Structure of Hsing-i

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    I saw Erich’s post and appreciate his frustration with the forums. I thought I’d try to spark some dialog with a post about how I think Hsing-i organizes the neigung material. I’ve been concentrating on Bruce’s Bagua system for the past few years. I needed a break and spent a few hours last week watching the online videos and thinking about Hsing-i’s structure. Anyway, this is what I came up with. There are some really significant ideas buried in the outline and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is more substance here than any book I’ve seen published on the subject. I’m curious if any of it makes sense in such a compressed format. I apologize if the outline formatting gets lost.

    Feel free to ask questions.

    1) Common elements typically developed in San Ti:
    a) Alignments from the simple and gross level to the more complex and intricate.
    b) Breathing
    i) There are many levels of breathing from simple Taoist breathing to circular breathing to reverse breathing to using to the diaphragms to control the tantiens. Simple Taoist breathing is more than adequate for years and preferable for anyone with even a hint of any emotional, mental, or psychological problems.
    c) Connect the extremities to the spine
    d) Outer dissolving
    e) Connect the extremities to the low tantien
    f) Fuse the lower tantien with the spine
    g) Develop the heart-mind
    h) Inch worm stepping: the ability to project the lower tantien forward and have it deliver whole body power. This movement pattern also develops the pull of the back leg that creates the half step and enables a second strike (double-strike) that shoots down the outside of the leg and cn be used to defeat iron shirt techniques.
    2) The Structure of Hsing Yi:
    a) Use San Ti to accomplish common goals. Note: IMO, you can use any internal art or neigung sets to accomplish these goals. You’ll still need to return to San Ti to fully develop Hsing-I with one exception: Bagua circle walking is really moving San Ti and is superior because of the constant twisting in the legs. Note: It may be superior but it is also more challenging.
    b) Develop the 5 elements
    i) Pi Chuan (Metal)
    (1) Downward Chop
    (2) Open central channel from lower tantien down legs – down!
    (a) Can’t do central channel typically until you’ve gone through the cycle; so, it starts with the side channels at first and emphasizes kwa folds. The lung is affected by pressure going through the arms toward the lower tantien and simultaneously by the gross level side channels running down from the shoulders through the lungs to the kwa.
    (3) Emphasize twist in hand just above the wrist (as well as corresponding twist in the foot). Secondary gates are the “root” of the twist
    (4) Lungs
    (5) Side Channels
    (6) Lower tantien
    (7) Step forward
    (8) Misc Notes
    (a) Name is split. Split has several meanings. Here are a few: 1) you shoot energy down leg. 2) you open both sides, the body is split in half. 3) one hand up, forward while the other goes down and back. The reality is they are doing the same thing in the legs but it looks opposite. 4) each side twists out further adding to the feeling of the body splitting apart. 5) twisting in hand and foot is important to fully get the feeling of splitting 6) after all fists are learned, all of the twists in hand, forearm, upper arm, shoulder add to and enhance split.
    (b) Important to realize how the hands always balance on the central channel at the same place. The hands control the height. This is one of the beginner’s meanings of the side channels but not the ultimate meaning.
    (c) Secondary gates are the “root” of all the twisting. They activate the ligaments, but you can’t do this in the beginning.
    ii) Tsuan Chuan (Water)
    (1) Up
    (2) Central channel from lower tantien to height of kidneys on the spine. Includes all of the channels that Pi Chuan developed. Includes legs so the up would travel up from the legs to lower tantien through the central channel to the height of the kidneys’ connection to the spine.
    (3) Emphasize twist in forearm just below the elbow as well as corresponding twist in the calf just below knee. (More of a personal note and now I utilize all of the gates at the corners of a cube as well as diagonal connections between those gates and any adjacent structures or gates. I think this is really part of Bagua.)
    (4) Kidneys
    (5) Transition movement creates energy movement in a circular pattern around the kidney on the side that has the hand moving/blocking/capturing (coronal circle). I actually think there are two circles. One is small and less obvious. The note refers to the more overt hand. The circles balance each other. They are very gentle to the kidneys. They have to be done so you don’t kill yourself by damaging your vital organs. Duh.
    (6) Step forward covering more ground
    (7) Note: play with fist. When done well, it should enhance/condense the twisting into the forearm where the twisting is emphasized.
    iii) Beng Chuan (Wood)
    (1) Forward and back
    (2) Central channel from lower tantien to height of liver on the spine
    (3) Emphasize twist in upper arm just before shoulder as well as corresponding twist in the upper thigh just below kwa. (Again, more of a personal note and now I utilize all of the gates at the corners of a cube as well as diagonal connections between those gates and any adjacent structures or gates. I think this is really part of Bagua.)
    (4) Liver
    (5) Transition movement creates energy movement in a circular pattern around the liver or spleen depending on the side that has the hand moving/blocking/capturing (primarily a horizontal circle)
    iv) Pao Chuan (Fire)
    (1) Up and down very quickly
    (2) Central channel from lower tantien to height of heart on the spine
    (3) Emphasize twist in shoulder blade (as well as corresponding twist in the kwa)
    (4) Heart
    (5) Transition movement creates energy movement that activates the rotations/twisting in the shoulder blade and opens the heart and central channel of energy that splits at that level . Both sides twist simultaneously when moving/blocking/capturing
    (6) Open the central channel from the lower tantien to kwa
    (7) Open the central channel from the heart to the shoulder’s nest
    (8) Zigzag stepping
    (9) Misc Notes:
    (a) Rotate of pull down is like reversing the motion of the peng arm and the other side matches the rotation. This turns the body.
    (b) The arms extend as you drop down and the pressure moves from the heart down through the legs.
    (c) There seem to be two distinct rotations: 1) one is the more obvious rotation along the axis from the heart to the center of the shoulder’s nest. 2) the second is the wrapping motion from back to front and front to back. Both seem to be controlled by the four gates behind the heart. In Bagua I would be rotating the gates in pairs or as a set. The rotations follow the axis of rotation. The four gates are the “root” of all the twisting. They may spiral out to the four points in the shoulder’s nest and kwa on the diagonals or in pairs.
    v) Heng Chuan (Earth)
    (1) All directions at once
    (2) Central equilibrium (feeling of balance in all directions in the spine and central channel)
    (3) Spleen
    (4) Central channel expands out in all directions or to left and right channels
    (5) Most like a horizontal circle.
    vi) Flows that are developed
    (1) Yin yang meridians
    (2) Left and right channels
    (3) Central channel
    (4) Central equilibrium
    (5) Almost all of Hsing-i appears to be vertical channels.
    vii) Misc Notes
    (1) Hsing Yi doesn’t open above the middle tantien; hence, it isn’t spiritual. It develops the body and mind.
    (2) No use of Yin
    (3) Important to realize how the hands always balance on the central channel at the same place. The hands control the height. Hsing-I comes from the hands.
    (4) You can focus the mind (and lower tantien to a point and then move there in a flash) like Bagua and use emptiness to get there with little or no inertia. This is used to injure someone when you focus inside them and bring all of your “energy” to that point.
    (5) Important to maintain the balanced pressure from both hands/arms to the central channel.
    (6) When hands twist inward to the center line, the “energy” condenses into the central channel and creates tremendous awareness of how everything is connected. This is needed to fully manipulate the body and chi.
    (7) Secondary gates are the “root” of all the twisting
    (8) Progression of spiraling/twisting
    (a) Twist muscles
    (b) Twist deeper into ligaments and tendons
    (c) Twist deeper into secondary gates
    (d) When central equilibrium wakes up, twist using primary gates in the middle of the joints


