Make your own free website on What is Yiquan? Wang Xiangzhai (1885-1963) did not even have a name for his style when he first started teaching it. It was difficult to classify his system of teaching since it included as its essence Zhan Zhuang (Standing Mediation) and other qigong exercises, martial arts training, and an emphasis of spiritual enlightenment. He was not teaching a pai (branch or sect) but rather "a principle that can be applied to daily life." This openness allowed students of many different schools to train with him. Studying a "no-name, no-lineage" style mitigated fears of betraying loyalties to particular clans, families, or other qigong or martial arts schools. Yiquan, "Mind-Intent Boxing," stressing the primacy of awareness and volition, known in Chinese as the yi . "If you use your mind correctly, you are using real strength. Awareness is power." It was while teaching martial arts to Army cadets in Shanghai in the early 1920s that Wang had a key insight into the nature of human potential, and turned his attention once again to the realm of health. Wang realized most students paid too much attention to specific postures and patterns of movement, but neglected training their minds and spirits. Their movements may have been swift and powerful, he observed, but their movement were nonetheless "empty," and not as effective as they could be. Moreover, such physical training devoid of mental and spiritual training, Wang felt, created imbalances that could lead to illness and injury, if not psychosis. It was only the mind, consciousness if you will, trained and refined and focused, that could fill the emptiness Wang saw in his students' movements, and correct the imbalances. Wang thus set out to eliminate from his Gongfu (Kung Fu) anything that wasn't essential, that might interfere with his natural ability to respond naturally to whatever life might throw his way, be it aggression, disease, injury. The result of that process of synthesis and refinement was Yiquan. It became known as the "style of no style," a nicely ambiguous description that captures some of the quirky Daoist worldview that lies beneath the practice. He was teaching Zhan Zhuang and martial arts exercises in the parks. Through Zhan Zhuang, students could improve their health, be cured of debilitating diseases (as Wang himself had recovered from asthma), and develop the self-awareness, rootedness, and integrated power necessary for martial arts skill. Naturally, students who wished to perfect the martial arts had to apply their qigong to full-speed sparring. "The goal of Yi Quan," Wang Xiangzhai, Han Xingyuan, and Fong Ha have stated, "is to concentrate the spirit and stabilize the mind. Find the natural, inborn abilities. Action originates in inaction and stillness is the mother of movement. Avail yourself of the force of the universe, and bring your instinctive ability into full play." Here is a verse written by Wang Xiangzhai himselft to help guide those who are studying this internal art: Integrated with spirit and mind, With plain truth easy to understand, It is both interesting and enlightening. It has no method yet every method, for in boxing all methods are of no avail. With profound knowledge it helps you to mold your temperment, Cultivating you in faithfulness, sense of justice, benevolence and bravery. Propelled by natural strength, you are as strong as a dragon. Inhaling and exhaling naturally and quietly, You perceive the mechanism of all movements. Be neither too familiar nor too distant towards others, Show them courtesy, modesty, and respect. Avail your self of the force of the universe, And bring your instinctive ability into full play. Stand at the center holding the key, Act according to circumstances without trace. Eyes seeing nothing and ears hearing only your breathing sound, You train your mind and regulate your nervous system. In motion you are like the angry tiger, In quietness you are like the hibernating dragon. Your expression is as awesome as that of a leopard, Your strength is as powerful as that of a rhino. Preserving the heavenly wisdom and maintaining the state of meditation, You are ready to act in response to all possible situations. Yiquan and the Nature of Energy - The Fine Art of Doing Nothing and Achieving Everything by Fong Ha and The Way of Qigong by Kenneth S. Cohen and Dachengquan by Wang Xuanjie) Yi Chuan goes directly to the central elements; to the development of energy and structural construction; and to the formation of a good relationship between the "earth" (gravity), the "sky" (space), and the "human" (our balanced structure). Updated January 24, 2000 Yi Chuan is a much more direct method and gets to the heart of fighting ability by stressing the appropriate utilization of space and gravity through a balanced body structure. The attention is not on movements or techniques, which are of secondary importance, but rather, on their essence in terms of rooting, internal energy ("chi") development, centering, balancing, and expressing explosive power. Yi Chuan goes directly to the central elements; to the development of energy and structural construction; and to the formation of a good relationship between the "earth" (gravity), the "sky" (space), and the "human" (our balanced structure). Combining and balancing the three elements of "sky," "earth," and "human" will result in a good martial art, good health, good balance, and good mental attitude. In the end, Yi Chuan is a liberated and revolutionary system and is based on the belief that everyone already possesses what it takes to succeed in any venture. Knowledge and understanding take precedence over size or brute force. The sooner that students let go of their opinions and preconceptions, the quicker they will empower themselves. YI CHUAN TRAINING METHODS There are seven basic categories of Yi Chuan training. "Standing." Called "Jom Jong" in Cantonese, this is a method for constructing a physical framework by molding your body in certain formations and is a chi kung in itself. "Sensing Strength." This utilizes imagery, pressure from the air, and gravity through one’s structure to create a sensation of magnetic force. "Footwork." Although Yi Chuan does not have any prearranged forms, it does utilize footwork patterns for delivering the framework and strength in all directions. "Push Hands." This serves as a tool for sensing strength between two people to improve one’s balance and sensitivity. "Explosion Strength." This utilizes the preceding four categories concentrated into the shortest amount of time and distance. "Sensing Sound." Certain sounds and tones are used to enhance linkages and togetherness in the body. "Actual Fighting." This is learning to use Yi Chuan as a martial art without any prearranged conditions.