Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Well, I talked just a little about bagua (pa kua) yesterday, so I thought I'd give a nod to xingyi (hsing-i) today.

Xingyi is one of the three traditional Chinese Internal martial arts: the other two are bagua (pa kua) and taiji (tai-chi). They are three different interpretations of the principles of "internal energy" in fighting. All three arts are "internal": they all work on the principle of relaxation and breathing. But they take different approaches to interpret those principles.

In general, xingyi is linear: the practitioner moves in roughly straight lines, striking and kicking to attack the opponent's structure. Bagua is generally circular, the practioner moves in a circular pattern, typically around the opponent. Taiji is somewhat of a spiral, where the practioner moves more or less from one point.

These, of course, are generalizations. There are certainly linear bagua sets, just as there are spinning, circling xingyi techniques.

As far as aggression, xingyi is about the attack; taiji is about reaction to an attack; bagua is somewhere in the middle. Bagua has a strong focus on evasion, taiji is about "yielding", xingyi is about crushing.

Traditional wisdom says aikido is based on bagua, karate on xingyi.

Xingyi is based on five motions: splitting, drilling, crushing, pounding, and crossing. These "Five Elements" correspond to the alchemist elements of: metal (splitting), water (drilling), wood (crushing), fire (pounding), and earth (crossing). Here's a video of a xingyi practitioner practicing the Five Elements:

That style looks slightly different than ours, which is not surprising.


The Family Jewels said...

Hey Clumsy Ox! This is totally off of your subject for the day, but I thought I'd invite you and the fam. to Ribfest in Lincoln, NE this weekend. I know how much you like your meat and your grilling and I thought of you when I saw the advertisements today.

I don't know about the xingyi thing, but I have a hard enough time walking upright...maybe it would help with my overall coordination.

Have a great day and no, I will not go to Ribfest and sample anything for you.

clumsy ox said...

tfj, thanks for the invitation! Sadly, NE's a little out of my range for a weekend. And that's REALLY sad, as a ribfest would be awesome, AND I've never been to NE. I've been to MO, KS, CO, and IA, though. See? I need to go and bag NE as a "I been there" state.

The Family Jewels said...

You REALLY aren't missing much by not coming here. Right now the biggest thing is the humidity and the heat index at about 104. There is so much humidity in the air that it is hard to feels like there is not enough air.

Ribfest is an annual tradition, so there is always hope for next year! If we are still in town you can have a free place to stay...hubby would love to have somebody to go with...somebody that appreciates meat. He could also use some grilling lessons...can we say setting the deck on fire and going to eat his steak while I went to get water?

KingJaymz said...

Watching that video made me want to wet my pants. Remind me to never be in a dark alley at the same time as that guy.