The Dantian of Xingyi

THE ELIXIR FIELD
The elixir field is the source of the active aspect, the mansion of energy and power. If you want to be proficient in the art, you must first strengthen your elixir field, and if you want to strengthen your elixir field, you must first practice the art. The back-and-forth of the two will solidify each other.
     My art comes down to understanding the importance of the elixir field. When we consider past teachers, there was oral instruction passed down but few writings, and so for later generations of students it has been quite difficult to understand their reasoning. What I solemnly learned from my father and have practiced for twenty years I will describe briefly.
     “If you want to be proficient in the art, you must first strengthen your elixir field.” This is because if your elixir field is deficient, your energy will not be full. If your energy is not full, your power will not be sufficient, and those five elements and twelve animals will be but empty postures. In your defensive techniques, it would be like you are guarding a city wall against emptiness, and in your offensive techniques, it would be like you are an army defeating weaklings. Therefore, when facing an enemy and frustrating his formations, you must always be as if there is a ball of resolute energy within your lower abdomen. Energy suddenly goes from your waist, through your back and neck, and courses through straight to your headtop. At that moment, your eyes become a vanguard observing and your mind becomes a general strategizing. Drilling and overturning, horizontal and vertical, lifting and dropping – they are applied according to the situation. Dragon or tiger, monkey or horse, eagle & bear – they are transformed into as is appropriate. In a moment of the opponent’s slightest inattention, victory or defeat can be firmly discerned. This is the fullness of the elixir field resulting in the refining of skill.
     “If you want to strengthen your elixir field, you must first practice the art.” Why is this so? I will explain. Some say the elixir field receives what is innate and inherent in the body, that there is enough within the self and nothing to wait for from outside [meaning specific practices or rituals are not required, not that there is no need for obvious requirements such as air, water, food]. You can still be good at sufficiently taking care of yourself, so why put it off until there is something to practice? Personally, I disagree with this. Sure, when people do not overindulge in sex, thereby not wasting their kidney essence, and take care of themselves properly, then vitality will be abundant. In this way you can promote longevity, but you will not actually be able to get energy from the elixir field to be expressed skillfully. If you want it to express skillfully, that is the point where practice must be begun.
     The method of practice is half gathering [energy], half wielding [energy]. Gathering has to do with methods within the “eight requirements” [explained in the following chapter], such as: your tongue should prop up, your teeth should be closed together, your anus should be tucked in, and your “three centers” should be combined [The center of your headtop goes downward, the center of your foot goes upward, and the center of your hand withdraws.], and also you must send out your diaphragm. If energy can course through all of the five organs – heart, liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys – one after another without obstruction, then it will be fulfilling what is said within the eight requirements that “the five elements should be smooth”.
     After doing this for a long time, the energy will begin to be able to fully collect in your elixir field. Although you are gathering, if you are not good at wielding, you will still not be able to express it skillfully. You must send energy collected in your elixir field upward from your lower back to dwell in your chest, fill your abdomen and organs, be concentrated at your ribs, and flush your brain. Additionally, in your ordinary practice, your body will be unusually upright and your hands and feet will be unusually maneuverable. When dealing with an opponent’s attack, your posture will be adaptive. Responding to the changes of your posture, the energy will go along with it and arrive in an instant. When your adaptiveness is beyond description, this is what it means to be good at wielding. And so gathering and wielding should be part of your hard work on a daily basis.
     This art is not like those who sit in silent meditation to cultivate an elixir of immortality. Past experts in this art faced large groups of opponents alone. While we do not know how abundant was the energy in their elixir fields, surely they had it in mind and there was not one who did not diligently practice this art by training the elixir field from the start. Once we are discussing the elixir field with a good understanding, then we can gain access to the martial path.
TRAINING THE ENERGY
In martial techniques, what has shape is the postures and what has no shape is the energy and power. What the postures wield is energy and power, for without energy and power, the postures have no use. Therefore the energy and power is the foundation of the posture. But if you want the power to be sufficient, you must first seek for the energy to be full. Thus the energy is the basis of the power.
     In the previous chapter, I mentioned gathering and wielding, which I have already gone over, but the secrets of my method of training the energy I have not yet discussed fully, so I will now describe the rest of it in detail.
     The practitioner uses the “eight requirements” as the starting point. They are the beginning of the Xingyi boxing art. While internally training the energy and externally performing the posture, whether it be the five elements or twelve animals, the alternating between empty and full, lifting and dropping, drilling and overturning, you must never depart from the eight for an instant.
     What are the eight requirements? 1. The inside should be lifted. 2. The three centers should combine. 3. The three intentions should be linked. 4. The five elements should be smooth. 5. The four tips should work in unison. 6. The mind should be leisurely. 7. The three structure points should align. 8. The eyes should be venomous. These will be individually explained below:
[1] The inside should be lifted:
     Tuck in your anus to lift its energy up into the elixir field. The energy gathered there then goes from the spine straight to the headtop, then returns and then goes up again, circulating round and round endlessly. As it says in the Manual: “By tucking in the anus, the inside is lifted [energetically].”
[2] The three centers should combine:
     The center of the headtop goes downward, the center of the foot goes upward, and the center of the hand withdraws. The three therefore make the energy gather into one place [i.e. the elixir field, which is the center between the three centers]. If the center of the headtop does not go downward, then the energy goes upward and cannot enter the elixir field. If the center of the foot does not go upward, then the energy goes downward and cannot gather in the elixir field. If the center of the hand does not withdraw, then the energy goes outward and cannot contract into the elixir field. Therefore the three centers must combine together, for only then can their energies return to being one.
[3] The three intentions should be linked:
