The Five Elements is a concept in Chinese culture which originated about 5000 years ago and constittues a philosophical framework to express the foundation of all things. From the five elements, all aspects of the universe are generated, changed and destroyed. Two cycles, the creation cycle and the destruction cycle, express the mutual influences between the elements and their development and change. In the Yi part of Xing-Yi (Yi-Quan), this conceptual framework is applied to martial arts and is the basis of all Xing-Yi fighting skills.
The 12 animals fighting skills express the application of the system. However, in contrast to most other animal simulation styles, animal skills in Xing-Yi aim more to express the animal's inner character and spirit as opposed to immitating its physical movements.
Physical conditioning is part of the overall training regimen. Note, however, that the conditioning may differ from that of Ying Jow or Baiyuan Tongbei.As is often the case, Xing-Y Quani is taught in the same class with Bagua Zhang.
Xing-Yi is an internal martial art whose origin, like Ying Jow Kuen's, is often attributed to General Ngok Fei (AKA Yue Fei). However, many people attributed it instead Ji Jike from Shanxi Province. There are a few types of Xing-Yi, and we teach the Hebei style.
The fundamental concept underlying Xing-Yi is that internal and external components of this style must be developed together. The term "Yi" means mind, or spirit, and refers to the internal components characterised through the Five Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. This forms the foundation of the system. The term "Xing" means movement, or shape, and refers to the external components which express the applications of the system through the 12 animals' fighting skills: Eagle, Bear, Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Alligator, Rooster, Hawk, Swallow, Snake and Ostrich.