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Xingyiquan: 10 Questions to Sifu

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  • #76
    Dear Tim,

    Thanks for sharing the awesome experience of Chuo Jiao!

    With Shaolin Salute,
    Lee Wei Joo


    • #77
      Thanks Lee Wei Joo Siheng , although it was a very poor post. I had a few drinks, and pretty much explained everything very much in a confusing way.

      When I said that a big difference between Chuo Jiao Kungfu and Xingyiquan would be Chuo Jiao one root and Xingyiquan both legs, that is a very poor explanation.
      Off course you have to stand strong and rooted on both legs also in Chuo Jiao. There is alot of bow arrow for example.

      What I tried to explain was that in Chuo Jiao, the starting stance, is like a "warrior pose" like stance, and the front leg is a false leg. Following that stance, you can use the back foot as pivot and turn, very easily interchanging attacking in a frontal way, and changing into a backwards way (with your back to the opponent).
      Attacking with low kicks with your back to the opponent, would look like a big disadvantage, but you can actually very easily turn the body in an ever changing flow, and actually use this to your advantage. I guess from my limited experience, this is a great style against multiple opponents.

      I posted a series of videos here:, in part two of those videos, at the start of the video, the girl in pink shows what I mean with "warrior pose" stance (standing with the chest forward right before she does her sequence).
      Although it's still a bit different then how I experience it. I believe this starting stance holds the "spirit" of this style (I could be wrong off course). In this pose you can turn into any direction, and attack, and this stance differentiates yin yang as well, making you solid and spreading the internal force to the arms, body, everywhere.

      My thoughts about why Chuo Jiao wasn't used by the great Yue Fei, don't really make much sense, as Chuo Jiao actually has been used in warfare for centuries in China.

      Best regards,


      • #78
        Great Thread

        Once again a great Q&A thread. Amazing wealth of information.
        Thank you Sigung and Sisook Mark!!



        • #79
          Bonus Question

          Dear Family Members,
          Sifu has kindly answered one more questions and it is a great one. This one points at why a "simple" art has great depth and why many people miss that depth.

          Sifu touches on his on enlightment in studying this art. If Sifu who is a brilliant martial art discovers this even at his level of development. Then to me personally it is a reason to spend as much time with Sifu as he has already done the work that puts me much further down the path

          I will be posting this in three sections


          Question 11 on Xingyiquan:

          “It is not because the generals did not know a lot of combat techniques that they practiced Xingyiquan, it was precisely because they knew a lot of combat techniques that they could use Xingyiquan, with its few techniques, effectively.” Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.

          To get the most benefit from training the depth of Xingyiquan, how much spread should a student first have in another art with more techniques (such as Eagle Claw)? If a beginner was to start with Xingyiquan, and have no knowledge of many techniques, would that student find him/herself limited? Who would be in a better position to train the depth of Xingyiquan - a student with a lot of experience (in other arts) with an average Sifu? or a fresh beginner student with no other experience but with a very good Sifu?

          -Sifu Matt Fenton


          Xingyiquan is marvelous. It is profundity in simplicity. But one could only appreciate its simplicity when he is already profound.

          My own experience would be a good example. Initially I found Xinguyiquan inadequate for combat. I thought Xingyiquan would be effective if an opponent used simple attacks, like what is found in modern day sparring and fighting such as straight-forward punches and kicks.

          I thought, wrongly, that if an opponent used sophisticated attacks, like the Shaolin 72 chin-na techniques, a Xingyiquan exponent would have much difficulty. He would have to defend on his tremendous internal force to counter sophisticated attacks. These ideas occurred to me at a time when I was already quite accomplished, when I could defeat other martial artists, including masters, quite comfortably.

          It was only recently (about 2012) when I prepared to teach Xingyiquan and researched deeply into the art that I had my Xingyiquan “enlightenment”, that I suddenly realized Xingyiquan was effective against any attack, including very sophisticated ones.

          Without false modesty, it is not unreasonable to believe that if I could not see the profundity of Xingyiquan at a time when I was already quite accomplished in martial art, not many people, including Xingyiquan masters today, would also be unable to see its profundity.

          Their inability to see the profundity of Xingyiquan is not because they have not practiced Xingyiquan deeply, but because, I believe, this profundity was lost during its transmission, and modern masters did not have the wide understanding of kungfu philosophy to recover it. After all, most kungfu practitioners today, including masters, could not use their kungfu techniques for simple combat, they had to resort to kick-boxing, what more it is to use simple techniques to counter sophisticated attacks.

          On hindsight I realize that I already had the wide understanding of kungfu philosophy before, but still did not know the profundity of Xingyiquan because I did not address myself to that question. It was on one fine day when I thought of how to apply Xingyiquan in modern day free sparring competitions that I had a glimpse of its profundity.