     The intentions of mind, energy, and power are linked into one. They are the three internal unions. These three use mind as the planner, energy as the commander, and power as the soldiers. If the energy is not abundant, the power will be insufficient, and even though the mind is scheming, nothing will be of any use. Therefore when the energy intention is trained well, then you can externally command the power intention, corresponding internally with the mind intention. I would also say that the linking of the three intentions begins with the energy.
[4] The five elements should be smooth:
     Externally the five elements are the five boxing techniques: chopping, crashing, drilling, blasting, and crossing. Internally the five elements are the five organs: heart, liver, stomach, lungs, and kidneys. The external five elements techniques change from one to another according to a smooth sequence. There is a pattern to the whole and rules for the changes. Where the energy and power goes, the posture follows, and where the posture goes, the energy and power concentrate. Therefore when the energy and power are full, the posture is useful, and by practicing the posture, the energy and power can be increased.
     The Manual has this to say about the internal five element organs: “The five elements are basically five key pathways. If left unguarded, they will get blocked up.” When I began to learn these skills, I was inclined toward learning ways of moving energy around, such as the shoulders hanging, the neck straightening, the teeth being closed together, the tongue pressing up, the inside lifting, and so on. I practiced in this way doing a single posture for several days, and gradually the energy was able to reach to my solar plexus. I had tired my body out until my limbs were drained of strength. After training hard for several days, I gradually felt the energy slightly travelling downward, and again I was exhausted. After practicing like this several times, I started to be able to get the energy to go straight to my elixir field as soon as I got into a posture. This has to do with the five elements as five key junctures. [It seemed after the last passage from “the Manual” that he was going to discuss the five organs, but instead he seems to be saying he went through the above process with each of the five element boxing techniques as if they were five stages of an energy-training ordeal.]
     By not ardently practicing, progress will be broken and impeded, and you will be unable to gather energy into the elixir field or wield energy in the four limbs. For the energy to be adequate for a martial artist, the five elements should be smooth, and you will thereby have smoothed energy.
[5] The four tips should work in unison:
     The tongue should prop up, the teeth should be closed together, the fingers and toes should curl in, and the pores should be tight. If the tongue presses up to the palate, then the saliva is concentrated and there is better circulation of energy. If the teeth are tightly closed together, the energy penetrates to the marrow. If the fingers and toes are curling inward, the energy is concentrated in the sinews. If the pores are tight, the energy of the whole body is gathered and strong. By “unison” is meant that when in each posture, if all of these four are working together in this way, there will be no parts [of the body] getting ahead of or falling behind any other parts, none going slower or faster. If any of these four is missing, the energy will be scattered and the power will be slackened, and then there will be little purpose in talking about technique.
[6] The mind should be leisurely:
     When practicing, there is to be no panic or haste within the mind. Panic leads to fear. Haste leads to stress. Scared, the energy will be discouraged. Stressed, the energy will be disorganized. When discouraged and disorganized, the hands and feet will be out of arrangement. If you are generally not practicing, then internally you will be deficient and empty, and when encountering opponents, you will be timid and recoiling. When facing an opponent, never be scared or stressed, but have instead a mind at ease. Therefore the leisurely mind and the training of the energy are the outer and inner aspects of each other.
[7] The three structure points should align:
     The nose, hands, and feet are to align with each other. If the hands are not aligned with the nose, then if you incline to the left, the right side will be empty, and if you incline to the right, the left side will be empty. If the hands with the feet or the feet with the nose are not aligned, the error is the same. If the three seem very aligned with each other, but when you incline diagonally the strength is not evenly placed throughout the body, they will surely be unable to be united into one and the energy will be scattered as a result. Even if the center of the headtop goes downward, the energy will not easily move downward. Even if the center of the foot goes upward, the energy will not easily gather upward. Even if the center of the hand withdraws, the energy will not easily contract inward. This is a natural principle. Therefore if the three structure points do not align, it will be a big obstruction to the training of the energy.
[8] The eyes should be venomous:
     If the eyes do not seem to be very connected to the training of energy, you do not understand that venomousness has an intention of quick perception. One without abundant vitality will not be able to have this. Experience dictates that our skills are not something only soldiers should practice, civilians also should practice them. By training your strength everyday, you can invigorate your body, and by training your energy, you can develop your spirit. The elixir field will be concentrated and the five organs will be comfortable. For such a person, his spirit is sure to be nimble and his mind is sure to be quick. The orifice senses of hearing, tasting, and smelling will surely be able to be fully sensitive, but the eyes especially will surely be shining and bright, having a sharpness that shoots at the opponent. Who says the venom of the eyes is not energy?
In such law-of-the-jungle moments, all creatures and countries emphasize their skills. The distance an archer can shoot depends entirely on the quality of the bow, but hitting the target depends entirely on the archer’s strength of mind, hand, and eye. Thus for one whose energy and power are insufficient, he may have spied the target with precision, yet when the moment comes to shoot, his mind shivers and his hand shakes, and he is unable to hit the mark. It is then therefore crucial to give eager attention to your daily practice. When your body is strengthened, your vitality abundant, and inside and out are as one, you can then rectify your errors.
     You may say: “So energy moves inside and power manifests outside. You have discussed the energy. What about the power?” To which I say: “From the outside a person observes me and my power is easy to see, and because of my training, my energy is easy to understand. Furthermore, energy and power are basically one thing. When the energy is sufficient, the power can be known.”
     You may also say: “You have been talking purely of energy and power. Can you not talk some about the postures?” To which I say: “When training the postures, you must first seek to make the energy full, but when training the energy, you must first discuss postures. This is because the energy and postures are applied together. Because the posture forms on the outside, it has signs which can be seen. Because the energy moves on the inside, it is profound, subtle, unobservable. Thus the student who consistently pays attention to the postures often neglects the moving of energy. Our outward posture lies solely in the energy and power, and that is why attention is to be continually devoted there.”

