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形意說/Xingyi Shuo – Xingyi Theory

形者,形象也。意者,心意也。
What is “Xing?” It is the physical form. What is “Yi?” It is the Xin‘s intention.

人為萬物之靈,能感通諸事之應,是以心在內,而理周乎物,物在外,而理具於心。
Of the Ten Thousand Things, only humans have “Ling,” which is able to feel & communicate with everything, responding naturally. This is by means of the Xin within understanding surrounding objects. Though the objects are external, the ability to understand is in the Xin.

意者,心之所發也 ; 是故心意成於中,而萬事形於外,內外相感,不外一氣之流行。
What is Yi? It is emitted from the Xin; therefore, when both Xin & Yi are fixed internally, & ten thousand affairs take shape externally, the internal & external mutually affecting each other, is nothing but the flowing of the One Qi.

故達磨祖師本之,而創是拳,其旨在養氣,在益力,動作簡而功用無窮,故名之曰〝形意拳“ 也。
Therefore, the ancestral teacher Da Mo used this as the basis & created this style. Its purpose is to nourish Qi while increasing Li. Its movements are simple, but its functions are endless. Therefore, its name is “Xingyiquan.”


Here are two more pieces explaining the meaning of the name “形意/Xingyi”, one from The Art of Xingyi Boxing by Li Jianqiu, the other an original essay by your Kung Fu Uncle.

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

The Significance of the Name “形意/Xingyi”


八字诀/Ba Zi Jue – Eight Word Song

頂扣圓敏,

抱屈垂挺

Ding, Kou, Yuan, Min,
Bao, Qu, Chui, Ting


形意拳八要/Xingyiquan Ba Yao – Xingyiquan’s Eight Essentials

八要者何? 一. 內心要提 ; 二. 三心要并 ; 三. 三意要連 ; 四. 五行要順 ; 五. 四梢要齊 ; 六. 心要暇 ; 七.三尖要對 ; 八. 眼要毒也。

What are the “Eight Essentials?”

1. Internally, the Center must rise.

2. The Three Centers must merge.

3. The Three Intentions must link.

4. The Five Phases must be smooth.

5. The Four Tips must be even.

6. The Xin must be relaxed.

7. The Three Tips must match.

8. The Eyes must be poisonous.


•形意拳踐鑽法/Xingyiquan Jianzuan Fa – Xingyiquan’s Treading Thorough Study Method, or Sixteen Points on the Training Method

Here’s our translation of Xingyiquan’s Treading Thorough Study Method from the Old Xingyiquan Manual. Compare it to our earlier post about Xingyiquan’s 16 Point Practice Method. Enjoy!


•三體勢連法/San Ti Shi Lian Fa – San Ti Shi Training Methods

Check out this collection of training methods on Xingyiquan’s key method: 三體勢/San Ti Shi, the Three Bodies Pattern.