Xingyi Animal Forms
Xing Yi Quan is based on twelve distinct Animal Shapes (of which, ten animals are more common - see table below). Present in all regional and family styles, these animal movements emulate the techniques and tactics of the corresponding animal rather than just their physical movements. Many schools of Xing Yi Quan have only small number of movements for each animal, though some teach extended sequences of movements.The ten common animals ChinesePinyin Bear熊XióngIn Xing Yi, "the Bear and Eagle combine", meaning that the Bear and Eagle techniques are often used in conjunction with each other. There is a bird called the "bear eagle", which covers the characteristics of both forms. The Eagle is a Pi Quan variation. It mimics the downward clawing action of this bird.Eagle鷹YīngSnake蛇ShéIncludes both Constrictor and Viper movements.Tiger虎HǔFeatures lunging with open-handed clawing attacks mimicking the pounce of a tiger.Dragon龍LóngThe only "mythical" animal taught (except in those family systems where the phoenix is one of the 12 animals). In some lineages it is practiced separately from tiger because they are said to clash (this is a minority opinion).Chicken鷄JīMimics the pecking movement of a chicken and the flapping of its wings. This form also mimics the quick and aggressive combat style of the rooster.Horse馬MǎCombination of Pi and Heng movements that mimics the action of a rearing a horse.Swallow燕YànFollows the swift and random movements of the swallow by rotating position and circling the enemy with strong but quick foot movement. May refer to the purple swamphen.Goshawk鷂YàoThis can mean 'Sparrowhawk,' though the more common word for "Sparrowhawk" used to be Zhān (鸇), which has fallen from use over the years. The Chinese word for "goshawk" covers both the goshawk and the sparrowhawk. Note - in some lineages this animal is translated to mean the grouse or small pheasant, as well as the phoenix. Among other things, trains the ability to penetrate between the opponent's limbs and body with strikes or takedowns.Monkey猴HóuPerformed with light, agile and simple striking combined with parrying and deception of distance.Other animals that may be present in a particular lineage ChinesePinyin Crane鶴HèCrocodile鼍TuóThe animal it is meant to represent is the Yangtze River alligator. Sometimes referred to as a water-skimming insect, or water lizard. In other lineages, this animal represents the Chinese ostrich, which some sources speculate could actually be the source of the Chinese PhoenixTai鳥台
see noteA flycatcher bird native to Asia. Due to its rarity, the two characters may be translated as ostrich, dove, hawkor even phoenix. The correct Chinese character for this animal is , not two. This character is not in the earlier versions of the Unicode standard, so not all computers are capable of displaying it. For further information, check the Unihan database for complete data on this character.Turtle龜GuīRepresents the snapping turtle which uses quick head snapping motions to catch fish. Some schools will teach this in combination with Tuó (crocodile), considering them to be the same animal.