll feel exactly that same energetic engagement from fingertips to sole of your rear foot, as described below.
In other words, whether it’s based at the elbow, the dantian, or the rear foot, in that first instant of Clawback the entire body of energy is somehow firmed and locked. Locked doesn’t mean tense. It’s a feeling of instantaneous absolute engagement and connection between feet and fingertips, just as you begin the Clawback.
The intensity of this amazing phenomenon is dependent on two things:
(i) Degree of relaxation in the immediately preceding Shoot gesture
(ii) The degree to which you have initiated the Clawback strictly with the first joints of the fingertips, without any unnecessary physical tension.
At first, it’s easiest to feel the Clawback energy engagement from your fingertips (the beginning of the claw shape as described above) and the elbow. This is the cestus region described in RXE, where I referred to it as CAU (Cestus Accumulator Unit). So when beginning to train the Clawback, you need to concentrate on the span between the first joint of the fingers and the elbow. The energy will blast through every component of this unit (fingers, palms, back of hands, wrists, forearms and elbow), instantly, as you initiate the Clawback. This is an incredible sensation when you first begin to feel it.
The next step in understanding the Clawback is to take it further down. It begins with the same outer extension point (the first curl of the first fingers joints) but the docking point on the other side eventually becomes your rear foot (the power leg of the strike you just completed).
This is an even more amazing thing to feel. You will feel the energy surging backwards (from the Clawback fingers) straight through your thighs, the quadriceps. Do not be misled into interpreting this as a physical phenomenon. Just because I mentioned an anatomical term (quadriceps) don’t go getting all physically excited again. There’s always that temptation, but this is a purely energetic thing. You’ll know it when you first feel it. You’re more likely to get the claw-to-foot connection at first if you practice Tiger in flat, thin-soled Kung Fu type cloth slippers, on a firm flat surface (not grass, sand, or carpet). Later it won’t matter what you wear or where you practice.
Of all the Animals, it’s probably easiest to learn to feel and control the energy of the ‘Load’ phase by working with Upper Tiger. This Animal is also the most straightforward for understanding the absolute reality of the energetic (as opposed to physical) interpretation and experience of the Load phase in general, for all the Animals.
SETUP: The Setup is everything that happens between the Clawback described above and the next upcoming Shoot. That includes finishing the full Clawback gesture, forming soft fists near the waist, turning the waist while raising the soft fists, and beginning to step forward with both fists rising with palms turning forward to get ready for the next Shoot. In this phase, the important thing is just to feel the fully engaged energy between feet and fists that was snapped into place by the Clawback you just initiated. Keep the fists soft and yet well formed, and keep a constant distance between your wrists throughout the Clawback, lowering, waist turn, and raising of hands. It’s in this Setup dynamic that it may help you to keep in mind the image of Guo Yunshen with shackled wrists, forcing him to keep that invariant distance of separation between the forearms
In the Clawback, we have the goal of extending the space of energetic engagement – first the short span from fingers (the ‘claws’) down to elbows, then from fingers down to dantian, then from fingers down to the power foot. In this Setup phase, we try to extend the energetic engagement in time. When you first begin to experience the energetic Clawback engagement described above, it may be just a brief instant. Then as you fully draw back your arms into fists and begin the turn, you may lose the engagement, and revert to ordinary physical motion again.
But over time, you will figure out how to sustain the energetic engagement longer and longer, further and further into the Setup. You will feel that you can ‘hold the charge’ in your relaxed fists, arms and even whole body while you conduct the mechanics of preparing for the next Shoot. Being able to maintain the engagement and the charge all the way through the Setup prep, all the way through to the next strike, will make your Shoots fantastically more intense. And that in turn intensifies the subsequent next Clawback that immediately follows the Shoot. So it all feeds on itself. Feels great too.
There's a minor but possibly useful physical/structural consideration for getting the fullest possible charge of electric jolt, at max 明勁 amperage in the Beng Quan strike of Xingyiquan. Maybe this will turn you on further to the move and you'll begin to understand why my teacher constantly emphasized this strike as the bedrock of the entire art.
