Sunstyle Xing Yi Characteristics

Sun Shi Xing Yi was created by Master Sun Lu Tang, on the basis of what he learned directly, since the age of 15, from Grand Master of Xing Yi, Guo Yun Shen. Compared to the other schools of Xing Yi, Sun Shi Xing Yi has a style that is simple, solid, discrete, reserved, flexible and light. This specific style is the result of the following characteristics:

1. Centre of gravity on one leg.
In the basic position as well as in movements, the principle of Sun Shi Xing Yi is that the weight always falls on a leg. One does not find the horse riding stance or bow and arrow stance. This principle makes possible an apparently contradictory requirement – the body is at the same time stable, heavy like a mountain, and flexible and light like a bird. Indeed, the axis which supports the weight must be stable and heavy, it is Shi (full), the remainder of the body must be flexible and light, it is Xu (empty). Shi is the base, Xu is the tool, and both are made possible mutually.

2. The position is relatively high.
The angle with the knee should not be lower than 135 degree. The steps are relatively small, the principle being that the movements should not be difficult. Thus, contrary to much of other schools of Xing Yi, Sun Shi Xing Yi does not seek the large steps and the low position. Two advantages rise from this characteristic: on one side, the natural position of the human body is respected, the wear of the knees is avoided; on the other side, the balance between flexibility and stability is balanced.

3. The striking force is a turning force, on three dimensions.
In Sun Shi Xing Yi, the striking force is based on the axis of gravity (head – back – supporting foot which supports the weight). All force is accumulated in the middle of the axis, i.e. with the bottom of the back and the hip. When one strikes, there is at the same time a force generated by advancing the axis, and a force generated by the rotation of the body around this axis. The two forces form a force of three dimensions. For example, contrary to much of other Xing Yi, in Pi Quan within Sun Shi Xing Yi, in the movement of Pi, the rear leg  does not follow step, with a result that the force directed forward has decreased; but the rotation of the body gives the striking an additional dimension , the result is in fact reinforced.

4. The position of the hands is vertical.
Hand and arm form an angle of 90°. It is a major modification which Sun Lu Tang introduced during his last years. Front, the hands are positioned horizontally. When the hands become vertical, the muscles/tendons lengthen themselves, the force of the arms and the feeling of Qi on the hands increases considerably. This position of hands is adapted also to the need of true combat.

5. Two different kinds of exercises: exercises on thickness and solidness; and exercises on lightness and flexibility.
In Sun Shi Xing Yi, Wu Xing Quan (five xing) are the basic exercises, they require the thickness and heaviness, the five Quan correspond to the exercises of five different forces; while Shi er Xing (Twelve Xing) are the exercises of application, they require lightness and flexibility. In true combat, it is firstly necessary to seek not to lose, by flexibility; and then to seek to gain, by using force. Thus, the way of exerting Wu Xing and Shi er Xing are different, it should not be mixed.

6. The use of the force must be reserved and discrete, flexible outside and hard inside.
Sun Shi Xing Yi requires that the muscles and the articulations must be relaxed, while the axis head – back – supporting foot  must be solid and stable. The force must be preserved inside the bones; the Qi descends to the Dan Tian. The power is felt inside, but does not show itself outside.

7. The gestures are simple and practical.
In Sun Shi Xing Yi, there are no movements of decorations, nor movement of transition or preparation. This comes from the principle that the simplest gestures are the most effective.

Sun Style Xing Yi Spear

It was thought by many people that this was lost and no longer taught within Sun Style. But teacher Lei Shi Tai has knowledge of this form and though I never learned the form, I was shown the movements by him and they resembled the energy used in the 5 element fists, but developed it to a higher degree. As the idea is to put the energy into the spear and so project it out of the body. I have done a lot of spear training previously with Master Chu so this concept was not new to me, but in the Sun style it is projected in a natural way not forced. So this is a very high level of training, as you need to be at the ‘An Jing’ level to be able to put the energy into the spear without injuring yourself or forcing the energy and you must use the mind with intent to get the correct result.

Sun Style Xing Yi 12 Animals Part 2

She Xing (Snake) This is a difficult form, coiling and twisting as well as stepping in a low stance blocking and unbalancing the opponent in one move.

Xong / Ying (Bear and Eagle) This combination form is very powerful with steady stepping and grabbing and is number 8 and 9 in the forms list, the Qi Na movement can break an opponents arm if done correctly.

Yau Xing (Sparrow Hawk) A very simple form with an effective strike to finish the opponent.

Loong Xing (Dragon) Pi Quan is essential in performing this form and it is designed to be an evasion but also give a springy leg attribute.

Huo Xing (Monkey) This form has jumping and striking in 5 directions and is very difficult to perform correctly.

Teacher Lei Shi Tai explained that the 12 animals give different attributes like evasion and footwork they don’t train power as that is done with the 5 elements. So to make the them work you need to practice the basics of San Ti and the 5 elements then when you have time perform the 12 animals. His advice was to practice San Ti and Pi Quan and Taiji everyday and if you have time the 5 Elements and 12 Animals, if you did not have a lot of time just the San Ti and Taiji or even just Pi Quan as he taught everything comes from this and it is in everything within the Sun Style and is as Important as San Ti.

