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Tai Chi Chuan Yi Quan Chi Gong


Yi Quan (or once known as Dachengquan) is an art created or made public by Mr. Wang Xiangzahi who was a disciple of the great Teacher Mr. Go Yushin, the leading Master Hsing Yi in the 19th century in China.

What follows is Mr. Wang’s explanation of Yi Quan, its methods of practice, stages, system, of what he taught people and what he stood for. I advise everybody to do their own research of his life, training, experience – on the Internet, on the official site of Yi Quan Academy in Beijing, in China, or …

To begin with, this is a poem he wrote explaining the essence of this art:

Inwardly alert, open, calm.
Outwardly upright, extended, filled with spirit.
This is the foundation of stillness.
Add the hard and the soft, the powerful and the relaxed,
Motion and stillness, contraction and extension:
In the instant these converge, there is power.

Mr. Wang Xiangzhai

“…Thus when we study boxing, we should first know what we study it for. When we know that, we can surely gain something. Most people study boxing mainly for health, and then secondly for self-defence. Good health is the basis of all the human activities, so the ways of health preservation and protecting one’s body really cannot be neglected…

First I shall talk about the stages in the stude of boxing. As I said before, health preservation and self-defence are inseparable from each other, if one is lost, then abuses are created and one will enter the wrong path. First of all, one should train and foster the spirit, the temperament, and the natural instincts, and only after that start talking about bringing the fine instinctive strength of the nerves, the limbs, and the trunk into play. The first step in studying boxing is exercising the nerves as the basic training method, and intuitively perceiving the peristalsis of the whole body. The second step is training the trial of strength (shili) and the trial of voice (shisheng). The third step is selfdefence…

…one must start the training from the pile standing (zhanzhuang) method. Arrange the posture of the whole body properly, keep the body upright, have no thoughts, strengthen the nerves in stillness, adjust the breath, warm up and nourish the muscles, let every cell activate naturally. The strength comes from the inside and reaches the outside smoothly in the whole body. Thus, one does not train the bones and the muscles, yet they get trained by themselves, one does not nourish the nerves but they get nourished by themselves, one should especially experience and observe their barely perceptible movement and activity. When one has done it for long enough time, one will know that standing brings many inexhaustible wonders. One who wants to achieve wonders in his boxing skills, should first dedicate his time to pile standing…

…after having the basic training in boxing, one’s natural instincts have been strengthened. In applying them one must take strict precautions against the predominance of human desire, or else the misapplication of the illusory will arise…

…The way of applying the natural instincts can be suited to personal needs, but first, one must understand the moving state of strength, only then can one continue to the second phase. Trial of strength is the most important thing in learning the basis of boxing skills, with trial of strength one gains strength. The strength is gained and realised by trying it, and one will realise how to use the strength too…

…First one must make the strength equal all over the body, the muscles agile, and the bones supporting the frame of the body, so that the muscles can contract, stretch, relax, and tense in harmony…” – Mr. Wang Xiangzhai

And that’s only the beginning. Then comes the self-defence, combat moving exercises, pushing-hands (or as the old wise who transferred this art through generations called it – listening to strength), also the teaching on overcoming of the unilateral strength, on the unbreakable mind, the spirit that cannot be dispersed, the balance …

Or as Mr. Wang summed it up: “To sum up, what cannot lead to comfort, happiness, and gaining strength does not deserve to be called boxing.”

Guo YunShen, Master of Xingyiquan

Metal means the strength contained in the bones and the muscles, the mind being firm like iron or stone, being able to cut gold and steel.

Wood has the meaning of the bending but rooted posture of a tree.

Water means force like the waves of the vast sea, lively like a dragon or a snake, when used, it is able to pervade everything.

Fire means strength being like gunpowder, fists being like bullets shot out, having the strength to burn the opponent’s body by the first touch.

Earth means exerting strength heavy, deep, solid, and perfectly round, the qi being strong, having the force of oneness with heaven and earth.

This is the syncretism of the five elements.

It has nothing to do with one technique overcoming another technique as the modern people claim. If one first sees with the eyes, then thinks of it again in the mind, and then launches the counter-attack towards the enemy, it is very seldom that one will not get beaten up. 


These are citations from the book Zhan Zhuang by Mr. Wang Xiangzai: The main goal of mind activity is focusing spirit, stabilizing and tranquilizing mind. So mind activity is a process of curbing disturbing thoughts, […] it is entering the state of tranquillity. The principle of mind activity is that the imagined objects and situations induce feeling of lightness, relax, comfort, bringing pleasant, happy mood, so you are avoiding tension and worry.

1. Relaxation
One method is the natural feeling of relax, by using method of as smile, but not smile, as if urinating but not urinating – the degree of the state of body relaxation. In another method you relax your body conscientiously – head, torso, hips, legs, and toes... Those who find this difficult can use even simpler method of gradual relaxation. Start with the head, then back, then one arm, then the other, then waist, buttocks, one leg, other leg, joint by joint until the top of the toes and then start again with your face. First eyes, then nose, mouth (you can keep it open in order to relax the face muscles), neck, breasts, heart, all internal organs and genitals, then legs, front side, until the top of the toes.

2. Listening to a distant sound
Usually you start from listening to a close sound, gradually more and more distant, a very slight sound from very distant source. You shouldn’t be impatient. You shouldn’t listen firmly to some sound, but rather to slight sounds from various distances in unlimited space.