Every hair is fully alert

‘In the fully energized state, “every hair is fully alert.” The state of relaxed arousal is what is meant by the chinese term “sung.” This is not the drowsy torpor before sleep. It is the release of tension that saps our strength – so that we become alert, clearheaded and full of vigor. Your head is uplifted and your eyes open, while letting go of physical tension in your muscles and organs.’

The Way of Power: Reaching Full Strength in Body and Mind
by Master Lam Kam Chuen
ISBN 1856751988

p. 134

The heart is calm and quiet as still water

Wang Ji Wu

One must always maintain a calm heart even when influenced by the seven emotions; joy, anger, happiness, worry, sadness, fear and surprise. The heart must remain as calm as still water, never allowing any personal desires to stir up a ripple of disturbance. My thoughts are pure, in spirit I seek to forget myself and transcend the common affairs of the world, keeping my life simple and my desires few. With a clear heart, I do not contend with others or make demands upon the world, but rather seek to contribute what I can for the benefit of all, aiding those in need and protecting those in danger.

Without desire one is strong, without desire one is quiet, without desire one may return to what is natural, without desire one returns to the original state. With a heart still like water, from the extreme stillness will spring action, from the void comes that which is alive, yin and yang are in harmony and the qi flows unimpeded. With a heart still like water qi is sufficient and the spirit full. When the qi is sufficient and the spirit is full, the organs functions normally, the blood is nourished, the meridians, nerves, digestion, and circulation are all healthy and the metabolism stimulated. When the factors which prevent aging all are strong, one may prevent illness and live a long healthy life.

Humans are holistic beings which are possessed by of a certain vitality. The spirit and flesh are inseparable and form a complicated entity. The human vitality supports, influences, and is responsive to the person as a whole, while the spirit is the leader and controller, the “commander-in-cheif” of the being as a whole. Under certain circumstances, it can be said that the spirit “pulls at one hair and the whole body follows” or at the slightest stirring of the spirit the whole being responds, and each movement of the spirit has a real effect on the individual. Therefore I put special emphasis on the spirit as the leader, ever strengthening my resolve to cultivate my spirit, maintain calmness of the heart and become as pure as light without a speck of dust. This is akin to the meaning of a Song Dynasty poet who wrote “to understand the highest virtue,” applied to the present time. Better yet, this cultivation of the spirit and the heart will improve the physical constitution of the people, protect their health, and contribute to a long and healthy life.

Xing Yi Nei Gong: Health Maintenance and Internal Strength Development
compiled and edited by Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell

ISBN 0865681740
p. 30-31

Santi Shi or Trinity Pile Standing

by Zhang Yun courtesy of ycgf.org

Santi Shi or Trinity pile standing is the most important and fundamental training in Xingyi Quan practice. It is said that “Santi Shi is the source of all skills.” In traditional training, beginners need to learn Santi Shi and practice it for a long time before they can be taught other skills. Practicing Santi Shi can help practitioners improve their movements and the integration of internal and external components. Stability and rooting can also be increased by this practice, as can relaxation and the control and use of shen, yi, qi and jin. Santi Shi training is emphasized in every Xingyi Quan group and will be presented here as a foundation training for martial arts fighting skills.

Santi Shi practice includes several steps. First, you need to study the Santi Shi movements and stance carefully. Correct movement will facilitate the development of correct feelings, for example feelings of qi flow, at all key acupuncture points throughout your body. It is important to maintain relaxation during Santi Shi training, especially for beginners. Secondly, you should learn to generate jin – trained force and fully express it in your physical movements. As in all internal martial arts training, your practice should be led by your mind. Adherence to the Twenty-Four Key Points (will describe later) will further enhance your training.

At different stages of your training, your mind should be used in different ways. Because the training process takes a long time, you should practice daily and have patience. Beginners may be able to maintain the correct posture for only three to five minutes. When you can stand correctly for about thirty minutes, you will have developed a strong foundation for further progress in your practice. Some ancient masters were known to have required that their students practice Santi Shi for at least one to two hours everyday. Without this discipline and the strength that such practice engendered, it was considered pointless to teach other skills.