One small but useful thing:
Center your nose invariantly frontward at all times.
Through all phases of the strike, launching into the next strike, completion of the next strike - all the way down the line. Imagine there's a straight line chalked right under your feet running perfectly centered straight forward between your feet into the distance. The pointing of your nose will never deviate from that line.
This might seem very obvious and easy, and it certainly isn't hard to do at all, once your attention is drawn to it. And many people will do this naturally, from prior training or just good instinct. But, just in case you've developed any wayward habits, check yourself next time you run a line of beng quan.
Of course you'll feel your body, your torso and waist, twisting back and forth over the line with every setup/punch repetition. That hip and waist torquing is a key part of the move. The important thing is, don't let your head (as indexed by your nose) go with that. Keep your neck relaxed so that your body/torso can do its turning and counterturning for the strike's setup and execution, but have the feeling that your body is rotating on its own, 'underneath' your head which stays invariantly nose straight ahead no matter how your body rotates - especially make sure your nose is straight forward oriented to the frontward line at the finish of the punch.
If you've been letting your head follow the body turns at any point through the entire sequence - don't do that. Later it won't matter. Be water. But I've always said that for beginners, a few basic structural/mechanical points are necessary, both in Xingyi and Tai Chi. This is one of those.
Seems very simple but for some people it could make a big difference in massively amping their internal power harvest from a line or three of beng quan, followed by Quiet Standing to check yourself, as always.
I think every regular here knows that I trained Yiquan for a relatively short but intensive period, under the master generally recognized as the head of the Wang Xiangzhai lineage, or at least a major claimant to the title (if there were any such title which really there isn't). Anyway I have a reasonable training background in all aspects of the art.
I say 'all' without too much irony because YCG himself told me that he had trained me in the entire curriculum in two layers: "beginning" cycle (once through the entire curriculum in "beginner" mode, which despite the name is really intense; then again through the same entire curriculum in "intermediate" mode. This took a total of several months of working 8 to 10 hours every day, 7 days a week, except Sunday was 4 hours in the park while the other 6 days were up to 10+ hours at the Zong Xun school. YCG told me that the "advanced" level would be yet a third time through again that same curriculum, same set of poses, techniques, practices, visualizations and images and ideas etc. but just with additional complexity.By the way, I'd like to point out that all this instruction was given 100% using Mandarin Chinese. I also frequently interpreted for master Yao both Chinese/English and Chinese/Japanese, for other foreign visitors.
So even though I am in a sense the merest beginner in Yiquan, yet at the same time I think I have a reasonable overview and working knowledge of it. If you don't think the above background qualifies me to have any opinion whatsoever about Yiquan, then do me the courtesy to fuck off my blog right now as there's nothing here today for an expert such as yourself.
My comments today also apply to all the derivatives and ripoffs of legitimate Yiquan. It seems that a huge number of systems and teachers theses days are appropriating Yiquan ideas and exercises without any crediting, talking about imagining expansion and contraction in various poses all of which is clearly ripped from Yiquan but often they don't just come out and say Hey people if you want the authentic shit just go learn real Yiquan. A lot of famous systems of Tai Chi from the mainland have done this. I feel many semi-internal systems being promoted these days are rather weasely and snakish in this respect but I won't name names.
A lot of people who want to be all 'anatomical' and 'structural' and 'mechanical' and 'physiological' about internal power (because they haven't felt the real shit yet) but who secretly look nervously over their shoulders wondering if there mightn't be something to all that hocus pocus after all? Those types love to rip from Yiquan cause you can cover your internal bets (just in case all that energy malarkey turns out to be real after all) while maintaining the veneer of a kind of pseudo scientific vocabulary.
Anyway, the key point for today lies in that word above: semi-internal. What do I mean by it and how does the shirt drill relate to all this and what's this all about?
