Xingyi and Xingyi Spear seminar with Andrea Falk
We have re-introduced the Xingyi curriculum with Andrea Falk’s visits to Guelph.
New students covered Santishi stance and three of the five fundamental strikes: Pi (chop), Drive (beng) and Pao (Cannon).
The Santishi stance
is characterized by a center-line alignment, the stance is back weighted and there is a dynamic tension between the front and back legs. Andrea Falk’s translation, “Di Gouyong on Xingyiquan
” includes a full discussion of the role of stance training for Xingyi. One of the goals of this training is building the Xingyi body structure;
“Standing for a long time sets the body into the correct position. The beginner learns to self-correct and gradually builds correct and unchanging positions. This creates a solid foundation for learning future movements and skills, and the body will naturally hit the correct positions when moving into stances.”
The Pi (Chop), like all of the fundamental techniques requires a centre-line alignment and application of full body power. It is a downward strike; the standard Pi is done with the palm. It requires the movements be continuous and connected - especially the timing of footwork and hands.
The Beng (Drive) is a direct forward strike. While the hands alternate between left and right, the feet don’t change - one leg (back leg) always pushing off. The timing of the strike can be either front timed (hitting as the front leg lands) or back timed (hitting as the back leg lands). Front timed Beng is faster, but the back timed Beng can generate more force.
The Pao (Cannon) practice involves zig-zag footwork, and combines simultaneous blocking and striking. ”Di Gouyong on Xingyiquan”describes Pao this way,
“Gunpowder exploding in a cannon launches the cannonball instantaneously towards the enemy. Then the cannonball explodes with unstoppable destructive ferocity. The Cannon technique imitates this explosive ferocity. The technique enters fiercely, nothing can stop it and nothing can block it.”
Returning students practiced the two-person routine, An Shan Pao. This routine builds on both the five strikes and the twelve animal techniques. Practicing it helps to refine power and alignment of the various techniques as well as teaching timing and correct distance. It is also fiendishly difficult.
Xingyi Spear Seminar
Following the Xingyi, Chinese Spear (Qiang) was taught. The spear is often called the King of weapons, in part because of its versatility and also because of the skill required to use it proficiently. Xingyiquan is based off of spear stance and structure, making Xingyi spear ideal for grasping this weapon’s fundamentals.
Like the bear hand techniques, each of the five train different types of attack. It is worth mentioning that these are different from staff techniques, because the spear is an edged weapon. The power needs to be sent to the spear tip, and speed and accuracy are important to bear in mind.
The Xingyi Spear Linking Routine
was also covered. This routine combines the five key techniques with offensive and defensive footwork. It also teaches how to link techniques and how to vary the timing of movements.
(Note on the video links: students can contact me for the password. The linking routine was filmed in a small room, which explains why the Pi/chop was done stepping backwards and why I was always looking up to avoid spearing the lights. The lack of finesse, I can’t blame on the room…)
Andrea Falk’s next visit to Guelph will be June, 2013.