Basic Principle
The inspiration for Santi Shi comes from the Daoist principle that describes the creation of the universe. It states: “Dao generates One, One generates Two, Two generates Three and Three generates all the things of the world.” The Dao originates from xuwu or wuji, the undifferentiated state of the universe. From the Dao, a qi force is generated which initiates change within the universe and produces yin and yang. Thus, although the xuwu state appeared to be empty, it had within it a creative force that could bring order and balance out of chaos.

Taiji is the “One” referred to in the Daoist principle of creation. It describes the state of the universe just after the undifferentiated state of xuwu has become ordered by the emergence of Dao and the movement of qi. The entities of yin and yang are differentiated within Taiji but are not yet fully separated. Yin and yang are the basic attributes of the universe, and the existence of each depends on and is clarified by the existence of the other. Each attribute also contains part of the other within it.

Liangyi, the “Two” in the principle of creation, is the point at which yin and yang become separated into two entities, each with its own attributes. Yin and yang are qualities possessed by all objects in the universe. When yin and yang interact, a new entity is generated. So yin, and yang, and the new entity is called Sancai – the three essentials.

Sancai, or the “Three Essentials,” is the generative point from which all perceptible things derive. Sancai contains within it the three most valuable treasures of the universe: sky, earth and humans. Sky is characterized by the attributes of yang; earth, by the attributes of yin. Humankind is generated from the interaction of sky and earth.

According to Daoist principle, the Sancai can be found within even the smallest units of matter. In every occurrence of Sancai, there are three treasures or Sanbao and in each treasure, there are three more treasures. The sky, for example, a treasure of Sancai, contains the three treasures of sun, moon and stars; the earth contains the three treasures of water, fire and wind; and man contains the three treasures of jin, qi, and shen.

In Xingyi Quan, the trinity or tripartite structure is called Santi or Sanjie. This structure includes three external parts of the body and three internal components. The three body areas defined by Santi or Sanjie are: Shao jie, the tip section which includes the arms and hands; zhong jie, the middle or trunk section which includes the head and torso; and gen jie, the root section which includes the legs and feet.  Consistent with the tripartite principle, each of these three sections can be divided into three smaller sections.  Shao jie includes: a tip section comprised of the hands; a middle section comprised of the elbows; and a root section comprised of the shoulders. Zhong jie includes the head as the tip section, the chest as the middle section, and the waist or stomach as the root section. In Gen jie, the feet are the tip section, the knees are the middle section, and the hips are the root section. The three internal components of Santi or Sanjie are shen, qi and jin.

Santi or Sanjie is the foundation of all skills in Xingyi Quan and the starting point for all change and development. The post standing practice Santi Shi, also commonly called Sancai Shi, is a technique that embodies the tripartite principle. It can be divided into three component parts known as Wuji Shi, Taiji Shi, Liangyi Shi, and Santi Shi. Santi Shi practice incorporates the core concepts of Xingyi Quan and generates all other Xingyi Quan skills.

Sancai Sanbao Santi Sanjie

Movement to Form Standing Posture

Wuji Shi
Wuji Shi – Wuji Standing is a preparatory form that involves simply standing upright. In this form, the body should be relaxed and the mind should be empty. Everything should be quiet, with only a glimmer of intention inside the mind to initiate movement. If you are thinking about something strongly, even about your practice, you are not yet ready to move. You should maintain Wuji Shi until your thoughts have quieted completely.

Movement Description for Wuji Shi:
Stand upright with both feet together. Your arms should rest naturally alongside your thighs with your palms facing in. Hold your body erect and look straight ahead. The tip of your tongue should touch the upper palate behind your teeth. Your chin should be slightly withdrawn.

Focus your mind on the Jianjing points to encourage relaxation of your shoulders and on the Quchi points and Shaohai points to cause your elbows to drop. Then, focus your mind on the Jiaji point to expand the middle of your upper back and straighten your spine. Focusing your mind next on the Tanzhong point and imagining that water is trickling down your breast bone to your navel will cause your chest to withdraw slightly and feel hollow. After using your mind to achieve these effects, forget everything and just experience the comfortable relaxed state of your body and the quietness of your mind. Your shen should be fully alert, and you should feel as though qi were gently impelling your body to begin moving.

Taiji Shi
Taiji Shi –Taiji standing signals the beginning of the form. Your mental intention and the flow of qi will cause change to occur inside your body. It is important in Taiji standing to distinguish between yin and yang. Yin is a substantial quality and represents stillness in your body. Yang is insubstantial and characterizes movement. Although yin and yang are separate and distinct, they should mutually embrace and support each other in all physical processes. Taiji standing creates an inclination to move and to keep the mind quiet. The practitioner should follow these feelings as he begins the form.

Movement Description for Taiji Shi:
All physical movement starts from this point. When you move, you should always keep your body erect. Do not lean in any direction. Focus your mind on the Baihui point on top of your head and imagine that your body is suspended from this point. Turn your right foot on your right heel about forty-five to sixty degrees to the right. Relax your shoulders and drop your elbows. This will cause your hands to feel like moving. Follow this feeling and slowly move both hands in front of your abdomen. Your left hand should be over your right hand, and the pad of your left middle finger should be over the nail of your right middle finger. Look at the nail of your left middle finger.

