形意玄義/Xingyi Xuan Yi – The Profound Meaning of “Xingyi”

•Here’s the other text I used as reference for my piece on the Meaning of “Xingyi.” Broaden your understanding to deepen your Kung Fu!•

by 李劍秋 – Li Jianqiu, excerpted from 形意拳術/Xingyi Quanshu – The Art Of Xingyi Boxing


The “形/Xing – Shape,” is the physical form. The form is what other people are able to see. The “意/Yi – Intent,” is in the will. Yi is not Xing, for there is no one who can see it. Yi is the master of the hands’ shape. The shape cannot move on its own. Whatever the shape or movement, the intent causes it. With the exception of the heart & lungs, which move endlessly without intent & end, continually moving. Thus the heart & lungs are not really voluntary, as is accepted by the world’s physiologists. The movement of all shapes is located in the muscles. If the muscles are strong, but the Yi isn’t sharp & agile, then although the Li is great it will be slow moving. If the muscles are already strong & robust, & the Yi is also sharp & agile, this is very good although not yet best. Suppose you are suddenly ordered to meet a powerful enemy. If you are hurried, it is usually very difficult to be in a normal state & respond using mysterious hands. It is just like when having an unlearned child first try their hand skills, they’re rarely able to cause the Xin & Hands to Mutually Correspond. Certainly, for one who has practiced Xingyiquan for a long time then it’s not a bother. The modern new educators each do their utmost to promote arts & crafts. The essential of arts & crafts is in the mutual correspondence of the Xin & Hands, that’s all. In that case, for one who has proficiency in Xingyi’s Art, using it to practice arts & crafts is sure to result in comparatively easier practice. From this point of view, to limit Xingyi’s Function to only Strengthening the Body & Self Defense is quite restricted. If you amass Qi in the chest, then you’ll gasp before long. If you amass Qi in the lower abdomen, then breathing will be unhindered for a long time. Gradually accumulating & gradually filling, this Qi will then be vast, & the Yi is able to easily lead it. If during boxing you lead it to the fist it is no less then using the whole body’s Li. When you use it & gather it in a single point in the fist its potential is awesome. When you casually find yourself feeling unwell, then lead Qi to the area of illness. Blood will arrive & concentrate, including white blood in turn. It is definitely able to kill a microorganism & remove its illness. Moreover, the Qi is strong & direct, the Jing is bright, strong, & stern, & the expression is clear & bright. Mengzi’s saying “How could he deceive ME?”, can certainly be taken in this way. Only then can one receive heavy responsibilities for society & for oneself, & plan matters all without regrets. This only cites the general idea, whether you can look & understand it rests on improving your comprehension.


4 thoughts on “形意玄義/Xingyi Xuan Yi – The Profound Meaning of “Xingyi”

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  3. You really make it seem really easy with your presentation however I
    find this matter to be really something that I believe I might never understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and very vast for me. I’m looking ahead in your next post, I will try to get the cling of it!


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