The first thing you need to understand is that Yiquan has no sense of actual internal power as I've defined it. WXZ, the founder, who was an absolute towering genius and innovator in the field of true internal martial arts, totally understood the real internal. Not the slightest doubt of that, He trained under Guo Yunshen so after all, it could hardly be otherwise. And his earliest writings reflect his true mastery of the real internal. However the plot sickened when a bunch of mind-control gangsters took over China. During those darkest days for sheer survival many great teachers had to back down from their tremendous accomplishments to conform to the mafia-esque material sensibilities of their new lords and masters. In WXZ's case, that meant a total reformulation of the conceptual basis of his art, leading all the way to the present day ridiculous muddle.
In the present crazy muddle, YQ people must tiptoe around the 800-lb elephant, blathering about nerves and fascia and muscles and tendons and activation of ... something. The closest they come of the original true insight of their founder is occasional reference to the (to them) mysterious concept of hunyuanli, but since they are not allowed to use the real and clear vocabulary of original internal energy even this, their highest ideal, is something of a blur.
But all that said, the practice method, since it was created by a legitimate historical martial arts genius and propagated by a present-day kickass fight master (YCG) is solid gold. But I'm going to say it again now: NOT FOR BEGINNERS.
How can I say that? It's for two reasons:
1. The above-described deliberate conceptual confusion and unclarity, about the internal powers, imposed from the outside, is very confusing and delaying to students' development.
2. The actual drills as most people actually learn and practice them are not at all conducive to the pure focus on mindful relaxation that is absolutely essential to begin to feel the powers. All the extremely elaborate mental scaffolding that goes along with the poses just exacerbates this problem, ratcheting up the inherent tension even more.
So Yiquan beginners find themselves struggling against a needlessly complex drill system that if not actually tensing them up at least does nothing to relax them down, while having to tiptoe around the obvious elephant in the room - the real and actually fairly straightforward experience of the internal power. Later, when you've begun to really first feel, then control, then understand, and finally (the hardest thing) deploy the internal energies, then you could return to Yiquan and you'd find it to be quite the treasure chest of brilliant training ideas.
Anyway the shirt drill I presented the other day on my vid has no connection to Yiquan and as far as I know (unless the guys were doing something secret at midnight or in the back room) has no overt counterpart in the actual present-day Yiquan syllabus.
However, though this is pure speculation, I can say that it must have emerged from some primordial version of the same historical stew that produced present-day official Yiquan, because it has some of the same characteristics, in terms of micro-movements. So why not just forget this shirt thing and either do the shirt drill in the air like Yiquan, without any shirt, or, perhaps even better, go to Beijing and just learn "real" Yiquan at the source?
Well, firstly, I would never discourage anybody from doing anything they want to do, most especially any form of learning. This isn't a cult, people! Anybody who's interested in Yiquan should absolutely go for it. You'll have the most amazing wild fun ride with master YCG and it'll just be a blast.
But I'm not here today to make friends or be your travel agent I'm here to do my job as a martial arts author and instructor. So here's why the shirt drill is superior to Yiquan for beginners.
Main thing is, the shirt drill will give you huge and direct energy harvest. The key point is that this drill will bring you to awareness of your physical tension and teach you to manage it in a real-world context. Key point: the shirt is real. It's just that simple, that's what makes this drill better than it's Yiquan counterpart drills. It's a real object so you can calibrate exactly what kind of tension you are using 'against' it, and learn to manage that tension. This is so important I can't emphasize it enough.
Of course, Yiquan also uses some 'real' implements for training (at the somewhat more advanced levels) such as long staff and boxing heavy bag most especially. But while that's good on the face of it, of course things like that have to be approached combatively with a fight mindset, which you might think is just the ticket for a martial art but in fact it leads us right back around to the same issue: beginner tension. It only ratchets that up further.
Well, so far I've been all negative about the other guys, while not telling you something positive to do... wait yes I have: do the shirt drill. Do it until you feel, actually and palpably NOT as 'visualization' or 'imagination' but just as real as a 7.0 Richter quake, the soft wave surge all the way from its start at the sole of your strong foot, rippling through your torso, into your hands and yes - into the shirt itself as you lift/hold it. Believe me you will know, this isn't fantasy. When you can do that consistently every time, change that surge to a continuous state of energetic engagement.