    Hello James and Ty ,
    Appreciate the feed back ! Good info , the program I like Iam just not
    used to this means of being taught martial arts ! ( I like his random talks about education and stuff … crazy I relate to it ! ) hope he throws us a bone now and again , lol ! It’s to bad there is no one around here teaching this stuff …. he seems to have lots of info attempting to empart, gets me hungery for more ! Plz for give my melancholiac
    attitude lol !
    Thank You
    Erich A. Webb


    Hey guys, fellow video learner here. I’ve been practicing what I’ve learned through Bruce’s books and videos for roughly 2.5 years at this point. Many people have turned their noses up at me when I say that I’ve been learning from videos, but I think that Bruce goes into so much depth about exactly what you should be feeling during the movements and postures that it is possible to make significant progress just from the videos alone if you have determination and put in the practice time.

    That said, I’ve had the opportunity to train with a few Energy Arts instructors over the past few months and was shown some key errors I was making without realizing it. Simple stuff really, that was easily corrected, and made a big difference in my practice.

    I think with learning from videos, while there is a lot you can get right, it is pretty much inevitable that you are going to mess up a few things, either because you can’t tell exactly what you’re doing, or you don’t know exactly what “right” is. Having a teacher put their hands on your body to help you feel the correct alignments can make a big difference. If you are putting a lot of time into this stuff, in my experience, it is well worth the investment.

    Although I haven’t received any Hsing I instruction yet, some of the corrections to my standing alignments are definitely relevant to San Ti and I Chuan practices.

    The first one, and this was probably the most common correction I saw instructors giving to other students as well, was tilting the chin farther downward. I think this one is very common because if you have tension in the back of your neck (which many do) it actually feels awkward and requires a bit of effort to hold this alignment. You eyes get so used to having the chin tilted upward that in the correct position it feels like you head to it tilted downward and you are looking at the ground.

    The second important thing I learned about standing alignments is that you want to feel as little tension as possible in your hips, thighs, knees, legs, and ankles. You want to feel like all you weight is going straight through the lower body into the soles of your feet without hitting anything on the way down. Before I realized this I was just trying to get everything to sink downward, and as long as everything felt stable I wasn’t try to refine the alignments.

    What the instructors showed me is that you can play around with the angle of the pelvis and bend in the knees and the ankles until the alignment really locks in, which makes the sinking work so much better.

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