          This glimpse was a vintage point that opened up to the profundity of Xingyiquan against any attack, including sophisticated ones. It also led me to answer a question I had been thinking in the past, i.e. why did Xingyiquan use the footwork the way it did, which was quite different from other kungfu styles. I discovered that Xingyiquan footwork excellently complimented its profound but simple-looking combat techniques.

          With this background, we can better appreciate the answers to the questions below.
          Sifu Mark Appleford



          • #80
            Dear Sihing,

            Thank you for mediating this; I am already very much anticipating the rest of the answer!

            Dear Sifu,

            Thank you for the further understandings, and for coming to the U.K. to teach this landmark course!

            Sifu Andy Cusick

            Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
            Shaolin Qigong


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            "a trained mind brings health and happiness"
            - ancient wisdom


            • #81
              Bonuse Question Part 2

              I personally love the part about the Shoulder


              Part 2

              1. To get the most benefit from training the depth of Xingyiquan, how much spread should a student first have in another art with more techniques (such as Eagle Claw)?
              2. If a beginner was to start with Xingyiquan, and had no knowledge of many techniques, would that student find him/herself limited?
              3. Who would be in a better position to train the depth of Xingyiquan - a student with a lot of experience (in other arts) with an average sifu or a fresh beginner student with no other experience but with a very good sifu?

              If the student has an excellent teacher who understands the depth of Xingyiquan and is willing to teach it, the student needs not have any spread in another art to benefit from the profundity of Xingyiquan. He just follows the teaching of the teacher. The important point here is that the teacher himself must have the profundity as well as the teaching skills to impart the profundity.

              If the student has spread, provided that he already has basic skills, he will benefit more than if he had no spread. The wider the spread, i.e. the more techniques and skills from other styles he knows, the better will be his understanding and performance of Xingyiquan in its profundity. If the student does not have basic skills, like good stances, exploding force, fluidity of movement, his spread would be detrimental.

              For example, in Xingyiquan the internal force in a strike comes from the shoulder, whereas in most other styles it comes from the dan tian. If he has not learned other styles, a Xingyiquan student can still explode force from his shoulder if his teacher has the methods to teach him.

              If the student has also learned from other styles how to explode force from his dan tian , not only he will learn a new method of exploding force from his shoulders, but also his earlier training will enhance his new learning.

              Here the teacher must be competent, he has to ensure that the student’s earlier training does not interfere with the new learning, but enhances it. The student must follow the instructions respectfully. If he tries to be smarter than his teacher, and explode force from his dan tian instead of from his shoulders, he may have more force initially but eventually the two methods may contradict each other.

              A fresh beginner without any prior experience of martial art will not be limited when he learns Xingyiquan from a good teacher. In fact, when learning Xingyiquan, generally it is better for students to have no martial art experience than have experience. This is because of two reasons.

              Xingyiquan is quite different from many other styles of kungfu and other martial arts. Their previous experience is more likely to interfere with rather than help their new Xingyiquan learning.

              Secondly, good teachers are rare. Many kungfu teachers are not even mediocre. They teach forms for demonstration and kick-boxing for combat instead of genuine kungfu. Such teachers will not have the knowledge and skills to enable their students not be distracted by their previous experience

              This situation does not occur in our school. Our instructors are well trained. Even when fresh beginners learn Xingyiquan from our instructors, the students would not find themselves limited.
              Sifu Mark Appleford



              • #82
                The Third and Final Part before we go and experience the reality

                Dear Family Members,
                We are now really close the Summer Camp, were a lucky few will get to experience Sifu's understanding and skill first hard. Here we go beyond knowledge and into knowing and skill :

                Please enjoy this last part

                A fresh beginner with no experience but with a very good teacher will be in a better position to train the depth of Xingyiquan than another student with a lot of experience in other arts but with an average teacher.

                In kungfu training, especially in a profound art like Xingyiquan, a good teacher is generally more important than a good student or a good art. This is mainly because the teacher is the most influential factor in determining what and how a student trains.

                Even in a straight-forward external art like Wing Choon, a good teacher will ensure that his students do not sustain injuries in their training, and be able to use Wing Choon for combat. A bad teacher may cause his students a lot of injuries in random free sparring, and use kick-boxing instead of Wing Choon techniques in fighting.

                Even when a student may have experience in other arts, his Wing Choon trainin will be determined by his Wing Choon teacher, and not by what he has learned elsewhere. In a profound art like Xingyiquan, a good teacher is even more important.

