XING YI QUAN
Xing Yi Quan is powerful and effective martial art with origins tracing back to the last days of the Ming Dynasty (around 1644). The art was developed by Ji Long Feng (aka. Ji Ji Ke) who had been a solider in the armies of the Ming Dynasty but found himself without an occupation when the Manchurian Qing Dynasty took control of China.
Ji is said to have wandered widely, developing his martial skills, the legend has it that at Zongnan Mountain, near to present day Xian, he inherited the tradition of the famous Song Dynasty General Yue Fei. Whether this story is true or not is a matter of opinion but Ji still went on to develop what was to become today's martial art of Xing Yi Quan.
He first taught Ma Xue Li in Henan Province who would go on to call the art Xin Yi Liu He Quan (Spirit, Intention, Six Harmonies Boxing) this art was preserved especially in the Muslim communities of Henan and later would expand out to other areas such as Shanghai.
The Dai Family of Shanxi Province were taught martial arts either by a former government official named Cao Ji Wu who may have studied under Ji Long Feng, or from students of Ma Xue Li. The Dai Family mixed the Xin Yi Lui He with their own martial art (thought to be some kind of Mantis boxing) and other practices which may have come from a local man skilled in martial arts, calligraphy and painting named Yu Shan. The Dai Family developed their own interpretation of the art and called it Dai Family Xin Yi Quan.
In the early 1800s a man named Li Neng Ran (aka. Li Luo Neng) came to Shanxi province and discovered the martial arts of the Dai Family. He went on to learn Xin Yi from the Dai Family and he further developed it, taking it with him on his travels to Hebei Province. At that time, the terms Xin and Xing were used interchangeably, but over time the name Xing Yi Quan (Shape/Character Intention Boxing) came to be used for those that derived their martial arts from Li Neng Ran both in Shanxi province and Hebei, and then later further afield.
Xing Yi in all its forms has a reputation for being a direct and powerful martial art which can be used practically. It historically was associated with weapons and especially with the use of the Da Qiang (Big Spear), which lends itself to strong and forceful offensive techniques. Through the 1800s, Xing Yi became an art sought out by those in Northern China wanting to make their name as martial artists, prize fighters, bodyguards, armed escorts for caravans, local militia men (called Braves) and at times by rebels and bandits. Many of the famous names of Xing Yi were employed as Biaoju - armed caravan escorts - and earned their reputations for protecting valuable goods across Northern China and beyond.
Today, Xing Yi still retains it's practical aspect and this is something that Xing Yi Academy is proud to preserve, with principles, applications, weapon work and sparring forming the majority of our practice rather than performing flowery forms.