Relax your hips and knees. This will cause a feeling in your legs of wanting to move. Follow this feeling and slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your knees are over your toes. At the same time, drop your elbows down and slightly back. This will cause your hands to move slightly up. Let your fingers point forward and your palms face the ground while you slowly shift your weight to your right leg.

Liangyi Shi
It is said that Liangyi Shi is generated by the changes in Taiji Shi. These changes result in the separation of yin and yang and end when yin and yang become integrated and generate Santi Shi. Liangyi Shi embodies the dual principles of motion and stillness, rising up and dropping down, stretching out and drawing back, going forth and moving back. Although yin and yang remain separated in Liangyi Shi, they are always in balance. When your body is moving, for example, your heart should be quiet; as your body rises up, your qi should sink down. When yin and yang are balanced and become integrated in the Liangyi posture, Santi Shi arises.

Movement Description for Liangyi Shi:
Imagine using the nail of your right middle finger to hold up your left middle finger. This will cause your left middle finger to move forward. Relax your left shoulder and drop your left elbow. Then, stretch your left hand up and forward. Simultaneously, step forward with your left foot and pull your right hand, which it is in front of your abdomen, back to touch your body tightly.

Look straight ahead and stretch your left hand out until the tip of your index finger is at the level of your nose. Your left palm should face forward. Keep your left elbow slightly bent. Pull your right hand back until the Yuji point on your right wrist touches the Shenqie point on your navel. Your right palm should face down. Step forward about two to three feet with your left foot. Shift about thirty to forty percent of your weight to your left leg. Keep your left knee slightly bent.

Keep your body erect and stable. Imagine that your waist is pushing your shoulders and hips, that your shoulders, in turn, are pushing your elbows, and that your elbows are pushing your hands. Be careful during this sequence that you do not lean forward. Imagine that your hips are pushing your knees, which are then pushing your feet. The movements of your upper and lower body should be fully coordinated. Internal and external components should be integrated. If this posture is done correctly, yin and yang though still separate, become integrated. Physically, Liangyi Shi is a dynamic posture that generates Santi Shi through the integration of yin and yang.

Santi Shi
It is said: Dao came from xuwu, the insubstantial and empty state, and generated qi; then, qi generated yin and yang which became integrated and generated Santi. Finally, Santi generated all things in the world. In Xingyi Quan, Santi Shi is called “the source of all skills.”

When Santi Shi or Trinity Standing is generated from Liangyi Shi, there is no overt physical movement. The Santi Shi posture should be held for at least several minutes. This will help develop strength, particularly in your legs, and will also help train your mind to integrate the different parts of your body.

Although there is no physical movement during Santi Shi, strict attention should be paid to the various postural requirements. It is important to keep your body and head upright, your neck and spine straight and your shoulders and hips level. It is also important not to lean in any direction.

If done correctly, Santi Shi will improve many of your gongfu skills because it will significantly increase your leg strength. To hasten the strengthening of your legs, imagine that you are trying to raise your front knee slightly. This will create a feeling of expansion and a very hot, burning sensation in your back leg.

The internal feelings that develop through Santi Shi are very complex, and so this practice can be very helpful for learning to focus your mind so that it can lead the internal components that direct your physical movements. The mental aspects of Santi Shi training should be developed step-by-step.Changing-Side Form:

When your left hand and left foot are in front during Santi Shi, the posture is called left-side Santi Shi. The opposite situation is referred to as right-side Santi Shi. You should practice equally on both sides.

Movement Description for Changing-side Form:
In left-side Santi Shi, focus your mind on the right Jianjing point to relax your right shoulder and on the left Huantiao point to relax your left hip. Then, imagine moving your tailbone over your left heel. This will cause your weight to shift forward onto your left leg. While your weight is shifting forward, relax your left hip. This will cause your left foot to turn on the heel about forty-five to sixty degrees to the left. At the same time, pull both hands back slightly.

Focus your mind on your left shoulder. This will cause your right hip to relax as your weight shifts to the left. Touch your right foot to the ground in preparation for stepping forward but keep your weight on your left leg.

Focus your mind on your left elbow. This will cause your left arm to drop down and move back until it is in front of your right hand.

Then, focus your mind on your left shoulder. This will relax your left shoulder and cause your right foot to step forward lightly. At the same time, pull your left hand back until it is in front of your stomach with your left palm facing the ground.  The fingers of your left hand should point to the right and forward. The Yuji point on your left wrist should touch the Shenqie point on your navel. At the same time, push your right hand forward until your right index finger lines up with your nose and your right palm faces forward. Shift your weight forward until about thirty to forty percent of your weight is on your right leg. Keep both knees bent slightly. Look straight ahead.

Santi Shou Shi(Closing Form)

When it becomes difficult to focus your mind on maintaining the correct body positioning and intention, you should stop Santi standing.  Continuing to hold the posture beyond this point can increase your leg strength, but it will not benefit your internal practice. When you are ready to end your standing practice, use the ending form, also called the ending form for trinity standing or, more simply, the closing form. This form will provide a feeling of refreshed completion to your practice.

Movement Description for the Ending Form:

If you have been standing in the left-side posture, relax your left shoulder. This will cause your arms and legs to withdraw. Follow this feeling and withdraw your left foot and left arm. Bring both feet together. When your left hand pulls back, raise your right hand slightly until both hands meet in front of your chest. Then push your hands down slowly in front of your stomach. Keep both knees bent.

