Xing Yi Quan is not a very well-known martial art, so it is always refreshing when I can find something new or different about it. While searching for any information I could find on Xing Yi Quan on YouTube, which I do pretty regularly, I came across an amazing short film. A lone man practicing the Xing Yi Five Element form on a roof top in the snow, intercut with the same man applying the techniques, with brutal effect, on multiple attackers.
Xing Yi Quan Short Film (Chinese Kung Fu vs. 5 Attackers) youtu.be
After watching the film, with his brilliantly illustrated use of the applications of the techniques in the form, it was clear that the star was a master of Xing Yi, and I wanted to find out more about his training and ideas. Thankfully, I was able to find him, Keith Min, and he was willing to speak with me and disclose some of his unique training methods.
Keith Min is a skilled martial artist, stunt man and actor. Having studied martial arts for over 20 years, he focuses his practice more now on internal arts, such as Xing Yi Quan, Qigong, and iron skills. He was kind enough to share some of his unique techniques for training for power. Although the comments are specific to Xing Yi, simply substitute a form from your own style and try applying the techniques. Regardless of what style of martial arts you study, I am sure you will find some benefit and application for your own practice.
"Training the elements backwards will help strengthen parts of your legs that going forward doesn't emphasize while challenging your San Ti stability. Doing this can add up to 30% more power to your forms and techniques."
Getting Away from the Forms
"Try making drills out of singular movements or small sections of a form and work on them separately. This simplifies training while focusing on weaker movements and learning technique concepts. Also be sure to include work using just a half step for timing, power, and application."
Footwork: "Be as explosive as you can with your feet."
"Challenge yourself by covering more distance while feeling the connections and phases throughout your steps. Create more power and leg drive as well as fortify your San Ti. Placing an object in front of you on the floor can assist with setting goals and progression."
"Building strength is very important whether through bodyweight or resistance training. Simple conditioning of the hands, body, and grip are also very useful for martial arts. Try different workout programs, get creative with exercise selections, and add variations to make them technique specific."
Give the tips a try with a form from your own style and check out the video above for a brutal and entertaining demonstration of Xing Yi!