Xingyiquan sparring

Sifu Tim and Sifu Anton sparring during the Xingyiquan Course at UK Summer Camp 2013

Question 1

There is this book that describes Stages of Xingyi development. The author's interpretation seems not to make much sense.

Your understanding of Chinese classics is very deep. Could you please comment on the following stages referring to Xingyi.

First stage:
Ming Jin (in the hands)
Wai Xi (outside breath)
Yi Gu (change bones)
Lian Jing Hua Qi (transforming jing to qi)
Xiao Zhou Tian (the microcosmic orbit)

Second stage:
An Jin (in the elbows)
Nei Xi (inside breath)
Yi Jin (change tendons)
Lian Qi Hua Shen (turn qi to shen)
Da Zhou Tian (the macrocosmic orbit)

Third stage:
Hua Jin (dissolved force in the body)
Tai Xi (breathing of baby in mothers womb)
Xi Sui (Wash Marrow)
Lian Shen Huan Xu (Return Shen to Xu)
Xing Ming Shuang Xiu

Editorial Note

This question was asked during the Xingyiquan Course at UK Summer Camp from 16th to 20th July 2013. Because there is a long waiting list in the Question-Answer Series, the question and answer are only posted now.

— Sifu Anton, Germany


Today there are many books on internal arts that give wrong or misleading information. This book seems to be one of them.

The information in some books is correct, but the authors do not understand the meaning. They merely repeated or translated what they found in classics.

How does a genuine master know that the information is wrong, or that the authors do not understand the right information he reproduced? The master has direct experience of the right information.

Let us take a simple example. Suppose an author describes the art of walking as follows.

One must carefully learn how to walk. As he places his foot on the ground, make sure that his toes touch the ground first. He must breathe in through his nose when his foot touches the ground, and breathe out through the mouth when his foot leaves the ground.

As we have direct experience of walking, we know that the statement of the author is wrong. We also know from direct experience that even when the second statement may be correct sometimes, it is misleading.

But not many people practice Xingyiquan or understand its development. Hence, many people not only may not know the information is wrong but may also consider it authoritative.

I shall firstly explain what the author says about Xingyiquan development. Please remember that what he says, as reported below, is incorrect.

According to the author there are three stages of development in Xingyiquan. At the first stage internal force is obvious in the hands of practitioners. This is due to external energy, i.e. energy transmitted by another master. This energy can change bones, i.e. make the bones stronger. The training at this stage is transforming substance to energy. It results in the Small Universal energy flow.

At the second stage, the internal force is at the elbows. This is due to internal energy, i.e. energy developed by the practitioner himself. This energy can change tendons, i.e. making the tendons or muscles stronger. The training at this stage is transforming energy to spirit. This results in the Big Universal energy flow.

At the third stage, neutralizing energy is manifested in any part of the body. This means that regardless of how opponents attack a Xingyiquan exponent with various types of force at any parts of his body, he can neutralize the attacks. The breathing method at this stage is “foetus breathing”, i.e. the exponent does not have to breath with his nose and mouth. The training at this stage is returning spirit to the Great Void, which in Western terms means returning to God the Holy Spirit. The cultivation is both physical and spiritual.

Please note again that the above three paragraphs are a translation of what the author says in Chinese, and are incorrect.

Even in just a few days of the Xingyiquan course during the UK Summer Camp of 2013, you can tell from direct experience that the author's information is wrong.

Internal force is not just obvious in the hands but all over the body. Using the expansion mode of the Three-Body Stance, for example, many course participants experienced internal force radiating out of their whole body. In the correspondence mode, some course participants experienced energy linking their corresponding hands and legs as well as being focused at the dan tian.

The energy experienced by the course participants was not external energy transmitted by me, but internal energy generated by themselves. Not only their bones but also their whole being, including their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, are stronger. Their noticeable increase of their energy was not due to the breaking down of their body cells into energy, which is transforming substance to energy, but due to tapping energy from the Cosmos. Yet, except for those who had taken a Small Universe course from me before, the course participants did not have a Small Universal energy flow. Hence, what the author says in the first paragraph is totally wrong!

When course participants exploded force, the internal force came from their shoulders, not from their elbows. Nevertheless, as they progressed, the internal force could be issued from their elbows, and then from their wrists. It was true that it was internal energy, and was developed by the participants themselves. While the energy could make the tendons or muscles stronger, this was not a main purpose of the training.

It was true that the training at this stage involved transforming energy to spirit. The participants were peaceful and happy, besides feeling very powerful. But they did not have a Big Universal energy flow, apart from those who had taken a Small Universe course from me before. Hence the author's second paragraph is misleading.

Our students did not have to progress to an advanced stage to have "hua jing", i.e. being able to neutralize opponents' attacks using different types of force on any part of their body. They could do so even at the elementary stage. Our students were not tired and not panting for breath, and they did not have to be consciously regulating their breathing in and out through their nose and mouth. They did not use "foetus breathing", they used the flow-method.

It was also true that our cultivation was both physical and spiritual, but our students did not return spirit to the Great Void. Their training was to ensure a meaningful and rewarding life here and now. Hence, the author's third paragraph is misleading.

It is not uncommon that some kungfu and chi kung teachers use philosophical terms like "ming jing" (obvious force), "nei xi" (internal breathing) and "tai xi" (foetus breathing) to make their writing appear grandiose, but they do not understand what these terms mean. This author seems like an example.