Turn your right foot on the heel until your feet are parallel. At the same time, straighten your legs slowly until you are standing upright (fig. 6).  Continue moving both hands down and gradually separate them so that each hand rests along the corresponding thigh as your legs straighten up. Relax your whole body and breathe deeply, smoothly and slowly several times.

Six-direction Force
When you have developed the physical ability to hold the Santi Shi posture correctly, you should begin to train your mind in more detail. Although your body will appear to an outside observer to be motionless during Santi standing, many changes and feelings of movement will be occurring inside your body. It is said of this state that “Outside there is stillness but inside there is movement.”

Typically, six-direction practice is the first step in training your mind during Santi standing. It provides a simple way to focus your mind so that your mind can lead your qi and your internal force. Diligent practice of the six-direction force will stabilize and coordinate all aspects of your external posture. It will also integrate your internal force and develop an internal state of comfort and clarity.

The six-direction force practice is of central importance for the development of jin. In this practice, internal force is developed simultaneously in six directions: forward; backward; leftward; rightward; upward and downward. Often, training in Santi Shi emphasizes force primarily in one direction, but unless one develops the ability to support or express force in all directions, it will be difficult to change and maintain balance during movement, especially when fighting.

Internal force should be expressed in all directions, but for convenience of training, only six directions are delineated. If you can express force in these six basic directions, you can quite easily expand your skill to the release of internal force in all directions. Internal force should follow the flow of qi and fill your body as air fills a ball. When inflated by air, a ball becomes springy and strong, and equal pressure is exerted at every point on its surface. Internal force should similarly affect your body.

The following instructions for six-direction force practice assume that you are in the left Santi Shi posture, that is, your left hand and left foot are in front. Each direction force is described individually.

Upward Force: Focus your mind on Baihui, the acupuncture point at the top of your head. Imagine that it is pushing upward. Imagine, too, that your feet are being inserted into the ground. This will create a reverse direction force that will push your body up. The greater your feeling of your feet’s being inserted into the ground, the more upward power you will feel. Be careful that the force is directed straight upward. It is important that your body always be upright, especially your neck and head.

Downward Force: Focus your mind on the Dantian in the center of your lower abdomen. Think about relaxing every part of your body and about your qi sinking down to the Dantian. This will cause your body to feel heavy and drop slightly. Imagine also that your legs are pushing down into the ground.       

Forward Force: Focus your mind on the Laogong point in the center of your left palm and feel as though your left palm were pushing forward. Feel power coming up from your back foot. Your right rear foot should press down into the ground, and power should feel as though it were flowing up through your right leg to your waist, then through your back, your left arm, and finally out through your left palm. You should feel a forward-pushing force from your back foot, in this case your right foot, all the way up to your front or left hand. At the same time, imagine that your right shoulder is chasing your left hand.

Backward Force: Focus your mind on the Jiaji point in the center of your back and imagine that it is pushing backward. This feeling is often characterized as “leaning on the mountain.” Imagine that your left foot is pressing down into the ground. This will create a feeling that your torso is pushing toward your back. At the same time, imagine that your right hand is pulling something back and then coordinate this feeling with the downward force in your left foot. The integration of the feeling in your right hand with the downward press of your left foot will augment the backward force.

Leftward Force: Focus your mind on the Shangyang point in your right index finger and imagine pointing with this finger to the left side of your body. This will enhance the integration of your right arm and left leg and will create a feeling that your body is twisting to the left. The sense of twisting will generate a feeling of power rotating to the left inside your body.

Rightward Force: Focus your mind on the Shaoshang point in your left thumb and imagine your thumb twisting to the right. This will enhance the integration of your left arm and right leg and create a feeling that your body is twisting to the right. This twisting feeling will generate a force that seems to rotate to the right inside your body.

In the beginning of your practice, you should concentrate on only one of the six directions of force. When you feel comfortable with one direction, proceed to work on the next one. Remember that this training involves using only your mind to lead your practice and to create internal feelings. There is no overt physical movement. Sometimes, a strong, clear feeling inside your body may cause some slight movement. You should neither seek to increase such a feeling nor struggle to stop the involuntary movement. Just maintain a relaxed state and continue with your six-direction training.

When you can practice each direction of force separately with confidence, you can practice pairs of force. First, practice upward and downward forces together; then forward and backward forces and finally leftward and rightward forces. This gradual process is recommended because most practitioners find it difficult to focus on more than one point or direction at a time. When practicing pairs, concentrate on each side of the paired force directions. Initially, change your mental focus slowly and with clear intent from one force in the pair to the other. Eventually, you will be able quickly to switch your mental focus back and forth between the two different directions. Eventually it will come to seem as though you are focusing on the two directions simultaneously. When you can do this routinely, your mind will generate a powerful, clear feeling.

Acquiring this ability takes a great deal of practice, so be patient. With sustained practice over a long period of time, focusing your mind on a pair of directions will seem almost effortless. Then, you can extend your practice to include all three-paired force directions. The goal of such training is to increase your ability to generate or withstand power from any direction instantaneously and without conscious thought.Integration Force

Basically, the six-direction force is an expanding force. He jin or integration force is the other important force that can be cultivated in Santi Shi. It balances your energy, makes you more stable and allows your internal components to be comfortably coordinated. Integration force can also increase your internal power. As with six-direction force, integration force concerns mental intention and physical awareness but does not involve overt physical movement.

