Xingyi Five Elements Forms
Xing Yi uses movements called the five classical Chinese elements to metaphorically represent five different states of combat. Also called the "Five Fists" or "Five Phases," the Five Elements are related to Taoist cosmology although the names do not literally correspond to the cosmological terms. These five movements make the 'base' of the art, upon which all further combative knowledge and skill is built upon. Most schools will teach the five elements before the twelve animals because they are easier and shorter to learn (though eventually more difficult to master). The Five Elements do not appear in Henan XinYi LiuHe Quan, though similar movements and methods exist in that art's email@example.comThe Five Elements of Xing Yi Quan ChinesePinyin Chopping 劈PīMetalLike an axe chopping down and over.Drilling 鑽ZuānWaterDrilling forward diagonally. Like two waves crashing into each other.Crushing 崩BēngWoodLike an arrow shot directly forward.Exploding 炮PàoFireExploding outward like a cannonball, while covering at the same time.Crossing 橫HéngEarthCrossing across the line of attack while turning over.Each of the Five Element movements has many vectors of movement contained within it. Together, they are used to explore all the useful ways through which one could advance on a straight line. Each of the Elements may be used as a Zhan Zhuang in-itself, and in some schools this is encouraged.A common saying originating from the Xing Yi classics is: "The hands do not leave the heart and the elbows do not leave the ribs". This is most evident in the Five Elements.Some Xing Yi practitioners also use the five elements as an interpretative framework for reacting and responding to attacks. This follows the five element theory, a general combat formula which assumes at least three outcomes of a fight; the constructive, the neutral, and the destructive. Practitioners abiding by these concepts train to react to and execute specific techniques in such a way that a desirable cycle will form based on the constructive, neutral and destructive interactions of five element theory. Where to aim, where to hit and with what technique—and how those motions should work defensively, is determined by what point of which cycle they see themselves in. Each of the elements has many variant applications that allow it to be used to defend against all of the elements (including itself), so any set sequences are entirely arbitrary, though the destructive cycle is often taught to beginners as it is easier to visualize and consists of easier applications.