                In comparing arts, a student will generally get more benefits learning a low-level art from a good teacher, than learning a high-level art from a bad teacher. Xingyiquan is of a higher level than Eagle Claw. The former was for generals, the latter for ordinary soldiers. Actually Eagle Claw is a high level art, but compared to Xingyiquan it is of a lower level.

                If a student learns Eagle Claw from a good teacher, the student will be health and have vitality, and be able to use Eagle Claw for combat. If he learns Xingyiquan from a bad teacher, he may hurt himself insidiously in his training, and use kick-boxing to fight like children.

                Let us now compare Eagle Claw with Boxing. Eagle Claw is a high level art, and Boxing is low level. Many Boxers may disagree.

                If a student learns Boxing from a good teacher, the student will be able to use Boxing for combat. He may still be hurt in his training, and in Boxing the injuries are usually left unattended to. But at least the good teacher will teach him how to avoid being hit.

                If he learns Eagle Claw from a bad teacher, the student will be unable to use Eagle Claw for combat. He may use kick-boxing randomly in free sparring, and sustain a lot of injuries in his generous exchanges of blows with his sparring partners. The bad teacher will not teach him how to avoid being hit. If he did, he would not be a bad teacher.

                The best, of course, is when the three components – the art, the teacher and the students – are good. Such an excellent combination occurred when Xingyiquan was taught by Yue Fei to the generals – a great art, a great teacher and very good students.

                We in Shaolin Wahnam can do even better! The generals learned Xingyiquan for only one purpose – to strike down opponents effectively. Besides combat efficiency we can also have good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys from our Xingyiquan practice. We are so used to these benefits that sometimes we forget that these benefits are not attainable by most other martial artists.
                Sifu Mark Appleford



                • #83
                  Yue Fei

                  Dear all,

                  I would like to share some pictures shot by my student Nicolas during his visit at the Westlake "Xihu" at Hangshou.

                  Enjoy and have a wonderful Xingyiquan course!

                  Best regards,

                  Attached Files
                  "From formless to form, from form to formless"

                  26.08.17-28.08.17: Qi Gong Festival with 6 courses in Bern:
                  Qiflow-Triple Stretch Method-12 Sinewmetamorphisis-Bone Marrow Cleansing-Zen Mind in Qi Gong



                  • #84
                    Dear Family!

                    I am happy to share another Question on Xingyiquan to Sigung along with the answer

                    Dear Sigung,

                    There is this book that describes Stages of Xingyi development. The author's interpretation seems not to make much sense.

                    Your understanding of Chinese classics is very deep. Could you please comment on the following stages referring to Xingyi.

                    First stage:
                    Ming Jin (in the hands)
                    Wai Xi (outside breath)
                    Yi Gu (change bones)
                    Lian Jing Hua Qi (transforming jing to qi)
                    Xiao Zhou Tian (the microcosmic orbit)

                    Second stage:
                    An Jin (in the elbows)
                    Nei Xi (inside breath)
                    Yi Jin (change tendons)
                    Lian Qi Hua Shen (turn qi to shen)
                    Da Zhou Tian (the macrocosmic orbit)

                    Third stage:
                    Hua Jin (dissolved force in the body)
                    Tai Xi (breathing of baby in mothers womb)
                    Xi Sui (Wash Marrow)
                    Lian Shen Huan Xu (Return Shen to Xu)
                    Xing Ming Shuang Xiu

                    - Sifu Anton


                    Today there are many books on internal arts that give wrong or misleading information. This book seems to be one of them.

                    The information in some books is correct, but the authors do not understand the meaning. They merely repeated or translated what they found in classics.

                    How does a genuine master know that the information is wrong, or that the authors do not understand the right information he reproduced? The master has direct experience of the right information.

                    Let us take a simple example. Suppose an author describes the art of walking as follows.

                    One must carefully learn how to walk. As he places his foot on the ground, make sure that his toes touch the ground first. He must breathe in through his nose when his foot touches the ground, and breathe out through the mouth when his foot leaves the ground.

                    As we have direct experience of walking, we know that the statement of the author is wrong. We also know from direct experience that even when the second statement may be correct sometimes, it is misleading.

                    But not many people practice Xingyiquan or understand its development. Hence, many people not only may not know the information is wrong but may also consider it authoritative.

                    I shall firstly explain what the author says about Xingyiquan development. Please remember that what he says is incorrect.

                    According to the author there are three stages of development in Xingyiquan. At the first stage internal force is obvious in the hands of practitioners. This is due to external energy, i.e. energy transmitted by another master. This energy can change bones, i.e. make the bones stronger. The training at this stage is transforming substance to energy. It results in the Small Universal energy flow.

