XingYi's is also known as Hsing I, they are the same. A dynamic and effective martial art.
It's core training is based on three main areas of practice. The Five Fists, The Twelve Animals and Partner Work (Drills and Sparring).
XingYi's five fists are the most important aspect of moving practice. After post standing they are the next level of training upon which every other skill is built. The Five Fists' main purpose is to develop coordination and strength of technique. Some of XingYi's most famous fighters trained in little more than the Five Fists.
This school of XingYi uses twelve animals some use ten. It should
Horse has churning footwork
Its attribute is: Quick, powerful and continuous strikes just like a horse’s leg movements when it's galloping.
Alligator can float and swimming in waters well
Its attribute is: Nimble, quiet, smooth, and quick movement with powerful rotating and twisting force.
Rooster is born with a competitive nature for fighting
Its attribute is: Hard, brave, and it keeps going on. Never being afraid to make a hard fight.
Sparrow hawk possess the form for piercing the heavens
Its attribute is: Quick, hard, and straight, but still very nimble. Like a spear piercing forward.
Swallow has the agility to skim over waters
Its attribute is: Accurate skilful, powerful with light and quick movement.
Snake has the refined skill to move grass to slide way cleanly
Its attribute is: Light, quick, sudden and accurate skill from unknown directions.
Hawks are skilled at collision and ram forward
Its attribute is: Strong and quick movement can destroy anything trying to stop or block it.
Eagle are skilled at capture
Its attribute is: sudden, quick, powerful, and accurate, and keep control all the way.
Bear shows its power when it stands up
Its attribute is: Strong and stable.
When the individual forms have been mastered they are joined together into a number of short training forms. The aim of these forms is to help the student understand how the techniques are combined with each other.
Some schools teach a range of long and complex forms, but these have been developed as demonstration forms and forms for competition. They add little of value in terms of self defence, so these forms are not used by this school.
Advanced students can also learn a variety of traditional Chinese weapons: Staff, Spear, Sabre and Sword.
be understood that the animal forms are NOT imitative as they often are in Shaolin Boxing. They are in many ways extensions or developments of the five fists.
Some of the postures are physically demanding, as you can see in the photos on this page the Dragon and Snake involve the use of low postures that require some considerable strength in the legs. The Swallow posture also requires a good deal of flexibility. The deep postures are designed to strengthen the body, you do NOT fight in those postures!
Many of the other postures are higher and less demanding to perform, but they all contain useful combat skills.
In the same way that the five fists have numerous variations the same is true of the twelve animals but it should always be possible to recognise the nature of the energy being used.
Below is a brief description of the twelve animals from a classic poem.
Dragon possesses brisk technique
Its attribute is: Shrink, twist, and quick pass through from a small space then suddenly fly up.
Tiger is fearless in its pounce
Its attribute is: So powerful and quick is the movement that nothing can stop it.
Monkey has the nimbleness to scale mountains
Its attribute is: Quick, nimble, and skilful.