So simple! All you need is one pink shirt and that very minimal concept of energy deployment. You won't need any imaginary strings and bands and springs and rocks and diamonds and ...
Of course finally when you can later translate that shirt drill insight laterally over into Lo/Zheng Tai Chi (which I admit is something of an alien organ transplant, but as I said I'm not here to make friends or run for office, I'm here to nudge us closer to the real shit, since we've wasted enough time as it is) well then you're really cooking.
I didn't mention Tai Chi at all in the recent shirt vid, because it comes from the Xingyi side of the house:
But if you do happen to know Lo/ZMQ37 form, then by all means, do 20 reps/side of the shirt thing, then do your Tai Chi form and you'll really feel what I mean by torso packing. Relax your shoulder. Then, in any pose of the Tai Chi form you can radiate the huge slabs of old ox power that are throbbing through your legs, waist, and torso straight out your arms to your hands.
If you don't know the Lo/ZMQ37, then use any or all of the 7 poses introduced in my book PENG Root Power Rising.
Take it for a road test, it's fun.
Listen up, People! Today I'm honored to present a guest post from Aaron Thompson, a police officer/LEO, state of North Carolina. This is an excellent counter-point to my constant denial of the combative utility of Xingyiquan as a martial inventory of actual mechanics, techniques, etc.
Can I check you guys for wires now? I'm going to say something highly incriminating: I'm actually more in agreement with his points below than I let on. ONE reason (not the only one) that I constantly downplay the combative aspect of Xingyi is that I don't want to field constant low-level little challenges and 'what would you do if I were to X you' type of stuff. I've done plenty of that in general, in my MA career but I really wanted to move the emphasis off that and give myself a break. So while I don't back down from my assertions, I'm very pleased to have this defense of that aspect of Xingyi, far more thoroughly and emphatically argued than I ever could do.
So anyway, it's a rare occasion, snowflake's holiday in hell when I invite any guest poster to this NUTSO Tabby Cat forum... he actually deserves a higher-end venue and better LZ for this high quality work. Anyway revel in it and enjoy.
Re-Consideration of Combative Xingyiquan
Aaron Thompson (private email to firstname.lastname@example.org, reprinted with permission)
I'm a cop in North Carolina and had the good fortune of studying with Mr. R.W. Smith briefly. I also have a M.A. in philosophy but don't let that deceive you into thinking I'm any kind of book smart. Let me first say I'm a big fan of your writing. Juice was recommended to me by a tai chi chuan senior who I hold in high regard (a senior student of Mr. Liu Hsi-Heng). In fact, one estimable tai chi chuan old-timer (a student of Prof. Cheng's NYC days), even suggested to me that you are a savant of the internal. I have also found your writing on Sagawa, and now Hsing-I, most interesting too. Your work has been quite intriguing.
As a student of Mr. Smith, I learned to be critical of what I read about Chinese boxing. To quote him, “I'm as biased as a scream from a dentist's chair,” when it comes to discussions of nei chia. I have been reading your recent posts and article on hsing-i chuan with much interest, and find myself (for what it's worth) agreeing with just about everything you've written. Thank you by the way, for sharing freely with us nei chia junkies.
Early on (April 1, 2014) in your discussion of hsing-i chuan on your blog , you made the following points:
“Under more realistic conditions of street self-defense, and also sport fighting, where a strong, experienced adversary is free to move aggressively, the limitations of Xingyiquan technique, when viewed from a purely mechanical viewpoint, become obvious....
Q: Is Xingyiquan, as a technique inventory, useful for street or sport fighting? A: The answer is a flat no....from a combative standpoint, the physics of Xingyiquan are little more than theatrical display.”
On the efficacy of hsing-i as a fighting art, Mr. Smith's considered opinion differed radically from yours, and I'd like to point out why. Now before the obligatory YAWN, please don't think I'm writing to tell you I have all my eggs in one basket of hsing-i combative brilliance, because I'm not. I just want to correct what seems to me to be a mischaracterization of the art as I know it and as Mr. Smith taught it, using historical evidence and documentation available. I do recognize that you suggest in your writing that hsing-i has some combative efficacy when it is used properly for energy cultivation. I'm totally open to that. I also want to suggest though, that in contrast to your stated opinion, hsing-i on a more mundane mechanical-physical level, when practiced in accord with its stated principles, is in fact an exceptionally effective method of self-defense. Why, you might ask, should I even care about doing so? Well if only to stand up for the art as I know Mr. Smith would have, and as he did in his writings over the years.