                    At the second stage, the internal force is at the elbows. This is due to internal energy, i.e. energy developed by the practitioner himself. This energy can change tendons, i.e. making the tendons or muscles stronger. The training at this stage is transforming energy to spirit. This results in the Big Universal energy flow.

                    At the third stage, neutralizing energy is manifested in any part of the body. This means that regardless of how opponents attack a Xingyiquan exponent with various types of force at any parts of his body, he can neutralize the attacks. The breathing method at this stage is “foetus breathing”, i.e. the exponent does not have to breath with his nose and mouth. The training at this stage is returning spirit to the Great Void, which in Western terms means returning to God the Holy Spirit. The cultivation is both physical and spiritual.

                    Please note that the above three paragraphs are a translation of what the author says in Chinese, and are incorrect.

                    Even in just a few days of the Xingyiquan course during the UK Summer Camp of 2013, you can tell from direct experience that the author’s information is wrong.

                    Internal force is not just obvious in the hands but all over the body. Using the expansion mode of the Three-Body Stance, for example, many course participants experienced internal force radiating out of their whole body. In the correspondence mode, some course participants experienced energy linking their corresponding hands and legs as well as being focused at the dan tian.

                    The energy experienced by the course participants was not external energy transmitted by me, but internal energy generated by themselves. Not only their bones but also their whole being, including their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, are stronger. Their noticeable increase of their energy was not due to the breaking down of their body cells into energy, which is transforming substance to energy, but due to tapping energy from the Cosmos. Yet, except for those who had taken a Small Universe course from me before, the course participants did not have a Small Universal energy flow. Hence, what the author says in the first paragraph is totally wrong!

                    When course participants exploded force, the internal force came from their shoulders, not from their elbows. Nevertheless, as they progressed, the internal force could be issued from their elbows, and then from their wrists. It was true that it was internal energy, and was developed by the participants themselves. While the energy could make the tendons or muscles stronger, this was not a main purpose of the training.

                    It was true that the training at this stage involved transforming energy to spirit. The participants were peaceful and happy, besides feeling very powerful. But they did not have a Big Universal energy flow, apart from those who had taken a Small Universe course from me before. Hence the author’s second paragraph is misleading.

                    Our students did not have to progress to an advanced stage to have “hua jing”, i.e.being able to neutralize opponents’ attacks using different types of force on any part of their body. They could do so even at the elementary stage. Our students were not tired and not panting for breath, and they did not have to be consciously regulating their breathing in and out through their nose and mouth. But they did not use “foetus breathing”, they used the flow-method.

                    It was also true that our cultivation was both physical and spiritual, but our students did not return spirit to the Great Void. Their training was to ensure a meaningful and rewarding life here and now. Hence, the author’s third paragraph is misleading.

                    It is not uncommon that some kungfu and chi kung teachers use philosophical terms like “ming jing” (obvious force), “nei xi” (internal breathing)and “tai xi” (foetus breathing)to make their writing appear grandiose, but they do not understand what these terms mean. This author seems like an example.
                    Picture of General Yue Fei from
                    Engage and maintain joyful practice!

                    May all of you get the best benefits from what you do.

                    Anton Schmick
                    Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord



                    • #85
                      I have a question for those who did this course, I am copying it from another thread because I think maybe more people will get a message in their inbox from this one and increase my chances of getting a response:

                      "I was very disappointed to miss the golden opportunity to attend this course, however I am intending to look at the situation "The Shaolin Wahnam Way", and have came up with a plan (with Sifu and others) to learn Sifu's style of Xingyiquan.

                      I was just wondering, is there anyone in the UK or Ireland who has attended this course and carried on practising the form and so on, who would be interested in meeting up to go over it? I can't work out all the moves precisely from the videos so this would help.

                      Thanks in advance."

                      I want to learn the form and hopefully at some point I can meet Sifu and have him check me performing it, and if I am really lucky I hope he will share this secret with me (from thread "Stages of cleansing, building and nourishing) and that I achieve the condition to use it:

                      "If you attend the Xingyiquan at UK Summer Camp 2013, you will learn a Xingyiquan sequence that is so bafflingly simple yet exceptionally effective in today’s free sparring competitions. It employs the same principles as I have been emphasizing all this while, but the Xingyiquan techniques and footwork are even more simple, direct and effective. In fact I had an aha experience discovering this fact when preparing myself to teach Xingyiquan."


                      • #86
                        I have compiled this series into PDF / EPUB format for your (re-)enjoyment.

                        I also took the liberty to fix a few typos, etc - please let me know if you spot something that I have missed.

                        Best wishes,
                        Last edited by George; 7th January 2015, 12:53 PM.
                        George / Юра
                        Shaolin Wahnam England

                        gate gate pāragate pārasaṁgate bodhi svāhā