Hsing I Chuan or form and mind boxing, is one of the Taoist family of internal systems. The others are Ba Gua Zhang (Pa Kua) and Tai Chi Chuan. Hsing I is often taught with Ba Gua Zhang to compliment it, as Hsing I is linear and direct using explosive powerful movements and Ba Gua (Palm Boxing) is circular and evasive. The internal systems were modeled on principle of Chinese philosophy and medicine, in order to strengthen and harmonize the body, it’s functions and the mind. In this system the Five Elements of potential transformations are balanced and the nervous system is conditioned by the stamping foot movements and Yin and Yang are harmonized. In this system there are five basic body postures and one relatively short form. The so-called animal flavours or styles are built into the form..
The origins of Hsing I are attributed to General Yue Fei of the Song Dynasty(960-1279AD). However there are big gaps in chinese martial arts history and the principals of the art were probably used in earlier systems. It can only be reliably traced to the 19th century and practitioners such as Li Ts’un-i Sun Lu Tang, Wang Shu-chin, Ch’en P’an Ling and others of their time.
It is mainly linear, but contains zig-zag footwork and evasive body movements. The system is designed for direct continuous attack until the opponent is overcome. Blocking and deflective movements are used to attack as they defend. The system works on the centre line principle, attack and defend on the extended centre line, so that the practitioner forms a wedge with his body, sharp end in front. Everything coming into the centre I deflected or neutralized. Steps cover much ground although it may not look like it to the observer, and are single weighted. Much practice must be done to maintain the shape of the movements. The stance is upright and “suspended”, like sitting on a chair. The elbows never touch the chest and the posture is semi-crouched. There are a few low kicks but the emphasis is on rooting in the ground to deliver powerful blows. In this style the front foot stamps the ground to root and provide fast powerful arm and hand movements.