Integration force in your arms works to coordinate the use of both arms so that they can work harmoniously together as one. Integration force flows from your back to your arms and hands. To feel this force, first imagine strongly pushing your front hand forward. At the same time, imagine pulling your rear hand backward as though trying to tear a stiff and resistant piece of paper in half. Next, imagine pulling your front hand back and pushing your rear hand forward as though trying to put two heavy things together. Remember that all these “actions” should occur only in your mind. The images should not be accompanied by overt physical movement or by isometric tensing of your muscles.

Integration force in your legs is also a coordinating force. It can help develop rooting. To practice leg integration force, first imagine that your body is sinking down. This will create a feeling that your feet are being inserted deeply into the ground. Your front foot should slant down and forward, and your rear foot should slant down and backward. Next, imagine that you are standing on an icy surface. The surface is so slippery that your feet feel as though they are about to slide apart. Imagine that your front foot is sliding forward and your rear foot is slipping backward. In order to maintain your balance and avoid falling down, you will feel as though you need to use force to bring your feet together. Once again, all of this occurs only in your mind. There should be no overt physical movement and no isometric tensing of your muscles.

Integration force in your arms and legs results in the coordination of your upper and lower body. A simple way to practice integration force is to use three specific points on your arm and a corresponding set of three points on your opposite leg. The three points on your arm are: the Jianjing point on your shoulder; the Quchi point on your elbow; and the Lao Gong point on your hand. The three coordinating points on your opposite-side leg are: the Huantiao point on your hip; the Yanglingquan point on your knee; and the Yongquan point on your foot.

The first step in integration force training is to mentally connect one arm with the leg on the opposite side of your body. Focus first on the Laogong point of your left hand and then expand this thought to the Yongquan point on your right foot. Then, focus your mind on the Quchi point on your left elbow and connect that thought to the Yanglingquan point on your right knee. Next, focus your mind on the Jianjing point on your left shoulder and make a connection in your mind to the Huantiao point on your right hip.

Then, shift your mental focus to the other Jianjing point, that is, the Jianjing point on your right shoulder and connect it to the Huantiao point on your left hip. Continue by focusing next on the Quchi point on your right elbow and connect it to the Yanglingquan point on your left knee. Complete this part of your practice by focusing on the Lao Gong point on your right hand and connecting it to the Yongquan point on your left foot. Repeat these six steps until all the connections feel natural.

In the second part of integration force practice, you should try to coordinate the feelings in both arms with the feelings in both legs, at each of the three sets of points. This integration training is commonly called bao or “holding and embracing.” In bao practice, you should focus your mind first on both left and right Laogong points and then connect the feelings at these points to those at your right and left Yongquan points. Then, mentally focus on both left and right Quchi points and make connections to your right and left Yang Ling Quan points. Thirdly, focus on both left and right Jianjing points and connect them to your right and left Huantiao points. Next, focus on your right and left Jianjing points and connect them to your left and right Huantiao points. The fifth step is to focus on your right and left Quchi points and connect them to your left and right Yanglingquan points, and the sixth step is to focus on both right and left Laogong points and connect them to your left and right Yongquan points. Repeat these steps until the paired connections feel natural at each set of points.

Integration force practice will strengthen your qi, increase your mental control and concentrate your shen. The physical training of movement in your arms and legs will gradually cause internal changes. This is what is meant by the traditional adage that “outside training leads to inside training.” As training improves sufficiently, the internal and external can be integrated. At this point, you can reduce your concentration on external movement and focus more on training the internal components. Gradually, your internal feelings will grow stronger, and any internal change will automatically cause an external change. At high levels of mastery, it is possible to focus exclusively on shen because everything else, that is, mind (yi), qi, jin and physical movements, will follow naturally. With this ability, you will have fully achieved the integration force.Twenty-Four Key Points

For more detailed practice of Santi Shi, one should keep in mind and conform with the Twenty-Four Key Points in order to achieve high level skill.

The Twenty-Four Key Points come from Ba Zi Ge – the Eight Word Song, which is one of most important traditional formulations in Xingyi Quan. One should be mindful always of these essentials throughout one’s practice. Before one can apply all these considerations in one’s moving practice, one should learn and practice them well in Santi Shi – a stationary posture.

The eight words of Ba Zi Ge are: ding, kou, yuan, min, bao, chui, qu, and ting.

Most people believe the “Eight Word Song” was written by Master Li Luo Neng. It should be used in everywhere in Xingyi Quan. It is very important for all movements. Sometimes people refer to it as the “twenty-four key points in Santi Shi” because each of the eight character/words includes three points, resulting in a total of twenty-four ideas.

Xingyi masters traditionally introduce the Twenty-Four Key Points when students start to practice Santi Shi which is the first focus in traditional training.

The Twenty-Four Key Points include some internal and external ideas. Even so-called external points, actually should be done internally, i.e., using internal components to lead external training. Some of these ideas look similar on the outside, but are different inside. Some of these ideas may appear to be opposites, however they describe how to balance these points in practice. One should practice and then try to understand all of them in detail.