Sun Style Xing Yi 12 Animals Part 1

The following are how I learned them from Teacher Lei Shi Tai and he stressed that they could be practiced anyway you felt or in any order it was not important to do them strictly following a predetermined order.

I first learned Ma Xing (Horse) and there are two ways of doing this form a traditional straight line way and also a way using exchange step making it a practical method, it charges like a horse excluding the opponents guard or dragging the opponent towards you then hitting him with two fists.

Hu Xing (Tiger) was next and this involved a small step and jump to close the distance to the opponent and the footwork is at 45° as the opponent is pulled and pushed.

I then learned Tai Xing (Ostrich) again the start of the form involved a small step and a jump then stepping at 45° a double punch then a double block up is performed, the double block up is performed very fast before the next step is taken to perform the double punch.

Toh Xing (Llizard) this is done in a circular motion a bit like Yun Shou (Cloud Hands) using semi circular stepping this can also be done in circles forwards or backwards it is a very flexible form.

Yen Xing (Swallow) is a simple form with some devastating movement including jumping and a very powerful punch it swoops down to unbalance an opponent and also has some Qi Na.

Ji Xing (Chicken) this is a very powerful form and devastates an opponent rattling their teeth and shaking their bones.

Sun Style Xing Yi Linking Form

This form is what it says, a link between the five elements and 12 animal styles, but first we should look at how this works.

It was explained to me by teacher Lei Shi Tai that the 5 elements are not linked to specific organs or designed to counter each other but just to build a specific power or energy, this energy should be heavy and rooted but not hard or forceful once you have this idea through practice of the 5 elements and San Ti then the linking form is learned.

The linking form is a fast relaxed set of movements incorporating all the 5 element fists and is designed to let you understand the usage of each fist in a practical way as you have already developed the power needed for each fist so the transition is a natural one.

After the linking fist the 12 Animal style can be learned and again each one is designed to give you a specific attribute.

In the Sun Style the linking form is very important but only if you have trained the 5 element fist correctly will you benefit from it.

If anybody is interested in more information or have questions then please get in touch.

Sun Style San Ti

To learn Xing Yi Quan correctly and certainly from the Sun Style perspective, a thorough and continuous training in San Ti is required.

What does it mean?
We interpret San Ti as meaning the three trinity’s, the connection between heaven, earth and man. As when we look at how we practice San Ti, we have the head and hands pointing to heaven, the feet that grip the earth and the alignments of the body, that with breathing improve us a human beings.

San Ti is an exercise to help us understand ourselves. It is a difficult path to follow, but to start out on the path of Xing Yi means an undertaking, to seriously follow this exercise. For to reap the benefits of the rest of the system the root San Ti will give you is invaluable.

How do I know if my San Ti is Correct?
Our method of practicing San Ti Shi has been passed down from Sun Lu Tang directly to Master Lei Shi Mo, then to Master Lei Shi Tai and then to Bob Melia and is based on correct alignments of the body; if these alignments are correct then the San Ti is correct

Alignment 1.
Front knee in line with front heel (see Photo)

Alignment 2.
Rear knee in line with rear foot, (see photo)

Alignment 3.
Lower back in line with rear heel, (see photo)

Master Lei Shi Mo

When Master Lei Shi Mo went to Sun Lu Tang he weighed 130kg and so as he could not do any other type of movements Sun Lu Tang gave him only San Ti to practice. Everyday Lei Shi Mo would stand in San Ti and only practice this exercise until a pool of his sweat was on the floor where he had stood, gradually over a period of time his weight began to normalise and he was then able to learn Sun Shi completely from Sun Lu Tang.

Sun Style 5 Element Fist

The five element fists of Xing Yi are very important for producing the different kinds of energy needed to apply the art.

After the basic of San Ti has been mastered and practiced the real hard work begins. The first and most important fist Pi Quan turns up throughout the Sun Style system and it is vitally important that this fist is learned and practiced correctly, the power at the Ming Jin level is a horizontal spiraling of the front palm downward as the split is made, it is important that correct form is kept and the coordination between the hand and feet is developed.

Next Beng Quan is learned, it is important that the fist spirals in a corkscrew fashion at the Ming Jin level and again coordination between the foot stepping and the punch is maintained.

Zuan Quan is the third fist learned and the motion is down then up for the power to develop correctly, the transitional step is like Pi Quan and we are aiming for a smooth motion.

Pao Quan is the fourth fist to be learned and the energy spirals outward then back on the transitional step, it is important that the hand travels up the centre-line and turns, but does not pull back.

Heng Quan is the last fist to be learned, this fist is difficult because it spirals forward but then turns outward without any movement from the shoulder. The difficulty in this fist is also coordinating alternate hands and feet when stepping.

This article is only meant to explain how we in Sun Style Martial Arts from the lineage of my teacher practice Xing Yi, I accept that others may practice similar or different methods. I am not implying what we do is better it is just our way of developing at the Ming Jin level.

The mastery of Xing Yi at any level can take a lifetime and I am very lucky in that my teacher understands what is needed to reach the highest level and has passed that knowledge on to me.