The problem with most presentations of hsing-i are that the proponents do not adhere to the prescribed principles of the art. On the surface it seems no different than any other standup art such as Shaolin, karate, or taekowndo. It’s deceptively simple, but functionally profound. Just watching most adherents, you can see that they lean over, do not sink their weight, are stiff and not relaxed, fail to follow-step with vigor (due to not understanding the purpose of the step as a counter-grappling measure), do not cross-substantiate (failing to understand double-weighted-ness and power generation), and do not understand that it is supposed to be a standing grappling art emphasizing grabbing, rooting, yielding, softness, listening, and kuzushi. These principles are outlined in the interview of Mr. Smith and in his two books on Hsing-I Chuan cited below. As a matter of fact, as Mr. Smith taught it, hsing-i specifically addresses, through all those aforementioned principles, the very issue you mention: of how to engage a moving, countering, actively resisting target. Failure to root and grab and yield results in what Mr. Smith called “spot-punching” which is the generally unrecognized problem in most “traditional” martial arts – because they only train with passive resistance – of having to find your target, stay safe, and remain in a position of power before you can hit it.
So here are seven considerations as to why we shouldn’t doubt the efficacy of Hsing-I Chuan (sources are listed at end):
1. Its exponents won the no-holds barred full-contact tournaments popular in Republican China. They were so effective, in fact, that the first national tournament was stopped due to injuries and the Hsing I boxer was voted the winner by his peers (Draeger & Smith, 29).
2. Hsing-I greats such as Sun Lu-Tang and Wang Hsiang-Chai had documented bouts with high ranking judoka in which they were recorded as defeating them with ease. (Miller, et al. 29-30,46; Diepersloot 71-2; Cartmell 4). Additionally, Wang Hsiang-Chai defeated the European featherweight Western boxing champion in a bout in Shanghai (Diepersloot 70, confirmed by Mr. Smith).
3. Exponents Hung I-Hsiang and Wang Shu-Chin were recognized by their peers in both Taiwan and Japan as being fearsome fighters and among the best of the Chinese boxers (Nicol 47-9; Smith-CB 6, 72; Smith-MM, 88, 171-2, 184-5; Wells). Hung was awarded 9thdan by the Butokukaikan (Smith-MM 166-9).
4. Mr. R.W. Smith explained the mechanics of Hsing-I function in an interview in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts (Mason 44-46). This highly esteemed scholar of Asian fighting arts, former Western boxing coach, judo 3rd dan (from the old-school Kodokan), and U.S. Marine, even went on to say that in addition to a judoka or wrestler, he would recommend a hsing-i boxer as a good companion in the proverbial dark alley (43,46).
5. Bob Yu, former student of Hung I-Hsiang, also documented the mechanics and some history of learning in Hung’s school in Taiwan. Full contact sparring was the norm in that school as conveyed by himself and Mr. Smith (Yu-"HY"). Mr. Yu furthermore documents how he understands the large overlap of hsing-i and Western boxing (Yu-"AB").
6. Mr. R.W. Smith’s senior student, Mr. Bart Ingram, took hsing-i into the boxing ring as an experiment and won fifteen straight amateur bouts. While Mr. Ingram is an exceptional athlete and had some coaching in Western boxing from Mr. Smith also, he used hsing-i concepts and technique in the ring. Mr. Ingram has also skirmished successfully with accomplished judo competitors, and used his art in his former occupation as a law enforcement SWAT officer (Smith-MM 257 and personal conversations).
7. Sun Lu-Tang and Huang Bo-Nien were both recruited to teach the Nationalist military in China (Kennedy 232-6). Huang's hsing-i book documents the perceived efficacy of the art by the Chinese military of the time for both empty hands and weapons uses (Rovere xvii-xxxi; although, the form and function displayed by Mr. Rovere are severely lacking in his additions to the translation of and commentary on that book).
