Hsing-I is an ancient art of fighting and healing that tunes the mind and body to a finely honed degree. It is said to have been developed during the period of the Northern Sung dynasty (A. D. 1127-1276). General Yue Fei learned Hsing-I and passed the style on to his troops, giving rise to the saying “It is easier to fight a mountain than to fight the army of General Yueh Fei.”
After Yue Fei, the art was passed on year after year but did not become well known. During the Ching Dynasty, the art was divided into Northern and Southern branches and now has become increasingly popular throughout the world. Form-will, body-mind, and mind-boxing are all Western translations of Hsing-I. These suggest the interplay of mind and body as the basic principle, but the essence is missed. The translation should be heart and mind, as it is the heart that controls the emotions and triggers the body’s responses.
Combining the heart and body along with the will creates reactions that are more desirable than those acquired without the will. As the mind becomes less conscious of them, the techniques become more instinctive. Often, if the heart is fearful, hesitation is the result. Thus, in Hsing-I, one learns to make the heart turn cold during fighting and calm the emotions as if no one was there. Conversely, during practice one’s attitude should be as if he were facing his top opponent.
Hsing-I takes its form from the Five Elements Theory for its fighting techniques as well as its system of internal healing. Each posture and form tones the organs and body parts of their respective element. For example, Pi Chaun (metal) tones and derives its power from the lungs and intestines, and Tsun chaun (water) strengthens and derives from the kidneys. Thus, Hsing-I is a complete system of martial arts as well as Chi Kung, Nei Kung, meditation, and internal medicine.