3. Bath in a stream
Imagine that you are lying in water, temperature of which makes you feel comfortable. Whole body is surrounded by water. Water is flowing in direction from head toward feet.

4. Shower
Imagine that you are taking shower. Temperature of water gives you comfortable feeling. Water is flowing on surface of your body, from head to feet. Listen to the sound of water flowing and water drops falling on the floor.

5. Half of body in water
Imagine that lower part of body is in water. Its temperature gives you comfort. Experience this feeling.

6. Standing in water
Imagine that you are standing in water. Its temperature gives you comfortable feeling. Water is lightly hitting your body from different sides and your body is naturally following the movement of water.

7. Rooting
Imagine that you are as if a thousand years old tree, standing stable, as if roots of the tree were reaching deep underground. Hurricane will not move you.

8. Wading in mud
Imagine that you are walking, your feet moving through mud. Its temperature gives you comfortable feeling. Mud is giving resistance to your movement and you are walking very slowly.

9. Stepping on cotton

Imagine that your feet are resting on a soft layer of cotton - wool. Once and again slightly shift weight to the left and to the right.

10. Leaning against something
Imagine that you are resting, when your back, buttocks, legs are leaning against something soft and comfortable. Body is light and relaxed, without any effort.

11. Suspension
Imagine that some of your hair is tied to a tree branch. Keep the hair slightly stretched but don’t let it break. Whole spirit is focused on top of your head.

12. Propping
Imagine that your both arms are resting on a balustrade or on balloons filled with air and floating on surface of water.

13. Returning sight and watching inside
You can use this method when it is difficult to get rid of disturbing thoughts. Observe your whole body, checking if you are keeping the feeling of lightness, relax and comfort everywhere. If you notice that some part of body is not relaxed, without feeling of comfort, consciously relax it. This way your spirit, mind are directed toward inside of body. When you repeat continuously this experiencing of relax and comfort in whole body, there is no need to fight with disturbing thoughts, and they disappear naturally.

14. Following what is happening
When there appear many disturbing thoughts and it is difficult to get rid of them, just follow it naturally. Don’t fight with the thoughts which are coming, don’t stop those which are leaving. Think of yourself as a vast sea, and of thoughts as of waves. Although wind creates waves, it doesn’t disturb the sea. When wind is ceasing, waves disappear. This way, without trying to control thoughts you are controlling them.

15. Attracting
If it is difficult to control thoughts, you can use method of attracting. Imagine that you are a furnace and thoughts are dry leaves. Strong thoughts are leaves which are falling into furnace and are burning. This way mind becomes open, strong, bad thoughts disappear naturally.

16. Concentrating and dispersing
When practitioner achieves some basics and is able to experience comfortable feeling of relax during exercise, he can sometimes concentrate this feeling in some part of body and then again expand it to whole body. This concentrating and expanding can be repeated many times. This way not only the whole is trained, but it has positive effects to the part which needs healing.

17. Calm watching
Imagine that you are standing, sitting or lying in a beautiful place and you are feeling comfortably. You are calmly watching blue see, bright moon or other beautiful view. You are achieving pleasant mood and gradually entering the state of forgetting yourself.

18. Unity of man and nature
Imagine that you are standing, sitting or lying in a beautiful place, feeling comfortably. You can feel that the air is embracing your body. Gradually you can feel that body and air are one. You feel extremely comfortably, as if floating in the air, entering the state of forgetting yourself.


On preparations for exercise – practitioners have to be mentally ready for exercise, for standing positions, before the beginning of the training. They should be lightly dressed, belts, ties, shirts should be loosened, and the temperature should be comfortable – outfit in accordance with the season.

Practice should be gradual. There shouldn’t be haste, and there shouldn’t be hesitating.

Time of practice should be adjusted according to patient’s situation. Usually people in relatively good condition can start from 10 minutes. If condition is worse, patient can start from 5 minutes. Then time of practice should be prolonged. It can be prolonged gradually (e.g. from 5 to 6-7 minutes), or by longer steps (e.g. from 10 to 20 minutes). Patient can practice 2-3 times every day, not more than 5 times. Time of single exercise and frequency of practice should be decided by checking if the feeling of comfortable force and interest don’t disappear. Practice shouldn’t cause too much burden. The principle is no tiredness. Only this way feeling of comfort in whole body, free blood circulation, cultivating spirit and strengthening body can be achieved.

During exercise there can appear feeling of pain, numbness, increased secretion of saliva, yawning, hiccup, fear, pricing or itching, prickling, feeling of warmth, increased sweating and other feelings and reactions. Sometimes feeling of aching, pricking or itching appears in area of old injuries. These are normal reactions. After some time they disappear. Finally state of great relax and comfort is achieved, as if not having body, but yet having clear consciousness of body. It is followed by improving health and curing illnesses.

Those patients, who practiced methods including control of breath and focusing on dantian, should reject those methods when starting zhan zhuang practice. Because there are contradictions between these methods, it is not advisable to use them simultaneously. Otherwise, not only it will be difficult to achieve good effects, but there can also appear difficult breathing, dizziness and other side effects.

Patient should have trust in the method, practicing diligently, developing belief in possibility of acting, the spirit of revolutionary optimism. At the same time he should obey doctor’s instruction, not stopping practice, not giving up. This way he will be able to achieve positive results.

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