Question 2

When I am doing stances, namely Santi Stance or Cosmos Stances or Golden Bridge I go into a state of internal relaxation. It's like I open up inside and allow myself to just be. Sometimes different parts of my body start moving and go into chi flow whilst I am in the stance, my legs, my abdomen area, my upper back or my hands start moving quite vigorously.

Mostly this chi flow/movement starts where there is some tension and then the area opens up and there is a soaking up of energy. I then feel really full of chi, like a ball of light expanded beyond my body whilst feeling consolidated all over at the same time. This happens even after very few minutes in the stance and I might not be tired at all but I still end the session because I feel that the energy I accumulated is already enough, sometimes the energy feels almost too much.

Is the above OK, mainly the spontaneous movement during the stances?

— Sifu Claude, Malta


It is not only OK, it is excellent. Congratulations for your very good results.

Past masters talked about the subtle joys of stance training.

You have surpassed this level. It is quite ridiculous that many of our instructors and even senior students have such wonderful results after just a few years. Past masters would have to spend more than 20 years for such results.

You can use the tremendous energy for combat, peak performance or spiritual cultivation. We shall practice these attainments at the Dragon Strength course.


Xingyiquan practitioners discover from direct experience that some of the information mentioned in books is incorrect

Question 3

Is it wise for me to end the session early even though sometimes I wish to stay longer in the stances?


It is wise to end the session earlier than needed. It is always better to under-train than over-train. Even if you under-train by a big margin, you have very good result.

On the other hand, if you wish to continue, you can do so. A good guideline is how you feel. If you feel fine, you can continue further.

Question 4

Is this a situation where we have become so very cost effective that the rules of very long practice sessions used in the past are no longer valid for us and we are getting better, faster results in ridiculously much less time?


Yes, we are ridiculously cost-effective. What masters in the past took years, we take only months. Not any masters could have such results. Such results were available only to great masters who were few and rare.

highest chi kung

The highest chi kung is that which brings good health, vitality and longevity

Question 5

I am wondering if Sifu has any plans in the near future of coming to Australia to do any courses?

Also, I know it is recommended that people attend the Chi Kung Course - I attended one in 2003. I am wondering if I could see Sifu privately for healing. I would be extremely grateful and would be prepared to come to Malaysia.

After attending the chi kung ccurse I let out a lot of pent up negative energy. I said bad things - dishonest things about Sifu of which I am embarrassed and ashamed. For this reason I would understand if I would not be accepted.

Sifu helped me a lot in 2003. I don't think anyone else can. Please help me Sifu.

— Mark, Australia


It is nice to hear from you.

I visit Australia about once in two years.

I am sure practicing our chi kung will help you to overcome your health problems. My consultation fee is 1000 euros per hour. But I don't think it is necessary for you to see me for private consultation. Moreover my time-table is quite pact. It is sufficient if you attend my courses, which are more economical.

If you have any question concerning your health problem, you can ask me during the course, and you need not pay extra for this.

Don't worry about the bad things you said about me. You have been forgiven. It is very important that you must forgive yourself.

Question 6

Sifu, what would you consider to be the highest art in chi kung?

— Sifu Andrew Barnett, Chief Instructor Switzerland


Twenty five years ago in my 40s I would consider the highest chi kung to be Golden Bell or Cosmos Palm. One could attack a Golden Bell master with weapons, yet the master would not be hurt. A Cosmos Palm master could kill or main an opponent by gently tapping on an opponent's body.

Fifteen years ago in my 50s, I would consider the highest chi kung to be One-Finger Shooting Zen. It was One-Finger Shooting Zen that enabled me to attain incredible chi kung abilities like Golden Bell and Cosmos Palm, and to teach students to have mental clarity and internal force within a relatively short time.

Now in my 70s, I would consider the highest chi kung to be chi kung that gives good health, vitality and longevity, such as chi kung techniques like Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon, and chi kung skills like generating energy flow.

Although I am 70 now, I have better health and more vitality than many people half my age. Having passed 60, I can claim to have longevity. What type of chi kung that I practice to enable me to have these wonderful benefits. I practice what I teach, i.e. techniques like Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon, and skills like generating energy flow.

internal force

It is ridiculous but true that the internal force Grandmaster Wong took years to develop, Shaolin Wahnam disciples can now develop in a few months!

Question 7

Who did you first learn Golden Bridge from and how it was taught or explained differently from the way you teach it now.

— Sifu Barry Smale, UK


I first learned Golden Bridge from Sifu Ho Fat Nam.

The way it was taught and explained to me was quite the same as we now teach our students except that it was not as detailed we now do. The technical aspects, like how to sit at the Horse-Riding Stance and how to hold the One-Finger Zen hand form in each hand, were the same, but the philosophical aspects, like why a practitioner must be relaxed and why it can develop tremendous internal force, were not explained.

The result in terms of time taken to experience internal force was also vastly different. It would take me at least a few months to experience internal force from the Golden Bridge training, but our students can experience it on the first day! It is ridiculous but true.

Question 8

Do you have any comments on the importance of it in your training and the effects it had on you?


Golden Bridge was very important in my training. It was one of the methods where i could successfully experience internal force. I supposed it also enhanced my mental clarity, but it was not obvious to me then, possibly because I already had mental clarity before.

I could feel internal force myself, but it was not remarkable when I sparred with my classmates. This was because my classmates already had powerful internal force. Indeed I felt weak when compared to them.

It was when I sparred with other people and they complained of my tremendous internal force that I noticed it. At first I thought they were joking. In fact, as I found that their arms were "light" and not powerful, I did not exert any internal force when sparring. Yet they said I was powerful.



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