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Shang Style Xing Yi Quan



Xing Yi Quan (形意拳; pinyin: Xing Yì Quán) translates to Form-Intention Boxing. While Xing Yi Quan is not common in western countries it is very popular in China. It is one of the first Martial Arts to be promoted for its health benefits as well as its martial effectiveness. Xing Yi Quan naturally complements Traditional Tai Chi due to the fact that they are both designed to make the practitioner healthy by moving internal power.


Xing Yi Quan is an internal art, like Traditional Tai Chi, though the martial nature is more notably apparent in this style. The movements of Xing Yi Quan are mostly linear. The idea is to involve the entire body in one sudden motion that acts as both an offensive and defensive movement. The name (Xing Yi) implies that the mind (or intention) leads the body (or form). Shang Style Xing Yi Quan, the specialized branch Master Yun instructs, has six basic movements often refereed to as the Six Harmonies. The Six Harmonies describe the mechanics used in this style. The three external harmonies are: wrists-ankles, elbows-knees, shoulders-hips; and the three internal harmonies are: xin-yi, yi-qi, qi-li or emotional mind (xin), harmonies with your intention (yi), intentions harmonies with your breath and physical momentum (qi), and breath and physical momentum harmonized with your physical strength (li).

History & Lineage

History of Xing Yi Quan

The foundation of modern Xing Yi Quan can definitively be traced back to the 1600-1700s. Typically Ma Xueli and Dai Longbang are attributed with the creation of this martial art style. However, legends state that the roots of Xing Yi Quan were actually created around 1120 A.D. from Song Dynasty general Yue Fei. It is important to note that in Chinese culture, it is common to attribute the creation of new works to legendary individuals. Therefore, this is why we see Yue Fei as the possible creator of Xing Yi Quan when there is sufficient evidence against it. With all of that said, the martial art began to grow during the Ming Dynasty, and in particular, during the lifetime of Ji Longfeng (姬龍峰; 1588-1662). Ji Longfeng was a gifted practitioner of the martial arts receiving top honors during his examinations at a young age. He was especially talented with the combat styles of the spear. Ji Longfeng would eventually continued to hone his skills at the legendary Shaolin Temple where he would create the foundation for modern Xing Yi Quan. Ji Longfeng had a single student of the art: Cao Jiwu. It is from Cao Jiwu’s two students that we have the two main branches of modern Xing Yi Quan. These students were Ma Xueli and Dai Longbang.

It is at this point that we will focus on the branch Dai Longbang created. Dai Longbang passed the martial art to the Dai Clan which than altered and mixed the style with several arts and skills the clan already practiced. The martial art remained solely within the clan until Li Luoneng (李洛能; 1807-1888) learned the form from the Dai Clan in the 1800s. Li Luoneng is considered the founder of modern Xing Yi Quan. Initially his future master Dai Wenxiong, son of Dai Longbang and legendary master of Xing Yi Quan, would not teach him. However, he Li Longbang was very persistent. He found a plot of land and started a vegetable farm so he could stay in town. Everyday he would deliver his produce to the market to sell, but he would also deliver a produce to the Dai home for free. It was this form of devotion and sincerity that finally won Dai Wenxiong over to finally take Li Luoneng as a student.

Li Lueoneng would go on to change Xing Yi Quan in very fundamental ways. The first defining change was replacing the split fist hand strike to a striking palm. He than would give the martial art the name we know it by today, Xing Yi Quan (meaning Form and Intention Boxing). Prior to this the martial art was known as Xin Yi Quan (meaning Heart and Intention Boxing). In the lifetime of Li Lueoneng the popularity of Xing Yi Quan would blossom and flourish mainly due to the sheer number of students. His most notably famous student was Guo Yunshen (郭雲深; pinyan: Guō Yúnshēn; 1829-1898) who would go on to teach Shang Yunxiang (尚云祥; 1864 - 1937), the founder of Shang Style Xing Yi Quan, which is the style of Xing Yi Quan that is taught in Master Yun’s Studio today.

Master Yun’s Lineage

Xin JianHou (辛健侯; 1905-1952)

1931 Champion of the northeast first national martial arts competition in Shenyang China was known as the "Northeast Boxing Champion"

Zhang GuoLiang (张国良; 1918-2009)

In 1947, bronze medalist of the northeast second national martial arts competition in Shenyang China

Zhang YunChao (张云超)

This is Master Yun. More information will be coming soon about his history in this form.