The name xing-yiquan is associated with the fact that this style is full of imitations of animals: dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, rooster, hawk, swallow, snake, alligator and camel. These "animal" imitation styles emphasized, for example, the boldness of the tiger or the dexterity of the monkey, corresponding to the habits of these animals. That is why the style was called xing-i-quan (mind in form-image). Others saw the meaning of the name in the highest degree of unity between the inner will Yi and the outer form Xing, based on the ancient saying "heart-mind inside, limbs and torso outside". Hence, too, the name Xing-yi chuan.
The legendary master and national hero Yue Fei, who lived in the Song dynasty, is said to be the founder of the figurative style. However, there is no confirmation of this in authentic sources. Most scholars believe the founder of the Ji Lunfeng school (in some sources, he is known as Ji Lun, Ji Feng, where "lun" can be translated as outstanding and "feng" as majestic, but another interpretation is possible where "lun" is dragon and "feng" is wind, whirlwind, which translates as Dragon whirlwind), who lived during the decline of the Ming dynasty and the Qing dynasty. The history of xing-quan can thus be traced back to three centuries and the heyday of this school was in the Qing period, when the style was most popular in Shanxi, Henan and Hebei provinces, and when many branches of the style were already appearing.
There are three basic stances, five prime elements, and twelve "animal" styles (dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, rooster, hawk, swallow, snake, alligator, camel, eagle and bear) as part of xing-tsuan. The five primary elements correspond to the five forces: pi - cleavage, ben - crashing, tszach - drilling, pao - shooting, and hen - to interrupt.
All of these elements are the basis for the formation of the taolu complexes. The main ones are: the techniques performed with the hands - screwing up and tipping down; the movement techniques - offensive, retreating, dodging, and rotating. The five forces and the twelve "animal" patterns not only reproduce some complex of movements, but also unite these movements into a single whole. The exercises combining the five forces are called jintui lanhuan zhang (a chain of successive back-and-forth movements of the palm). The combination of the twelve "animal" images is called tsashi chui (maces of various shapes). Combinations of "animal" images are various and are called: "ten big images", "four receptions", "twelve maces", "working with the ba-tzu" (horoscope), "the bear comes out of the cave", "the dragon duel with the tiger". In addition, there are a lot of other techniques related to single training. Combinations are used in paired exercises: "five forces give rise to victory", "nine buckets", "lurk before the shot", "five fireworks", "a gun that crushes mountains", "eight linked maces", "three hand cannons", etc. Here are some combinations with weapons: "cover the wind with wings", "three talented swords", "long saber", "long sword", "long stick", "long spear", etc.
The most important thing in xing-yi chuan is the need to pay serious attention to the lu-he six correspondences, the san jie three articulations, the ba-yao eight requirements, and the qishun seven submissives. The six conformities are divided into three external and three internal. The internal ones are: correspondence between heart and mind, mind and qi energy, and qi energy and li power. The external ones are: hands and feet, elbows and knees, shoulders and hips. The three articulations are what is described by the expression "the upper link lifts, the middle one accompanies, the lower one induces". If we consider the whole body, the head and upper extremities are the upper link, the trunk is the middle link, and the lower extremities are the lower or root articulation. For the hand, the upper link is the hand, the middle link is the elbow, and the lower link is the shoulder. For the legs, the foot, the knee, and the hip, respectively.
"The eight requirements" include the concepts of:
1) apex (head should be up, palm in front, tip of tongue up);
2) closure (shoulders, back of hands and feet, teeth must be closed);
3) roundness (the chest is wheeled, the back is rounded, the palm between the thumb and forefinger is round)
4) agility (the heart is sensitive, the eye is shrewd, the hand is nimble);
5) embracing (the middle of dan-chan, heart-mind and ribs - embrace, embrace);
6) lowering (shoulders, elbows and qi energy down);
7) flexion (arms, legs and wrist slightly bent);
8) straightening (neck, spine and knees should be straightened).
By implementing these concepts in the practice of exercises, a proportional development of all parts of the body is ensured. In the attack, special attention should be paid to chopping, cutting, encompassing, ripping, reflecting actions.