Remarks on the Eight Essentials

1. Internally, the Center must rise.

This refers to lifting the perineum & anus in order to store qi in the dan tian. Without building up the qi here, it is useless to try anything else, as Xing Yi is an internal style.

2. The Three Centers must merge.

This refers to the centers of the crown, palms, & feet being engaged in the internal training of San Ti Shi. Also known as Five Gates Breathing, as the basic idea is the same. When the Three Centers breath with you, you’ve taken a huge step towards “Threading the body into One,” which is a major mechanical & energetic concept in Xing Yi.

3. The Three Intentions must link.

This refers to Xing Yi’s Inner Three Harmonies, which forms the root of power generation. In this context, the Intention’s ability to control & refine the Xin, qi, & strength is emphasized. Again, the Internal Style is obvious, as the body is progressivly subordinated to the mind. Ideally, thought & action become simultaneous.

4. The Five Phases must be smooth.

This refers to the proper practice of the Five Fists. If the Five Fists are not understood & trained properly then nothing else can possibly be correct. The Five Fists are the essential motions of this style, the clearest presentation of the fundamental mechanics. In addition, the Single Training Method of Xing Yi is detailed very well in the most common versions of the five Fists. Everything else is a matter of variation when the Five Fists are well practiced & understood.

5. The Four Tips must be even.

This refers to the tongue, teeth, nails, & hair, which are considered the external manifestations of ones internal condition. The tongue is the tip of the muscle. The Teeth are the tip of the bones. The nails are the tip of the tendons. The hair is the tip of the blood. This is usually confusing to people when they’re just starting to learn Xing Yi’s Internal Methods, but it’s not all that complicated. Essentially, the quality & quantity of qi permeating these Four Tips indicates the level of development attained internally. The Four Tips are a sort of biofeedback type of exercise, in that the focus is on leading the qi from the dan tian to distal points in order to improve sensitivity & articultion.

6. The Heart must be relaxed.

This refers to keeping calm when practicing & fighting. Calm must be the foundation for all practice, in order to advance in an orderly fashion. Losing sight of the big picture during a fight can get you killed, or worse.

7. The Three Tips must match.

This refers to an extremly important concept with many names. The Three Tips are the nose, index finger, & big toe. “Matching,” means keeping them in alignment, also know as Three Points on a Line, & Outer Three Harmonies. When standing, the lead hand & foot are oriented according to the nose, which is short hand for the central line of the body. When the lead hand & foot align with central line, then everything along that line is protected. Crotch, Solar Plexus, Throat, & Nose are all on the central line, & all favored targets of anyone who has ever fought or practiced martial arts.

8. The Eyes must be poisonous.

This refers to the proper spirit. Fighting Spirit, the drive to never give up, is key to winning. Xing Yi’s Spirit is brave, strong, & resolute. When you have a strong & brave Spirit, your eyes will shine brightly. But why is it said the eyes are “poisonous?” Xing Yi’s Strategy is aggressive, & the spirt of a Xing Yi Boxer must reflect that. An enemy should feel uncomfortable when facing you. Your fighting spirit should be strong, reflecting your intention to win quickly & decisively.