Because Santi Shi is a stationary practice, students may find it easier to learn and feel each point in the right way. When every point can be done well in Santi Shi, finally all points should be applied to all moving skills.

Below is Some Explanation of Twenty-Four Key Points:

Ding
Ding means go against, push forward or upward slowly but hard, withstand, support, or stand up.

* Head (back of skull) should be ding (pushes up), like it wants to fly up and smash the sky. This will cause one’s qi to ascend along the back to the upper Dantian, which is on the point which inside between eyebrows and underneath Baihui point.

* Palms should be ding (pushing outside or around), as if trying to push down a big mountain. This will cause one’s qi and internal force to extend to the tip of hands and feet.

* Tongue should be ding (pushes up to gums behind incisors), like a lion wants to swallow an elephant. This will cause one’s qi to sink to Dantian.

Kou
Kou means withhold, suppress, restrain, hold, keep, control, lock up, or button up.

* Both shoulders should be kou (held a little bit forward), like they can withhold something on chest. This will make one’s chest comfortable and qi can go to elbows with internal force.

* Back of palms and feet should be kou (suppressed), like hands can grip or lock up something and feet can grip or lock up on the earth. This will make one’s hands really strong and one’s steps really stable.

* Teeth should be kou (suppressed), like gritting teeth. This will make all your bones and muscles are tighten back.

Yuan
Yuan means circular, round, smooth, or flexible.

* Back should be yuan (round), as if internal force pushes the body forward. This will keep one’s tailbone in the center of body and make one’s shen rise to the top of head.

* Chest should be yuan (round), like chest take sunken slightly. It will make both elbows stronger and breathing smoother.

* Tiger mouth (the area between thumb and forefinger) should be yuan (round), hands should open like eagle talons. This will train one’s binding and controlling force.

Min
Min means quick, nimble, agile, sharp, acute alert, or sensitive.

* Heart should be min (nimble and quick), like an angry cat that wants to catch a mouse. This will make one’s mind alert and sensitive, increasing the nimbleness of one’s movement.

* Eyes should be min (sharp), like a hungry eagle seeking to catch a rabbit. This will train one to capture the best chance (timing) in combat.

* Hands should be min (quick), like a starving tiger wants to spring on a goat. This will train one how to move just before one’s opponent moves.

Bao
Bao means hold, carry in arms, or embrace.

* Dantian should be bao (embrace), like holding qi in Dantian and never to be destroyed. This will train one how to concentrate, collect, and use one’s qi.

* Xin qi – qi of heart (mind and shen) should be bao (kept quiet), holding the mind and shen in a constant and concentrated and relaxed state. This will train one never to be nervous and never to be confused in combat.

* Both sides of the chest should be bao (held in), like carrying something in the chest. This will train how to use one’s qi to protect one’s body.

Chui
Chui means droop, hang down, or vertical.

* Qi should be chui (sink down), like always move qi back to Dantian. This will make one’s body stable like a mountain.

* Both shoulders should be chui (sink and relax), as if using shoulders to chase elbows. This will make one’s arms become longer and more agile. Qi can move to arms and hands smoothly.

* Both elbows should chui (drop down), as though the qi can move in the inside of one’s arms. This will make both sides of one’s chest stronger and train side-to-side force.

Qu
Qu means curve, bent, crook, or winding.

* Arms (elbows) should be qu (curved), like a crescent moon. This will make one’s internal force in the arms become stronger and like a bow.

* Legs (knees) should be qu (bent), like a crescent moon. This will make one’s internal force in the legs become more springy and thicker.

* Wrists should be qu (curved), like a crescent moon. This will make one’s internal force concentrate in the hands, capable of moving forward and backward continually, freely and smoothly.

Ting
Ting means press onward, upright, erect, stiff, or straight.

* Neck should be ting (upright), the chin should be tucked back slightly. This will enable one’s qi to rise to the Baihui smoothly.

* Spine and waist should be ting (erect), like keeping straight. This will make one’s internal force move smoothly, extending through the arms and legs freely, and also exciting one’s qi to permeate every part of one’s body.

* Kneecap should be ting (stiff), like making stronger. This will make one’s qi comfortable, extend one’s shen, and deepen one’s rooting.There are a lot of things on which one should focus during practice, but no one can do these all at one time. It is important to note that one cannot fight while focusing on these points either. One should only practice one of them at one time. So, one should practice one idea until it becomes ingrained, so that one does it naturally without focusing on it. Then one can move to the next practice point.

One should practice until all points become ingrained, i.e., one can apply all of them naturally without thinking. When this is achieved, one will experience a totally different feeling. Only when one reaches this level, can one say one has really mastered these points.

From the above description of Santi Shi, one can understand why people traditionally refer to it as the source of all skills. This practice establishes a good foundation for Xingyi Quan training. From internal and external practice, each of the twenty-four key points is trained and the benefits of this training can then be applied everywhere in one’s movements and applications. How well one can perform internal skills will determine how high a level one can reach in Xingyi Quan. Thus, Santi Shi skill is emphasized greatly.

Reference:
Santi Shi – Trinity Pile Standing ycgf.org
With pictures demonstrated by Lu Shengli