打人如拔草/Da Ren Ru Ba Cao – Hitting People is like Pulling up Grass
Xingyiquan is full of great images to bear in mind while practicing. This particular example refers to the relaxed mindset necessary to respond spontaneously to the situation at hand. Xingyiquan’s status as eldest of the Big Three Internal Styles means that one must always bear “Relaxation” (the crucial, yet mistranslated 鬆/Song) in mind when considering any aspect of its Practice or Application.
The phrase is wide-spread among Xingyi groups, though it seems to be more common among the Hebei Faction. It also appears as the “punchline” of two different set ups. The less common, & in my opinion more valuable, version emphasizes the practical benefit of training an Internal Style. The more common version emphasizes proper training, presenting easy victories as the result of both diligent & intelligent training.
- “打拳如走路。打人如拔草。/Boxing is like taking a walk. Hitting People is like pulling up grass.”
- “手至足也至, 打人如拔草。/When the Hands & Feet arrive together, Hitting People is like pulling up grass.”
And, as my own Xingyi Teacher said, “Train like there’s an enemy, fight like there’s no one there.” The point is, you will never attain the “technique spontaneously born out of a natural response to an attack” quality in your body if you don’t first achieve an equilibrium; a calm, & balanced state of mind as the foundation. Now, go build up your Kung Fu.