“Three Points On a Line”: Three Fighting Methods of Xingyiquan

•借法/Jie Fa – Borrowing Method


Movement used to discipline Stillness is the Borrowing Method

Uncle’s Comments: There are multiple types of Jie Fa. The character “借/jie” can mean both “lend”, & “borrow,” depending on the context. An example of Borrowing would be attacking an enemy in order to draw a defensive reaction. It works because the enemy is committed to defending, while your attack is an empty feint. Lending, on the other hand, is more like enticing the enemy into a trap by leaving certain areas (seemingly) vulnerable, or revealing a seeming habit that could be taken advantage of by a keen observer. The exact tactics used depend on the situation & one’s own imagination.

•上法/Shang Fa – Superior Method


Stillness used to wait for Movement is the Superior Method

Uncle’s Comments: The ultimate expression of Martial culture, there are many variations that have been used over the centuries. Xingyiquan’s expression usually takes the form of waiting for the opponent to mentally commit to an action & then quite literally “beat him to the punch,” in an effort to induce psychological dissonance. In general, waiting for an opponent to commit before going forward oneself is one of the classic strategies of Chinese Military Theory that receives much attention & little explanation. It’s one of those things you just have to see in order to learn to recognize.

-However, it is crucial to remember Xingyiquan’s Overall Strategy:

借法容易上法難, 還是上法最為先。

The Borrowing Method is easy & the Superior Method is difficult, however the Superior Method should be first.

Uncle’s Comments: The time needed to learn & master the timing, distance, & relative angles between the two of you makes trading te Superior Method first a priority. Once you’ve caught the timing knack for “waiting in stillness,” then the important points of “punishing with movement” will seem fairly obvious.

•捷取人法/Jie Qu Ren Fa – Obtaining Victory Over People Method


The Method for obtaining victory over others is to carefully take the terrain into consideration. The Fist strike rises like the wind, the hands must be quick, the feet must be light, grasp the pattern to walk around like a moving cat, the Xin must be upright, & the eyes gather essence. When the hands & feet simultaneously arrive in place you will win. If the hands arrive but the feet do not arrive, then striking people cannot be subtle. If the hands arrive & the feet also arrive, then striking people is like pulling up grass.

Uncle’s Comments: Spatial awareness, coordination, timing, & lively movement are essential points for the usage of Xingyiquan’s techniques. The most important of these being the coordination of the hands & feet, both powered by the action of the waist. The challenge is in learning to use the waist to simultaneously control differently times motions. Once that concept is firmly ingrained into the body, then using the techniques will truly be as simple as “pulling up grass.”

13 thoughts on ““Three Points On a Line”: Three Fighting Methods of Xingyiquan

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