For what it's worth, I've found hsing-i to be of value in my occupation as a police officer. While I haven't had to “blitzkrieg” anyone as you describe, the spontaneous adherance to the principles of the art have saved my behind more than once. Additionally, informal and friendly comparisons of power and speed on the heavybag and pads with adherents of Western boxing, taekwondo, and wingchun have never let me down. I would also argue that while many of the same principles advocated by hsing-i in the historical literature of the art seem to have been advocated in other traditional fighting arts piecemeal and have arguably been increasingly neglected in the proliferation of Asian fighting arts in the recent past, at the same time, one can see these principles and functions occasionally rediscovered in the crucible of MMA and in “reality” combatives styles.
So I implore you to throw a bone to hsing-i hounds everywhere and post a corrigenda on your blog. I believe it is mistaken to say that hsing-i chuan is ineffective or only equally effective as other Asian fighting arts. In fact, there is good reason to believe that hsing-i chuan ranks among the most effective of traditional fighting arts, and should even be considered to be among the ranks of contemporary sporting combatives in its efficacy. I'm not asking you to say hsing-i chuan is the greatest kick-ass martial art of all time, but just to give it it's rightful place in the pantheon of martial dances and fighting sports. Nei chia has taken enough of a hit as it is in its current devolution.
You've certainly reinvigorated tai chi chuan practice for myself and others that I know, including the highly regarded tai chi exponents mentioned above, so I can't wait to learn what more you will graciously share on hsing-i. In the meantime, let's be true to history and the conveyed experiences of our esteemed predecessors in budo and Chinese boxing. I welcome any corrigenda, and thank you again for posting your discoveries!
Aaron Thompson, Brevard, N.C.
Cartmell, Tim, “Martial Arts Revolutionary: Wang Xiang Zhai, Part I.” Wu Gong Journal of Chinese Martial Arts, Vol.3, No.14, March-April 1998. Clearwater, FL.
Diepersloot, Jan, The Tao of YiQuan: The Method of Awareness in the Martial Arts. 1999. Center for Healing and the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA.
Draeger, Donn F. & Smith, Robert W., Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. 1969/1980. Kodansha International. NY.
Kennedy, Brian & Guo, Elizabeth, Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey. 2005. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA.
Mason, Russ, “Fifty Years in the Fighting Arts: An Interview with Robert W. Smith.” Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2001. Via Media Publishing Co., Erie, PA.
Miller, Dan; Liu, Albert, & Sun, Lu Tang, Xing Yi Quan Xue: The Study of Form-Mind Boxing. 1993. Unique Publications, Orange, CA.
Nicol, C.W., Moving Zen: Karate as a Way to Gentleness. 1975/1982. Quill/Morrow. NY.
Rovere, Dennis & Chow, Hon Huen, The Xingyi Quan of the Chinese Army: Huang Bo Nien's Xingyi Fist and Weapon Instruction. 2008. Blue Snake Books, Berkeley, CA.
Smith, Robert W., Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods. 1974/1990. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA.
Smith, Robert W., Hsing-I: Chinese Mind-Body Boxing. 1974/2003. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA.
Smith, Robert W., Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century. 1999. Via Media Publishing Co., Erie, PA.
Smith, Robert W. & Pittman, Allen, Hsing-I: Chinese Internal Boxing. 1989. Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., Rutland, VT.
Wells, Marnix, “Ba Gua Lineages: Wang Shu Jin or Chen Pan Ling?” n.d. http://apittman.com/blog/east/ba-gua/articles/ba-gua-lineages.
Yu, Robert Lin-yi, “American Boxing and Chinese Xingyi: A Comparison.” Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol.10, No.3, 2001. Via Media Publishing Co., Erie, PA.
Yu, Robert Lin-yi, “Hong Yixiang and Five Fists Xingyi Boxing in Old Taipei.” Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol.11, No.3, 2002. Via Media Publishing Co., Erie, PA.